Blues travelled to Lancashire to take on Bolton Wanderers in a game which both teams needed to clinch three points. Bolton themselves were in a fight to survive, Birmingham were on a bit of a run with back to back home wins against Hull City an Ipswich Town.
Blues bought nearly 5,000 fans to the Macron Stadium, an incredible following considering the club’s position in the league table. Monk started the same team which defeated Ipswich Town on Saturday, apart from Cheick N’Doye, who came in for Mikael Kieftenbeld who was put to the bench.
It seemed quite an open game, both teams were going at it hammer & tongue, but it looked to be the visitors who were on the front foot. A few chances gone astray from both teams. Bolton had a former Blues loanee win their squad; Will Buckley, who in fact missed a couple of half chances himself. Sammy Ameobi whipped in a delightful cross but Buckley couldn’t convert the header which was wide of David Stockdale’s goal. It was Blues who took the lead when former Bolton striker Lukas Jutkiewicz’s strike saw Blues go into the interval a goal to the good.
Birmingham began the second half as they ended the first, both strikers, Jutkiewitcz and Adams had opportunities to double the lead, but failed. Blues had a couple of corners but Wanderers replied with a few of their own but the score remained 0-1 to the boys in royal blue.
The Blues went into the later stages of the game lacking much creativity and Garry Monk’s team got slightly frustrated with Bolton hogging the late chances. Just before the 70th minute arrived, Che Adams was shown a straight red card. With Birmingham seeing Jutkiewicz lead the line on his own for the remainder of the game, they needed to keep as they were, but defend stronger because Bolton were in the ascendency. Mikael Kieftenbeld replaced Jota, meaning Blues we’re preparing to sit on their lead and see the game out, which is exactly what they went on to do.
Bolton gave Blues some very late pressure but the visitors clinched another three points and a third win on the spin under new boss Garry Monk.
With Barnsley’s game against Nottingham Forest getting called off yesterday, Blues knew they had a game in hand but this win was vital as the team from the West Midlands bridge a five point gap between themselves and the Tykes. Bolton on the other hand, go level on points with the Blues on 39 but their goal difference favours out of the two. Barnsley have some work to do but as for Garry Monk and Birmingham, they just need to keep doing what they are doing and they will complete the great escape. I’m sure Phil Parkinson and his Trotters team have it in them to survive as well with some crucial wins, including their last home game which was a 1-0 win over promotion hopefuls Aston Villa.
RB Flanagan , CB Burke , CB Beevers , LB Taylor
RCDM Osede , LCDM Henry
RW Ameobi , CAM Vela , LW Buckley
ST Le Fondre
RB Harding , CB Morrison , CB Dean , LB Colin
RM Jota , CM Davis , CM N’Doye , LM Maghoma
RS Adams , LS Jutkiewitz
Possession – Bolton 58% , Blues 42%
Shots on goal – Bolton 8 , Blues 10
Shots on target – Bolton 0 , Blues 3
Corners – Bolton 8 , Blues 6
Fouls committed – Bolton 14 , Blues 7