Harlee Dean hailed Lee Bowyer as Birmingham’s man with a plan after injury-time Scott Hogan took an invaluable victory over Swansea’s promotional pursuit.
Lukas Jutkiewicz had seen Freddie Woodman hold back a first half penalty, his fifth save from eight penalties, and the game seemed to end goalless.
But when the clock ticked, substitute Yan Dhanda brought down Ivan Sunjic and Hogan – who had replaced Jonathan Leko eight minutes from time – didn’t give Woodman a chance to turn it into two wins from two home games for Bowyer.
Scott Hogan scored a penalty in injury time to give Birmingham an invaluable victory over Swansea
The win could be crucial in Blues’ attempt to survive in the championship this season
Yan Dhanda slipped to award a penalty that would ultimately cost his match
Hosts missed a golden opportunity to take a shock ahead when Lukas Jutkiewicz’s penalty was saved
Birmingham XI: Etheridge, Roberts, Colin, Dean, Pedersen, Gardner (Harper, 90 ‘), Seddon (Friend, 46’), Sunjic, Halilovic (Toral, 68 ‘), Jutkiewicz (Hogan, 82’), Leko (Cosgrove, 82 ‘ )
Subs not used: Andres, Bela, McGree, San Jose
Goals: Hogan (90 + 2 ‘)
Booked: Seddon (45 + 2 ‘)
Manager: Lee Bowyer
Missed penalty: Jutkiewicz (32 ‘)
Swansea XI: Woodman, Naughton, Bennett, Bidwell, Guehi, Roberts, Smith (Dhanda, 70 ‘), Grimes, Fulton, Lowe (Routledge, 89’), Ayew
Subs not used: Hamer, Manning, Hourihane, Whittaker, Latibeaudiere, Cooper, Cabango
Manager: Steve Cooper
Referee: Tony Harrington
In the meantime, this was Swansea’s third straight loss and they are now nine points behind second place Watford.
Blues stumbled on relegation under Aitor Karanka, but since Bowyer stepped in, they’ve collected six points from three games against Reading, Watford and Swansea – all in the top six.
“The gaffer has instilled faith,” said Blues Captain Dean. ‘We know what we are doing and there is a bit of a plan. We stick to it and that’s all we can ask for.
‘You have to have guts to get up and take a penalty. I asked Scott if he absolutely wanted it and he did so that was enough for me. ‘
After Neil Etheridge made a good early save from Swans striker Jamal Lowe, Jutkiewicz missed a golden opportunity to put Birmingham ahead. Connor Roberts fouled Jonathan Leko, but Jutkiewicz’s fierce attempt bounced off Woodman’s legs.
Swansea were better in the second half but still among their best and were eventually punished when Dhanda lost his balance and knocked Sunjic down in the process. Hogan did the rest and found the lower left corner.
“It was about who wanted to come forward and be a hero and Scott was that man,” Bowyer said. “If we can keep up this home form between now and the end of the season, we have a good chance of staying in the division.”
“We weren’t nearly good enough, especially with the ball,” added Swans boss Steve Cooper. ‘The more points we drop, the more difficult it gets [to win automatic promotion]
Connor Roberts brought down Jonathan Leko, which led to the penalty being awarded
Swansea hoped to close the gap on the first two against relegation wrestlers Birmingham
After a bright start by the hosts, Swansea grew in the game as they searched for the winner
The defeat leaves Swansea nine points off the top two, while hopes of automatic promotion fade