Nikola Zigic struck a late winner as Birmingham beat Aston Villa 2-1 to claim the ‘Second City’ bragging rights and book their place in the Carling Cup semi-finals.
Blues went ahead inside the opening quarter of an hour when Richard Dunne’s clumsy challenge floored Lee Bowyer, and Sebastien Larsson sent Brad Friedel the wrong way with the resulting penalty.
The hosts thought they had doubled their advantage when Friedel bundled a Zigic effort into his own net, but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside with Birmingham defender Liam Ridgewell, who was not interfering with play, standing on the line.
Blues were furious and their annoyance at the decision was only increased moments later when Gabriel Agbonlahor fired Villa level.
Cameron Jerome dragged an effort agonisingly wide as Birmingham almost provided an instant response, and Craig Gardner was just off-target with a long-range effort.
At the other end Ben Foster produced a fine save to deny Stephen Ireland and then beat Ashley Young on the rebound, and Blues snatched the victory six minutes from time when Zigic met a Jerome cross and his shot went in off Luke Young.
However, Birmingham’s victory was marred by ugly scenes afterwards when a section of home supporters invaded the pitch and ran towards the Villa fans, and police had to intervene as flares were thrown.