FULL TIME: Wanderers 3 Birmingham City 1

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

WANDERERS waved goodbye to a dreadful year with a victory that raises hope for 2013.

After back-to-back defeats against Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday, Dougie Freedman's side were in desperate need of a pick me up in front of their own fans.

Things certainly didn't get off to a great start when Nikola Zigic headed home early on, but when Marcos Alonso equalised, there was only ever going to be one winner.

Chung-Yong Lee produced a fine second, running on to a through ball from Kevin Davies, and Keith Andrews settled the game from the penalty spot midway through the second half.

It was a performance that left the fans cheering every touch towards the end, when Birmingham's frustrations showed with a late card for goalscorer Zigic.

Wanderers were caught by the classic sucker punch just 11 minutes in, as Jay Spearing dipped an early half volley inches wide of Jack Butland's post just moments before the Blues opened the scoring.

Quick as a flash, Chris Burke was set free on the right and he was given ample space to swing a cross in to the lofty frame of Nikola Zigic to head home at the far post.

Those familiar grumbles started to surface around the Reebok, although a clever passage of play between Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles – the latter skimming a shot right along the goal line – livened things up a little.

Just as the atmosphere looked to be getting the better of the Whites, Marcos Alonso popped up with a well-timed run to get his head to Tyrone Mears' left-footed cross and send the ball flying past Butland for the equaliser.

Visibly lifted, the fans didn't have long to wait to celebrate again. Seven minutes later, Alonso combined with Davies to set Chung-Yong scampering in on goal, the Korean beating Stephen Caldwell for pace before dancing around Butland and stroking the ball into the unguarded net.

Skipper Davies, back from suspension, was clearly enjoying his return to the action and came close to a third just before the break with an angled shot pushed athletically away by Butland.

The good work continued into the second half with the more enterprising football definitely coming from the home side.

Eagles had a handful of pot shots and Chung-Yong blasted one angled effort just over – but there were warning signs that Birmingham were not a spent force too.

Bogdan was forced into action by Burke and then pushed away a bouncing shot from Robbie Hall as Lee Clark's side tried to work an opening back into the match.

But Birmingham shot themselves in the foot when Caldwell cynically tripped Eagles and then from Andrews' free-kick, the centre-half handled the ball as he jumped with Davies to give Wanderers a penalty.

Andrews made it three from three in the last few weeks with a shot into the top corner to give his side a comfortable two-goal cushion and ease any fears that the Blues may be creeping back into the game.

Any remaining hope was removed by Zigic, who just seconds after standing needlessly in the way of Bogdan's kick, barged into Ream to leave ref Simon Hooper little option but to produce the red card.

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