Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Birmingham City

  • April 03, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/c3e32

Lukas Jutkiewicz came back to haunt his former club, scoring the only goal as 10-man Birmingham City beat Bolton at Macron Stadium.

Jutkiewicz, who was a constant thorn in the side of Wanderers throughout the evening, struck five minutes before the break, sweeping home a free-kick from Jacques Maghoma after being picked out unmarked at the far post.

The Blues were reduced to 10 men midway through the second period as Che Adams went over the top in a challenge with Craig Noone, but their numerical disadvantage didn't affect them in the slightest as Phil Parkinson's side finished the evening having failed to register a single shot on target.

With Good Friday's defeat at Leeds United behind them, Wanderers began with just one change from the team that took to the field at Elland Road - as the fit-again Karl Henry replaced Jan Kirchhoff, who dropped down to the substitutes' bench.

Once the action had got underway, it was the visitors who created the first shooting opportunity as Maghoma cut inside from the left before firing wide of Ben Alnwick's far post with 12 minutes on the clock.

Then, two minutes later, it was the turn of the home side as Sammy Ameobi's cross from the right was headed wide by former City midfielder Will Buckley.

It wasn't until the half-hour mark that the next chance arrived, with Birmingham goalkeeper David Stockdale making a comfortable claim to keep out Mark Beevers' header from a Jon Flanagan free-kick.

David Davis fired high and wide for the away side as the score looked set to remain goalless going into the break, but the deadlock was broken on 40 minutes through a name familiar to Wanderers supporters.

Jutkiewicz, who enjoyed a hugely impressive spell at the club in the second-half of the 2013/14 campaign, was picked out unmarked at the far post, where he had the simple task of turning a free-kick from Maghoma past a helpless Alnwick.

Having gone in behind at the break and opting against changes at the start of the second period, Parkinson had seen enough on 56 minutes and reacted by introducing the more attacking Noone in place of Derik Osede.

That sparked a tactical shuffle, with Josh Vela dropping back alongside Henry in midfield. Noone went over to the right-hand side, while Ameobi filled the void left by Vela in support of Adam Le Fondre.

Shortly after the hour, Bolton saw appeals for a penalty turned down when a cross from Buckley struck the hand of Jota inside the Birmingham box.

They were then handed a huge boost on 67 minutes as Adams went over the top in a challenge with Noone, leaving referee Oliver Langford with little option but to brandish a red card.

In need of fresh attacking ideas, Wanderers responded by introducing Zach Clough in place of Buckley for the final 20 minutes. He was involved almost instantly, linking up superbly with Ameobi and Le Fondre in a move which ended with the latter volleying on to the roof of the net.

Henry's evening was cut short on 75 minutes due to what appeared to be a recurrence of a hamstring injury, with Kirchhoff on to replace him.

Frustrated at having a penalty appeal turned down earlier in the game, Bolton were left fuming when Andrew Taylor's cross was flicked on by Le Fondre and struck a hand, but referee Langford again ignored the claims and ordered play to continue.

Birmingham substitute Maikel Kieftenbeld brought Alnwick into action with an ambitious long-range drive five minutes from time, and it was the Wanderers goalkeeper who had the final chance of the game, heading wide from a corner in the final minute as the Championship's worst away team picked up maximum points at the Macron.

Despite defeat, Bolton remain five points clear of the relegation zone and now level with Birmingham. They return to action on Saturday, when they hit the road for a game at Derby County.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, A Taylor, Beevers, Burke, Flanagan, Osede (Noone 56), Henry (Kirchhoff 75), Vela, Buckley (Clough 72), Ameobi, Le Fondre
Subs Not Used: Howard, Robinson, Wilbraham, Wheater
Booked: Flanagan

Birmingham City: Stockdale, Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin, Jota (Kieftenbeld 77), Davis, Ndoye, Maghoma (Dacres-Cogley 84), Jutkiewicz (Roberts 90+3), Adams
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Grounds, Boga, Lowe
Booked: Davis
Sent Off: Adams
Goals: Jutkiewicz 40

Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 21,097

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 18 16
20 Tranmere Rovers 17 16
21 Milton Keynes Dons 18 13
22 Southend United 19 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 15 1
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Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone