Blues’ three-match unbeaten run came to an end with a 3-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium.
Nikola Zigic edged his side ahead in the 11th minute – and was then sent off three minutes from time for two bookable offences.
But the game was over by that point, after Keith Andrews added to Marcos Alonso’s and Chung-Yong Lee’s first-half goals from the penalty spot.
With a confidence boosting Boxing Day win at Barnsley, Lee Clark changed the look of his midfield for the trip to Bolton.
Jonathan Spector and Chris Burke replaced Wade Elliott and Nathan Redmond respectively, with Burke making an instant impact.
The Scot was in space on the right to curl in an inviting cross, which Zigic headed into the top corner at full-stretch, leaving Adam Bogdan stranded in the Bolton goal.
Blues could have been behind moments before their opener, however, as Jay Spearing’s dipping volley flew just inches past Jack Butland’s right post.
Nevertheless, the visitors were on the prowl for a second, playing very much like the home team after taking the lead.
But against the run of play Dougie Freedman’s men drew level on 27 minutes, with Alonso heading home Lee’s cross.
With their tales up, the Trotters surged ahead six minutes later thanks to a sublime finish from Lee.
After Kevin Davies played the South Korea international through, Lee rode a couple of challenges, rounded Butland and tucked the ball home from the tightest of angles.
The hosts were close to scoring a third before the half was out, but Butland superbly tipped Davies’ shot round the post for a corner, which came to nothing.
A relatively open affair then turned into an encounter that lacked any real spark during the second period.
The first of few chances arrived on 62 minutes, when Chris Eagles shot narrowly wide from outside Blues’ box.
Clark’s charges found it difficult to make any headway in the final third and resorted to attempts from distance.
However, Burke could only find Bogdan from Rob Hall’s throw, while the West Ham United loanee saw his effort saved low by the Hungarian ‘keeper.
This was as good as it got for Blues due to Andrews sealing the points for Wanderers 11 minutes from the end.
The ex-Wolves midfielder ushered his penalty past Butland into the top corner, after the referee perceived Steven Caldwell to handle the ball in the area.
And in the dying moments of the contest, Zigic was shown two yellow cards in the space of 60 seconds, to leave Blues with ten men.
Bolton: Adam Bogdan, Tyrone Mears, Marcos Alonso, Tim Ream, Zat Knight, Keith Andrews, Jay Spearing (Jacob Butterfield 89), Darren Pratley, Kevin Davies (C), C. Y. Lee, Chris Eagles (Benik Afobe 90+4).
Subs not used: Andy Lonergan, Sam Ricketts, Martin Petrov, Benik Afobe, Marvin Sordell, Joe Riley.
Goals: Alonso (27), Lee (33), Andrews (79)
Blues: Jack Butland, Paul Robinson, Steven Caldwell (C), Curtis Davies, Mitch Hancox, Chris Burke (Nathan Redmond 72), Hayden Mullins, Jonathan Spector (Wade Elliott 59), Rob Hall, Callum Reilly (Jake Jervis 79), Nikola Zigic.
Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Pablo Ibanez, Emmitt Delfouneso, Ben Gordon.
Goals: Zigic (11)
Bookings: Caldwell (77), Zigic (86 + 87)
Sent off: Zigic (87)
Referee: S. Hooper
Attendance: 17, 068