Birmingham shut out for third game in a row in goalless draw with Blackburn
Birmingham City have lost their early-season impetus and dropped more valuable home points in a dour 0-0 draw against struggling Blackburn Rovers at St. Andrew's.
It was Birmingham's first point in three games and the third successive match in which they have failed to score.
Defensive-minded Blackburn were intent on at least sharing the spoils and were well worth their point.
Surprisingly both teams operated with only one striker which explained the lack of goals, although the game hardly panned out as Birmingham would have liked.
They had hoped, after their third home defeat in four games, the return of American defender Jonathan Spector and Andrew Shinnie would have sparked off a much-needed improvement.
Unfortunately this did not materialise as battling Blackburn experienced little difficulty shutting out Gary Rowett's Blues.
There was certainly a more positive start compared to the 2-0 losing performance against Wolves on Saturday when Birmingham lacked their early-season bite.
David Cotterill provided an early service of crosses to put Blackburn under pressure but Rovers survived with an obvious defensive blockade.
As a result Jordan Rhodes was left isolated up front in the hope that he could poach a goal to add to the eight he has scored this season.
But it was Tom Lawrence who carved out the best opportunity for Rovers. He tenaciously worked his way between Paul Caddis and Michael Morrison but then aimlessly shot high and wide.
There were no explosive players in the Birmingham side and this eventually enabled Rovers to counter-attack.
Most of their moves were aimed at bringing Craig Conway into the game but generally Birmingham's defence was water-tight.
Following a good spell of attacking play from Blackburn the Blues gave an indication of their intentions by producing some strong pressure when Demari Gray belatedly made an impressive contribution.
Blackburn, however, remained firm in defence with Shane Duffy and Grant Hanley emerging as stalwarts.
Duffy was not adverse to moving forward and managed to get in a header on target but it lacked real pace and Tomasz Kuszczak had little difficulty making a comfortable save.
With very few incidents of real note the game was hardly a spectacle with Birmingham operating in fits and starts when there was a real need for some urgency.
Birmingham attempted to make an explosive start to the second period with Gray forcing his way through to put in a powerful long-range drive which Jason Steele competently saved.
The 454 travelling Blackburn fans momentarily had their hopes raised in the 54th minute when Duffy moved up for a Ben Marshall corner and arrowed in a fine header only to see Kuszczak rise to the occasion with an equally fine close-range save.
In a late Birmingham attacking flurry Steele was not to be outdone as he demonstrated minutes later when he flung himself to his right to make a spectacular mid-air save to keep out a Cotterill rocket.