COLCHESTER United gave their survival hopes a major boost this afternoon after pulling off a nail-biting 1-0 victory at Oldham Athletic.

Sammie Szmodics scored their only goal after just two minutes, pouncing from close range after a right-wing cross was headed back across the danger zone.

It was a dream start for the U’s, battling to climb away from the League One drop zone.

And overall they were good value for it – solid, well-organised and hard-working throughout.

Tom Eastman had a first-half shot blocked and then, after the break, both Gavin Massey and Matthew Briggs saw efforts well-saved by Latics goalkeeper Jake Kean.

Oldham were much better in the second period and there were scares for the U’s.

Jacob Mellis sliced wide from a good position and then the same player forced an excellent diving save from Colchester goalkeeper Sam Walker.

Walker came to his side’s rescue again nine minutes from time, getting down low to smother an effort from Liam Kelly.

And Oldham then had a stoppage time goal ruled out for offside.

But Colchester held on for a very precious, timely victory that will do their chances of avoiding relegation the power of good.

For full coverage of the match, including pictures and reaction, see Monday’s Gazette.