WITH the August sun beating down we were entertained to a solid and start to the season, with a 2-2 draw against Lee Johnson’s Oldham Athletic last Saturday.
It’s a point in the bag from a game that was in the balance until the very final whistle, and, as usual, there were a few opening day fireworks.
We saw evidence to suggest that we have the attacking artillery and imagination to rack up enough vital home points as the season develops. Wins at home are all-important, because sterile draws or defeats are nothing but bad news.
It’s hard to begrudge Oldham their point and the way they played showed they had obviously done their homework.
It was more than obvious actually, because Oldham fielded Brian Wilson, the U’s skipper from last season, and with our squad packed with players that Wilson knows so well they had a real inside line on our attacking and defensive capabilities.
Oldham were never scared to get five or six bodies forward, even at 2-2 and the final whistle not far away.
It suggested that Oldham’s game plan was based on the belief that our strength is in attack, and that if they had set themselves up deep and defensively, we would have probed until we worked our way through.
The annoying thing was that we allowed Oldham to breach our defence twice, with the result that the game ended all square at 2-2.
The undoubted highlight was a memorable debut goal from George Moncur. The West Ham loanee fairly slammed the ball home, making a wonderful instant decision to take a high risk full-bloodied shot, rather than a side-foot, that the keeper would have got across to.
It was a classic instance of all the practice paying off as it was 99 per cent instinct and muscle memory, and it bought the house down.
On another day we would have scored a winner, but both managers left the pitch with a handy point in their back pocket, pride intact, and many battles ahead.
There is no doubt that we have tough start to the season, and we head to Bristol City tomorrow to face a side that should be battling it out at the top of the League.
It will be a great test for our new-look defence, and I would pay good money just to hear Saturday night’s results include the words “Bristol City nil”. It’s a big test early in the season, but here’s hoping.