Davies dreams of rolling back the Wembley years

Birmingham City 2 Bolton 3

Your starter for 10: which Premier League chairman has been to the "new" Wembley dozens of times and never seen his club win? Phil Gartside, of Bolton, was the answer to his own quiz question after a Kevin Davies-inspired win in a thriller at Birmingham earned a semi-final date at the stadium.

Gartside was at the Bolton helm when Aston Villa beat them on penalties at the "old" Wembley at the last-four stage in 2000. But the 69-year-old's "great memories" of the venue are nothing to do with that visit, or even when they last won the FA Cup, the 1958 defeat of Manchester United led by Davies' predecessor as captain and centre-forward, Nat Lofthouse.

"I'm an executive director of Wembley and I've gone down to the board meetings once a month for six years," said Gartside. "Every time I've travelled, I've dreamt of going with Bolton. I think it makes sense to have the semis there because it gives more people a chance to enjoy the place, more players the opportunity to play there."

Few deserve it more than the 33-year-old Davies. In 1997 he was playing for Chesterfield, from the third tier, when referee David Elleray failed to spot a shot had crossed Middlesbrough's line in an Old Trafford semi-final. "To be 2-0 up, and it should have been 3-1, and then to score in the last minute to force a replay ... It still hurts because we deserved to reach the final but it didn't happen. How long do you dwell on it?"

In Davies' case, you just start all over again each January. "As an Englishman, you pretend you're lifting that trophy, and it's no different now, even at my age. Every year those memories come back and I have Chesterfield fans getting in touch on Twitter, saying 'Good luck'." He might have made it in 2003, but after playing in the first four rounds for Southampton, he was dropped by Gordon Strachan. "I scored a late goal to keep them in the Cup against Millwall and they went on from there. I played my part in that run yet missed out on the final. As a manager, you have to make those decisions."

If Davies is looking for a talisman, Owen Coyle may just be the man. By contrast with Gartside the Bolton manager has never seen his team lose at Wembley, having scored when the club won an epic play-off against Reading and prevailed as Burnley manager. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Coyle resisted the idea that the Cup requires a make-over. "Does it need rethinking? Not for me," he said. "As a player I loved the FA Cup and you've seen what Crawley Town and Leyton Orient have done this year. I'm not just saying it because we're in the semi-final. I've said consistently that this is the best national cup competition in world football."

The end-to-end fare served up by his own players and an injury-ravaged but ever-positive Birmingham was proof, argued Coyle, of the Cup's enduring excellence. "When you get that kind of game, and the atmosphere the fans created, that's why English football is the best. On a difficult pitch we've seen heart, commitment and some great goals. Kevin Phillips' was exquisite."

Phillips struck, untypically, from long range, hauling Alex McLeish's side level a second time after Johan Elmander and Davies, from a penalty he earned himself, scored either side of Cameron Jerome's first equaliser. But Davies, rising Lofthouse-like to power the ball into the six-yard area for the live-wire substitute Lee Chung-yong to head home, made sure Bolton had the final, or at least semi-final, word.

Scorers: Birmingham Jerome 38, Phillips 80. Bolton Elmander 21, K Davies (pen) 66, Lee 90.

Subs: Birmingham Ridgewell 6 (Jiranek, 28), Redmond 6 (Ferguson, 29), Derbyshire (Murphy, 83). Bolton Lee 7 (Klasnic, 61), M Davies 6 (Muamba, 61), Taylor (M Petrov, 90).

Booked: Bolton Steinsson, K Davies.

Man of the match K Davies. Match rating 8/10.

Possession Birmingham 55% Bolton 45%.

Attempts on target Birmingham 6 Bolton 6.

Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire). Att 23,699.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it