Birmingham City 1 Bolton Wanderers 0: The Kapo fits as Birmingham pile pressure on Lee
Sunday 16 September 2007
Bolton's new manager, Sammy Lee, is one of life's indefatigable characters, but even he was downhearted yesterday after his side had succumbed to their fifth Premier League defeat in the opening six matches with a performance which he felt had virtually no redeeming features. To make the occasion even worse, a number of visiting fans presented their manager with that ominous choral tribute: "You don't know what you're doing."
Lee, an accomplished coach, certainly knows what he is trying to do, but another hyperactive afternoon on the edge of his managerial area failed to spark a suitable response from a team who continue to be less than the sum of their parts. Already last season's European ambitions are being replaced with the target of survival; already, Lee is talking about "working hard together to turn things around".
Although there was only Olivier Kapo's 37th-minute goal – created by the man of the match, Sebastian Larsson – dividing the sides, in terms of commitment the gap was huge, as Lee swiftly acknowledged. "That was one of the most disappointing games we've played," he said. "Usually we are able to take something positive from games, but today it was not just the result that disappointed, it was our performance. We didn't even compete."
Steve Bruce, by contrast, was beaming after his players responded following their dismal capitulation to Middlesbrough in their previous match. "We were the better team and we got what we deserved," he said.
Larsson was central to the home side's fortunes throughout. After four minutes he fired in a goalbound shot that rocketed away off the unwitting back of Abdoulaye Meite, and four minutes later another telling incursion took him to the six-yard box only for a desperate, but legal, challenge from behind by JLloyd Samuel preventing him striking his shot cleanly.
Soon, however, the pace and guile of El-Hadji Diouf – perhaps the one bright element for Bolton on the day – began to expose failings at the other end, and in the 24th minute he outsmarted Stephen Kelly and sent Samuel in for a fierce shot that Maik Taylor did well to block. A minute later Bolton failed to take an even clearer chance as an unmarked Andy O'Brien headed over.
A severe crocking from the fearsome Bolton captain, Kevin Nolan, put Larsson briefly out of commission, but upon his return he created the decisive goal for Birmingham with a sweetly flighted cross behind the defence that was turned over the line by Kapo's outstretched leg.
In the second half the tone of the match took a downturn as Liam Ridgewell went into the book for tripping Diouf, to be followed by Gary Speed. Just after the hour, however, football returned to the agenda as Larsson forced Jussi Jaaskelainen to beat away another angled drive, and then Daniel Braaten, having played a sweet one-two with Diouf, saw his final shot deflected by Kelly's intervention.
A trip on the edge of the box on Jerome earned O'Brien a booking and Larsson a chance to drive in a free-kick which hit the bar.Five minutes later, a Larsson cross found Johan Djourou, whose header was cleared off the line. Bolton were being run ragged. Apparently, Nicolas Anelka was playing for them.
Latest in Sport
Andy Murray tells how coach Amélie Mauresmo revealed her pregnancy
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Everton 3 Manchester United 0 player ratings: Who scored lower - Marouane Fellaini or Radamel Falcao?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove