May 4, 2014 by bluenosebible
Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Birmingham City
Written by: Oliver Osborn
Survival: The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.
This definition probably sums up Birmingham City quite well over this season and they couldn’t have claimed it anymore by the skin of their teeth.
With 15 minutes to go and the score line 2-0 to Bolton Wanderers, we were almost down and out with tissues at the ready for the full time whistle.
But David Nugent’s penalty at Leicester and cult-hero Nikola Zigic pulling a goal back for Blues gave the 3,800 travelling supporters hope as they roared on their side to score the goal that would keep them up.
After months of criticism for his defending and Clark’s decision to put him in midfield regularly, Paul Caddis became the unlikely Brummie hero with a goal that summed up a goal mouth scrabble in the 93rd minute.
The goal meant Birmingham City would fight another season at least in the Championship and Doncaster were the unfortunate side to be relegated with Blues’ equaliser being scored with 40 seconds to go in their game.
A one point difference between themselves and Doncaster meant just a point could do for Blues in their bid to stay up and the side were set up to keep the game tight.
Lee Novak, who was in a relegation decider last season with Huddersfield, was very close to giving Blues an early lead after his outstretched leg couldn’t find Caddis’ cross.
They continued to search for the opener, but Bolton held strong and Andy Lonergan made a great save to deny Novak’s effort from 25 yards out.
The home side slowly grew into the break before half time and Hayden Mullins almost found his own net after miss kicking Chung-Yong Lee’s cross over the bar.
With the scores stalemate at the Reebok and the King Power as well as Millwall leading against Bournemouth, the final 45 minutes of the season became a fight out between Blues and Doncaster.
Lee Clark’s sides chance of coming out on top was dealt a huge blow ten minutes into the half as Lee scored the opening goal for the Trotters.
Former Blues’ loanee, Rob Hall’s cross hit David Wheater and fell kindly to Lee for the South Korean to score just his third goal of the season.
Within seconds of hearing Leicester had taken the lead, Bolton doubled their lead through Lukas Jutkiewicz.
The striker held his run to stay on side before hitting a shot just past the near post, leaving questions asked about Darren Randolph as many felt it was an easy save for a goalkeeper of his quality.
After piling on the pressure for the final 15 minutes of the match, Blues finally found a goal that will go down in history with Paul Caddis the scorer.
Jordon Ibe picked up the ball and cut inside on the left edge of the box before his shot was blocked and looped up to Federico Macheda.
The Italian couldn’t get a shot away and Zigic came in and headed towards goal.
Tim Ream made a last ditch clearance, but his heroics weren’t successful as Caddis pounced.
It’s been such a roller coaster ride since August and the script couldn’t have been more perfect.
For Nikola Zigic to score in his last game for the club was unbelievable and Paul Caddis, you’ll never need to buy a pint in Birmingham again.
As always it was just a typical blues away day!
Birmingham City manager Lee Clark:
“It was unbelievable. I felt for my players, two down and staring down the barrel, because we were excellent all game.
“This is my biggest achievement in my career. Birmingham City is an unbelievable football club.
“We played with passion and heart. The players kept going. It was too important.
“I said to the players: ‘Let us use this as a learning curve.’ We have diced with death in sporting terms.”
Bolton boss Dougie Freedman:
“We felt we didn’t perform anywhere near where we have been in the first half, I didn’t think the energy wasn’t there.
“In the second half we got off and running, went a couple of goals up and we didn’t kill the game off. When you don’t kill the game off in this division you give the opposition confidence.
“Because of the occasion it feels like Birmingham have won the league. But we’ve dropped points in too many games at home this season.”
Starting line up: Randolph; Spector, Mullins, Robinson, Reilly (Macheda 60′); Caddis, Adeyemi, Huws (Hancox HT); Burke (Ibe 60′); Zigic, Novak
Subs not used: Doyle, Martin, Shinnie, Lovenkrands
Man of the match: The lot of them!