Birmingham have struggled to score goals this season, James McFadden's penalty in the 1-0 win over Portsmouth their only strike at home, so when the breakthrough went to the away side the groans around St Andrews were no surprise.
And when the opener came, it was the product of a classic Bolton set-piece.
A long throw from Ricketts found Kevin Davies on the front post and the Bolton captain flicked on to provide a free header for Israeli international Cohen who looped the ball beyond Joe Hart for his third goal of the season.
Birmingham pushed forward looking for the equaliser but, with England boss Fabio Capello looking on, World Cup hopeful Gary Cahill added to his growing reputation winning every aerial battle.
Megson pleased with 'top-class' Bolton
Birmingham started the game with only Christian Benitez up front to the chagrin of Blues fans who made their feeling known with a chant of: "four, four, two" as the game ebbed away from their side.
Despite having the lion's share of possession the home side had to wait until the 32nd minute to fashion a first clear chance.
Gregory Vignal's deep cross found Teemu Tainio but his fiercely struck volley flew wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen's right post.
Blues continued to hurl balls into the Bolton penalty area and when Vignal whipped in a cross which appeared to ricochet off the hand of Cahill the Birmingham protests were vociferous, but referee Steve Bennett was well positioned and waved play on.
With Jaaskelainen as yet untested Keith Fahey found space just inside the area and rattled the crossbar with a vicious drive, and the chances continued to flow with a mis-kick by Fabrice Muamba falling to Barry Ferguson who drove wide.
McLeish exasperated after Blues defeat
The home side struggled to find the killer touch in front of goal and McLeish threw on Garry O'Connor who came off the bench to grab the winner against Hull last week.
But as time ticked away Birmingham's efforts to push forward and find an equaliser left gaps in defence and Bolton almost doubled the lead in a rare foray forward.
Lee found space on the counter-attack and dribbled around Hart but he somehow missed the target with the goal at his mercy, however, the South Korean was to have a greater part to play.
McLeish opted to go for broke as he replaced defender Vignal with striker Phillips with 15 minutes to go.
And it was Phillips who finally levelled for Birmingham as a delicate one-two with Benitez gave the Englishman a yard to despatch his effort into the corner.
Two minutes later, just when it looked like Birmingham had rescued a deserved point, Bolton hit back.
Matthew Taylor's free kick crashed on to the post before substitute Lee picked up the lose ball and tapped home the winner.
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish:
"After we had equalised I don't know if the players thought that the game was over. It looked like they were in a trance for a couple of minutes.
"It was poor defending for their winner and was another harsh lesson of what can happen in the Premier League.
"We also lost the first goal to a set-piece, the sort of thing we practice on the training ground to make sure it doesn't happen. But we were punished again."
Bolton manager Gary Megson on goal scorer Chung-Yong Lee:
"It was a quality piece of finishing. If he had struck his shot first time I am sure it would have been blocked by the keeper.
"But he had the composure not to panic. It was a terrific finish and it was fortunate for us that the opportunity fell to him.
"He is doing well. He actually turned the game for us against West Ham in midweek and we know what we are getting from him.
"We sometimes struggle with his Korean accent but as a player he is getting stronger and better."
"I think we deserved it today. I was disappointed we didn't finish the game off when 1-0 ahead. We sat too deep."
90:00+3:25 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+2:31 Lee Bowyer concedes a free kick for a foul on Gavin McCann. Direct free kick taken by Gavin McCann.
90:00+1:53 Keith Fahey concedes a free kick for a foul on Chung-Yong Lee. Gavin McCann takes the direct free kick.
90:00+0:23 Tamir Cohen produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
89:51 Centre by Keith Fahey, clearance by Chung-Yong Lee.
89:16 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sebastian Larsson by Jlloyd Samuel. Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball from the
free kick right-footed from right wing, clearance made by Gary Cahill.
89:07 Centre by Roger Johnson, clearance by Zat Knight.
85:11 Assist on the goal came from Matthew Taylor.
85:11 GOAL - Chung-Yong Lee:Birmingham 1 - 2 Bolton A goal is scored by Chung-Yong Lee from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Birmingham 1-2 Bolton.
