Colchester boosted their automatic promotion hopes with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Oldham.

On-loan Wolves defender Danny Batth headed home the winner just after the hour mark as the Us extended their unbeaten league run to five games.

Oldham goalkeeper Dean Brill plucked John-Joe O'Toole's header out of the air inside the opening minute. And 13 minutes later Brill was out quickly to foil Steven Gillespie after he was sent through on goal by David Prutton's fine, searching pass.

The Latics came agonisingly close to taking the lead soon afterwards when Jason Price's firm header struck a post.

Colchester goalkeeper Ben Williams made a fine save to deny Pawel Abbott from point-blank range in the early stages of the second half after Price had headed down Alex Marrow's cross.

Williams comfortably saved Dale Stephens' free-kick, but he was unable to prevent Batth firmly heading in Prutton's corner after 64 minutes for his first professional goal.

The impressive Williams denied Abbott twice in quick succession, and Price's deflected effort bounced off the crossbar for Oldham as Colchester held on for a crucial three points.

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