Kick Off: 7.45pm
Colchester United 2 (Ambrose 23, 57)
Bradford City 1 (Thomas 17)
Sky Bet League 1
Tuesday 1 March 2016
Attendance: 16,786 (65 visitors)
An off-key City were left stunned by a resurgent Colchester United after an enterprising display from the strugglers handed them a shock victory at the Coral Windows Stadium.
Two goals from Colchester's former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace winger Darren Ambrose saw the visitors rip up the form book to hand a first defeat in five for Phil Parkinson's men.
Despite the eventual frustrating scoreline, things had actually started so positively for the Bantams.
Following a bright opening period which saw James Hanson and Wes Thomas go close, Thomas fired City into the lead with his first goal for the club after getting a faint touch on Josh Cullen's cross.
Contrary to what some within the ground may have expected though, the goal unfortunately didn't spark the start of an comfortable evening for Parkinson's side.
Ambrose had already gone close with a drive from outside the box before he quieten a shocked Coral Windows Stadium by firing home from inside the box just six minutes after Thomas' opener for City.
Perhaps stunned by the equaliser themselves, City struggled to get back into their stride for the rest of the half following Ambrose's intervention.
Colchester's previously fragile confidence visibly began to grow after the break, with the dangerous George Moncur hitting the post and then the bar within four minutes of each other at the start of the second period.
Following the corner directly after Moncur's effort against the bar, Colchester deservedly edged themselves in front for the first time on the night.
After City had tried to clear the initial corner delivery, Gavin Massey crossed back into the middle and Owen Garvan headed the ball down for Ambrose to crash home through the legs of Ben Williams.
Parkinson tried to engineer a response almost immediately, bringing on Billy Clarke and Mark Marshall for Cullen and Thomas, who was nursing a tight groin from the first period.
Clarke tried his luck with an aerobatic bicycle kick from inside the box shortly after coming on but it was Colchester who were still looking the more threatening, with Rory McArdle needed to make an important block from Moncur and Williams tipping a long range effort from Alex Gilbey around the post.
City thought they had a sniff at a leveller midway through the second half when Tony McMahon's free-kick from wide dropped invitingly in the box but Lee Evans and McArdle both saw efforts blocked from close range.
The Bantams had one last chance a minute from the end of normal time when Colchester 'keeper Elliot Parish punched unconvincingly from Kyel Reid's cross but Marshall could only slice his shot as the ball dropped to him inside the box.
FT: Bradford City 1 Colchester United 2
90min: There will be four minutes of time added on at the end of the match.
89min: SUB - Colchester bring on young defender Jamie Harney for Moncur.
89min: Reid's cross into the box is punched away unconvincingly by Parish but Marshall cannot take advantage completely as the ball drops down into his path inside the box, only slicing an effort as he swipes a shot in.
88min: YELLOW CARD - Despite letting play go, Mr Salisbury decides to book Garvan following the next break in play after the Colchester midfielder had try to take out Meredith with a late tackle as City broke forward.
86min: McMahon tries his luck from distance but Parish is able to watch the effort fly past his near post.
81min: SUB - Colchester bring on Macauley Bonne for Ambrose.
80min: SUB - The Bantams bring on Jamie Proctor for Nathan Clarke.
79min: Ambrose and Moncur lead a Colchester counter-attack, with the latter playing Porter into space inside the area. Porter goes to curl a strike goalwards but his effort loops up off Nathan Clarke and out for a corner.
71min: From the resulting McMahon free-kick into the box, Evans sees a shot blocked by Chambers as the ball drops to his feet. McArdle then has a go from slightly closer but his effort is blocked by a grounded Nicky Shorey.
71min: YELLOW CARD - Ambrose is booked for dragging back McMahon as he looked to run down City's right flank.
68min: Gilbey shoots through a crowd of players just outside the box and Williams has to dive across his goal to tip the low effort around his near post.
66min: From McMahon's corner delivery, Nathan Clarke heads the ball down into the mix but a back-tracking Evans can only fire straight at Parish.
63min: After receiving the ball in space just outside City's penalty area, Moncur drives dangerously into the area but his goal-bound strike is importantly blocked by McArdle.
62min: From Reid's cross, Billy Clarke goes for the aerobatic bicycle kick but the effort bounces wide of Parish's far post.
60min: SUB - Looking for a reaction, City bring on Billy Clarke and Mark Marshall for Cullen and Thomas respectively. Billy Clarke will partner Hanson in attack, with Marshall moving onto the right flank. Marshall's introduction also means McMahon will play in central midfield along side Evans.
57min: GOAL - Bradford City 1 Colchester United 2 - The vistors take the lead through as Ambrose nets his second of the game. As City try to clear their lines from the resulting corner, Massey crosses the ball back into the mix by Owen Garvan heads down for Ambrose to smash home through the legs of Williams.
57min: From a McMahon corner, Rory McArdle gets his head on the near post delivery but his effort glances across goal. As City try to keep the attack alive, Cullen is unfortunately rob of the ball, leading to a superb pass from Ambrose playing Moncur in space on a Colchester counter-attack. With only Stephen Darby denying him a clear run on goal, Moncur dances into the box before fizzing in a strike that rattles against Williams' bar before James Meredith heads behind for a corner.
53min: Moncur hits the post for Colchester! Picking the ball up in space just inside City's half, the Colchester attacker drives into space before curling in a strike from just outside the box that has the beating of Williams before crashing against his far post.
50min: Mr Salisbury plays an advantage as Porter is tripped a couple of yards outside the box but Moncur fires the ball comfortably wide with a low drive.
