Larsson nets in landmark victory
Birmingham midfielder Sebastian Larsson scored on his 100th Barclays Premier League appearance to help ease his side's relegation fears as they recorded a 2-0 victory over Sunderland, who were dragged into the survival dogfight.
Larsson broke the deadlock shortly before half-time and then leading scorer Craig Gardner's ninth goal of the campaign wrapped up victory.
They have leapfrogged over the Black Cats and increased the pressure on manager Steve Bruce who spent six years in charge at St. Andrew's.
Birmingham started brightly and Cameron Jerome outstripped Michael Turner in running onto a through-ball from Stuart Parnaby. But, after cutting into the area, his low shot was blocked by the feet of Simon Mignolet. Gardner was first to react to the rebound but his shot was charged down.
Roger Johnson got on the end of an inswinging Larsson corner but directed his far-post header just wide.
Then a mistake by Barry Ferguson almost proved costly. He was dispossessed by Lee Cattermole, whose shot was blocked by Ben Foster after he had raced off his line. The ball broke into the path of Stephane Sessegnon 12 yards out and his low shot was cleared off the line by Johnson.
Danny Welbeck had his first sight of goal after 26 minutes, but Gardner made a brave block.
But after 41 minutes Larsson took advantage of a defensive mix-up to give City the lead. A long clearance from Foster was flicked on by Jerome and Larsson took advantage of a mix-up between Phil Bardsley and Mignolet to score.
Sunderland came within a few inches of equalising when Asamoah Gyan teed up Jordan Henderson, whose shot flashed past the post.
Substitute Alexander Hleb picked out the unmarked Gardner, whose swerving shot contained too much power for Mignolet to stop.