COLCHESTER United had to settle for a fifth draw in six matches tonight after sharing the spoils with fellow promotion hopefuls Bradford City.

The U's were the better side on the night and Bantams shot-stopper Luke McGee was the busier of the two goalkeepers.

But the home side were held at bay, extending their unbeaten run to 14 league matches and the point took them back into League Two's play-off places.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made two changes to his starting line-up for their game against Bradford.

Ryan Jackson returned at right-back, while Brandon Comley replaced Ben Stevenson in central midfield.

Tafari Moore dropped out of the starting line-up to make way for Jackson at right-back, while Stevenson was on the bench after suffering a hip injury against Macclesfield Town, last weekend.

Courtney Senior was also among the substitutes after returning from injury.

Colchester were eighth heading into the game, a point below their visitors who started the night in fifth spot.

The U’s had the better of the exchanges in a tight first half, where chances were few and far between.

Colchester almost broke the deadlock in the sixth minute when Harry Pell’s brilliant cross-field pass sent Callum Harriott away down the left.

The U’s winger brought it down beautifully before driving in a low cross that just eluded Theo Robinson in the area.

Bradford presented a threat on the counter and went close in the 16th minute when Eoin Doyle’s strike deflected off Tom Eastman and sailed off for a corner, after Dylan Connolly had pounced on Ryan Clampin’s mistake and picked him out.

Pell was somewhat fortunate to escape at least a booking just after the midway point in the first half when his heavy challenge on Conor Wood went unpunished by referee Trevor Kettle, who allowed play to continue.

But in a scrappy end to the first half, Colchester almost took a lead in at the break.

Frank Nouble’s first-time side-footed effort sailed wide of the far post, after Jackson had picked him out in the area as the sides went in goal-less at the interval.

Colchester were forced into a change early in the second half, with the injured Nouble replaced by Senior.

But the U’s started well after the break and almost took the lead soon after when Bantams keeper Luke McGee made a fine save to push away Pell's fierce effort from the edge of the area.

Eastman’s far-post header from Kwame Poku’s curled deep cross flashed just wide of the post a few minutes later but Bradford were very much still in the game, with Eoin Doyle’s rather hopeful effort from the edge of the area nestling into the arms of keeper Dean Gerken, just after the hour mark.

Colchester skipper Luke Prosser blazed a good chance over from close range after Harriott’s corner had picked him out in the area while Senior ran at the Bradford defence before sending in a shot that McGee saved, as the U’s pressed.

But the Bantams almost broke the deadlock with 14 minutes remaining when Chris Taylor’s fantastic strike rattled the bar, with Gerken beaten.

Pell went close with a first-time effort from Clampin's cross as the clock ticked down but honours finished even.


Colchester United goals: None.

Bradford City goals: None.

Colchester United bookings: Harriott (unsporting behaviour, 36), Pell (foul, 77), Clampin (unsporting behaviour, 87), Comley (foul, 90).

Bradford City bookings: McCartan (foul, 45), Mellor (unsporting behaviour, 88).

Colchester United sending off: None.

Bradford City sending off: None.

Colchester United: Gerken, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Clampin, Pell, Comley, Harriott (sub Gambin, 84), Poku, Nouble (sub Senior, 48), Robinson (sub Norris, 84).

Substitutes (not used): Sowunmi, Lapslie, Stevenson, Ross.

U’s man of the match: Harry Pell.

Bradford City: McGee, Mellor, Richards-Everton, O’Connor, Reeves, McCartan (sub Pritchard, 78), Connolly, Henley, Wood, Taylor, Doyle.

Subs (not used): Sykes-Kenworthy, O’Connor, Akpan, Oteh, Devitt, Cooke.

Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).

Attendance: 3,022 (266 Bradford fans).