Chris Porter strikes as Colchester United earn deserved point at Bradford

Bradford City 1 Colchester United 1

Chris Porter struck with his first goal for Colchester United, but it was not enough to secure victory at play-off chasing Bradford City this afternoon, on a pudding of a pitch.

Porter’s fifth minute opener was cancelled out by an equaliser from Filipe Morais, with 12 minutes remaining.

It was a stunning goal by Porter. The ex-Sheffield United striker latched onto a fine pass by Tom Lapslie, before cutting in from the left and sending a glorious 20-yarder soaring into the top corner of the net.

The U’s had chances to increase their lead, but they failed to take them, and Morais made them pay with an equaliser in the 78th minute.

Winger Morais crashed home Jon Stead’s cross, his instinctive volley giving Sam Walker no chance.

But this was still an important point for the U’s, against former boss Phil Parkinson’s high-flying Bantams team, in the context of their struggle to avoid relegation.

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Us boss Tony Humes was forced into two changes from the side that beat Leyton Orient 2-0 at home the previous weekend.

Centre-half Kaspars Gorkss left the club on Thursday, to signed an 18-month contract with Greek side Ergotelis, while Elliott Hewitt was serving the first of a three-man suspension.

Alex Wynter came in for Gorkss, in the heart of defence, while Ben Gordon replaced Hewitt in the starting line-up. George Moncur was due for a recall, but was sidelined through illness.

Bradford threatened inside the first two minutes. Stead got the better of Matt Briggs, inside the penalty area, and the ex-Ipswich Town striker’s low shot on the turn required a fine save from Sam Walker.

But it was the U’s who were soon on the attack. Gavin Massey was on the point of shooting, from Sammie Szmodics’ lay-off, when he was block-tackled by Rory McArdle.

Seconds later, though, and the U’s did take the lead, thanks to Porter’s exquisite finish from outside the box.

And the visitors could, and should, have been two or three goals ahead before the quarter-hour mark.

Massey burst clear, into the penalty area, with just keeper Pickford to beat on 11 minutes, only to screw his shot wide of the far post.

A minute later and Szmodics was likewise running into the box, with Bantams defenders trailing in his wake. This time Pickford pulled off a good block, with McArdle making sure that the loose ball did not spin into an unguarded net.

The chances continued to flow aplenty, at both ends, and Banteams centre-half Andrew Davies headed over the bar from Morais’ 23rd minute corner.

On the half-hour mark, David Fox conceded a free-kick just outside the box, for a foul on James Hanson. But the sting was taken out of Morais’ ensuing free-kick, by the defensive wall, and Walker easily caught the deflected effort.

Bradford were beginning to get on top, and they almost equalised in the 40th minute. Billy Knott had a sight of goal, from just eight yards out, but Sean Clohessy saved the day with a marvellous last ditch block.

Bradford stepped up a gear after the break. Alex Wynter did well to block Stead’s goal-bound shot, while right-back Stephen Darby blazed over from a good position in the 53rd minute.

At the other end, Ben Gordon forced a good save out of Pickford, his fiercely struck first-time shot beaten away by the home keeper on 63 minutes.

A mis-placed pass by Clohessy, on the edge of his own box, put his team under pressure, but Morais dragged his shot wide of target.

However, just a minute later and Morais made no mistake when volleying home the equaliser from Stead’s cross, to rescue a point for the Yorkshire hosts .

Squads

BRADFORD: Pickford, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Meredith, Halliday (sub Yeates, 63), Liddle, Knott, Morais, Hanson, Stead. Unused subs: Williams, Sheehan, Clarke, Zoko, Kennedy, Routis.

COLCHESTER: Walker, Clohessy, Wynter, Eastman, Briggs, Fox, Lapslie, Massey, Szmodics (sub Marriott, 85), Gordon, Porter. Unused subs: Lewington, Watt, Vincent-Young, Bonne, Sembie-Ferris, Harney.

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Cheshire)

Attendance: 13,197 (180 away fans)

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