Mark Hughes’ Bantams returned to winning ways at a packed University of Bradford Stadium, as late goals from Andy Cook and Scott Banks secured a dramatic 2-0 victory over Colchester United.
City dominated the closing stages, and were rewarded for their efforts as Cook rose highest from a Harry Chapman corner to net his 19th goal in Sky Bet League Two this season.
City’s No.9 then combined with second-half substitute Scott Banks who netted his first since returning from injury, as the record-breaking 20,000+ Bantams secured a third-successive victory and clean sheet.
The game began fairly evenly with both sides proving a threat in offensive areas, as Tom Hopper watched his headed effort put behind for a corner by Harry Lewis.
The Bantams dealt with the resulting set-piece, and countered effectively, as Jamie Walker’s looped cross for Dara Costelloe was met with - but his effort was nodded wide.
Just after the half-hour mark, U’s winger Matt Jay curled a right-footed effort goalwards, but it was dealt with comfortably by City’s No.1, moments before Hopper, after manoeuvring through the Bantams’ backline, watched his drilled strike well stopped by the legs of Lewis.
The visitors ended the half the brighter, as former Bantam Connor Wood looked to catch out the defence with an early free-kick, but it whistled wide.
Ross Embleton’s side started the second half similar to how they ended the first, as Arthur Read looked to nestle a shot into the bottom-right corner, but it was intercepted by Matty Platt.
Just before the hour mark, the hosts' tenacity increased as Brad Halliday took advantage of the space inside the U’s penalty area, but saw his left-footed strike well saved by Kieran O’Hara.
As over 20,000 City supporters welcomed Emmanuel Osadebe back to Valley Parade for the first time since the opening day, the No.8 almost delivered the opener.
His whipped cross was met by Jamie Walker in the air, but a speculative, acrobatic effort sailed wide.
City's presence in the game strengthened and they came even closer to breaking the deadlock, as Matty Platt leapt to meet an Adam Clayton cross, but saw his header clip the post.
With the game heading into injury time - just like in the reverse fixture at the JobServe Community Stadium - City dramatically edged in front.
Chapman, who came on for Clayton just after 80 minutes, combined with top goalscorer Cook who vitally headed a corner past O'Hara and send the packed University of Bradford Stadium into raptures.
The centre-forward rose highest to net his 22nd of the season in his 100th appearance for the Bantams - but he did not stop there.
With the U’s hunting for a last-gasp equaliser, Cook latched onto a through ball from Liam Ridehalgh and found Banks in space, who calmly tucked a side-footed effort under the U's 'keeper to secure a crucial three points for the Bantams.
City’s late rally condemned Colchester to a first defeat at Valley Parade in 42 years, and saw the Bantams move to within three points of the automatic-promotion places in Sky Bet League Two, in front of a fourth-tier University of Bradford Stadium record attendance of 20,383 - the third time Mark Hughes' men have beaten their record in less than 12 months.
CITY: Harry Lewis, Brad Halliday (booked 71’), Liam Ridehalgh, Matty Platt, Richie Smallwood (c, Emmanuel Osadebe 62’), Andy Cook, Jamie Walker, Alex Gilliead (Ryan East 62’), Dara Costelloe (Scott Banks 68’), Sam Stubbs, Adam Clayton (Harry Chapman 85’). Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Romoney Crichlow, Ciarán Kelly.
GOALS: Andy Cook (90+3’), Scott Banks (90+6’).
COLCHESTER: Kieran O’Hara, Will Greenidge, Noah Chilvers (Jayden Fevrier 90+4'), Fiacre Kelleher, Arthur Read (Alex Newby 90+4'), Ossama Ashley, Matt Jay (John Akinde 89’), Junior Tchamadaeu, Connor Wood, Tom Hopper (Samson Tovide 83’), Connor Hall (c). Subs not used: Tom Smith, Marley Marshall-Miranda, Frankie Terry.
ATTENDANCE: 20,383 (345 Colchester fans).