Bolton Wanderers’ defence shone as they took a point from St Andrews in a game of few chances for either side. Gary Madine went closest for the Whites but saw his goal bound header turned around the post by David Stockdale but in truth neither team did enough to win it.
The Whites lined up with Filipe Morais coming in for his first start of the season replacing Mark Little but the big change was up front with Adam Armstrong replacing Adam Le Fondre. It was a bold move by Phil Parkinson but one the fans had been keen to see and there was a sense of optimism prior to kick-off, especially given Birmingham’s injury problems.
Once the match began, however, it was clear that neither side was that keen to attack with only one or two half chances per side. Bolton’s captain Darren Pratley had their only real shot on goal when the ball dropped to him on the edge of the box only for his goal bound effort to be blocked. Birmingham went close through a deflected David Cotterill effort that Mark Howard somehow managed to claw away from goal but, overall, the game made for poor viewing.
At half-time, having already lost their captain, Michael Morrison, to injury, Harry Redknapp replaced the also injured Cheick N’Doye with former Bolton favourite Lukas Jutkiewicz. Birmingham had gone with two front men but it seemed to swing the game in the favour of the away team instead with Bolton starting the half very brightly. Morais had struggled to get into the game due to the solid defensive work of Jonathan Grounds but still provided an outlet for Bolton, almost setting up Armstrong for a header which the on-loan Newcastle man put just over.
But it was his opposite wing-back, Andrew Taylor, whose cross brought the best chance of the game as he found Madine at the back post and his header seemed to be going in before Stockdale’s intervention. From then on the game was livelier but neither side could create an opening. Jacques Maghoma’s pace caused some issues for Dorian Dervite but he coped well and the impressive Reece Burke had a snapshot easily held by Stockdale at the other end.
As the game drew to a close Birmingham had a chance to nick it as new signing Isaac Vassell’s pace forced Burke to bundle him over just outside the box. With the likes of Cotterill and Craig Gardner standing over it, it seemed likely they could score. The shot from Gardner was blazed over, thankfully, and the final whistle blew immediately afterwards.
Bolton took a point from a game they could have won but last time in the Championship would have definitely lost. The performances of Reece Burke, Josh Cullen and Adam Armstrong offer some positives but despite being solid at the back our attacking play needs serious work if we are to trouble the likes of Derby County, Hull City and Middlesbrough in the coming weeks.