Cambridge United served up another dramatic fightback at the Abbey, as they came from behind against Bradford City to win 2-1 and extend their victorious run to four in Sky Bet League Two.
The U’s were the better side for much of the game, but left it late again to cancel out Jake Reeves first half goal when Harry Darling equalised with five minutes to play. That set the platform for Harvey Knibbs to grab another last gasp winner and send the Amber Army home bouncing.
United lined up with a pair of changes as Harry Darling returned to centre back alongside captain Greg Taylor, and Mark Bonner opted for the physical presence of Victor Adeboyejo up front.
Playing against a hefty wind in the first half, United had to soak up early pressure from the Bantams with Shay McCarten testing Callum Burton on ten minutes, and the U’s keeper doing excellently to keep hold of the 20 yard effort that had hopped off the turf.
Adeboyejo had a sighter when slipped down the left channel by Paul Mullin, but the striker couldn’t get a shot away with the visitor’s defence closing down his options promptly.
The deadlock was broken on 17 minutes when a half clearance by Harrison Dunk fell to Jake Reeves and the Bradford skipper’s shot from 25 yards rather fortuitously took a big deflection on its way past Burton.
The U’s continued to be put to the test as the half progressed not only against their opponents from West Yorkshire, but the conditions as well which were heavily against them as they battled into a strong breeze.
Bonner’s boys rallied well however and finished the half the stronger of the two sides. Paul Mullin didn’t hesitate in letting fly from an angle which Richard O’Donnell palmed high into the air on 39 minutes. And moments before the break Paul Lewis glanced a header off target from six yards, when the midfielder stretched out to make contact on an out-swinging corner by Leon Davies.
Mullin harried the Bradford back four well in the early stages of the second half, laying off a pass to Leon Davies who added a touch too much power on a shot in the 52nd minute which was just over O’Donnell’s cross bar.
Harry Darling got his timing slightly wrong for a header on the end of a long Harrison Dunk set piece, with the defender directing the ball off target from a promising position eight yards out.
Leon Davies saw a ball agonisingly taken off his head at the last moment with the youngster looking certain to pile in an equaliser from another Dunk cross on the hour. He then played a key role as United barraged Bradford with deliveries into the area, but the ball just would not sit for the U’s.
Samir Carruthers, Harvey Knibbs and Idris El-Mizouni were added to United’s attack for the final 20 minutes by Mark Bonner.
Callum Burton was largely a spectator for the second half, but showed great alertness to deny Lee Novak a second goal for the visitors ten minutes from time, which proved pivotal.
El-Mizouni caused the Bantams all sorts of problems during his stint on the field and a chance delivery into the area five minutes from time, finally fell sweetly enough for Harry Darling to rifle home an equaliser and score his second goal of the season.
From there the U’s downright refused to settle for a point, and got their rewards during five minutes of stoppage time. The three subs combined, with El-Mizouni and Carruthers linking in the build up and the latter firing a cross into Knibbs who brushed home the winner in typical poacher’s style.
Cambridge United: Burton, Knoyle (El-Mizouni, 80 min), Darling, Taylor, Dunk, Davies, O’Neil (Carruthers, 71 mins), Lewis, Maris, Adeboyejo (Knibbs, 71 mins), Mullin
Bradford City: O’Donnell, Richards-Everton, O’Connor, Reeves, Novak, McCartan (O’Connor, 65 mins), Middleton (Connolly, 70 mins), Akpan (Pritchard, 79 min), Henley, Wood, Motley-Henry
Attendance: 4,541 (801)
Jackson Fire & Security Man of the Match: Leon Davies