FOR a while, the travelling City support were in mischievous and playful mood.

“City of culture, you’ll never sing that” boomed out from the 459 loyalists behind the goal to much amusement from the rest of the ground.

You’ve got to cling to anything worth bragging about when you’re stuck in the wrong half of this God forsaken division.

So, when Colchester’s home choir struck up that familiar chorus questioning the quality of living in Bradford, there was immediate defiance from the away end.

Trips to this soulless stadium have rarely been fun for anyone associated with claret and amber.

The only recent City victory came with nobody there to see it as Kian Scales netted a maiden goal behind closed doors three years ago.

Otherwise, you have to go back to 2014 when Kyle Bennett was one of the scorers in a midweek win.

Since then, the memories have been less savoury … horror shows from Brad Jones and Oscar Threlkeld and that stoppage-time kick in the guts last season.

A point, on the face of it, represents marginal improvement.

If only that felt like the case.

Contrary to what the supporters were singing about, there was little cultured about a slog between two teams who have currently forgotten how to win.

Of course, City continue to make promising progress in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy and that’s not to underplay a fine result against Derby in the week.

A run in the least fancied of all competitions remains a nice distraction – and becomes more interesting now we’re down to the last eight.

But this is where it really matters for a club now entrenched in a fifth consecutive season stuck in the fourth tier.

On this evidence, another year of facing the same old teams at the same old venues is already beckoning.

The gap to the top seven has widened to seven points now and City have played two more games than MK Dons, who currently occupy the final play-off place.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alex Gilliead was back in the middle as City stuck with 3-4-3Alex Gilliead was back in the middle as City stuck with 3-4-3 (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Throwing away points like they did in north Essex highlights why they remain in the bottom half looking up.

City did more than enough to have claimed a first win since pre-Christmas at Doncaster.

They controlled a stodgy game on a stodgy pitch for long enough to have put the result well out of reach in Danny Cowley’s debut in the home dug-out.

But once more, Graham Alexander was left cursing a failure to create proper scoring chances and to make them count.

A shot tally of 22 demonstrated how much of the contest was spent in the home half; the fact only three of those were on target ramming home the point about the lack of quality of service into the box and composure when they got there.

The honorable exception, as with most weeks, was Andy Cook who got back on the scoresheet for the first time since Doncaster with a classic example of the poacher’s art.

Knocked to the floor by Zach Mitchell as they fought for Ash Taylor’s high ball, Cook had the presence of mind to clamber straight back up while Bobby Pointon was keeping the rebound alive and fire off a rapid right-foot shot in off the far post.

Cook’s 13th goal of the campaign should have been the base for a comfortable road success; Colchester had not laid a glove on the visitors by that point.

But City once more failed to turn territorial promise into any end product, leaving themselves exposed to have their pocket picked as it had been by Crewe and Crawley in the previous games.

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Alexander had shuffled the pack, rewarding those who had put in such a powerful shift at Pride Park, but the outcome was the same.

The City chief had made just three changes from Derby; the obvious return of Cook and Brad Halliday and Sam Walker’s debut in goal.

Walker, received well at the club where he had made over 200 appearances, did not have a lot to do. His handling was solid, he kicked a good distance and generally looked the part.

Proof of how quickly football moves on came with the swift adaptation of the Harry Lewis song to greet Walker before kick-off.

With Bobby Pointon and Harry Chapman utilised either side of Cook, Alexander stuck with the 3-4-3 formation as Alex Gilliead reverted to his regular central midfield role in place of Kevin McDonald.

The game took a long while to get into its stride, hence the “sing off” between the two sets of supporters to keep themselves amused.

But City asserted a grip on matters as the first half wore on and got the goal 10 minutes before the break.

Colchester had been careless in possession and timid going forward. They looked every bit a team hovering above the relegation zone with only one win in 10.

“Ready for battle” read the banner being waved from the noisiest home section. But it had been a muted effort on and off the pitch.

The Bantams were in the comfort zone but will have anticipated a home reaction once the Cowleys got into them.

Still, Chapman had a glorious chance to double the lead soon after the break. How City would soon rue such opportunities.

Cowley later waxed lyrical about the manner of Colchester’s equaliser but there was plenty wrong with it through City eyes.

Chapman failed to close down Tom Dallison as the defender looked to play a long pass down the left flank.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ash Taylor wins a header from Colchester scorer Tom HoppeAsh Taylor wins a header from Colchester scorer Tom Hoppe (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Then Taylor was slow to react to Tom Hopper’s dart in behind him. The well-taken finish from a tight angle passed under Walker’s left leg and the keeper may feel he should have done better.

Chapman and Pointon had both faded and Alexander went to Vadaine Oliver and Clarke Oduor to lift things going forward again.

But neither were able to make an impression and City’s only attacking hope was of the scrambled variety with a melee from a half-cleared corner.

Instead, it was Colchester with the bit between their teeth.

Confidence restored since the equaliser, they chased a second and Walker was forced to save from John Akinde and Arthur Read before the whistle brought an end to another unsatisfactory slog in this distant corner of the League Two world.