Cambridge United 0-0 Bradford City: Spoils shared as Bantams contain Mullin
Source: Jacques Feeney, Getty Images

Bradford City travelled to Cambridgeshire with the ambitions of derailing a Cambridge United side who currently lead the way at the head of the Sky Bet League Two table.

The Bantams had had a hectic January transfer window, with six new additions available to Mark Trueman ahead of their first clash of 2021, including striker Danny Rowe who was a formidable foe.

Meanwhile, the U's sat top of the league and boasted the division's top scorer in the form of Paul Mullin, who has so far scored an impressive 18 goals. 

Mark Bonner had lost the services of defender Harry Darling days before, as the youth graduate had been poached by MK Dons

  • Team news

Cambridge United 

Mitov; Knoyle, Cundy, Taylor, Dunk, Hannant, Digby, May, Hoolahan, Mullin, Ironside

Bradford City

Hornby; Cousin-Dawson, P O'Connor, A O'Connor, Wood, Sutton, Watt, Evans, Cooke, Clarke, Rowe

  • Story of the match

​​​​​​​The Bantams looked to find an early lead, as the tough conditions of the pitch came in play and Levi Sutton's long-range strike was stopped by Dimitar Mitov.

New signing Rowe stung the gloves of Mitov next, as he found a yard of space from the edge of the box and forced a parry from the Bulgarian in goal.

Approaching the half an hour mark and former Norwich City starlet Wes Hoolahan stepped up for a free-kick in a teasing position, but Sam Hornby gratefully watched it sail clear of the bar.

Cambridge found their stride, as Kyle Knoyle delivered a low cross into the league's top scorer Mullin, but the 26-year old fired narrowly wide.

Mullin was still in search of his 19th of the season, as he pounced on Hoolahan's pass but was thwarted from an awkward angle by Hornby.

Hornby once again proved crucial in not breaking the deadlock, as an intelligent through ball from Hoolahan allowed Mullin to break through on goal, but his low attempt was warded by the City shot-stopper.

Heading into the second half, and Rowe gave the Bradford fans a tease of what he's about. The 29-year old spun his man and rocketed a shot towards goal from 25 yards out, but Callum Burton, who had replaced Mitov early in the second half, turned it around the post.

The new signing took aim once again, as his desirable free-kick was powered towards goal but swerved right of the target.

Bradford came within inches of taking the lead amidst confusion, as Gareth Evans was threaded through on goal and fired onto the post before it rolled against the opposite post and remained on the line. During the confusion, the players remained still, as they believed Evans was offside, before the Cambridge defenders came into realisation and fired clear.

  • Takeaways

A tight contest at the Abbey Stadium, this wasn't the type of 0-0 stalemate that was full of excitement. It was a match with two very strong goalkeepers who had outstanding performances, with both sides coming close to finding the breakthrough.

Mullin never really got firing, he had the chances as Hoolahan was the creative spark in the middle and consistently found Mullin with some intelligent through balls.

Hornby was excellent between the stick, and certainly, put his claim in to make that position his own with captain Richard O'Donnell suffering as a long-term absentee.

Bradford were fantastic and looked brilliant under Trueman. They were unlucky not to steal the three points, with Evans and Rowe testing Mitov and Burton, but also looking hungry constantly.

In the first half of the season, the Bantams lacked motivation, but Sutton and Elliot Watt in midfield were tireless and vigorous for the ball constantly.

  • Stand-out players

​​​​​​​Hoolahan was fantastic in midfield for the home side, acting as an inside forward and often finding space at the tip of the diamond. 

Hornby was dominant at the back for Bradford, but Finn Cousin-Dawson in right-back was also solid and looked comfortable on the ball despite being so young.