FULL TIME: Bolton Wanderers 2 Birmingham City 2
Updated 3:34pm Saturday 3rd May 2014 in Sport
PAUL Caddis’ header three minutes into injury time saved Birmingham City from relegation in a thrilling finale at the Reebok.
Chung-Yong Lee and Lukas Jutkiewicz had seemingly condemned the Blues to the drop.
Nikola Zigic brought Lee Clark’s men back into the game with 12 minutes to play before Caddis forced home an equaliser in the 93rd minute, meaning Doncaster Rovers would be relegated to League One.
The first half was a bit of a non-event, with Birmingham making most of the running.
Chris Burke was a constant menace on the visitors’ right as the Blues tried desperately to manufacture a goal to release some of the pressure.
The nearest they came was a Lee Novak effort from the edge of the box that had Andy Lonergan – in for the injured Adam Bogdan – at full stretch.
Novak also came close to getting a touch on Paul Caddis’s driven cross early on but in the main it was nervous football from the visitors.
Wanderers barely got out of first gear, their one decent opportunity coming when Chung-Yong Lee stepped inside a challenge from Jonathon Spector and drove a shot narrowly over the bar.
The game turned on its head just before the hour mark when ex-Whites defender Paul Robinson conceded a free-kick just outside the box. Hall’s free-kick took a fortuitous touch off David Wheater before being drilled into the bottom corner by Chung-Yong.
Moments later, the Blues should have been level. Jordan Ibe beat Ream to put a dangerous low cross in for fellow sub Federico Macheda – but the on-loan Manchester United striker skewed his shot inexplicably wide.
Ibe then brought a fine save out of Lonergan with a powerfully-struck free kick as the pressure was turned up full.
Word that Leicester had gone into the lead at Doncaster started to filter through to the away end, leading fans to start chanting “we only need one goal.”
Almost instantly, Jutkiewicz collected Chung-Yong’s slide-rule pass in the left channel and drove a shot through keeper Darren Randolph at his near post.
It was a shocking moment for the Birmingham fans – but the drama wasn’t over yet.
Two minutes later, Birmingham halved the deficit – Nikola Zigic heading Caddis’s cross past Lonergan to inspire one final push from his side.
Dougie Freedman threw Zat Knight on for Chung-Yong to add some extra defensive stability in what is likely to be his last appearance for the club.
Three minutes from time Randolph made amends for his error by making a vital save from Jutkiewicz , who had been played in on goal by sub Andy Kellett.
And the youngster’s pace created another chance on the break for Danns a few minutes into injury time, wasted by ex-Blues midfielder.
Then came the moment Birmingham’s fans had been waiting for – Wanderers couldn’t clear a cross from the right and after Tim Ream had cleared Zigic’s header off the line, Caddis headed home from close range to send the travelling fans into delirium.
There were still some nervous moments to negotiate as Wanderers continued to hunt for another goal – but as referee Iain Williamson brought play to an end, it was Doncaster’s time in the Championship that was brought to an end.