Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Birmingham City

  • August 22, 2018 | By Chris Mann
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Goal difference is the only thing keeping Bolton off top-spot in the Championship, after they registered a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City.

Wanderers took the points in the 73rd minute when a combination of Will Buckley and Josh Magennis bundled a cross from Sammy Ameobi beyond Lee Camp in the visiting goal - with the effort being officially credited to Buckley.

Results elsewhere mean the Trotters finished the evening in 3rd place, level with a top-two of Leeds United and Middlesbrough after accumulating 10 points from their opening four games - a total they failed to achieve until 16 games into last season.

Despite winning at Reading on Saturday, Phil Parkinson made three changes to the Bolton side as Gary O'Neil, Erhun Oztumer and Yanic Wildschut came in at the expense of Buckley, Luke Murphy and Josh Vela.

Although the hosts enjoyed the better of the possession in the early moments, it was Birmingham who set their sights on goal with both Jota and Omar Bogle seeing chances snuffed out.

It wasn't until midway through the half that either goalkeeper was really called into action, with Ben Alnwick at his absolute best to tip a strike from Jota behind after a deflection off Jason Lowe sent it looping towards the top corner.

Wanderers' first chance arrived on 25 minutes as Wildschut latched on to a header from Magennis, but his toe-poke was stopped by the foot of Camp.

Jota was by far the Blues' most likely scorer and he was denied again by Alnwick before the break, as the sides went in level at 0-0.

There were no changes in personnel as the teams returned for the second period, which began with Birmingham coming close as Jota's low ball across the six-yard box narrowly evaded the run of Bogle.

Harlee Dean headed wide from a corner on 54 minutes, which came about after Alnwick had denied Bogle from a narrow angle.

Bolton's first shooting opportunity of the half arrived shortly before the hour, with Lowe forcing a save out of Camp as he fired goalwards from an Oztumer corner.

Birmingham then had two glorious chances to break the deadlock. The first saw Magennis clear a goalbound effort from Lukas Jutkiewicz after Alnwick had spilled the ball at the feet of the forward, moments before Maxime Colin's cross was headed over by Bogle after a ricochet off O'Neil fell into dangerous territory.

Ameobi, on as a substitute for Craig Noone, fired over with 20 minutes remaining and he was involved again moments later as Bolton took the lead in controversial circumstances.

After a cross from Andrew Taylor was palmed away from the head of Magennis, Ameobi picked up the loose ball and played it back across the face of goal where it was bundled home by a combination of Buckley and Magennis.

Birmingham players appealed for a handball but referee Lee Probert allowed the goal to stand, with the announcement inside the stadium suggesting Ameobi had been credited with the goal. The celebration of Buckley appeared to indicate it was he who got the final touch, while the club have since announced the name of Magennis.

Whether the goal was his or not, Buckley was intent on adding to Wanderers' advantage and he volleyed just over the crossbar with 12 minutes to play as he got on the end of a cross from Pawel Olkowski.

Kristian Pedersen's blushes were spared when Camp stopped a certain own-goal in the latter stages, while Pedersen and Che Adams failed to hit the target at the other end in stoppage time as time ran out on the visitors.

Victory for Bolton puts them in a lofty position ahead of the visit of Sheffield United, who they host at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Taylor, Beevers, Wheater, Olkowski, Lowe, O'Neil, Oztumer (Donaldson 85), Wildschut (Buckley 61), Noone (Ameobi 62), Magennis
Subs Not Used: Matthews, Little, Vela, Wilson
Booked: Buckley, Olkowski
Goals: Buckley 73

Birmingham City: Camp, Colin, Morrison, Dean, Pedersen, Jota, Gardner, Kieftenbeld, Maghoma (Solomon-Otabor 81), Jutkiewicz (Adams 77), Bogle
Subs Not Used: Trueman, Roberts, Mahoney, Lakin, Harding
Booked: Kieftenbeld, Gardner, Pedersen

Referee: Lee Probert
Attendance: 13,821

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
14 Harrogate Town 13 16
15 Walsall 13 16
16 Bolton Wanderers 13 16
17 Oldham Athletic 13 14
18 Barrow AFC 13 13
View Full Standings >>


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