Tom Everest reporting from the King Power Stadium.
Chris Burke scored a late penalty to earn Birmingham a 2-2 draw at the hands of a faltering Leicester City side at the King Power Stadium on Friday evening.
Curtis Davies’ 12th-minute own goal handed the Foxes a long overdue home lead. But the occasion once more served to get the better of the home side, as Nikola Zigic levelled, providing the finishing touch to a free-flowing move just after the hour mark.
With Leicester sitting precariously outside the play-off picture in the npower Championship, they appeared to be back in the leading pack when Jeffrey Schlupp headed home from a corner 15 minutes from time.
But following a sequence of bad touches, David Nugent was adjudged, somewhat harshly, of fouling Wes Thomas inside the box in the final minute of the game, leaving the ever-reliable Chris Burke to convert the spot kick.
The result leaves Leicester winless in nine and still in seventh, two points outside the play-off places.
The opening goal came from a blistering counter attack, as Wade Elliot’s corner was cleared at the near post by Danny Drinkwater and immaculately controlled by Chris Wood who was under pressure from Birmingham’s defensive stalwart Curtis Davies.
Wood slipped a pass in to Nugent, who embarked on a direct run taunting the Birmingham defence before unleashing a 25-yard effort which was excellently parried behind by Jack Butland.
From the resulting corner, an in-swinging delivery from Matty James was headed in his own net by a stooping Davies as he attempted to prevent Wes Morgan from scoring, who was applying vigilant pressure to the Birmingham City captain.
To the surprise of the home crowd, and the recent form books, Leicester remained on the ascendancy, with Schlupp squirming a golden opportunity to double the Foxes’ lead. Following a mistake from veteran defender Paul Robinson, Schlupp reacted quickest to steal a march on the Birmingham City goal but the home side were once again thwarted by the agility of keeper Butland who quickly blocked the shot.
Minutes later Michael Keane powered a header agonizingly over the bar, again Leicester proving dominant at set pieces, while the enigmatic Andy King squandered Leicester finest chance of the game. Following great anticipation and endeavour from the Welsh International by robbing Paul Robinson of the ball, the dynamic King was left one-on-one with Butland, who pulled off yet another solid save, showcasing just why the 20-year-old ‘keeper is recognised as a full England International.
However the enigmatic talents of Birmingham’s attacking triumvirate of Nikola Zigic, Ravel Morrison and Nathan Redmond had greater impact of the closing quarters of the game. It was the latter, Redmond, who created the Blues’ finest chance on 28 minutes, after neat interplay with full-back Paul Caddis. The England Under-21 International unleashed a rifling shot which only narrowly evaded Schmeichel’s near post.
After the break, both sides struggled to regain any real sustained attacking impetus, with Schlupp and Elliot both seeing their efforts fire wide.
Then, after 61 minutes, the effervescent Redmond seamlessly carved Leicester open down the right, and after a neat exchange with Caddis, he drilled a low cross in to the box which fell perfectly for Serbian striker Zigic who tapped in from six yards out.
It looked an all too familiar sight for the home faithful, but uncharacteristically of late, Leicester soon regained their impetus, as just minutes later Schlupp thundered a fierce left-foot shot which cannoned back of the upright.
The Ghanaian finally got the goal which his efforts deserved, as in the 75th minute, the powerful striker rose early and unmarked in the Birmingham box and despatched a trademark header in to the roof of the net. Leicester’s play-off push was under way once again.
It looked all but wrapped up for Pearson’s side, as besides a few glimmering attempts from the Blues’ most impressive of performers, former Manchester United youngster Ravel Morrison, was all that troubled the nerves of the King Power crowd.
However in the dying moments of the game, following a sequence of bad touches from Foxes’ striker Nugent who found himself facing his own goal, an unfortunate misplaced touch fell to the feet of Blues substitute Wes Thomas who was then tripped by Nugent in an attempt to appease his previous errors.
The referee pointed to the spot, and it was another Birmingham substitute who sealed a vital away point for the Blues, as Chris Burke coolly tucked home the resulting penalty in the 89th minute.
For Leicester the result leaves them further behind in the play-off picture, currently residing two points behind rivals Nottingham Forest in 7th, whilst the point for visitors Birmingham improved their chance of survival, leaving them comfortably in 13th place in the npower Championship.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky, Morgan, M Keane, Drinkwater (Dyer – 69′ ) , King, James, Schlupp, Nugent, Wood (Kane – 87′ )
Birmingham City: Butland, Davies, Hancox, Caddis, Robinson, Ferguson (Burke – 83′), Morrison, Gomis, Elliott (Thomas – 78′ ),Redmond, Zigic