Jerome bundles home Birmingham's winner past Thomas Sorenson
By Phil Dawkes
Birmingham climbed up to seventh in the table after extending their run of unbeaten Premier League matches to 11 with a hard-fought win over Stoke.
Cameron Jerome scored the game's only goal, swivelling to bundle home from close range early in the second half.
It was a rare moment of incisiveness in a match high in tempo but often lacking in attacking efficiency.
Ryan Shawcross missed two good chances for Stoke, who remain just four points above the relegation zone.
The win continues a superb run for Birmingham in what has been a fantastic first season back in the top flight so far for the Midlands club.
They have now matched a 101-year-old club record of 11 undefeated games since a run of three wins and eight draws in 1908.
Pulis frustrated by bad luck
Their success owes a great deal to a rock-solid backline, forged around the central defensive duo of Roger Johnson and Scott Dann, and once again the pair performed well to repel a regular aerial assault from the home side.
Stoke may have been unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium since September, but they have won only one of their last nine games and are currently the Premier League's lowest scorers.
Once again, they will be left ruing their inefficiency in front of goal which meant that they failed to capitalise on the rare lapses made by the Birmingham defence.
That was highlighted as early as the fourth minute when Shawcross was left completely unmarked from a corner but flashed his header across goal.
Then from another set-piece, this time a free-kick, Barry Ferguson's misdirected header fell to Robert Huth in acres of space in the box but the defender fluffed his shot wide.
Shawcross missed another glorious opportunity soon after when Matthew Etherington's corner cleared everyone at the near post and the defender needed only make contact in the six-yard box to score a certain goal, but he missed the ball completely.
Birmingham's diligence in defence meant that their attack often lacked the numbers to fashion anything meaningful during the first half.
Their only real chance came just after the half hour when a corner sparked a goalmouth scramble which Stoke were unable to clear and Lee Bowyer's hooked return found Liam Ridgewell at the far post but his header lacked the power to trouble Thomas Sorenson.
However, from their first meaningful foray forward after the break the visitors took the lead.
From a corner, Dann's header struck Shawcross and fell to Jerome who was able to swivel and get enough purchase on the ball to bundle it past the flailing Sorenson.
Stoke responded well and produced two efforts on goal, but Birmingham keeper Joe Hart was a match for both.
We are not thinking of Europe - McLeish
Lawrence's cross was just beyond the reach of James Beattie but beyond him Etherington was able to fire goalwards only to see Hart pull off a stunning one-handed save to deny him.
Minutes later the England keeper produced another stunning save, this time to palm away an Abdoulaye Faye header from a corner.
Stoke also had an appeal for a penalty turned down by referee Martin Atkinson after Huth appeared to have been pulled back by Stephen Carr as the centre-back moved to meet a cross in the box.
Stoke continued to pepper the Birmingham box with long balls aimed at starting striker Beattie and replacements Mamady Sidibe and Ricardo Fuller but they lacked accuracy and were met by firm resilience from the visiting defence.
Unfortunately for Stoke, they had no guile to complement their work-rate and Birmingham had only to remain disciplined to earn their ninth win of the season.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"We get Robert Huth rugby tackled and it was a stone-banker penalty.
"We just ask for fair play and we haven't had it and it's very disappointing.
"It'll be interesting to see if we get a phone call for this one saying he got it wrong."
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish:
"The run the players have gone on is a fantastic feat.
"We set the standards and with every performance and result the expectation levels rise and we've challenged the players to meet those expectation levels.
"Europe hasn't even been mentioned in the dressing room. We're focusing on Premier League security and anything higher will just be a bonus for us."
90:00+4:43 The referee signals the end of the game.
90:00+3:57 Close range header by Ryan Shawcross goes over the bar.
90:00+3:02 Shot from 20 yards from Robert Huth. Blocked by Lee Bowyer.
90:00+2:39 The offside flag is raised against Cameron Jerome. Thomas Sorensen takes the indirect free kick.
90:00+1:42 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington.
90:00+0:24 Booking Cameron Jerome receives a yellow card for time wasting.
89:07 Free kick awarded for a foul by Mamady Sidibe on Roger Johnson. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
88:45 James McFadden challenges Robert Huth unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.
88:06 Unfair challenge on Scott Dann by Tuncay Sanli results in a free kick. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
86:34 Barry Ferguson has an effort direct from the free kick, save made by Thomas Sorensen.
86:34 Booking Ryan Shawcross is booked.
86:33 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Christian Benitez by Ryan Shawcross.
85:27 Ricardo Fuller gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Roger Johnson. Direct free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.
84:07 Direct effort from the free kick comes in from James McFadden.
84:07 Booking Caution for Rory Delap.
84:03 Rory Delap challenges Christian Benitez unfairly and gives away a free kick.
81:30 Substitution Mamady Sidibe comes on in place of Liam Lawrence.
78:43 Liam Ridgewell concedes a free kick for a foul on Robert Huth. Free kick taken by Liam Lawrence.
