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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 26 Sep 09 at 17:56 PM

Report: Birmingham 1 Bolton 2

Lee Chung-Yong struck a late winner to make it four matches unbeaten for Gary Megson's men in a pulsating clash in the Midlands.

An early headed goal by Tamir Cohen put Wanderers into a 1-0 half-time lead at St Andrew's.

Kevin Phillips looked to have earned Birmingham City a draw after coming off the bench to score on 84 minutes.

But Lee Chung-Yong stole the headlines with well taken winner after Matt Taylor struck the post from a free-kick, making it back-to-back wins on the road for the Whites.

After the accomplished performance in midweek against West Ham, Gary Megson opted to tweak his side slightly by making one change - Tamir Cohen replacing Gavin McCann in central midfield.

Ivan Klasnic kept his place in the team to make his first Premier League start and with just two minutes played, a fantastic bit of improvisation from the Croatian almost resulted in Wanderers taking the lead.

A routine pass from Bolton's defence was misjudged by Joe Hart, who having raced from his penalty area, looked to head the ball out of touch. However Klasnic anticipated the clearance and hit a first time volley from the touchline which was fractionally too high and landed on the roof of the net. The Birmingham goalkeeper was helpless had the effort been on target.

And Hart was again left with no chance when Tamir Cohen nodded Gary Megson's side into the lead with just nine minutes played.

It was a move straight off the training pitch as Ricketts' long throw was flicked-on by Kevin Davies at the near post and Cohen, unmarked, positioned himself excellently to power a header into the back of the net from just six yards out. It was the Israel international's third goal of the season following his strikes against Liverpool and Portsmouth.

The early goal helped Bolton settle into the match as they confidently passed the ball on the lush St Andrew's playing surface. But they still had to wary of Birmingham's direct threat when the ball was pumped into the penalty at every opportunity. Indeed, Gary Cahill and Zat Knight had to make a number of headed clearances within the first 25 minutes.

On the half hour mark, Birmingham came within a whisker of levelling through Teemu Tainio. A sweeping cross by left-back Gregory Vignal was met sweetly by the midfielder, with the volley flying just wide of the post.

That move started the home side's brightest period of the half and two minutes later, Jussi Jaaskelainen was forced into his first significant contribution of the afternoon. Again it came down the left flank as a Barry Ferguson's glancing header deflected off Cahill and the Bolton keeper reacted fantastically the palm the ball around his near post.

Before the half was out, Birmingham struck the crossbar through a thunderous shot by Irish midfielder Keith Fahey and Christian Benitez also dragged a shot wide.

It was a rather scrappy opening to the second half with a curling shot from Seb Larsson the highlight, and with that in mind, Gary Megson thrust Lee Chung-Yong into the action on 55 minutes at the expense of the hard working Klasnic.

The South Korean was instantly involved. He played a part in the patient build-up when Matt Taylor volleyed at goal, and just moments later, came close to doubling Wanderers' lead.

Chung-Yong timed a dart from midfield to perfection, and after latching on to Kevin Davies' slide-rule pass, he advanced on goal and rounded Hart. But in the process, the angle had become acute and his finish rolled across goal rather than hitting the back of the net.

As the second half progressed, Birmingham began to enjoy the lion's share of possession, however they failed to conjure up anything clear cut. Wanderers rearguard battled valiantly to preserve their lead and to thwart the tide of pressure, Gavin McCann was introduced on 72 minutes.

As with the earlier substitution of Chung-Yong, only moments after being introduced McCann found himself in a position to put Bolton into a 2-0 lead. The former Aston Vila man squirmed free inside the penalty area and his clipped finish was saved excellently by the alert Hart.

McCann saw another shot blocked and a precise right-foot cross by Taylor evaded Muamba before Kevin Phillips equalised for the home side less than ten minutes after he was introduced as a substitute.

The vastly experienced striker cut in off the left wing, played a one-two with Benitez and hit a low shot from the edge of the area that evaded Jaaskelainen's finger tips and snuck in the corner of the goal.

Phillips' 84th minute goal looked to have earned Birmingham City a point, but that proved incorrect as Lee Chung-Yong popped up to win the match for Bolton only two minutes later

Straight from the kick-off, Kevin Davies won a free-kick just outside the penalty area with a mauruding run forward. Matt Taylor's set-piece struck the base of Hart's post, but it rebounded into the path of Chung-Yong, who calmly took the ball around a defender before slotting in the unguarded net.

The late winner sparked scenes of mass celebration amongst the Wanderers faithful, who rejoiced in their team's second away victory in succession in the Premier League.

Birmingham City:
Hart, Carr, Bowyer, Larsson, Benitez, Ferguson, Johnson, Dann, Fahey, Vignal (Phillips 77), Tainio (Subs not used: Taylor, Ridgewell, O'Connor, Espinoza, McSheffrey, Carsley)

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Samuel, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, Cohen, Gardner (McCann 72), Muamba, Taylor, Klasnic (Chung-Yong 55), Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Al Habsi, O'Brien, Mark Davies, Steinsson, Elmander)

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