David Davis earns Birmingham a deserved derby draw
David Davis clinched a deserved point for Birmingham as Aston Villa escaped with a 1-1 derby draw.
The midfielder fired in a second-half equaliser after Gary Gardner had given Villa the lead with his first goal for the club
Clayton Donaldson missed two golden chances in each half as Birmingham dominated for long spells but let Villa off the hook
Jacques Maghoma wasted a fine opening and Ryan Shotton spurned a late chance to win it as former Blues boss Steve Bruce took a point on his St Andrew's return.
The 55-year-old, who made 84 appearances for Birmingham and was manager for six years, also handed Gabby Agbonlahor a shock return to the Villa squad after seven months in the cold.
The striker had been deemed unfit to play twice since March but Bruce gave him a chance of redemption with a place on the bench after the 30-year-old went on another personal fitness plan since the new manager's arrival two weeks ago
He watched on as Birmingham forced the early play without success and Jordan Amavi escaped with just a yellow card after a late challenge on Maikel Kieftenbeld
The hosts were the better side but Donaldson blew a great chance to put them ahead after 19 minutes.
Mile Jedinak was penalised for handball and Maghoma's deep cross found Shotton to cross for Donaldson at the far post
The striker was a yard out but somehow managed to miscue his header off the underside of the crossbar and onto the line.
Replays showed not all of the ball crossed the line and as St Andrew's begged for a goal, Villa broke as Jordan Ayew eventually fired wide after Tomasz Kuszczak collided with Albert Adomah
The clash forced Adomah off, being replaced by Ross McCormack, but Villa shrugged off the disruption to go ahead after 29 minutes with their first effort on target.
Kieftenbeld was penalised for a high challenge on Ayew and the Ghana international swung the free-kick in for Gardner to rise above Donaldson and loop a fine header into the top corner from 12 yards
Birmingham had shaded the opening half an hour but the opener silenced St Andrew's and upset the hosts' rhythm.
They failed to recover before the break but should have levelled eight minutes after the restart through Maghoma
The winger robbed Alan Hutton to race clear but his weak effort was saved by Pierluigi Gollini and Blues could not force the rebound in
It lifted the hosts and they continued to have the bulk of possession and deservedly levelled after 71 minutes
Substitute David Cotterill caused problems on the right and his cross was only cleared as far as Davis and the midfielder stepped past Gardner to drill into the corner from the edge of the box
Buoyed, Birmingham continued to press and Donaldson should have put them ahead four minutes later but the striker missed another wonderful chance when he hooked a half-volley wide from 12 yards
Agbonlahor made his return with nine minutes left and Jonathan Kodjia nodded wide shortly afterwards in a rare Villa attack
And Shotton could have won it with five minutes left but the birthday boy instinctively prodded over from six yards after Michael Morrison's header fell to him
The hosts maintained their momentum during nine minutes of injury time, after Rhoys Wiggins was stretchered off following an accidental clash with Rudy Gestede, but could not find a winner.
Source : PA