Peter Lovenkrands scored his first Championship goal of the season to earn Blues a well-earned point against the new league leaders Leicester City at St. Andrew’s.
It could have been even better for Lee Clark’s side who led until the 86th minute but eventually had to settle for a share of the spoils as Anthony Knockaert levelled late on. Lovenkrands completed a Blues smash-and-grab job in the first half as the home side survived intense pressure before launching a terrific counter-attack that finished with the Dane slotting home from six yards. The second half was more of an even affair and Clark’s charges looked to have done enough to seal victory until Knockaert’s late intervention that sent The Foxes to the top of the table. Blues also had Jonathan Spector sent off in injury time after he received his second yellow card of the afternoon.
Ravel Morrison was handed his first start since the opening day as one of four changes to the Blues side. The on-loan midfielder was recalled along with fit-again David Murphy, Marlon King and Lovenkrands in an attacking-looking team to face the in-form Foxes.
Chances were few and far between during the opening exchanges of a full-bloodied encounter with the names of Spector and James Hurst entering the referee’s notebook early on. Jack Butland was the first goalkeeper called into action as he comfortably grasped from Martyn Waghorn’s volley.
There were strong penalty appeals for both clubs. Hurst slid in on Lloyd Dyer leaving the former West Brom winger on the turf while Chris Burke went down under a challenge from Paul Konchesky. After the latter incident the referee appeared to blow for a foul only to change his mind and mysteriously award a goal kick.
Andy King let fly from 25 yards with fierce drive for the visitors that whizzed inches wide of the right-hand post. Leicester were playing with the confidence of a side that had just won five successive games as they charged forward at every opportunity and should have opened the scoring on 33 minutes.
King’s dangerous cross landed at the feet of Waghorn but the former Sunderland man ballooned over from just five yards out. Blues were also indebted to Murphy for a tremendous block to prevent Richie De Laet’s shot from nestling into the bottom corner.
The hosts were sparked into life as Redmond tried his luck from 18 yards but the teenager’s drive was claimed above his head by Kasper Schmeichel. There were more heroics from Butland just before the break as the young keeper brilliantly tipped over Anthony Knockaert’s shot after the Frenchman had twisted and turned inside the area.
As half-time approached the visitors will have felt aggrieved at not going into the interval with a lead but as things turned out they actually headed for the dressing room behind. Blues grabbed the lead in the second and final minute of first-half injury time with a tremendous counter-attacking move. Hurst set King away down the right flank and the striker produced a pinpoint cross to the feet of Lovenkrands who finished clinically with a low shot beyond Schmeichel.
Blues had a good chance to double their advantage soon after the interval. Morrison teed up the unmarked King on the left edge of the area but the striker’s shot was parried away by Schmeichel.
Butland was at his best again to turn Waghorn’s vicious shot over the bar. At the opposite end King played in Lita on the left side the area but the substitute couldn’t hook his foot around the ball sufficiently to get his effort on target.
Blues were denied a morale-boosting victory just four minutes from the end. Knockaert unleashed a low shot from 25 yards that beat Butland’s outstretched arm and struck the inside of the post before rolling along the goal-line and sneaking into the opposite corner.
Blues’ defensive woes intensified as Spector collapsed to the ground holding his hamstring. Lee Clark has introduced all of his subs so the American was forced to stay on but ironically he wasn’t to finish the game. De Laet’s forging run was stopped by Spector’s trip and the referee brandished a second yellow card followed by a red to the Blues midfielder.
Butland produced another outstanding save to deny Ben Marshall from the resultant free-kick to ensure that Blues collected a point that their hard-working efforts had warranted. Clark's charges move up to 19th in the table, level on points with Millwall who they visit on Tuesday evening.
Blues: Jack Butland; James Hurst (Keith Fahey 76), Steven Caldwell, Curtis Davies, David Murphy; Chris Burke (Wade Elliott 56), Ravel Morrison, Jonathan Spector, Nathan Redmond, Peter Lovenkrands (Leroy Lita 63), Marlon King.
Subs (not used): Colin Doyle, Hayden Mullins, Will Packwood, Paul Robinson.
Goal: Lovenkrands 45 (+2)
Bookings: Spector, Hurst, Morrison
Leicester: Kasper Schmeichel, Richie De Laet, Paul Konchesky, Danny Drinkwater, Wes Morgan, Zak Whitbread, Andy King, Lloyd Dyer (Ben Marshall 72), Martyn Waghorn (Jamie Vardy 72), Anthony Knockaert (Marko Futacs 82), David Nugent.
Subs (not used): Conrad Logan, Matty James, Jeff Schlupp, Liam Moore.
Goal: Knockaert 86
Bookings: Whitbread, Waghorn