48min: Edwards' hanging cross into the box is headed down by Porter towards Moncur around the edge of the box but Cullen gets an important tackle in to prevent the Colchester attacker from getting a shot in.
47min: McMahon robs Gilbey of the ball a few yards outside Colchester's penalty area. The midfielder goes for goal but a recovering Gilbey gets tackle in to prevent McMahon from getting a clean shot in and the ball trickles comfortably into the grasp of Parish.
46min: Colchester restart the match.
HT: Bradford City 1 Colchester United 1
45+2min: YELLOW CARD - After losing the ball inside City's half, Thomas tries to win it back but only results in earning himself a caution following a late challenge on Massey.
45min: There will be three minutes of time added on at the end of the first period, mainly due to the break in play caused by Eastman's blow to the face early in the half.
43min: Thomas powers his way past Chambers before firing in a fierce drive from just outside the box that is held at the second attempt by Parish.
41min: Eastman stretches to keep Ambrose's flighted corner in play and the defender's header is held by Williams by his near post.
37min: Massey tries his luck from roughly 25 yards out and the low effort whistles not too far wide of Williams' far post.
33min: SUB - Colchester bring on Alex Gilbey for Vincent-Young after the right back had endured a difficult start to the game. Midfielder Joe Edwards will now play in the full back role for the visitors.
33min: City force two corners in succession. James Hanson and Nathan Clarke battle hard to keep the second one alive inside Colchester's penalty area before McMahon fires the loose ball over the bar with a curling drive.
31min: Tony McMahon's corner delivery into the mix drops loose inside the six yard box but Nicky Shorey does just enough to prevent Lee Evans from latching onto the ball and Colchester can clear.
28min: Reid's flighted ball into the box is headed down into the path of Thomas by Hanson. Thomas fires for goal but his effort is blocked by Eastman. The home fans behind the goal appear for handball but referee Graham Salisbury lets play continue.
23min: GOAL - Bradford City 1 Colchester United 1 - Against the run of play, Colchester equalise through Ambrose. As City fail to clear their lines just inside their penalty area, Chris Porter heads on towards Ambrose and the winger, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Monday, beats Williams with a downward half-volley into the corner.
22min: Reid's low cross into the box is cleared as far as the lurking Cullen just outside the box but the midfielder slashes an effort wide of goal.
21min: Breaking forward following a cleared City free-kick into their box, Colchester threaten through Darren Ambrose. The visiting winger drives to just outside the Bantams box before curling a low angled drive just wide of Williams' far post.
20min: YELLOW CARD - Gavin Massey is booked for catching Nathan Clarke late in the air as the pair make an aerial challenge for the ball.
17min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!! Bradford City 1 Colchester United 0 - Thomas puts City into the lead! Cullen muscles Vincent-Young off the ball before running into space down City's left wing. Cullen's low centre into the middle is inviting and Thomas gets a touch on the ball to divert it into the far bottom corner.
14min: After robbing Kane Vincent-Young of the ball, Kyel Reid bursts clear down City's left flank. Reid's cross into the middle is just behind Thomas before Hanson bundles the ball wide of Parish's near post.
13min: Cullen's through-ball finds Thomas in space but the striker's left-footed strike from inside the box is blocked by the leg of Elliot Parish. Hanson is first onto the loose ball but his header is straight at the Colchester shot-stopper.
11min: After good work from Wes Thomas to engineer a City attack, Josh Cullen's crunching tackle from just outside the box ensues the ball stays deep in Colchester territory. With the ball bouncing loose inside the penalty area, Thomas tries to bounce from close range but Parish bravely gets a hand on the ball to deny the striker. Even if Thomas had of netted, however, the goal wouldn't have stood as the striker is flagged for offside.
10min: Nathan Clarke's long ball forward goes over the head of Leo Chambers, giving James Hanson a free run down City's left flank. Hanson drives into the box but his cross is wayward as it flashes high across goal and out for a Colchester goal-kick.
7min: Complete with a change of shirt, Eastman is back on the pitch now to bring Colchester back up to their full compliment of players.
5min: Play now continues with Eastman temporarily off the pitch still receiving treatment.
4min: There's a break in play while Colchester United defender Tom Eastman receives some treatment for a knock to the face.
2min: Latching onto a loose ball inside City's half, George Moncur ambitiously volleys forwards from distance but his looping effort sails a good distance over Ben Williams' bar.
0min: The Bantams will kick off the match. Phil Parkinson's men will attack towards the Kop stand in the first half.
BRADFORD CITY LINE UP:
Williams, Darby, McArdle, N Clarke, Meredith, McMahon, Cullen, Evans, Reid, Thomas, Hanson
Subs: Cracknell, Marshall, B Clarke, Knott, Leigh, Routis, Proctor
Bradford City substitutions:
B Clarke for Cullen (60), Marshall for Thomas (60), Proctor for N Clarke (80)
Bradford City cautions:
COLCHESTER UNITED LINE UP:
Parish, Vincent-Young, Chambers, Eastman, Shorey, Edwards, Garvan, Massey, Moncur, Ambrose, Porter
Subs: Barnes, Gilbey, Lee, Akinwande, Bonne, Harney, Oduwa
Colchester United substitutions:
Gilbey for Vincent-Young (33), Bonne for Ambrose (81), Harney for Moncur (89)
Colchester United cautions:
Massey (20), Ambrose (71), Garvan (88)
Referee: G Salisbury
Assistant Referee: S Lucas
Assistant Referee: H Byrne
Fourth Official: M Denton
Assistant Referee: S Lucas
Assistant Referee: H Byrne
Fourth Official: M Denton