Early and Late Goals Secure 3 Points
- Saturday, September 26, 2009
- Venue: St Andrews Stadium
- Attendance: 28,671
- Referee: Steve Bennett
- Tamir Cohen 
- Roger Johnson 
- Stephen Carr 
- Jlloyd Samuel 
- Kevin Phillips 
- Chung-Yong Lee 
Yesterday’s trip to Saint Andrew’s Stadium was to be a veritable walk in the park compared with the fixures The Wanderers have lined up next month. After Bolton’s midweek win against West Ham in the League Cup expectations had been raised considerably and clearly The Wanderers needed earn more points. Ahead of visiting his former club Frabrice Muamba said, “I’m just looking forward to trying to get the three points on Saturday.” He also indicated that his team–mates were too and spoke of a happy squad.
Bolton only took a couple of minutes to show a willingness to win but Ivan Klasnic’s shot sailed over the bar. Bolton had to wait until the 10th minute to get ahead created from a throw–in deep inside Birmingham City’s half. Kevin Davies flicked Sam Ricketts long throw to the centre of the six–yard box where Tamir Cohen scored with relative ease having lost his marker Sebastian Larsson.
At half–time The Wanderers had hung on to their lead despite a number of chances created by their opposition. An impressive strike from Keith Fahey hit the crossbar the rebound fell Teemu Tainio whose shot from outside the penalty area was powerful but always rising harmlessly above the goal.
Shortly after the restart Gary Cahill was busy defending and put an end to a couple of Birmingham’s advances. City pressed again and Christian Benitez forced a fine save by Jussi Jaaskelainen. An early second half effort by Klasnic was blocked and he was replaced 10 minutes later by Korean international, Lee Chung–Yong. A further 10 minutes of half opportunities created by both teams passed before Chung–Yong skilfully took the ball deep inside the City penalty area, perhaps took quickly — lacking support Lee was forced into a side–footed attempt from an angle that proved too acute.
Birmingham City’s goal was created with a neat one–two between Kevin Phillips and Christian Benitez. Phillips took a second touch to tap the ball into space on the edge of Bolton’s penalty a equalised with a powerful shot beyond Jussi Jaaskelaine’s outstretched dive.
Within two minutes Bolton Wanderers were awarded a free–kick for a foul on captain Davies. Matthew Taylor’s direct kick struck the upright and rebounded towards Lee Chung–Yong who deftly hooked the ball away from the melee into space and scored, all within the confines of the six–yard box. Lee’s parents had travelled from South Korea to watch their son play and must have been proud to have witnessed his first goal for the club. A jubilant celebration ensued in which Cahill rugby tackled Lee to ground and fellow Wanderers piled atop.
Birmingham had been thwarted and Bolton took all three points with the aid of yet another late goal.
As The Wanderers trot up the Premier League is Gary Megson worthy of praise now that he is finding apparent success with a squad that he has built? Megson’s tactics and team selection will be put to the test next month as Bolton face away trips to White Hart Lane and Old Trafford and Everton and Chelsea visit The Reebok. A challenging month indeed.
Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish:
“After we had equalised I don’t know if the players thought that the game was over. It looked like they were in a trance for a couple of minutes.
“It was poor defending for their winner and was another harsh lesson of what can happen in the Premier League.”
“It was a well deserved win and we showed a top–class response after they equalised. But I felt that we should have been in a better position because we created enough chances to have had the game won.”