Cambidge United unbeaten start is brought to an end by Oldham Athletic
Cambridge United fell to their first defeat of the season, slipping up 2-1 at home to Oldham Athletic in Sky Bet League Two.
The U's were the dominant side throughout, but Oldham were able to score from their two chances on target to pull off a smash-and-grab raid at the Abbey Stadium.
The hosts made all of the running in the opening stages, and their main outlet was the lively Luke Hannant on the left.
Every time he ran at Thomas Hamer, he looked to have the beating of the Oldham right-back and it led to a couple of dangerous deliveries into the box.
Hannant had the first shot of the game, which did not trouble keeper Gary Woods. In the 14th minute, Liam O’Neil drilled a 25-yard effort narrowly.
Oldham, who had started the game in such timid fashion, grew into it as the half wore on, and broke the deadlock in the 28th minute.
A cross from the left by Chris Eagles was met by the head of Urko Vera, whose header seemed to be brilliantly stopped by U’s keeper Dimitar Mitov, but the power on the ball took it over the line.
United’s response was swift.
This season’s talisman Paul Lewis did well to stay on his feet under pressure in the area to deliver a cross which Marc Richards did well to take down, and then swivel to dispatch a shot into the bottom corner.
United almost had a second in the 43rd minute.
Sam Smith’s running in behind the Oldham defence was impressive throughout the half, and he was set free again by another good Hannant pass. The striker then squared his pass across the area, and Leon Davies’ powerful effort thundered back off the bar.
It was Smith’s 22-yard free kick that was the final chance of the half, drawing a fingertip save from Woods.
The U’s just needed to maintain the tempo in the second half and although they produced plenty of endeavour, a packed Oldham defence meant that clear-cut openings were few and far to come by.
The visitors had offered very little going forward, but won a corner after an unfortunate ricochet in the U’s defence in the 66th minute.
Mohamed Maouche delivered the corner from the Oldham left and David Wheater rose unopposed on the six-yard line to head home.
You were left to wonder how, having had so much dominance, the U’s could be trailing.
Chasing the game, they threw on Harvey Knibbs and Reggie Lambe.
The best chance for an equaliser came from Knibbs in the 79th minute. Davies' cross from the right found Knibbs unmarked in the area, but his shot into the ground was tipped over the bar by Woods.
Desire Segbe Azankpo had a great opportunity to put the game to bed for Oldham in the 84th minute, but with just Mitov to beat from 14 yards, he scuffed his shot wide.
Despite an additional four minutes, the U's were unable to add to their tally, bringing an end to their five-match unbeaten start to the season.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Davies, Taft, Taylor, Darling, Hannant, O’Neil, Maris, Lewis, Smith, Richards.
Substitutes: Roles (O’Neil, 58), Knibbs (Smith, 69), Lambe (Maris, 69). Subs not used: Burton, Dallas, Dunk, John.
Oldham Athletic: Iacovitti, Smith-Brown, Vera, Maouche, Nepomuceno, Missilou, Fade, Wheater, Eagles, Hamer.
Substitutes: Sylla (Vera, 55), Segbe Azankpo (Eagles, 55), Branger (Nepomuceno, 65). Subs not used: Zabret, Mills, Stott, Wilson.
Referee: Scott Oldham.
Bookings: Oldham - Fage (foul, 73), Sylla (foul, 77), Maouche (unsporting behaviour, 88), Hamer (foul, 90).
Attendance: 4,004 (away 220).