ZIG’S RED THE FI­NAL STRAW

BOLTON ..........3 BIRM­ING­HAM ..1

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Robert Do­man

AN­GRY Birm­ing­ham man­ager Lee Clark slammed his side’s worst per­for­mance of the sea­son af­ter they sur­ren­dered an early Nikola Zigic goal to slump to a first de­feat in four games at Bolton with the gi­ant Ser­bian’s dis­missal adding to the woe late on.

Wan­der­ers snared all three points courtesy of Mar­cos Alonso’s equaliser and a bril­liant in­di­vid­ual goal from Chung-Yong Lee which lit up the Ree­bok Sta­dium be­fore Keith An­drews added the third from the penalty spot.

And Clark pulled no punches af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle as he openly crit­i­cised the dis­play of his side while Bolton cel­e­brated a wel­come sev­enth win of the sea­son to sig­nal the end of a sorry af­ter­noon for City.

“I am fu­ri­ous with that per­for­mance,” Clark said.“It was the most se­nior team I have put out for a long time and our most in­ept dis­play so far.

“We al­lowed their cen­tral mid­field­ers to dic­tate the tempo of the game un­op­posed.

“We only tested their goal­keeper once in the sec­ond-half and that is frus­trat­ing.

“Nikola’s red card has left us with zero strik­ers for New Year’s Day and I am dis­ap­pointed be­cause he has been such a good ex­am­ple to the team.

“The team needs to de­liver. I love work­ing at this club and I want peo­ple to stand along­side me to im­prove it.

“It hurts to see us put in a per­for­mance like that but I know there are a fine crop of young­sters here who are ready to fight and I will put out 11 teenagers if I need to.”

Bolton’s Jay Spear­ing al­most scored a dra­matic tenth minute opener when his dip­ping 30-yard vol­ley shaved Jack But­land’s post.

But the hosts took the lead a minute later when Zigic bravely headed home a Chris Burke cross be­fore both he and Trot­ters de­fender Zat Knight left the field for treat­ment af­ter col­lid­ing.

Alonso equalised on 27 min­utes how­ever when he headed in from close range fol­low­ing a Ty­rone Mears ball in to the box and Wan­der­ers took the lead six min­utes later when Lee held his nerve to see off the at­ten­tion of Steven Cald­well be­fore round­ing But­land to pro­vide an em­phatic fin­ish from the nar­row­est of an­gles.

Kevin Davies’ shot was tipped away by But­land with half-time ap­proach­ing and Chris Ea­gles slid a shot wide mid­way through the sec­ond­half as Bolton dom­i­nated.

Alex Bogdan needed both hands to keep out Cal­lum Reilly’s goal-bound ef­fort af­ter the Birm­ing­ham mid­fielder tricked his way through the Trot­ters mid­field but An­drews ex­tended Bolton’s lead with a 79th minute spot-kick af­ter Cald­well han­dled the ball from An­drews’ own free-kick.

And the game ended on a sour note for the vis­i­tors with Zigic stupidly see­ing red late on af­ter re­ceiv­ing two yel­low cards within a minute for two un­nec­es­sary chal­lenges.

Trot­ters boss Dougie Freed­man said: “It was a good per­for­mance from us.

“We de­served to win and we had the courage to keep the ball mov­ing es­pe­cially af­ter go­ing a goal down in the game.

“We have played well in other games and prob­a­bly not got what we de­served but we put it all to­gether.

“We were strong on and off the ball and we played ex­cep­tion­ally well at times.

“De­fen­sively we looked solid but I think our per­for­mance in mid­field was key.

“We thought we could con­trol the game from there and we ex­ploited that op­por­tu­nity well.”

SPOT ON: Keith An­drews slots home Bolton’s third from the penalty spot

ALL SQUARE: Mar­cos Alonso heads in Bolton’s equaliser

PIC­TURES: TFLP Pho­tog­ra­pher

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