Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Birmingham City

  • August 29, 2010 | By Chris Mann
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Jussi Jaaskelainen was sent off as Bolton came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Birmingham City at the Reebok Stadium.

Roger Johnson had given Blues the lead inside four minutes, before Jaaskelainen was shown his marching orders on 37 for a petulant slap on the Birmingham goalscorer.

Adam Bogdan was brought on in place of the sacrificed Martin Petrov and he was picking the ball out of his net five minutes into the second half when Cameron Jerome's head back across goal was converted by Craig Gardner.

Kevin Davies pulled one back from the penalty spot on 71 minutes after being shoved over inside the area and Robbie Blake equalised nine minutes from time with a superb free-kick into Ben Foster's top corner.

Both sides had chances to win it late on but neither could find the breakthrough as the game ended all square.

With Bolton and Birmingham both going into the game unbeaten so far this season, it was tough to predict a likely winner, but that changed with just four minutes on the clock.

After being played through by James McFadden, Lee Bowyer managed to pull Gretar Steinsson out of position before crossing low for Johnson to slide the ball home from just six yards.

Wanderers should have been level almost immediately when Davies found Johan Elmander, but the Sweden international couldn't find the target, before Martin Petrov saw a goalbound shot blocked by Steven Carr.

Petrov tried his luck again a few minutes later, only to find Foster flying across his goal to prevent the deflected effort from bringing the scores level.

Moments later, Gardner had the ball in the net for the visitors, but referee Kevin Friend had already blown his whistle for a foul on Zat Knight.

Stuart Holden saw a free-kick tipped over the crossbar by Foster midway through the half as Bolton pressed for the equaliser, before McFadden volleyed straight at Jaaskelainen at the other end after a break from the resulting corner.

The game was to take a sour turn on 37 minutes though as Jaaskelainen was shown his marching orders.

After being knocked over during an aerial challenge with Johnson, the Wanderers goalkeeper appeared to slap the Birmingham defender, leaving the referee with no option but to send off Jaaskelainen.

Johnson was booked for his part in a scuffle with Petrov, with the Bolton midfielder sacrificed just moments later in order to give substitute goalkeeper Bogdan his Premier League debut.

After calming themselves down after that incident, both sets of players saw out the remaining five minutes of the half without any incident to report.

Bolton were left facing an uphill challenge just five minutes after the restart as the visitors doubled their lead infront of their travelling supporters.

McFadden's cross found Jerome, who appeared to be standing in an offside position, and he headed back across goal for Gardner to tap past Bogdan at the second attempt, with the static Wanderers defence left questionning the officials.

It was do or die for Bolton from this stage forward and they made their intentions clear when Elmander picked up on a Lee Chung-Yong cross and brought a fine save out of Foster.

Elmander was soon replaced after picking up what appeared to be a hamstring injury, with Blake coming on in his place.

That change looked to give Owen Coyle's side that extra bit of urgency going forward and they were awarded a penalty on 71 minutes when Davies was shoved to the floor by Johnson inside the area.

Foster saved a penalty in Birmingham's success over Blackburn Rovers last weekend but he was beaten this time round as the Wanderers skipper stepped up to send him the wrong way and put the ball in the top corner.

Buoyed by that goal, Bolton pressed forward and were given their just rewards ten minutes later when they got the equalising goal.

After Gary Cahill was brought down by Barry Ferguson on the edge of the area, Blake stepped up to curl a superb free-kick into Foster's top corner and send the Reebok Stadium crowd into frenzy. His first goal for the club, against his former employers.

Davies could have then given Bolton an unlikely lead after capitalising on a mistake in the Birmingham backline, but he shot wide, before Jerome should have won it for the visitors in stoppage time, only to see Bogdan save with his legs as both sides had to settle for a point.

The result means Bolton temporarily hold fourth place in the Premier League, ahead of Birmingham on goal difference. Wanderers return to action on Saturday week when they face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Chung-Yong, Holden (M Davies 78), Muamba, Petrov (Bogdan 39), Elmander (Blake 67), K Davies
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Ricketts, Alonso, A O'Brien
Booked: K Davies, Muamba
Sent Off: Jaaskelainen
Goals: K Davies 71(pen), Blake 81

Birmingham City: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson (Fahey 76), Gardner, Ferguson, McFadden (Derbyshire 67), Bowyer, Jerome
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Murphy, O'Connor, Zigic, Valles
Booked: Bowyer, Johnson, Larsson
Goals: Johnson 4, Gardner 50

Attendance: 18,139
Referee: Kevin Friend

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
View Full Standings >>


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