PAUL Scholes labelled Oldham’s second-half display ‘inexplicable’ and their worst since he took charge as they subsided to a draw at Cambridge.

The Latics looked set for a first away win in five attempts when Harrison Dunk turned into his own net early on, but they let it slip as the U's levelled just after the break to earn a point.

A draw means Scholes’ side remain 13th in the table and seven points off the play-offs having drawn three of their last five games.

“It wasn’t great, the second half especially,” said the Boundary Park chief.

“I thought it was okay in the first half, we controlled possession without really looking that threatening, had a couple of chances here and there but not much, and scored a lucky goal.

“In the second half we started really badly and didn’t really get any better.

“I can’t really explain that second-half performance. It was probably the worst half of football we’ve had since I’ve been here.

“We lost Jose to illness and that changed things a little bit because he’s a leader out there, he speaks to players and lets them know what’s expected of them. We missed that in the second half.

“But in the first half we played well and looked lively and played some good stuff at times, had a couple of chances and could have had a second goal, but didn’t quite manage that.

“In the second half we never looked like scoring, but they were difficult conditions to be fair.

“The players looked a little bit flat and a little tired in the second half, but we’ll see what happens on Tuesday.”

The Latics struggled in the second half, creating few chances while letting Cambridge control most of the play.

The U’s did have an early chance but Jabo Ibehre could not keep his left-footed shot down and fired over the bar.

Oldham’s opener came in the 12th minute when Dunk misread Gevaro Nepomuceno’s floated corner.

He headed the ball down into the ground and it bounced up into the top right corner.

The visitors continued to dictate the game with Oladapo Afolayan impressing on his first start for the club, his quick feet taking him past Dunk into the box, but his low cross was cleared for a corner.

The scores were almost level just before the break when Reggie Lambe received the ball inside the Latics area and hit a hard shot towards goal, but Peter Clarke slid in to block the winger's effort.

Latics goalkeeper Daniel Iverson had a busy afternoon, and impressed throughout, coming out several times to claim the ball in difficult, windy conditions.

Despite having little to deal with in the way of shots the Latics keeper was quick to get down and hold Lambe’s shot from distance.

The Oldham defence was caught out in the first minute of the second half as Jabo Ibehre moved towards Dimitar Mitov’s long goal kick.

The ball bounced through for Brown who took it in his stride and drove towards goal before slipping the ball to the left of Iverson and into the net.

Despite starting the half slowly, Scholes’ side started to find a way back into the game.

Nepomuceno’s corner bounced through the box towards Afolayan who volleyed wide of the left post from 14 yards out.

The momentum was lost as the Latics started to be pressured by Cambridge for whom Hayden Coulsen caused most problems after coming on, firstly forcing Clarke to clear a shot and then making an impressive run into the Oldham area before having his shot easily saved by Iverson.

Cambridge (4-2-3-1): Mitov; Halliday, Taylor, Taft, Dunk; Amoo (Coulson 62), Deegan; Maris, Lambe, Brown (Hepburn-Murphy 74); Ibehre 6.

Unused subs: Forde, Carroll, Darling, Lewis, Jones.

Oldham (4-1-4-1): Iversen 7; Hamer 6, Edmundson 5, Clarke 6, Baxter 7 (Missilou 52 4); Hunt 6; Dearnley 5 (Branger 66 3), Lang 6, Maouche 5, Nepomuceno 6; Afolayan 8 (O’Grady 75 2).

Unused subs: De La Paz, Taylor, Iacovitti, Sylla.

Referee: Kevin Johnson.

Attendance: 4,758.