Birmingham City 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 12, 2019 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/d8c5a

Callum Connolly scored the only goal as Bolton picked up a first away win since August, beating Birmingham City at the St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium.

Wanderers, who went into the game having lost each of their last six league games on the road, began the evening four points from safety and picked up a huge result, with Connolly heading home a free-kick from Luke Murphy with 19 minutes to play.

Victory means Phil Parkinson's side secured a first league double at Championship level since April 2015, when Eidur Gudjohnsen and a brace from Craig Davies gave them a 3-0 victory at Cardiff City.

Parkinson made three changes to the Wanderers side that started in defeat to Preston North End on Saturday, as Mark Beevers, Pawel Olkowski and Clayton Donaldson took the places of Sammy Ameobi, the injured Luca Connell and ineligible Jonathan Grounds.

The visitors, who began with two forwards on the pitch, began brightly and created the first shooting opportunity inside eight minutes - with build-up play involving Donaldson and Josh Magennis ending with a cross-cum-shot from Olkowski finding the gloves of Lee Camp in the Birmingham goal.

The home side responded well, with Lukas Jutkiewicz shooting straight at Remi Matthews, moments before the former Trotters loanee powered a header wide of the target after getting on the end of a cross from Gary Gardner.

Maikel Kieftenbeld fired over from distance as the clock ticked towards the 20-minute mark, while Maxime Colin failed to take advantage of Wanderers' high line as an attempt from an acute angle was turned behind by Olkowski.

Bolton came close to breaking the deadlock 10 minutes before the break, with Craig Noone latching on to a pass from Donaldson and forcing a save out of Camp, before seeing a second attempt flash inches wide of the far post.

Jutkiewicz volleyed into the ground and onto the roof of the net at the other end for Birmingham, who also had the final chance of the half when a first-time strike from Gardner sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.

With the game goalless at the interval, Wanderers returned for the start of the second period having made one change - as Murphy came on in place of Gary O'Neil.

Murphy's introduction was felt almost immediately, with his inswinging corner being glanced wide by the head of David Wheater within four minutes of the restart.

The substitute's set-piece deliveries were causing panic in the Blues defence, with Marc Wilson nodding just off-target moments later, while Magennis fired over the bar from distance as the referee's watch ticked towards the hour.

Birmingham had rarely threatened until this point but they came close to taking the lead on 62 minutes as Che Adams slid Jota through on the overlap. After cutting inside, his shot seemed destined for the net, only to be tipped onto the crossbar by Matthews.

The deadlock was broken with 19 minutes to play, however, with the game's opening goal going the way of the visitors.

Murphy, who had already caused problems from set-plays, whipped a free-kick into the Blues box where Connolly got away from his marker to head beyond Camp to make it 1-0.

Gardner shot over the top with a 20-yard free-kick five minutes later, shortly before a knockdown from Jutkiewicz found Colin, whose low attempt was deflected behind for a corner.

The home side had struggled to find a way through a resolute Wanderers defence for much of the evening but did have one last chance inside five minutes of added time, in which Adams was somehow denied in a one-on-one situation as Matthews turned away his goalbound effort to seal the points for Parkinson's side.

After picking up their first league win of 2019, Bolton move to within two points of safety in the Championship survival. They return to home soil on Saturday, when they host promotion-chasing Norwich City at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Birmingham City: Camp, Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin, Jota (Mrabti 63), Kieftenbeld (Vassell 76), G Gardner (Davis 80), Maghoma, Adams, Jutkiewicz
Subs Not Used: Trueman, Pedersen, Mahoney, C Gardner
Booked: Harding

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Beevers, Wheater, Wilson (Vela 65), Noone, Connolly, Lowe, O'Neil (Murphy 45), Olkowski, Magennis, Donaldson
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Little, Ameobi, Buckley, Hall
Booked: Connolly, Noone
Goals: Connolly 71

Referee: Andy Davies
Attendance: 21,682

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Accrington Stanley 9 7
20 Portsmouth 7 6
21 Southend United 9 4
22 AFC Wimbledon 10 3
23 Bolton Wanderers 8 -9
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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