Harry Pritchard’s first half strike inflicts a disappointing afternoon in West Yorkshire for the U’s, as Bradford City prevail 1-0 at Valley Parade.
United made one change from the midweek win over Colchester United, with Harrison Dunk returning to the starting eleven and the left side of midfield.
Connor Wood had the first attempt of the game, but fired a shot from 25 yards well wide of Callum Burton’s goal. The Bantams did scramble a ball beyond the U’s keeper on 16 minutes, but the flag was promptly raised to chalk off Paudie O’Connor’s effort.
Paul Mullin had the U’s first attempt midway through the half, curling a 25 yard left footed shot tantalisingly close to Richard O’Donnell’s far top corner.
United were guilty of not looking after possession well enough for much of the first half, and despite the hosts registering very little in the way of danger the U’s were inviting pressure. And they were duly punished on 41 minutes, when Harry Pritchard was afforded the room and the time to pick out the bottom corner of Burton’s goal from the edge of the area.
Mark Bonner introduced a pair of changes with Hoolahan and May replacing Cundy and Iredale for the start of the second half, as the U’s looked to bounce back from a flat first 45 minutes.
Bradford fired two warning signs at united in the early stages of the second half. Striker Lee Novak missed a golden chance to double the host’s lead from a cross off the right, but his outstretched left foot could only direct wide of Burton’s target. The Bantams number nine was then denied by superb hard work from Harry Darling moments later, as the centre back recovered to make a key block after Novak had run in behind the U’s defence.
Callum Cooke went even closer for Bradford when his effort struck the foot of the post on 57 minutes, after a long ball forward caused confusion in United’s rear-guard.
The U’s saw the lionshare of possession for the remainder of the contest and their best chance to equalise came on 88 minutes, when Adam May delivered an exceptional cross from 40 yards into the path of second half sub Joe Ironside. The striker made clean contact on the volley but was denied by a stunning reaction save from Richard O’Donnell.
Bradford City: O’Donnell, P O’Connor, A O’Connor, Pritchard (Evans, 72 mins), Cooke, Novak (Guthrie, 85 mins), Clarke (Samuels, 77 mins), Watt, Sutton, Wood, Cousin-Dawson
Bookings: A O’Connor
Cambridge United: Burton, Knoyle, Cundy (May, 45 mins), Darling, Iredale (Hoolahan, 45 mins), Hannant (Davies, 80 mins), Digby, Taylor, Dunk, Mullin, Knibbs (Ironside, 71 mins)