Call it bad luck, awful refereeing, an individual defender's mistake, or all of the above that led to Bolton's away loss at Birmingham. It simply was not a good defeat and Bolton Wanderers very arguably deserved at least a point on the night. Had the finishing been better (or really anywhere other than right at Jack Butland), it would have been a different story. As part of the Birmingham City post-mortem, we look at what went right and what went wrong in the buildup to each of the goals.
Goal 1 - Leroy Lita
Birmingham City's Chris Burke had the ball in the center of midfield with two Bolton men in close proximity and a third not far away. The midfielder spotted right back Paul Caddis breaking down Bolton's wing and played an admittedly good ball into space through a congested Bolton midfield.
Caddis made his way past Chris Eagles and broke into Bolton's penalty area from the right flank with Leroy Lita rushing into the six-yard-box from the center of the park. Caddis slid a ball right across the face of goal to Lita.
Zat Knight was initially marking Lita with Matt Mills providing cover just behind the play. Zat Knight opted to come to the ball in hopes of cutting the play out but missed the interception. Lita was essentially free to tap it in from just a few yards out.
Goal 2 - Chris Eagles
Bolton were awarded a dangerous free kick about thirty yards away from Birmingham City's goal. There really was no other man who should be taking it except Chris Eagles and the winger showed everyone why. His fourth goal of the season came from a swerving, dipping free kick that rounded the Birmingham wall and snuck back in to beat Jack Butland at the near post.
Goal 3 - Marlon King
David Murphy broke down Birmingham's left wing (Bolton's right) with Tyrone Mears the defender marking him. No fault to Mears on this one as he did just about all he could in the one-on-one situation. Murphy got the cross off and put it into Adam Bogdan's six-yard box.
The ball hit the ground just ahead of Bogdan (apologies for the blurry photo) but the keeper was able to grab hold. A good ten yards from the play, Marlon King rushed into the box with Marcos Alonso marking him closely.
It looked a whole lot like nothing happened to King but the big forward went down in the box just as Adam Bogdan was grabbing the ball six yards away from the "infraction." Somehow, inexplicably, referee Carl Boyeson blew his whistle and signalled to the penalty spot for Birmingham City. As Owen Coyle had said in an interview earlier: "I've seen it back and it's never a penalty; it's never even a soft penalty."
Marlon King, who "won" the penalty, stepped up to the spot and took the shot. His plant foot sent Adam Bogdan the wrong way as he went to his left while Bogdan dove in the opposite direction.