MORAIS BRINGS BACK THE SMILES
IT WAS only natural that Bradford City might feel a slight sense of anticlimax after humbling Premier League leaders Chelsea in their own manor.
But, following their FA Cup heroics last week, the Bantams’ feeling of disappointment at failing to beat struggling Colchester was paramount.
For a while, it looked as though Phil Parkinson might even end up empty-handed against his former club, who had led for the majority of the contest thanks to Chris Porter’s excellent fifthminute strike.
In the end, a well-taken strike by Filipe Morais, with 13 minutes remaining, rescued a point for Bradford, but Parkinson was less than impressed with the awful state of the Valley Parade pitch.
Parkinson said: “I have to defend the groundsman Mick Doyle because he’s working so hard.
“But he hasn’t got the help needed from upstairs to make the pitch better.
“The referee was going to call the game off at 12.30, but I convinced him it had been worse in previous games and that we should play it.
“It’s not an excuse because we’ve adapted really well to games here, but the state of that pitch was unfair.
“Colchester started well and we were poor. I thought our two centre-backs gave Chris Porter too much space.
“They had some good chances, but in the second half, we were loads better and played with more energy all over the pitch.
“We deservedly got the equaliser and probably should have gone on and won it, but we’ll take the point.”
Colchester boss Tony Humes was delighted with his side’s display, which left them a point off safety in League One.
Humes said: “I thought we were superb and it was a real team display.
“Everyone played their part from start to finish and I was delighted, especially when you come to a place like this when they’re on a high.
“It was an awful pitch, but I think we would have settled for a point before the game.
“I’m delighted for Chris Porter because he’s settled in very quickly and it was a great goal – he led the line very well for us. It was probably the hardest chance of the few we had in the first 15 minutes.
“I’m pleased for him that he got off the mark for us early.”
Colchester took a fifth-minute lead through Porter, who curled a magnificent 20-yard shot into the top corner as the game started in some style.
Gavin Massey and Sammie Szmodics wasted gilt-edged opportunities for the U’s in the minutes that followed.
Bradford went in at half-time trailing but improved in the second half.
They scored their deserved equaliser through Morais, who thumped home superbly at the far post from Jon Stead’s inviting cross. Despite their late pressure Bradford could not force a winner and Colchester held on for a valuable point.
STAR MAN FILIPE MORAI
rd DANGER MAN: Filipe Morais scores for Bradford. Inset: Chris Porter scores the opener