Harlee Dean headed in Birmingham's fifth goal in eight away matches
Harlee Dean struck late as Birmingham City ended a six-game winless run with victory over Bristol City.
Dean climbed highest in the six-yard box to head Jeremie Bela's corner past Daniel Bentley, a deserved reward for their second-half ambition.
After a dire opening half, the Robins almost went ahead straight after the break when Tomas Kalas met Chris Brunt's inswinging corner at the back post and directed a shot goalwards, but Maxime Colin cleared off the line.
But Blues then came alive, as Ivan Sanchez cut into the box and fired a fierce left-footed strike against the post moments before goalkeeper Bentley kept out Ivan Sunjic's piledriver.
And, with the pressure mounting, Dean's second goal of the season earned a valuable win.
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Birmingham had won just once on the road this season, but history repeated itself as they maintained their stunning record at Ashton Gate with an eighth win in their last 10 visits.
Form also suggested that the goals would not be flowing, with Blues having scored and conceded just four times in seven away trips this campaign, while the Robins had netted three times in their previous five home games.
A dour first half lived up to this billing with just one half-chance, Blues keeper Neil Etheridge coming off his line to deny Callum O'Dowda as he got on the end of a free-kick.
Birmingham came out of their shells after the break and their enterprise was rewarded from the familiar set-piece route.
Famara Diedhiou fired just over in stoppage-time for the hosts, but Blues comfortably held out for a fourth away clean sheet this season as Dean Holden's men failed to spark in front of goal.
A third win of the season lifted Aitor Karanka's side up to 16th, while a second defeat in three matches dropped the Robins out of the play-off places down to eighth.
- Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text
- 1Bentley19MariappaSubstituted forHuntat 78'minutes26Vyner22Kalas25RoweSubstituted forDasilvaat 87'minutes4NagySubstituted forBellat 87'minutes29BruntSubstituted forBakinsonat 64'minutes11O'Dowda21Wells7MartinSubstituted forDiédhiouat 78'minutes18Semenyo
- 30Etheridge2ColinBooked at 59mins4Roberts12Dean5Friend6Kieftenbeld34Sunjic17Sánchez23ToralBooked at 60minsSubstituted forHalilovicat 72'minutes11BelaBooked at 83mins9HoganSubstituted forJutkiewiczat 82'minutes
- 1Prieto3Pedersen10Jutkiewicz14Leko15Clarke-Salter19San José20Gardner25Dacres-Cogley35Halilovic
Referee:John BrooksMatch StatsHome TeamBristol CityAway TeamBirminghamPossessionHome51%Away49%ShotsHome10Away11Shots on TargetHome3Away3CornersHome4Away6FoulsHome6Away20Live TextPost update
Match ends, Bristol City 0, Birmingham City 1.
Second Half ends, Bristol City 0, Birmingham City 1.
Attempt blocked. Antoine Semenyo (Bristol City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tyreeq Bakinson.
Foul by Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City).
Tomas Kalas (Bristol City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Famara Diédhiou (Bristol City) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Callum O'Dowda with a cross.
Foul by George Friend (Birmingham City).
Antoine Semenyo (Bristol City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Zak Vyner.
Attempt blocked. Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked.
Substitution, Bristol City. Jay Dasilva replaces Tommy Rowe.
Substitution, Bristol City. Sam Bell replaces Ádám Nagy.
Corner, Bristol City. Conceded by Maikel Kieftenbeld.
Hand ball by George Friend (Birmingham City).
Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City).
Jack Hunt (Bristol City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Birmingham City. Lukas Jutkiewicz replaces Scott Hogan.
Goal! Bristol City 0, Birmingham City 1. Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) header from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Jérémie Bela with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Tomas Kalas.
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