77:20 The official flags Ricardo Fuller offside. Joe Hart takes the indirect free kick.
Correction - 75:39 Rory Delap gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
75:39 Substitution Keith Fahey joins the action as a substitute, replacing Sebastian Larsson.
75:39 Unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer by Rory Delap results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
74:52 Sebastian Larsson handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Matthew Etherington takes the direct free kick. Free kick awarded
for an unfair challenge on Liam Lawrence by James McFadden. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Liam Lawrence from
right wing, James McFadden makes a clearance.
72:59 Foul by Sebastian Larsson on Matthew Etherington, free kick awarded. The ball is sent over by Matthew Etherington, Headed
from the edge of the area by Abdoulaye Faye goes wide of the left-hand post.
72:10 Liam Lawrence challenges James McFadden unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
69:31 Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
69:31 Substitution (Stoke) makes a substitution, with Ricardo Fuller coming on for James Beattie.
69:31 Foul by Ryan Shawcross on Barry Ferguson, free kick awarded.
68:47 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Tuncay Sanli by Scott Dann. Abdoulaye Faye takes the free kick.
67:20 Christian Benitez fouled by Ryan Shawcross, the ref awards a free kick. Stephen Carr takes the free kick.
65:36 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Roger Johnson by Tuncay Sanli. Barry Ferguson restarts play with the free kick.
59:17 The free kick is swung in right-footed by Liam Lawrence, Stephen Carr makes a clearance.
59:17 Booking Stephen Carr is shown a yellow card.
58:58 Unfair challenge on Matthew Etherington by Stephen Carr results in a free kick.
58:13 Liam Lawrence concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Bowyer. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
56:49 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the left by-line played to the near post, Abdoulaye Faye gets a header at goal, save
by Joe Hart.
56:33 Dean Whitehead takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Dann.
55:38 Foul by Cameron Jerome on Robert Huth, free kick awarded. Liam Lawrence restarts play with the free kick.
54:36 Matthew Etherington takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
51:21 Outswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, Header from deep inside the penalty area by James McFadden goes harmlessly
over the crossbar.
49:39 GOAL - Cameron Jerome:Stoke 0 - 1 Birmingham Cameron Jerome fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Stoke 0-1 Birmingham.
49:09 Corner from left by-line taken by James McFadden.
48:58 Christian Benitez takes a shot. Blocked by Rory Delap.
47:53 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Thomas Sorensen makes a comfortable save.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:00+1:22 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
43:23 Foul by Sebastian Larsson on Danny Higginbotham, free kick awarded. Ryan Shawcross restarts play with the free kick.
42:48 Header from deep inside the area by James Beattie goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
41:15 Liam Lawrence takes a shot. Lee Bowyer gets a block in.
40:43 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington played to the near post, Roger Johnson makes a clearance.
39:40 Free kick awarded for a foul by Cameron Jerome on Danny Higginbotham. Thomas Sorensen restarts play with the free kick.
38:40 Sebastian Larsson has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
37:51 Shot on goal by Matthew Etherington from just inside the area goes over the target.
36:14 Unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer by Dean Whitehead results in a free kick. Stephen Carr restarts play with the free kick.
34:51 Tuncay Sanli takes a shot. Roger Johnson gets a block in.
34:24 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Beattie by Barry Ferguson. Danny Higginbotham takes the direct free kick.
33:28 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington, Ryan Shawcross has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
32:58 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line to the near post.
30:48 Sebastian Larsson takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post.
30:09 James Beattie challenges Roger Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
29:36 Effort from outside the penalty box by Cameron Jerome goes wide left of the goal.
26:58 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by James McFadden, Thomas Sorensen makes a save.
25:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sebastian Larsson by Tuncay Sanli. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
23:36 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Liam Lawrence from the left by-line, save made by Joe Hart. Robert Huth concedes a
free kick for a foul on Christian Benitez. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
23:06 Free kick awarded for a foul by Cameron Jerome on Ryan Shawcross. Abdoulaye Faye restarts play with the free kick.
22:11 Unfair challenge on Roger Johnson by Ryan Shawcross results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
19:28 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington played to the near post.
15:25 Direct free kick taken by Matthew Etherington.
15:25 Booking The referee cautions Lee Bowyer for unsporting behaviour.
15:17 Dean Whitehead fouled by Lee Bowyer, the ref awards a free kick.
14:31 Corner taken left-footed by James McFadden from the right by-line, James Beattie makes a clearance.
12:19 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dean Whitehead by Barry Ferguson. Direct free kick taken by Dean Whitehead.
9:30 Corner taken right-footed by Liam Lawrence, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
8:31 Short corner taken by James McFadden.
6:59 Corner taken by Liam Lawrence.
6:17 Christian Benitez has an effort at goal from outside the box missing to the wide left of the goal.
3:38 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Liam Lawrence from the left by-line to the near post, Close range header by Ryan Shawcross
misses to the right of the goal.
0:44 Sebastian Larsson takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Robert Huth.
0:00 The match gets underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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