Match ends, Luton Town 1, Birmingham City 2.
Luton Town 1-2 Birmingham City: Gary Gardner helps Blues end six-game winless run
Gary Gardner ended Birmingham City's six-game winless run in the Championship with a decisive second-half goal against bottom side Luton Town.
Lukas Jutkiewicz gave Blues an early lead, his powerful header crossing the line despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Simon Sluga to get a hand to the ball.
Blues skipper Harlee Dean's foul on Matty Pearson in the box then allowed James Collins to bring Luton level from the penalty spot after the break.
Parity, however, was short lived as Gardner found the bottom corner and, despite Dean being sent off for a second yellow card late on, Blues held on to consign Luton to an 12th defeat in 15 league games.
For Blues, it was just their second league win in 13 matches dating back to 26 October when they beat the Hatters at St Andrew's.
Against a side with an identical recent record, having also lost five of their last six games, Blues started strongly and, with the game's first chance, Jutkiewicz met a fine left-wing cross from Jeremie Bela at the back post to put the visitors one up.
Luke Berry's heavily deflected free-kick, which Birmingham did well to clear, was the closest the Hatters went to equalising before the break.
The hosts improved in the second half and were level just after the hour when Collins kept his cool from the spot for his ninth goal of the season.
But, after Dan Potts gave the ball away in his own half, Gardner raced away, swapped passes with Jacques Maghoma and slotted past Sluga.
The Luton goalkeeper did well to then save from a Jutkiewicz header before Pearson had an effort of his own cleared off the line at the other end.
Dean's red card did not stop the visitors from threatening, as Dan Crowley tested Sluga again, but it also took a fine save from Lee Camp to earn Blues all three points as he kept out Sonny Bradley.
Luton Town manager Graeme Jones:
"As I've said over and over again, we need our best players on the pitch and we need to get some new players in to have a chance of competing at this level.
"I don't blame the supporters. You get beat again, especially at home, and they're allowed to vent their frustration. At the minute, I'm not doing a good job, the players aren't doing a good job.
"You have to hold your hands up. But we're under enormous financial restrictions in terms of attracting people to the football club and that's the truth.
"All I think about is the solution. I had a question the other day about why do you change the team so much? Because I'm trying to find a solution. I know what the problems are because I work hard to try and find solutions and today, me, the players have failed."
Birmingham City head coach Pep Clotet:
"We were unfortunate to have injuries to two of our centre-backs leaving only Harlee Dean in that position for us, and through the whole month it's been difficult for us to get wins.
"But last week we get Jake Clarke-Salter back into the team from injury and it was an important game for us in the league, as we are already coming into the game from a win against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup on Saturday.
"The fact that we could come here and get this win will accomplish two goals. The first is to put a very healthy safety net between us and the teams at the bottom, and the second to get us back in the wins. This now means two wins in a row.
"For the team that's very important. Now we have our eyes set upon getting back a full, fit squad next week, to compete again and put our eyes up the table."
- 26BreeBooked at 27minsSubstituted forPottsat 45'minutes
- 11ShinnieSubstituted forMoncurat 56'minutes
- 8BerrySubstituted forTunnicliffeat 80'minutes
- 12DeanBooked at 86mins
- 26DavisBooked at 67mins
- 20GardnerBooked at 60minsSubstituted forHardingat 88'minutes
- 11BelaSubstituted forCrowleyat 90+4'minutes
- 18MrabtiBooked at 36minsSubstituted forBellinghamat 78'minutes
- Graham Scott
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Luton Town 1, Birmingham City 2.
Attempt saved. Sonny Bradley (Luton Town) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by James Collins.
Attempt saved. Daniel Crowley (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, Birmingham City. Daniel Crowley replaces Jérémie Bela.
Foul by Matty Pearson (Luton Town).
Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. George Moncur (Luton Town) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Substitution, Birmingham City. Wes Harding replaces Gary Gardner because of an injury.
Second yellow card to Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) for a bad foul.
James Collins (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Harlee Dean (Birmingham City).
Foul by Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town).
Gary Gardner (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Tunnicliffe.
Substitution, Luton Town. Ryan Tunnicliffe replaces Luke Berry.
Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Attempt blocked. Matty Pearson (Luton Town) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luke Berry with a cross.
Substitution, Birmingham City. Jude Bellingham replaces Kerim Mrabti.
Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Maxime Colin.
Attempt saved. Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Gary Gardner.
James Collins (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jake Clarke-Salter (Birmingham City).
Harry Cornick (Luton Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Gary Gardner (Birmingham City).
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Matty Pearson.
Foul by Dan Potts (Luton Town).
Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gary Gardner.
Goal! Luton Town 1, Birmingham City 2. Gary Gardner (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jacques Maghoma following a fast break.
David Davis (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Kazenga LuaLua (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by David Davis (Birmingham City).
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).
Attempt saved. Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Gary Gardner.
Goal! Luton Town 1, Birmingham City 1. James Collins (Luton Town) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Penalty Luton Town. Matty Pearson draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) after a foul in the penalty area.
Gary Gardner (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.