Town go down to spot-kick at St Andrew's
A controversial penalty from Jota gave Birmingham the win at St Andrew's.
Referee Roger East gave the spot-kick after Cameron Carter-Vickers was judged to have brought down Jacques Maghoma midway through the first-half and the frontman finished expertly from 12 yards.
Martyn Waghorn was denied an equaliser by David Stockdale after the break as Blues’ barren run in front of goal continued.
Town stayed with the same side that went down narrowly to defeat at Bristol City before the international break, with Stephen Gleeson among the substitutes against his former club.
Jonas Knudsen was forced to clear six yards out as the home side started on the front foot, then Jota fired high and wide from 30 yards after cutting in from the right.
David Davis volleyed wide from the edge of the box, former Town loanee Stockdale holding on to Waghorn’s trademark in-swinging free-kick in the Birmingham goal, then Knudsen couldn’t generate enough power with a header.
Freddie Sears almost got in on goal from Knudsen’s driven ball down the left but Michael Morrison did just enough to clear the danger.
Knudsen continued to be prominent in the early play and his cross tested Stockdale but on 21 minutes Birmingham were ahead, Jacques Maghoma judged to have been fouled by Carter-Vickers and Jota did the rest from the penalty spot.
Town responded with Callum Connolly’s strike deflected for a corner, Grant Ward crowded out as he tried to weave his way into the home box, the midfielder then off radar with a pass for Waghorn who was in space.
Bart Bialkowski saved with his feet from Che Adams’ deflected shot, Luke Chambers then in the right place to shadow the danger from Maghoma as he burst into the box again.
Lukas Jutkiewicz fired over from the angle as Birmingham looked for a second before the break, while at the other end Jordan Spence won a free-kick 30 yards out but Town couldn’t make it count with Waghorn’s delivery cleared.
Spence headed wide as the second-half got underway, then the defender was first again to a cross from the left but couldn’t keep his header down.
Bersant Celina replaced Ward in Town’s first change, Cole Skuse finding Sears whose shot was blocked, Knudsen way over with his effort after a corner had been cleared to him 25 yards out.
Spence had another effort smothered by the Birmingham defence after Celina had danced into the box, Stockdale at full stretch to beat out Waghorn’s cross, then Maghoma’s pace again caused problems for Blues but Adams couldn’t take advantage.
Stockdale saved well from Waghorn after Celina’s clever pass, Jutkiewicz had the Birmingham fans on their feet with what they thought was a second but his effort was just wide, then Sears was crowded out as the game opened right up.
Luke Hyam replaced Connolly on 70 minutes as Town made a second change, Bialkowski tipped over Harlee Dean’s header before Sears made away for Muzzy Carayol in a final throw of the dice for Blues.
The winger was immediately in the game, crossing from the left to find Hyam in the box but the midfielder couldn’t get his shot in from a great position.
Town kept pressing for an equaliser and Bialkowski arrived for a corner in the last minute but Blues couldn’t find that elusive goal.
Birmingham City: Stockdale, Colin, Kieftenbeld (Ndoye 80), Jutkiewicz (Dacres-Cogley 85), Dean, Adams, Maghoma (Lowe 90), Davis, Jota, Morrison, Harding. Subs not used: Kuszczak, Roberts, Boga, Bailey. Booked: Dean.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Webster, Carter-Vickers, Knudsen, Skuse, Connolly (Hyam 70) , Ward (Celina 54), Sears (Carayol 76), Waghorn. Subs not used: Crowe, Gleeson, Kenlock, Folami. Booked: Skuse, Webster.