Birmingham 2-1 Bolton: Match Report
Birmingham 2-1 Bolton: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Lita off the mark as Blues win
Bolton's miserable form on their travels continued as they were beaten 2-1 by Birmingham, for whom Leroy Lita scored on his home debut.
Marlon King's 48th-minute penalty, awarded when assistant referee Steven Copeland flagged for a foul by Marcos Alonso, proved decisive in an action-packed encounter after a stunning free-kick from Chris Eagles had cancelled out Lita's early opener.
Owen Coyle's side now boast the unenviable record of four defeats from as many away matches this term, while Birmingham have lost just one of their last 26 league games at St Andrew's.
Lita - on loan from Swansea - was left with a simple finish in the 16th minute as right-back Paul Caddis latched on to a superb pass from the recalled Wade Elliott, who delivered an outstanding display, before selflessly sliding the ball across the six-yard box.
Eagles' curling strike from 30 yards ensured the teams went into half-time on level terms, yet King wasted little time in restoring Birmingham's advantage.
The striker was bundled over by Alonso as he looked to connect with David Murphy's left-wing cross and dusted himself down before confidently sending Adam Bogdan the wrong way from 12 yards.
Both sides showed one change from the weekend. Elliott replaced Peter Lovenkrands in Birmingham's line-up, while Bolton dropped Keith Andrews to the bench, with Chung-Yong Lee gaining a starting berth.
Bolton were given an early warning in the seventh minute when a delightful cross from Caddis picked out Lita, whose header deflected narrowly wide of the near post.
David Ngog had the ball in the net for the visitors soon after, but the linesman's flag had long since gone up for offside.
Caddis and Lita duly linked up to good effect to put Birmingham ahead following Elliott's defence-splitting pass, and Bolton were forced into a substitution prior to the restart, with Andrews replacing the injured Jay Spearing.
After a brief lull, another fine through-ball from Elliott put Chris Burke in the clear, but Wanderers goalkeeper Bogdan stayed big to make a vital save.
Lee and Ngog saw subsequent chances go begging, but the visitors grabbed a deserved leveller a minute before half-time through Eagles' fourth of the season.
There was warm applause during the interval when guest of honour Fabrice Muamba, who played for both clubs before being forced to retire on medical grounds, was welcomed on to the pitch.
Birmingham introduced Keith Fahey in place of Hayden Mullins and made a flying start to the second half; after King's spot-kick, Caddis tested Bogdan with a powerful shot from distance and Lita fired wide after latching on to a poor header from Zat Knight.
The impressive Caddis was withdrawn soon after, having landed awkwardly on his shoulder during a Bolton attack that saw Jack Butland deny Matt Mills.
Coyle subsequently introduced Benik Afobe and Martin Petrov, and both substitutes went close, the former with a thunderous volley, either side of Elliott curling a 65th-minute shot wide for the hosts.
There was still time for Birmingham substitute Nathan Redmond to bring a fingertip save from Bogdan following a sensational solo run, while Butland remained alert to pull off a host of late stops as Bolton piled on the pressure.
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