Klasnic strike enough to sink Birmingham
Bolton Wanderers 2 Birmingham City 1
Monday 10 May 2010
Birmingham, despite losing to goals from Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic, celebrated their best league finish since 1959; for Bolton, the summer holds the prospect of looking forward to a tenth consecutive season of Premier League football. By such standards are campaigns viewed a success for many outside the division's elite.
Security long since assured, the fact this was just about as low-key as any fixture on the day's card should not have come as too much of a surprise and led to each side throwing caution to the wind to a large extent. In the case of Bolton, that led to Davies slipping his marker to meet Paul Robinson's left-wing free-kick with a header, seven yards out, which gave Joe Hart no chance. The home team's lead was doubled just before the hour as the latest in a series of clever passes from Jack Wilshere played in Vladimir Weiss who, with the aid of some terrible defending, squared for Klasnic to score. The visitors fought back through lively substitute Christian Benitez who was awarded a 75th-minute penalty after a minor entanglement with Zat Knight. After Benitez's kick was well saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen – who then blocked Lee Bowyer's follow-up attempt – James McFadden eventually scrambled the ball home at the far post.
The fact it had taken Birmingham three attempts to score from the penalty summed up their problems on the day, if not the season as a whole. Alex McLeish's side might have been on their way to making mathematically certain of ninth place inside the opening 90 seconds when a good run from Cameron Jerome climaxed in an intelligent pass back across the area, which Bowyer completely mis-hit.
Hart, one of the big success stories among many at St Andrew's this season, saved superbly from Matt Taylor, but Jerome, twice, and Bowyer were again guilty of poor misses from promising situations.
City's frustrations might have worsened considerably before the interval after Wilshere's shot appeared to hit the arm of Liam Ridgewell in the area and, after no penalty had been awarded Taylor again missed woefully. The introduction of Benitez, however, added mobility and urgency to the attack and the Ecuador international glanced wide moments before winning the penalty that brought down the curtain on a season to remember for Birmingham.
Bolton (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson; Weiss (Chung-Yong, 66), Muamba, Wilshere, Taylor; K Davies, Klasnic. Substitutes not used: Samuel, Gardner, M Davies, Ricketts, Al Habsi.
Birmingham (4-4-2): Hart; Carr, Johnson, Ridgewell, Vignal; Larsson (Benitez, 66), Ferguson, Bowyer, McFadden; Jerome, Michel (Fahey 75). Substitutes not used: Taylor, Murphy, Fahey, Parnaby, Carsley, Mutch.
Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).
Booked: Bolton Klasnic; Birmingham Ridgewell, McFadden, Johnson.
Man of the match: Weiss.
Despite conceding twice, Joe Hart will not have done his World Cup chances any harm as the 23-year-old keeper was let down by his defence for both goals and saved superbly, early, from Matt Taylor. Bolton defender Gary Cahill put in a solid display but did allow Cameron Jerome a lot of space at times which a better opponent would have exploited.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United transfer news: Javier Hernandez close to exit as Atletico Madrid admit interested
Manchester United transfer news: Mats Hummels, Thomas Vermaelen and Daley Blind on radar as Louis van Gaal reveals he still wants to sign defender
Scottie dogs in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony 'disrespectful to Muslims', say Malaysian politicians
Divock Origi joins Liverpool before immediately being loaned back to Lille
Seydou Keita refuses Pepe handshake before throwing water bottle prior to Roma vs Real Madrid match
- 1 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 HSBC closes bank accounts belonging to Muslim clients in the UK
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us