84:09 Scott Dann challenges Kevin Davies unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in
from Matthew Taylor,
83:18 The assist for the goal came from Christian Benitez.
83:18 GOAL - Kevin Phillips:Birmingham 1 - 1 Bolton Kevin Phillips scores a goal from outside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Birmingham 1-1 Bolton.
82:48 Jlloyd Samuel produces a cross, save made by Joe Hart.
81:41 The referee blows for offside. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the free kick.
80:37 The ball is swung over by Matthew Taylor, save made by Joe Hart.
80:17 Corner taken by Matthew Taylor, save by Joe Hart. The ball is crossed by Matthew Taylor, Barry Ferguson makes a clearance.
79:51 Foul by Christian Benitez on Tamir Cohen, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Chung-Yong Lee.
79:30 Gavin McCann takes a shot. Barry Ferguson gets a block in.
78:32 Free kick crossed right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Tamir Cohen.
78:32 Booking Jlloyd Samuel is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
78:26 Jlloyd Samuel challenges Kevin Phillips unfairly and gives away a free kick.
77:56 The ball is swung over by Samuel Ricketts, Joe Hart makes a save.
76:35 Roger Johnson has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.
76:29 The ball is delivered by Keith Fahey, Zat Knight manages to make a clearance.
75:30 Corner from the left by-line taken by Sebastian Larsson, Jlloyd Samuel manages to make a clearance.
75:30 Substitution Gregory Vignal goes off and Kevin Phillips comes on.
74:06 Booking Stephen Carr goes into the book.
72:56 Free kick awarded for a foul by Tamir Cohen on Lee Bowyer. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
72:47 Centre by Chung-Yong Lee, Roger Johnson makes a clearance.
72:09 Gregory Vignal is penalised for a handball. Direct free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
71:41 Centre by Stephen Carr.
71:24 Unfair challenge on Garry O'Connor by Fabrice Muamba results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Sebastian Larsson.
70:07 Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
70:07 Substitution Gavin McCann on for Ricardo Gardner.
70:07 Barry Ferguson is ruled offside.
68:15 The ball is delivered by Gregory Vignal, clearance made by Jlloyd Samuel.
65:44 Corner taken by Keith Fahey played to the near post, Chung-Yong Lee makes a clearance.
65:36 The ball is delivered by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Samuel Ricketts.
64:49 Keith Fahey produces a cross, save by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
64:07 A cross is delivered by Sebastian Larsson.
63:24 Booking Roger Johnson is booked.
62:54 Scott Dann produces a cross.
62:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Christian Benitez by Zat Knight. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Sebastian
Larsson from left wing.
61:17 Foul by Gregory Vignal on Chung-Yong Lee, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Taylor.
60:50 Substitution (Birmingham) makes a substitution, with Garry O'Connor coming on for Teemu Tainio.
60:17 Shot from close range by Chung-Yong Lee misses to the right of the goal.
59:45 Matthew Taylor takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.
58:38 Shot from just outside the box by Lee Bowyer goes over the bar.
57:32 The assistant referee flags for offside against Christian Benitez. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the free kick.
56:48 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Keith Fahey by Samuel Ricketts. Gregory Vignal takes the free kick.
56:03 Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, Unfair challenge on Gary Cahill by Scott Dann results in a free kick. Jussi
Jaaskelainen takes the direct free kick.
55:39 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Gary Cahill.
53:12 Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
53:12 Substitution Ivan Klasnic goes off and Chung-Yong Lee comes on.
53:12 Samuel Ricketts gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Keith Fahey.
52:58 The ball is swung over by Jlloyd Samuel.
52:38 Foul by Kevin Davies on Gregory Vignal, free kick awarded. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
51:08 Centre by Gregory Vignal, Fabrice Muamba makes a clearance.
49:59 Sebastian Larsson takes a shot. Save by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
46:59 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Taylor.
46:46 Ivan Klasnic takes a shot. Barry Ferguson gets a block in.
