Harlee Dean hailed Lee Bowyer as Birmingham’s man with a plan after Scott Hogan’s stoppage-time penalty secured a priceless win over promotion-chasing Swansea.
Lukas Jutkiewicz had seen a first-half spot-kick kept out by Freddie Woodman, his fifth save from eight penalties, and the game looked set to end goalless.
But with the clock ticking down substitute Yan Dhanda brought down Ivan Sunjic and Hogan – who had replaced Jonathan Leko eight minutes from time – gave Woodman no chance to make it two wins from two home games for Bowyer.
Scott Hogan scored a penalty in injury time to give Birmingham a priceless win over Swansea
The victory could be crucial in Blues’ bid to survive in the Championship this season
Yan Dhanda slipped to give away a the penalty, which would ultimately cost his side
Hosts missed a golden chance to take a shock lead when Lukas Jutkiewicz’s penalty was saved
Birmingham XI: Etheridge, Roberts, Colin, Dean, Pedersen, Gardner (Harper, 90′), Seddon (Friend, 46′), Sunjic, Halilovic (Toral, 68′), Jutkiewicz (Hogan, 82′), Leko (Cosgrove, 82′)
Subs not used: Andres, Bela, McGree, San Jose
Goals: Hogan (90+2′)
Booked: Seddon (45+2′)
Manager: Lee Bowyer
Missed penalty: Jutkiewicz (32′)
Swansea XI: Woodman, Naughton, Bennett, Bidwell, Guehi, Roberts, Smith (Dhanda, 70′), Grimes, Fulton, Lowe (Routledge, 89′), Ayew
Subs not used: Hamer, Manning, Hourihane, Whittaker, Latibeaudiere, Cooper, Cabango
Manager: Steve Cooper
Referee: Tony Harrington
Meanwhile, this was Swansea’s third straight defeat and they are now nine points behind second-placed Watford.
Blues were stumbling towards relegation under Aitor Karanka but since Bowyer stepped in, they have collected six points from three matches against Reading, Watford and Swansea – all sides in the top six.
‘The gaffer has instilled belief,’ said Blues captain Dean. ‘We know what we are doing and there is a bit of a plan. We are sticking to it and that’s all we can ask.
‘You have to have guts to step up and take a penalty. I asked Scott if he definitely wanted it and he did, so that was enough for me.’
After Neil Etheridge had saved well from Swans striker Jamal Lowe early on, Jutkiewicz missed a golden chance to put Birmingham ahead. Connor Roberts fouled Jonathan Leko but Jutkiewicz’s fiercely-struck effort rebounded off the legs of Woodman.
Swansea were better in the second half but still below their best and were ultimately punished when Dhanda lost his footing and took down Sunjic in the process. Hogan did the rest, finding the bottom-left corner.
‘It was about who wanted to step up and be a hero and Scott was that man,’ said Bowyer. ‘If we can keep up this home form between now and the end of the season then we have a good chance of staying in the division.’
‘We were nowhere near good enough, particularly with the ball,’ added Swans boss Steve Cooper. ‘The more points we drop, the tougher it will get [to win automatic promotion].’
Connor Roberts brought down Jonathan Leko leading to the penalty being given
Swansea were hoping to close the gap on top two against relegation strugglers Birmingham
After a bright start by the hosts, Swansea grew into the game as they searched for the winner
The defeat leaves Swansea nine points off the top two as hopes of automatic promotion fade