Report: Preston North End 0-1 Blues
John Eustace's side claimed their first away victory of the season as they overcame a previously unbeaten Lilywhites outfit.
Maxime Colin's 16th-minute header, the first goal conceded by the hosts this term, was the difference at Deepdale on the 130-year anniversary of Birmingham City's Football League bow.
The Head Coach made three changes to the side that started against Norwich City on Tuesday night. Maxime Colin returned from injury, whilst there were second debuts at the Club for Krystian Bielik and Tahith Chong.
The early exchanges were an open contest and both teams seemed keen to hit one another on the counterattack. It was from one of these breaks that Preston had the day's first chance. Alan Browne released Emil Riis through the middle and although he should have scored, John Ruddy did exceptionally to keep the ball out with a strong left hand.
It was then Scott Hogan's turn to have a burst forward and, by doing so, he almost created something out of nothing, just being denied by a last-ditch Ben Whiteman sliding tackle.
There would soon be a flurry of shots on goal from the visitors. First, Dion Sanderson splayed an effort from a deep free kick and then Jordan Graham tested Freddie Woodman from a sweeping shot.
However, the Lilywhites' defence would be breached for the first time in the league after 16 minutes of action. Juninho Bacuna slid Hogan in a wide channel and when he set the ball back to a touchline-hugging Graham, his cross caught Robbie Brady off guard and Colin saw this as an invitation to head Blues ahead.
Ryan Lowe's men looked to bite back but their attempts to do so were soaked up by a resilient opposition, who then themselves went close to a second. Colin and Chong combined effectively inside from the right, but the latter's touch let him down before pulling the trigger.
HALF-TIME: Preston North End 0-1 Blues
Preston had a penalty appeal dismissed shortly after the break but it was the away team who engineered the first notable opportunity of the second-half. Bielik drove forward and played a perfectly-weighted pass to the flying Bacuna who took it in his stride and won a corner when his strike was deflected behind.
Troy Parrott would have the ball in the net after 53 minutes, although any celebrations were short-lived as James Bell had blown his whistle for a foul on Bielik.
It was again Birmingham having the meaningful moments in the final third. Whiteman undercooked a header back to Woodman and the anticipating Hogan cleverly nodded the ball goalwards only for the goalkeeper to have recovered his position.
Chong, having picked up where he left off, was withdrawn around the hour mark, with Jordan James introduced and he was soon joined by Lukas Jutkiewicz and George Hall as Eustace freshened things up.
They would later be aided by the introductions of Jobe Bellingham and Hannibal as, in truth, little that will live long in the memory occurred on the field.
It was scrappy, but Blues kept their shape in a disciplined manner and this was enough to take the three points and a clean sheet.
Colin's goal, similar to his effort also in a 0-1 away victory at Sheffield United last season, was a deserved reward for a strong first-half showing that, on another day, could have produced an even bigger lead.
The victory takes Blues onto eight points from their eight league outings.
Preston North End (3-1-4-2): Freddie Woodman, Jordan Storey, Liam Lindsay, Greg Cunningham, Ben Whiteman (Mikey O'Neill 82), Brad Potts (Alvaro Fernandez 62)), Ali McCann (Daniel Johnson 82), Alan Browne (captain) (Ched Evans 73), Robbie Brady, Troy Parrott (Ryan Ledson 82), Emil Riis.
Substitutes not used: Dai Cornell, Patrick Bauer.
Booking: Evans 83, Lowe sent off after full-time.
Blues (3-5-2): John Ruddy, Dion Sanderson, Marc Roberts, Auston Trusty, Maxime Colin, Juninho Bacuna (Jobe Bellingham 85), Krystian Bielik (George Hall 73), Tahith Chong (Jordan James 57), Jordan Graham, Scott Hogan (Hannibal 85), Troy Deeney (Captain) (Lukas Jutkiewicz 73).
Substitutes not used: Neil Etheridge, Josh Williams.
Booking: Roberts 65, Hogan 69, James 90+5.
Referee: James Bell.
Attendance: 16,098 (away 2,073).
Blues are back on home soil in seven day's time, welcoming Swansea City to B9, kick-off 3pm. There is then a short trip to West Bromwich Albion a week on Wednesday, kick-off 8pm, before hosting Coventry City at St. Andrew's the following Saturday, kick-off 3pm. Tickets for both home games are can be purchased by clicking here.