Clayton Donaldson’s first-half goal fired Blues to a narrow victory against struggling Bolton Wanderers at St. Andrew’s on Tuesday evening.
In what was largely an uninspiring game, it was case of the three-point haul being more important than the level of the display.
Gary Rowett made just one change to the side that drew with Rotherham United last time out, with Diego Fabbrini replacing Jon Toral in the starting XI and the the Arsenal loanee dropping to the bench.
Blues made a lively start and had plenty of possession in the early stages, without finding a way through a well-organised Bolton defence.
It took until the 19th minute for either side to create an opening and that fell to Blues. Stephen Gleeson sent a deep free-kick into the box. But under some pressure Bolton keeper Paul Rachubka dropped it into the path of Paul Robinson. The Blues centre-half looked odds-on to score from close-range, but his effort was deflected wide for a corner.
The deadlock was finally broken just before the half-hour mark courtesy of Donaldson.
Blues broke swiftly down the down left through Will Buckley, who then laid a sweet ball off into the path of Fabbrini. The Italian midfielder ran on with it for some 30 or 40 yards until he reached the by-line,
before cutting a perfect cross back to Donaldson, who had the simple task of stabbing his shot home from inside the six-yard box.
Minutes later Blues suffered a scare as Rob Holding headed the ball over Tomasz Kuszczak’s bar, following Liam Feeney’s corner.
With half-time rapidly approaching Blues began to really ramp up the pressure and Jacques Maghoma saw his shot blocked, before Buckley fizzed a pass across the area.
But Bolton weren’t spent as an attacking force themselves, as Feeney sent a teasing ball straight through the middle of the Blues area, which just missed his teammates running in.
Half-time: Blues 1 Bolton Wanderers 0
Bolton started the second period of the match with a real sense of urgency and were looking the much livelier side.
Zach Clough went close to meeting Feeney's delivery close in, but the Bolton man was penalised for a foul on Ryan Shotton.
Each time Blues looked to up their own tempo; they were usually guilty of ending their passage of play with a loose pass.
But with the game coming up to the hour mark, the home side finally started to string some decent moves together.
On 63 minutes Blues made a double substitution when they brought on Toral for Fabbrini and David Cotterill for Buckley.
Blues came close to extending their lead when Gleeson sent a deep pass in towards the far post, where Cotterill tried his luck with a side-footed volley, which was neatly saved by Rachubka.
Toral then tested the Bolton keeper from distance, but his shot was saved at the second attempt.
The final ten minutes of the contest saw Blues largely pinned back in their own half as the visitors pushed for an equaliser, but the defence held firm and deep into stoppage time Donaldson was inches away from doubling his goal tally as he looped a shot over the bar.