On a bitterly cold night at The County Ground, it was Birmingham U23’s who secured an impressive victory, thanks to two late goals.
The visitors had the first opportunity of the match on six minutes. The Blues pacey winger, Josh Andrews, managed to work his way to the byline and looked to be brought down by Bolton’s tall centre-half Yoan Zouma. However, despite the claims for a penalty, the referee waved away and play continued.
Bolton then had the majority of opportunities in the opening 45 minutes from there are in. Joe Muscat’s effort from just outside the area was charged down by a staunch Birmingham defence on the 13 minute mark.
The opportunity of the half fell to Bolton’s number ten, Erhun Oztumer. The Turkish playmaker weaved his way through the Blues defence with five minutes of the first half remaining. After a nice one-two pass with a fellow teammate, Oztumer took a first-time shot from 25 yards out, but it was just wide of the Birmingham goal.
The second half began and it was all Birmingham from there on in.
The blues number ten, Kyle McFarlane, had two efforts in the opening ten minutes, but both whistled wide of Remi Matthews far post.
Birmingham took the game to Bolton in the second half, and any signs of tired legs from the visitors were absent, as two late quick-fire goals secured all three points.
A fantastic counter-attacking move down the right hand side left all the Bolton players behind. Jude Bellingham found some space on the edge of the area and turned to shoot into the far corner. The ball went straight past Remi Matthews and rippled the net to give Birmingham a deserved lead.
Then, three minutes later on the 90 minute mark, they secured the win.
The impressive Ryan Stirk picked up the ball on the edge of the area and unleashed a great shot from 25 yards to seal the victory at the death.
BOLTON WANDERERS U23 XI: Matthews, Little, Grounds, Zouma, Broughton, Earing, Pritchard, Muscatt, Duke-McKenna, Oztumer, Navarro
SUBS: Johnson, Aspinall, Argent-Barnes, Darcy, Brown
BIRMINGHAM CITY U23 XI: Luyambula, Bajrami, Redmond, Martin, Burke, McCoy, McGlip, Stirk, Hurst, McFarlane, Andrews
SUBS: Bradley-Hurst, Baker, Forrest, Bellingham