COLCHESTER United began the new League Two season with a hard-earned point at Bradford City this afternoon.

The U’s battled hard in the 0-0 draw at Valley Parade and more than deserved their point, following a keenly-contested affair on the opening day.

Kwame Poku came the closest to scoring for Colchester late in the first half when his shot was saved while at the other end, U’s keeper Dean Gerken made several good saves to preserve his side’s clean sheet.

Colchester head coach Steve Ball, who took charge of the U’s in the league for the first time since his appointment in the summer, made two changes to his side for their opener at Bradford.

Luke Gambin and Miles Welch-Hayes were both named in the starting line-up, with Callum Harriott, who missed out with a hamstring injury and Miquel Scarlett dropping out.

Sixteen-year-old attacker Samson Tovide, a first-year scholar, was on the bench.

Colchester almost fell behind in the eighth minute when goalkeeper Gerken did well to deny veteran striker Lee Novak, who then saw his goalbound effort cleared away by Tom Eastman from near his own goal-line after good play by Dylan Mottley-Henry in the area.

But that proved the closest Bradford came to scoring in the first half, as Colchester generally contained the hosts well.

Former U’s striker Kurtis Guthrie tried his luck with a wayward shot from nearly 30 yards that flew well wide for the hosts, while just after the half hour mark, Anthony O’Connor’s header from Billy Clarke’s corner flew wide from close range.

But Colchester finished the first half strongly and Poku's shot was well saved by Bradford keeper Richard O'Donnell from close range, after a superb piece of skill by Jevani Brown in the area had created the opportunity.

Guthrie’s tame header flew straight at Gerken just before the break but the teams went in goal-less at half-time.

Gerken was out quickly to punch the ball away from under Novak's nose in the area early in the second half before just before the hour mark, the U’s keeper made a good stop at his near post to deny Guthrie, who had carved out the opportunity for himself in the area.

Colchester came close to scoring in the 63rd minute when Gambin’s fierce shot saved well by goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell, after Brown had set him up on the halfway line.

But Bradford also looked dangerous, with Callum Cooke’s first-time effort dropping just wide of the post from the edge of the area.

Colchester sent on Courtney Senior for Gambin midway through the second half but the U’s had a scare with 15 minutes remaining when Novak had the ball in their net, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

Gerken made a good diving save to push away substitute Harry Pritchard’s effort with nine minutes to go but it finished all square.