45:51 Christian Benitez takes a shot. Save by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
45:25 The ball is sent over by Gregory Vignal, clearance made by Gary Cahill.
45:21 Keith Fahey delivers the ball, Gary Cahill makes a clearance.
45:01 The second half kicks off.
45:00+2:18 The referee calls an end to the first half.
45:00+2:00 Ivan Klasnic is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Joe Hart.
45:00+1:31 Samuel Ricketts crosses the ball, Joe Hart makes a save.
45:00+0:30 Kevin Davies challenges Gregory Vignal unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Scott Dann.
43:49 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Barry Ferguson by Kevin Davies. Joe Hart takes the free kick.
43:10 Barry Ferguson has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
42:10 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Taylor from the right by-line, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
42:05 The ball is sent over by Samuel Ricketts, Teemu Tainio makes a clearance.
40:51 Kevin Davies is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Stephen Carr takes the free kick.
39:21 Unfair challenge on Roger Johnson by Kevin Davies results in a free kick. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
39:01 Shot from just outside the area by Teemu Tainio goes over the bar.
38:31 Keith Fahey takes a shot.
38:10 Free kick awarded for a foul by Fabrice Muamba on Lee Bowyer. Sebastian Larsson takes the direct free kick.
37:33 Stephen Carr sends in a cross, Zat Knight makes a clearance.
36:53 Christian Benitez is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
36:32 Teemu Tainio crosses the ball, Christian Benitez takes a shot. Gary Cahill gets a block in.
35:38 Sebastian Larsson sends in a cross.
35:09 Sebastian Larsson fouled by Ricardo Gardner, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Roger Johnson.
34:18 Outswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson from the right by-line, clearance made by Gary Cahill.
Correction - 33:38 Sebastian Larsson takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Matthew Taylor.
33:38 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the right by-line to the near post, Matthew Taylor manages
to make a clearance.
33:17 Barry Ferguson takes a shot. Save by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
33:07 The ball is delivered by Gregory Vignal, clearance made by Jlloyd Samuel.
31:54 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Taylor from the right by-line played to the near post, Kevin Davies has a headed effort
from close range and clears the crossbar.
30:55 Unfair challenge on Ivan Klasnic by Roger Johnson results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Matthew Taylor,
Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance.
29:37 A cross is delivered by Gregory Vignal, Effort from inside the area by Teemu Tainio misses to the left of the goal.
29:18 Ivan Klasnic is ruled offside. Scott Dann takes the indirect free kick.
28:55 Ricardo Gardner sends in a cross, save made by Joe Hart.
26:51 The ball is delivered by Kevin Davies, clearance made by Gregory Vignal.
24:28 Free kick awarded for a foul by Christian Benitez on Zat Knight. Jussi Jaaskelainen takes the direct free kick.
23:44 The ball is crossed by Lee Bowyer, save made by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
22:11 Sebastian Larsson delivers the ball, clearance made by Gary Cahill.
20:50 The ball is swung over by Ricardo Gardner.
20:03 Tamir Cohen challenges Teemu Tainio unfairly and gives away a free kick. Stephen Carr takes the direct free kick.
18:34 Roger Johnson delivers the ball, clearance by Gary Cahill.
17:13 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer by Kevin Davies. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Carr. Fabrice Muamba
concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Bowyer. Stephen Carr takes the direct free kick.
16:46 Unfair challenge on Zat Knight by Christian Benitez results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
9:16 Assist by Kevin Davies.
9:16 GOAL - Tamir Cohen:Birmingham 0 - 1 Bolton Tamir Cohen finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close range. Birmingham 0-1 Bolton.
6:54 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson, clearance made by Zat Knight.
6:35 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Sebastian Larsson, Gary Cahill makes a clearance.
5:40 Unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer by Fabrice Muamba results in a free kick. Stephen Carr produces a cross, Scott Dann takes a
shot. Gary Cahill gets a block in.
3:45 Keith Fahey crosses the ball, clearance by Zat Knight.
1:53 Effort on goal by Ivan Klasnic from just inside the area clears the bar.
0:00 The match gets underway.
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