Blues’ hopes of pulling away from the drop zone were dealt a major blow on Saturday afternoon as they were defeated 3-1 by Leeds United.
All four goals arrived in the second half of the game.
Having dominated for large parts of the match, Blues conceded two goals just ahead of the hour-mark and then Paul Caddis put through his own net after 78 minutes. Federico Macheda’s 83rd minute strike was scant consolation.
In fairness the scoreline was not a fair reflection of Blues’ positive overall display.
There were no less than five changes to the Blues side, with Mitch Hancox, Jonathan Spector, Tom Adeyemi, Nikola Zigic and Lee Novak all back in the starting XI.
At other end of the pitch there was the familiar face of former Blues favourite Jack Butland in goal for loan club Leeds United.
The first chance of the match fell to Novak after five minutes. The ball dropped to him on the left of the box and he connected with it on the half-volley, but sent it just wide of the post.
Minutes later Adeyemi should have broken the deadlock. Novak’s pass allowed him to beat the offside trap. He ran on with the ball, but with just Butland to beat he shot over the bar.
Blues continued to press and they won a free-kick in dangerous position 25-yards out. Emyr Huws’ dead ball was blocked by the Leeds wall, but it fell kindly for Adeyemi. The midfielder looked odds-on to score, but his shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Blues were really going for it now and arguably playing some of their most attacking football of the season as they looked to get the ball forward at every opportunity.
There was also a real competitive edge to the contest, with tackles flying in from both sides.
Darren Randolph was called on to make a rare save after 38 minutes when he cleared Michael Tonge’s goal-bound effort with his feet.
Blues continued in the same positive vein after the half-time break, with Leeds generally looking to break on the counter attack.
With the goal at his mercy, Adeyemi was just inches away from connecting with a great Chris Burke cross.
Against the run of play Leeds took the lead after 58 minutes. Tonge’s cross found Matt Smith and the striker powered a header home.
With Blues still reeling, it became 2-0 to the visitors in the 69th minute, as Danny Pugh drilled home a low shot from 12 yards.
Things went from bad to worse after 78 minutes when Caddis deflected Ross McCormack’s cross past Randolph to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
With 83 minutes on the clock, Blues were given the faintest glimmer of hope when Macheda slid the ball past Jack Butland.
But it was all too little too late for Blues and Lee Clark must now look to rally his players ahead of Tuesday evening’s massive home game against Wigan Athletic.