BRADFORD City’s slump in form continued as they were held to a goalless draw at Colchester.
Gary Bowyer’s Bantams have gone four league games without a win to slide two points behind the automatic promotion spots.
Bowyer made five changes to the side which squandered a two-goal lead to draw on Saturday – with striker Shay McCartan returning to the starting line-up.
The U’s started brightly with Callum Harriott missing the target from a swift free-kick.
Striker Eoin Doyle, who is still searching for his first Bradford goal since returning from a fruitful loan spell at Swindon, was kept out by Dean Gerken.
And moments later Doyle, who bagged an impressive 23 goals in 24 league appearances for the Robins, nodded McCartan’s cross over the bar. Kwame Poku came close to putting the hosts ahead before the break.
The game opened up in the second half as both sides searched for a spark. City’s stand-in stopper Luke McGee, deputising for the injured Richard O’Donnell, produced a good save to deny Harry Pell’s close-range effort.
Poku fired wide for the hosts before Doyle could only tamely strike straight at Gerken down the other end.
McGee also had to have his wits about him to deny substitute Courtney Senior. The Bantams’ best chance came when Chris Taylor rattled the bar after Irish striker Doyle chested Connor Wood’s ball into his path.
Colchester almost nicked the points as the clock wound down with Pell hitting the bar.
Colchester: Gerken, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Clampin, Pell, Comley, Harriott (Gambin, 84), Poku, Nouble (Senior, 48), Robinson (Norris, 84). Unused substitutes: Ross, Stevenson, Lapslie, Sowunmi.
Bradford: McGee, Mellor, A.O’Connor, richards-Everton, Henley, Reeves, Taylor, Wood, Connolly, Doyle, McCartan (Pritchard, 74). Unused substitutes: Sykes-Kenworthy, P.O’Connor, Cooke, Devitt, Oteh, Akpan.
Referee: T Kettle (Rutland)