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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 03 May 14 at 16:16 PM

The Report: Bolton Wanderers 2 Blues 2

Birmingham City dramatically ensured they will be playing Sky Bet Championship football next season with a last gasp 93rd minute equaliser from Paul Caddis at the Reebok Stadium.

Lee Clark made three changes to the side that lost to Wigan Athletic in midweek - back came Paul Robinson, Callum Reilly and Nikola Zigic for Mitch Hancox, Scott Allan and Federico Macheda.

Clark's side who also had one eye on other results - started the match on the front foot and continued in that vein throughout the opening 45 minutes, creating the better chances and limiting the hosts to half chances at best.

Blues had a few half chances in the opening minutes when Caddis, Chris Burke and Emyr Huws all had their efforts blocked by defenders. Caddis, who at times had been Blues furthest player forward nearly set up Zigic in the 12th minute when Huws' corner was cleared, but only as far as Caddis who fizzed the ball across the six-yard box but neither Zigic nor Lee Novak could get a defining touch.

Minutes later Blues nearly found themselves behind when Bolton midfielder Chung-Yong Lee got on the end of a cross that eluded the Blues defence and Reilly at the back post but his effort sailed over the far corner of Darren Randolph's goal.

Blues continued to press and forged some more chances - Burke - who looked very sharp in the opening 45 - after some tenacipus work carved out an opportunity but his deflected shot didn't trouble Andy Lonergan in the Bolton goal.

Captain Robinson - returning after his three match ban - brought down Beckford 30 yards from goal, which allowed former Blues winger Rob Hall to strike a free-kick from distance that Randolph saw wide of the target.

Just after the half hour mark, after some further trickery down the wing from Burke, the ball found itself with Novak some 15 yards out, who tried to curl his shot around Lonergan into the far corner but the keeper was equal to it.

Blues did have the ball in the back of the Bolton net ten minutes before half-time when Novak tapped in a Zigic knock back after Caddis' free-kick found the Serbian at the far post but referee Iain Williamson had already given a foul against the big man.

Blues started the second half very much how they started the first, and carved out the first opportunity when Novak's cross was headed down by Zigic towards the on-rushing Caddis but he was unable to muscle his way past defender Matt Mills.

Twelve minutes after the restart - with Blues having been on top for almost an hour - Bolton took the lead through Chung-Yong Lee. Hall's free-kick cannoned off of David Wheater and the ball fell into the path of Lee who fired past Randolph to put the hosts ahead and push Blues closer to relegation.

Jordon Ibe and Federico Macheda were introduced immediately after Lee's goal and the former was involved in Blues next chance, the winger getting to the byline and pulling back where Novak, eventually got the ball under control before firing his shot narrowly wide.

Ten minutes later Blues' afternoon went from bad to worse when the hosts doubled their lead when substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz beat Randolph at his near post. As Bolton's second goal went in, news filtered through from the King Power Stadium that Leicester City had taken the lead against Doncaster Rovers - meaning a point would be good enough for Blues to maintain their Sky Bet Championship status.

But two minutes later and Blues were given a lifeline when Hancox's cross was headed in by Zigic.

With a quarter of an hour to go, Blues needed one goal and they kept pushing forward and piling the pressure on the hosts, and were pretty much camped in their half. With Lee Clark's side committing men forward they were nearly caught on the break twice by the Trotters - once saved by the hands of Randolph and secondly Neil Danns firing over the crossbar.

The board went up and revealed six minutes of injury time. 

The match at the King Power Stadium had finished - Doncaster were beaten 1-0 - Blues needed a point to stay up.

In the 93rd minute, all Blues' hard-work and pressure paid off when Ibe's cross caused a mele in the six yard box and after Macheda and Zigic's efforts were cleared, the ball dropped to Caddis who nodded into the unguarded net from just three yards out.

Caddis' goal keeps Blues in the Sky Bet Championship and sent the Blues fans in raptures and the bench into wild celebrations, including the manager Lee Clark diving into the away end to celebrate with the 3,800 travelling supporters.

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