Bolton 1-0 Birmingham: Trotters maintain unbeaten start
Bolton level with Sky Bet Championship leaders on 10 points after beating Birmingham
Last Updated: 23/08/18 9:22am
Will Buckley scored the winner as Bolton beat Birmingham 1-0 to move up to third in the Sky Bet Championship.
Wanderers, who only protected their second-tier status on the final day of last season, remain unbeaten, while Garry Monk's Birmingham have yet to win in four attempts.
But the visitors, who had won four of the five previous meetings against their hosts, deserved at least a point.
Birmingham created the better chances until Buckley scrambled in a cross from fellow substitute Sammy Ameobi with 17 minutes left.
Recent games between these sides have not produced many goals, and Bolton had not found the net against Blues since October 2014 in Neil Lennon's first match in charge.
So it was no surprise when they reached half-time deadlocked after a scoreless opening 45 minutes.
Birmingham, 1-0 winners last season at the University of Bolton Stadium, were the more adventurous side and most likely to strike first.
And they would have been in front after 22 minutes only for a flying, one-handed save by Ben Alnwick. Jota's left-foot effort from 25 yards deflected off the back of Andrew Taylor and was heading into the top corner, until Alnwick intervened.
Spaniard Jota was the main threat and he was denied again by Taylor's sliding tackle. Alnwick kept out Jacques Maghoma's header after 23 minutes, though in reality it was more for the cameras than anything else.
The closest Wanderers came in the first half was a toe poke by Yanic Wildschut after 25 minutes that was deflected away by the onrushing Lee Camp.
Jota and Birmingham picked up where they left off and fashioned another chance after only 45 seconds of the second half, as Jota's cross was turned wide by Maghoma.
Jota then picked out Omar Bogle, whose angled right-foot attempt was beaten away at his near post by the busy Alnwick.
Finally, Bolton mounted their own spell of pressure, albeit briefly with back-to-back corners. From the second one, taken by Erhun Oztumer, Jason Lowe came charging into the area, only for Camp to save his low left-foot drive.
Phil Parkinson's double substitution changed the course of the game, with Buckley and Ameobi replacing Craig Noone and Wildschut.
But before they worked in tandem for Wanderers' winner, Birmingham narrowly missed a goal their play and possession deserved.
This time, Maxime Colin was the provider with a driven cross that Bogle glanced wide with his head from inside the six-yard box.
Having rode their luck, Bolton struck the winner when Ameobi's cross was bundled in with Buckley taking credit for a scrambled goal from virtually on the line.
Phil Parkinson: "I am not bothered who scored but it is good for your strikers to get goals and he does get the last touch. It was important we got our first home win of the season.
"Birmingham are a good team, they are a physical side, very competitive. Last season we lost a tight game here 1-0 and tonight we have come out on the right side. We want to get better and improve in certain areas of the game. But the sheer determination of the group to get that win stood out like a beacon."
Garry Monk: "I feel so aggrieved for my players. That decision for Bolton's goal from the referee is incredible. It was unbelievably blatant. I am astounded. But I saw it coming.
"I said it after two minutes to the fourth official that he (Probert) was going to cost us and ultimately he cost us. I just hoped we could have taken our chances to make sure something like that wouldn't happen."