May 4, 2015 by bluenosebible
Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Birmingham City
Written by: Luke Turner
Gary Rowett and his side signed off the 2014/15 season with a third successive victory away to Bolton Wanderers. A 1-0 win at last season’s ‘great escape’ venue saw the team complete their tremendous rise up the table from 23rd to 10th in Rowett’s six months in charge.
Of course, this game had a lot to live up to after Paul Caddis popped up with a 93rd minute equaliser to save Blues from relegation to League One almost one year ago to the day. Thankfully this was a match the 3,600 travelling fans could enjoy and use the time to salute Rowett and his players. A few did this by sporting a v-neck jumper in honour of the former Blues right-back.
Although this was the final game of a long season and with both sides having little to play for, Blues still put in a professional performance and controlled large parts of the match.
Bolton had the first shot on target when Eidur Gudjohnsen’s free kick was gathered comfortably by Darren Randolph.
It was then on-loan Blues midfielder Robert Tesche’s turn to have an effort on goal as his shot from outside the area did little to trouble Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal.
Ex-Blues forward Emile Heskey lead the line alongside Adam Le Fondre for Bolton and it was the latter who picked out the former as Heskey saw his glancing header go inches wide of the post. Le Fondre was a threat throughout but the Blues rearguard stood firm to deny him any clear-cut opportunities.
A good bit of build up from Blues then saw left-back Jonathan Grounds try his luck but a right-footed effort curled just wide of post and bar.
The deadlock was broken three minutes before half time when Robert Tesche fired a low drive past Bogdan after the Bolton keeper could only parry Demarai Gray’s corner straight to the German.
Just after the interval, Bolton thought they had equalised when Gudjohnsen poked home only to be denied by the offside flag.
Lloyd Dyer and Demarai Gray were both dangerous on the Blues wings and Gray hit a powerful shot which went narrowly over after cutting inside the Bolton penalty area.
Gray then went on a tremendous solo run before cutting the ball back for Dyer who couldn’t sort his feet out after missing the opportunity to shoot first time.
Blues held on and were deserved winners as Gary Rowett’s team finished the season in the top ten. A remarkable turnaround from where the club were at in late October.
As for next season, there are a few contracts to be sorted out including the likes of Darren Randolph and Jonathan Spector. Rowett will also be keen to hold on to young talent Demarai Gray, although there may not be much he could do if Blues received the right offer for him.
Then there are the current loan players we have on board. I would certainly like to see Robert Tesche and Diego Fabbrini sign permanantly. Rob Kiernan would also be a good signing after impressing in some solid performances. Finally, Lloyd Dyer struggled to make such impact as the other three but has improved in the last few games so could be a decent squad player for next season.
Whether or not there is news regarding the ownership of the club over the summer will also determine what kind of players Rowett will be able to bring in. But, as it stands, it is likely that he will have to look for free agents and one or two loans as he looks to build a tight-knit squad for next season.
Bolton manager Neil Lennon: “Maybe it was symptomatic of our season – we showed a bit of promise but in the end fizzled out.
“We have a mountain of work to do in terms of where we want to take the club. We have known that all along.
“It was important to get over the line in terms of staying up. We looked okay in November and December, but the volumes of injuries after that hit us really hard.”
Birmingham manager Gary Rowett: “The players have got to be given great credit for the way they moved the ball and looked a very controlled team.
“The game suited us – Bolton tried to play through us because they have good technical players in the middle of the park.
“It was about blocking up that area, breaking wide and counter-attacking. With a bit more composure and better timing in the final third, we could have scored one or two more with our breakaways.”
Starting line up: Randolph; Caddis, Morrison, Spector, Grounds; Glesson, Tesche; Gray, Fabbrini (Davis 63′) ,Dyer; Donaldson (Thomas 67′)
Subs not used: Doyle, Robinson, Cotterill Arthur, Shinne