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.



News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?