Blues ease drop fears with Trotters success

Updated: 03 April 2011 13:04 IST

Goals from Kevin Phillips and Craig Gardener eased Birmingham's relegation fears as they moved out of the Premier League drop zone with a crucial 2-1 win over Bolton at St Andrew's on Saturday.

Blues ease drop fears with Trotters success

Birmingham:

Goals from Kevin Phillips and Craig Gardener eased Birmingham's relegation fears as they moved out of the Premier League drop zone with a crucial 2-1 win over Bolton at St Andrew's on Saturday.

Veteran Phillips opened the scoring after just four minutes with Gardener adding the second after 58 minutes at the Reebok Stadium to get Alex McLeish's side back to winning ways for the first time since February's League Cup victory over Arsenal in Wembley.

The hosts proved more than a handful for FA Cup semi-finalists Bolton, who had gone into the game on a high after knocking their rivals out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage just three weeks ago.

The Trotters had also won four of their previous five games against Birmingham.

Birmingham were also boosted by the return of top scorer Nikola Zigic, who came on as a late substitute, and Lee Bowyer, after the pair returned from groin and hamstring injuries respectively.

And the Blues got off to a battling start with veteran striker Phillips opening just four minutes into the game, lashing in from 16 yards after a corner from Sebastian Larsson, to pick up their 100th Premier League goal under McLeish.

Gardener missed the opportunity to increase their advantage just before the break as Bolton goalie Jussi Jaaskelainen held firm to keep the header at bay.

After the break Birmingham pushed forward, with Swede Sebastien Larsson having his effort ruled as offside, before Gardener added to their tally with a strike which went in off the far post.

Bolton had few chances early apart from those created by Daniel Sturridge, but the visitors fought back late to grab one back after 70 minutes through a volley from Swedish international striker Johan Elmander.

McLeish brought on giant Serb striker Zigic after 76 minutes.

Gretar Steinsson missed the chance to equalise in the dying minutes of the game as his powerful header was pushed clear by Ben Foster, with the Birmingham defense doing well to withstand the late pressure.

The win ensures the Blues move two points clear of the relegation zone as Owen Coyle's slim hopes of European football next season dwindled even further as Bolton dropped to eighth, just eight points clear of the drop.

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