The game looked destined to end with the spoils shared but a goal mouth scramble, leading to the ball somehow finding its way over the net, the final touch being claimed by ‘Super Josh Magennis’, earned Wanderers the three points on the night.
Phil Parkinson ringed the changes for this midweek fixture, Gary O’Neil came in to replace Luke Murphy whilst Yanic Wildschut took Will Buckley’s place on the left and new father Josh Vela was replaced by new signing Erhun Oztumer for his Wanderers league debut. Clayton Donaldson and Jason Lowe each also returned to face their former employers.
Both teams enjoyed lengthy spells of possession early on with both sides showing signs of promise in the final third but each struggled to convert their chances. Despite the game being well balanced to begin with, as we neared the break, it became rather end to end, with each goalkeeper now being tested.
Ben Alnwick made an incredible stop late on in the first period after Jota’s long range effort which beat everyone all ends up bar Alnwick as he leapt to his left spectacularly to tip over the potential opener. Alnwick went on to keep us in the game numerous times after that and earned a place in the club’s poll for MOTM.
Pawel Olkowski lived up to his increasingly recognisable ‘Rolls Royce’ style of play, gliding up and down the right, elegantly keeping City at bay whilst centre back pairing Wheavers were solid as ever.
Yanic Wildschut, Wanderers’s saviour at the weekend, nearly came up trumps again shortly after Alnwick’s wonder save, latching on to a knock down from Magennis, whose effort was just blocked by Lee Camp’s trailing foot.
There was no further major events to account from the rest of the first half and both sides went in at the whistle, still in search of a goal.
There were no changes at the interval and Bolton started the brighter in the second half as Jason Lowe kept alive Erhun Oztumer’s half cleared corner as he sent in a rasping shot from the far side of the box, stinging the palms of Camp which had Whites’ fans on the edge of their seats.
The first changes of the game were made around the hour mark with Sammy Ameobi and Will Buckley replacing Yanic Wildschut and Craig Noone respectively.
Lukas Jutkiewicz was also replaced by Che Adams later on, who noticeably received a warm reception from the home fans as he walked off. We seem to have a good relationship with Birmingham on the old transfer front don't we?
Ameobi immediately burst in to action, taking a hold of the game, keen to make an impact and an impression to re-earn his place in the side, firing narrowly over from distance. A trademark cut in and powerful shot goal bound which only he is capable of producing so consistently and seemed destined for the top corner but unfortunately wasn't to be.
It was shortly after this that Wanderers broke the deadlock. Andrew Taylor’s overhit cross was collected by Sammy on the far side who sent in a dangerous ball to the nearest which between Will Buckley, Josh Magennis and a handful of Birmingham defenders, was turned home, but no-one will care, they all count!
The goal was eventually claimed by and awarded to Josh Magennis after the full time whistle who I'm sure received minimal agro from Will Buckley in doing so. Well, would you!?
Thats the Northern Irish man’s third of the season which has since earnt him a well deserved call up for their upcoming international games.
With the game restarted and in doubt of who's goal it would be at the time, Buckley took it upon himself to get his name on the scoresheet for sure. Will impressively beat his man before volleying towards goal, only to skim the crossbar and fly over, an effort which I’m sure many would've thought was going to break the net and take the keeper’s head off when it was hit, as was equally suggested by the crowd’s response.
As the game grew in to the latter stages, Oztumer was replaced by Clayton Donaldson as Wanderers prepared to see the game out and did so within an inch of their lives, throwing their bodies in each direction of every attempt sent in the direction of Ben Alnwick.
Luckily, Birmingham had come unprepared and without their shooting boots and Alnwick’s goal probably wasn't as peppered as expected as many of City’s late efforts only found the advertising hoardings.
Between the big men up top, Ameobi, Donaldson and Magennis, the Whites’ held the ball up in the corner for long enough to see out the nail biting and pretty confusing 4 minutes of additional time and Lee Probert’s last blast on the whistle marked the end of the game and another deserved Wanderers victory.
Only goal difference prevents Bolton from finishing the evening 1st and currently sit pretty in third ahead of Saturday’s clash with Sheffield United at the UOB stadium.
Get down and support the lads and lets go in to the weekend on a high and top of the league!