Writer: StevieG Col U
Date:Sunday August 31 2008
Weston Homes Community Stadium
Colchester United failed to chalk up their first victory at the Weston Homes Community Stadium as Oldham Athletic left with a point.
Irish winger Mark Yeates had put the U`s two goals ahead but the in-form Latics salvaged a draw, thanks to Deane Smalley`s late effort.
The U`s made two changes to the starting line-up following last week`s victory over Swindon Town, with Chris Coyne and Phil Ifil replacing the injured Paul Reid and Matt Lockwood.
The U`s started the better side and with ten minutes gone, former Latic Scott Vernon came close to connecting with a Yeates dead-ball.
U`s full-back John White saw yellow for a challenge on Kelvin Lomax, as referee Paul Taylor made himself unpopular with the home faithful.
With 17 minutes on the clock Vernon narrowly headed Ifil`s cross into the box over, as the U`s pressed for an opener.
Highly-rated Athletic right-back Neal Eardley tested Dean Gerken, in the home goal, with a well-struck effort.
Just after the half-hour mark Colchester front-pairing Clive Platt and Scott Vernon combined well, but Eardley cleared well under pressure.
Ex-Port Vale midfielder Danny Whitaker had the visitor`s best opening of the half, only to see his low shot go wide of Gerken`s right-hand post.
Oldham front-man Lee Hughes, who was constantly booed by home fans, was the third player to get his name in the book, as he tangled with U`s defender Matt Heath.
Moments later the Latics came the closest yet, as Hughes laid the ball off to Andy Liddell. Liddell`s powerful drive had Gerken well beaten but his effort crashed against the bar. So close to the opening goal.
Three minutes before the interval Kem Izzet fed a pass into youngster Anthony Wordsworth, who in-turn played a pass into Yeates. He neatly controlled the pass and arrowed a low shot beyond Mark Crossley in the Oldham goal, from just inside the box, to put the U`s one up. This was the former Tottenham Hotspur`s man first goal of the season and the opening goal at the U`s new home.
Goal scorer Yeates and Wordsworth found themselves in the book either side of half-time, much to the home fan's displeasure.
Following a lively start to the second period, Yeates had the U's first real chance but fired over from a tight angle.
As the visitors struggled to find their groove, Yeates, once again, found the net. Fellow midfielder Johnnie Jackson wriggled free on the edge of the penalty area and found Yeates, who rifled a fierce left-foot shot into the top-corner, leaving Crossley with no chance.
The away side, however, pulled a goal back through Taylor, his fourth goal of the campaign. The Latics number eighteen skinned John White before firing home a low shot, into the far corner, past Gerken.
The home side had the chance to put the game to bed shortly after but Platt headed Yeates` floated cross against the post, with Crossley stranded.
Geraint Williams` men continued to press and substitute Akanni-Sunday Wasiu saw his effort blocked, following a Jackson free-kick.
The U`s David Perkins, making his home debut, came on for Wordsworth and the away side brought on Chris O`Grady and Smalley, in an attempt to snatch a point. After only a few minutes on the pitch Perkins was the fourth U`s player to see yellow.
Right at the death, Gerken punched an Oldham free-kick only half away and Smalley reacted quickest to break U`s hearts and level the match at 2-2.
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Date:Sunday August 31 2008
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