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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam