Latics show great character in Essex as Harry Kewell’s side come from behind twice to seal their first point of the season.
There were three changes to the starting XI as George Blackwood, Ben Garrity and Dylan Fage came in for Davis Keillor-Dunn, Bobby Grant and Danny Rowe.
The game came to life early on and with only 16 minutes on the clock, Italian full-back Andrea Badan went down holding his leg after dribbling with the ball and he was replaced by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
Colchester had two chances in quick succession, the first arrived when Ian Lawlor palmed a cross to the feet of right-back Miles Welch-Hayes inside the penalty area, but his sliced his strike over the bar with an open goal at his mercy. Just moments after, the dangerous Callum Harriott raced to the byline and played it back to Kwame Poku, but the attacker placed his effort past the post.
Latics had their best chance of the opening half when Sido Jombati dinked a cross into the box from the right and McAleny’s clever movement saw him get onto the end of the delivery, but he could only flick his header wide of the target.
In the 28th minute, Stevenson put Colchester ahead after a slick passing move from the U’s ended in Harriott slotting the midfielder one-on-one with Lawlor and he kept his composure to chip his effort over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
It got worse for Latics shortly after as Steve Ball’s side played a corner to the edge of the box to Cohen Bramall and the left-back fiercely struck goalwards, McAleny managed to get his body in the way, but the referee adjusted him to have handled the ball and pointed to the spot. Harriott stepped up and slotted his penalty into the bottom left corner to double their lead.
Harry Kewell looked to change the game at half-time as he brought new face Dylan Bahamboula and Jordan Barnett on to replace Callum Whelan and Borthwick-Jackson.
The introduction of Bahamboula proved to change the course of the game and in the 51st minute as he drove at a defender whilst producing stepovers before he was brought down in the box for a penalty. McAleny made no mistake from 12-yards as he placed it just past Dean Gerken to get Latics back into the game.
Oldham had full momentum and got themselves level just two minutes later. Substitute Barnett delivered a corner from the left, which was flicked on by McAleny, and Piergianni powered his way through the crowd to tap into the back of the net from close range at the back post.
However, it didn’t take long for the U’s to get themselves ahead again and it was a spectacular effort from Welch-Hayes. They worked the ball around well on the left before goalscorer turned provider as Stevenson produced a cross which went straight to Welch-Hayes and he impressively headed into the top corner from just inside the box.
Latics went in search of an equaliser and thought they’d found it when a loose ball in the area fell to the feet of Fage and from yards out, he flicked goalwards, but Gerken pulled off a great save to keep his side ahead.
One-minute left to go and the visitors got their rewards as McAleny got his second of the game. Bahamboula delivered a powerful low cross from the right-wing and it looped up off a defender to McAleny and he smashed into the far corner, leaving their goalkeeper with no chance.
Colchester United XI – Gerken (GK), Welch-Hayes, Bramall, Smith ©, Senior (Norris 58’), Brown, Harriott (Cowan-Hall 70), Chilvers (Gambin 84’), Eastman, Poku, Stevenson.
Subs – George (GK), Sowunmi, Scarlett, Gambin, Marshall Miranda.
Goals: Stevenson 28’, Harriott 37’, Welch-Hayes 66'
Oldham Athletic XI – Lawlor (GK), Jombati, Piergianni ©, Garrity, Blackwood, Whelan (Bahamboula 46’), Fage, McAleny, Badan (Borthwick-Jackson 16’, Barnett 46’), McCalmont, Hamer.
Subs – Chapman, Rowe, Keillor-Dunn, Grant.
Goals: McAleny 52’ (p), 89’, Piergianni 54’
Referee – Paul Howard