Blues made it 3 wins in as many games on Tuesday evening.BCFC
Lukas Jutkiewicz’s 41st minute thumping strike ensured all three points to Garry Monk’s charges – a feat that Blues have not achieved since October 2015.
On a drizzly Lancashire night, backed by 4,816 Bluenoses, Blues are now five points clear of the relegation zone thanks to a resilient performance at the Macron Stadium - a happy hunting ground in recent times for the St. Andrew’s side.
Despite Che Adams’ red card midway through the second half, Blues dug deep and claimed that all important victory in the quest for Championship survival.
Monk made one change from the side that beat Ipswich Town on Saturday. Cheikh Ndoye replaced Maikel Kieftenbeld in a straight swap in midfield. Jonathan Grounds made a welcome return to the substitutes bench following his swift recovery from knee ligament damage sustained in February against Sheffield Wednesday.
Blues began the game brightly and were on the offensive from the first whistle with the attacking trio of Jota, Adams and Jutkiewicz at the fulcrum of the good work in the final third. An early Blues corner on 4 minutes was easily caught by Ben Alnwick.
As the rain drizzled into the Macron, Monk’s rejuvenated side were doing a sterling job of keeping the Lancashire faithful subdued on this crucial evening in the EFL Championship.
On 12 minutes, Blues’ first clear chance came through the fancy footwork of Maghoma. The midfielder tricked his way into the box before passing to Adams, who turned and fired a low shot wide from 18 yards.
This sparked Phil Parkinson’s side into action two minutes later with Will Buckley flashing a header wide of David Stockdale’s goal. Bolton grew in confidence and it was Harlee Dean who came to Blues’ rescue to thwart Josh Vela’s dangerous cross to safety.
At the midway point of the first half, the game was beginning to get scrappy with neither side taking a stranglehold on the game. Jota’s wayward free-kick on 35 minutes from 40 yards and David Davis’ ballooned long rang effort on 40 summed up the lack of clear cut opportunities in the game.
That sentiment didn’t last long when former Bolton striker Jutkiewicz fired Blues into the lead in spectacular fashion on 41 minutes. Maghoma’s inch perfect delivery from the left into the box found the striker, who timed his run perfectly and thumped the ball into the roof of the net.
The second half began in a pulsating fashion with Jutkiewicz forcing ‘keeper Alnwick into a low diving save with a driving shot from outside the box. It was end to end action with corners at both ends before Dean went close on 60 minutes following Maghoma’s in swinging free-kick.
On 62 minutes, Wanderers appealed for a hand ball against Wes Harding in the box but referee Oliver Langford waved away the claims much to the derision of the Wanderers faithful.
60 seconds later Jota had the Bolton defence at sea with a weaving run that was blocked by Andrew Taylor. The turned down penalty appeal injected new life into Wanderers and they were buoyed by Blues being reduced to 10 men when Adams received a straight red card for a foul on substitute Craig Noone on 67 minutes.
Bolton were in the ascendancy and Sammy Ameobi almost equalised following Noone’s centre. Adam Le Fondre went close on 73 minutes with a dipped effort that was inches over the crossbar.
Following Adams’ red card, Monk made his first substitution of the evening with Kieftenbeld replacing Jota on 77 minutes as Blues attempted to stop the Bolton onslaught.
Still Blues went searching to extended their lead and Kieftenbeld tried his luck from distance but it was a comfortable save. Josh Dacres-Cogley entered the fray on 84 minutes in place of Maghoma to shore things up for Blues.
At the death, Stockdale kept his concentration to deny Ameobi’s header before Dean blocked the midfielder again.
Five minutes stopped time was added, but Blues were alert to the kitchen sink that Bolton threw at them and held on for that all important three points in the quest for Championship survival.
Bolton Wanderers (4-3-3): Alnwick, Taylor, Beevers, Flanagan, Burke, Osede (Noone 56), Vela, Henry (Kirchhoff 75), Buckley (Clough 72), Ameobi, Le Fondre
Substitutes (not used): Howard, Robinson, Wilbraham, Wheater
Bookings: Flannagan 54
Blues (4-4-2): Stockdale; Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin; Jota (Kieftenbeld 77), Ndoye, Davis, Maghoma (Dacres-Cogley 84), Adams, Jutkiewicz (Roberts 90)
Substitutes (not used): Kuszczak, Grounds, Lowe, Boga
Goal: Jutkiewicz (41)
Red card: Adams (67)
Attendance: 21,097 (4,816 away)