Birmingham City 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • October 05, 2013 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's long wait for a league win is over, as goals in each half from Jermaine Beckford and Neil Danns saw Wanderers beat Birmingham City 2-1 at St Andrew's.

Beckford opened the scoring with 12 minutes played as he capitalised on a mistake in the Blues defence, raced clean through on goal and slotted the ball beyond the onrushing Darren Randolph in goal.

Danns added a second on 64 minutes, with Wanderers once again making the most of a mistake. Liam Feeney's cross from the right flank caused havoc for the City goalkeeper, who fumbled the ball straight onto the head of Danns to turn home.

Nikola Zigic pulled one with little over 20 minutes to go, as his looping header from a free-kick found a way into Adam Bogdan's net, but the visitors held on to claim their first league win of the campaign - and first since a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough in April.

Bolton boss Dougie Freedman named the same side that drew 0-0 at Blackpool on Tuesday night, with the only change to the matchday 18 seeing Craig Davies take David Ngog's place on the bench.

Aside from an early free-kick from Medo Kamara, neither side created any goalscoring opportunities inside the opening 10 minutes. In fact, the first chance arrived at that time as Chris Burke saw a shot deflect wide of the Trotters goal with Bogdan untroubled.

David Murphy brought a smart stop out of Bogdan, as his inswinging free-kick needed the goalkeeper's attention just moments later, before Wanderers broke up the other end of the field. Dan Burn misjudged a clearance from Feeney, allowing Beckford the opportunity to run through unopposed on the Birmingham goal. The former Leicester City forward advanced to the edge of the box, before calmly slotting the ball low past Randolph to put the visitors in front.

With Bolton comfortable in their lead, they maintained possession and looked to hit Birmingham on the counter attack. Danns shot over the bar from distance at the midway stage of the half, before a cross-cum-shot from Burke at the other end flashed wide of the target.

There was controversy on the 25 minute mark, as former Wanderers defender Paul Robinson appeared to haul down Beckford just outside the penalty area. The Blues captain was the last defender and could arguably have been shown a red card, but referee David Coote ordered play to continue.

Birmingham's first serious chance came with five minuts of the half remaining, as Callum Reilly's curling shot from 25 yards brought a full-stretch stop out of Bogdan - who did well to parry the ball to safety - as Wanderers took their lead into the break.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second half, but the momentum appeared to be shifting in the early stages after the restart. Matt Mills received a yellow card for a late challenge on Jesse Lingard, but the Blues failed to make the most of their time on top.

Bolton came desperately close to doubling their advantage on 55 minutes, as a superb cross from Feeney was headed onto the crossbar by Beckford, as the visitors pushed forward in search of a decisive second.

Zigic came off the bench immediately after that and was at the centre of a goalmouth scramble shortly after his introduction, before Robinson volleyed off target against his former club.

Then, with the midway stage of the second period approaching, Bolton got the second goal that their overall play deserved. Feeney raced down the right-hand side, before putting a seemingly harmless ball into the box. What should have been an easy claim for Randolph turned into a nightmare for the Blues stopper, who fumbled the ball straight into the path of Danns - who headed into the roof of the net from close range.

Birmingham pulled one back just five minutes later, however, as a hopeful free-kick into the Bolton box was headed across goal by Zigic and into the far corner of Bogdan's goal. The Trotters had struggled to deal with the Serbian since his introduction as a substitute, and his goal led Freedman to introduce the tall frame of Zat Knight to combat the aerial threat of the forward.

That change worked wonders for the visitors, who came within inches of sealing the win with a third goal with 15 minutes to go. Once again, Feeney galloped down the right and put a ball into the box. Beckford was his target, but he just couldn't quite grow enough to head the ball home.

Beckford and Davies, who had come on to replace the former, both shot wide in the latter stages, before Birmingham saw late appeals for a penalty turned down. Reilly's shot from the edge of the box looked to have struck the hand of Feeney but the referee signalled for a corner, much to the relief of the 375 travelling supporters.

Stoppage time passed by without incident, as Bolton held on to claim a deserved victory - their first away from home in league competition since they won by the same scoreline at Bristol City in April.

The win moves Wanderers out of the Championship relegation zone, prior to Saturday's 3pm kick-offs, and they return to action after the international break when Sheffield Wednesday are the visitors to the Reebok Stadium.

UPDATE: 10/10/2013 - Lee Novak has been credited with Birmingham City's goal, following a Dubious Goals Committee meeting.

Birmingham City: Randolph, Spector, Robinson, Burn, Murphy (Caddis 79), Adeyemi, Reilly, Burke, Shinnie (Novak 57), Lingard, Green (Zigic 57)
Subs Not Used: Bartley, Doyle, Lee, Ferguson
Goals: Novak 69

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, McNaughton, Mills, Ream, Baptiste, Spearing, Kamara, Danns (Chung-Yong 76), Pratley (Knight 70), Feeney, Beckford (C Davies 86)
Subs Not Used: Eagles, Hall, Lonergan, Wheater
Booked: Pratley, Mills
Goals: Beckford 12, Danns 64

Referee: David Coote
Attendance: 13,627

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


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