Championship
Bolton2Birmingham2

Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Birmingham City

Paul Caddis celebrates after scoring Birmingham's crucial late equaliser

Paul Caddis's 93rd-minute equaliser saw Birmingham escape relegation to League One in dramatic style.

The Blues needed a draw at Bolton to stay up but looked doomed when they trailed 2-0 to goals by Lee Chung-yong and Lukas Jutkiewicz.

But Nikola Zigic gave Lee Clark's side hope when he pulled a goal back with a header with 12 minutes to go.

And a desperate finish saw Caddis force the ball home in stoppage time to send Doncaster down instead.

Birmingham, relegated from the Premier League in 2011 just months after winning the League Cup, had seemed set to return to the third tier for the first time in 20 years.

They had begun the day in the bottom three and were always relying on results elsewhere to give them a chance of staying up - with their biggest hope being that Doncaster would lose at Leicester, meaning a point would be enough.

Helped by the vocal support of 3,500 travelling fans, they tried to take the game to their hosts but struggled to create chances in the first half.

Birmingham fans endured an anxious afternoon before seeing their side secure their Championship survival
Birmingham fans endured an anxious afternoon before seeing their side stay up

Lee Novak saw two shots saved in quick succession by Andy Lonergan, but otherwise the Bolton keeper was largely untroubled.

Bolton also created little in a cagey first period but they took the lead after 57 minutes when David Wheater met a free-kick and Lee rifled an angled finish past Darren Randolph.

News that Doncaster had gone behind at Leicester brought hope - and cheers - from the travelling Blues fans but that was followed by despair when Jutkiewicz's shot squeezed past Randolph at his near post.

Dougie Freedman

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Post Match: Bolton Manager Dougie Freedman on draw

Birmingham were far from finished, however, and when Zigic headed home a Mitch Hancox cross it meant that, with Doncaster still trailing, Clark's side were again just one goal from safety.

The final few minutes of the 90 were agony for the away fans to watch, as Birmingham poured forward but could not find a way through Bolton's defence.

When six minutes of stoppage time were signalled, however, the Blues still had a chance and Caddis, who joined from Swindon earlier this season, emerged as their hero.

He was in the right place to nod home from close range after Zigic saw his header cleared off the line by Tim Ream, and wheeled away in delight to celebrate with his team-mates.

Blues manager Clark and his backroom staff dashed down the touchline to join them, and the final whistle brought more scenes of celebration - and relief - from the Blues' supporters.

Birmingham City manager Lee Clark and his bench celebrate clinching Championship survival
Birmingham City manager Lee Clark and his bench celebrate securing Championship survival

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."

Line-ups

Bolton

  • 24Lonergan
  • 41Threlkeld
  • 5Ream
  • 6Spearing
  • 4MillsBooked at 70mins
  • 31WheaterBooked at 61mins
  • 27Lee Chung-yongSubstituted forKnightat 81'minutes
  • 17Trotter
  • 10BeckfordSubstituted forKellettat 86'minutes
  • 18Danns
  • 11HallSubstituted forJutkiewiczat 61'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12Knight
  • 29Jutkiewicz
  • 30Robinson
  • 37Lee-Barrett
  • 43Kellett
  • 45Youngs
  • 46Iliev

Birmingham

  • 1Randolph
  • 23Spector
  • 17ReillySubstituted forMachedaat 60'minutes
  • 36HuwsSubstituted forHancoxat 45'minutes
  • 38Mullins
  • 4RobinsonBooked at 56mins
  • 7C BurkeSubstituted forIbeat 60'minutes
  • 24Adeyemi
  • 19ZigicBooked at 90mins
  • 31CaddisBooked at 90mins
  • 12NovakBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 6Martin
  • 8Ibe
  • 9Macheda
  • 11Lovenkrands
  • 13Doyle
  • 18Hancox
  • 22Shinnie
Referee:
Iain Williamson
Attendance:
19,558

Match Stats

Home TeamBoltonAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home13
Away24
Shots on Target
Home4
Away9
Corners
Home2
Away11
Fouls
Home14
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Bolton Wanderers 2, Birmingham City 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Bolton Wanderers 2, Birmingham City 2.
Corner, Bolton Wanderers. Conceded by Jonathan Spector.
Attempt blocked. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Bolton Wanderers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Neil Danns.

Booking

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal!

Goal! Bolton Wanderers 2, Birmingham City 2. Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) header from very close range to the top right corner.
Attempt blocked. Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Federico Macheda with a headed pass.
Attempt blocked. Jordon Ibe (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lee Novak with a cross.
Attempt missed. Neil Danns (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Andy Kellett following a fast break.
Hand ball by Liam Trotter (Bolton Wanderers).
Attempt blocked. Jay Spearing (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Federico Macheda (Birmingham City).
Andy Kellett (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Jay Spearing (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Zat Knight with a headed pass.
Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Bolton Wanderers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andy Kellett.
Attempt blocked. Tom Adeyemi (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Substitution

Substitution, Bolton Wanderers. Andy Kellett replaces Jermaine Beckford.
Attempt missed. Paul Robinson (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jordon Ibe with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Tim Ream.
Attempt saved. Tom Adeyemi (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lee Novak.
goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Leicester46319640102
2Burnley46261553593
3Derby462510113285
4QPR462311121680
5Wigan462110151373
6Brighton461915121572
7Reading461914131471
8Blackburn46181612870
9Ipswich46181414668
10Bournemouth46181216166
11Nottm Forest46161713365
12Middlesbrough461616141264
13Watford461515161060
14Bolton46141715-159
15Leeds4616921-857
16Sheff Wed46131419-253
17Huddersfield46141121-753
18Charlton46131221-2051
19Millwall46111520-2848
20Blackpool46111322-2846
21Birmingham46111124-1644
22Doncaster46111124-3144
23Barnsley4691225-3339
24Yeovil4681325-3137
View full Championship table

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