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Sunday, 2 February, 2003, 11:35 GMT
Allardyce praises forwards
Bolton goalscorers Youri Djorkaeff (left) and Delroy Facey
Bolton left it late to secure the three points
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce paid tribute to his forwards after seeing his side end a bad week on a high by securing a 4-2 victory over Birmingham.

The Trotters moved four points away from the relegation zone with a battling victory at the Reebok.

It came at the end of a week when they lost at home to Everton and saw star striker Michael Ricketts leave the club in a 3.5m move to Middlesbrough.

With new forwards Salva Ballesta and Pierre-Yves Andre watching on from the stands, the Trotters found their shooting boots against Steve Bruce's side.

We made elementary mistakes in what was a big game for both sides

Steve Bruce

"It was a magnificent victory and it gives me a lot of pleasure especially after the way we have been beaten by Everton in midweek," he said.

"We found some quality finishing, which has been lacking since Boxing Day when we also got four goals against Newcastle.

"We started with a 4-4-2 system for the first time this season and it gave the lads a bit more freedom to express themselves.

"I am going to have a nice cold beer to celebrate."

It was only the third league win on home soil this season for Bolton and takes them to within two points of Birmingham.

"There was distance between ourselves and Birmingham before the start of the game but now we have exerted pressure on them," Allardyce added.

Henrik Pedersen of Bolton (right) takes on Kenny Cunningham
Pedersen (right) got the second for Bolton

"Hopefully we can drag them into the bottom four but we have got to keep our feet on the ground and continue to work hard."

Birmingham boss Bruce slated his side after they gave away two late goals after having twice fought back from behind.

"It was self-inflicted," he said. "You can't legislate for some of the things that happened.

"We made elementary mistakes in what was a big game for both sides.

"You can't give away goals like that and we shot ourselves in the foot. We went into half-time the better side and I honestly thought we would go on and win it."

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