Craig Gardner celebrates his second-half equaliser with team-mate Lee Bowyer
By Les Roopanarine
Birmingham clawed back a two-goal deficit to preserve their two-point Premier League advantage over Europa League rivals Everton.
The visitors looked to be out of sight when Victor Anichebe blasted home on 19 minutes before Yakubu nodded in Steven Pienaar's lobbed pass from close range.
But Cameron Jerome gave Birmingham a foothold in the game when he swivelled to turn in Keith Fahey's centre.
And Craig Gardner completed a route-one move just after the break to level.
A draw was perhaps inevitable, given the combination of Birmingham's goal-shy attack - no club in the top half of the table has scored fewer times - and the continued absence of Louis Saha, Everton's top scorer, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.
But while it was the second time in three months that the sides have cancelled each other out in league combat, a game of rising drama was a far cry from December's relatively tame 1-1 draw.
As was the case then, Birmingham recovered from a blistering Everton start to take a share of the spoils from a tussle that at one stage was threatening to get away from them.
McLeish proud of Birmingham comeback
An insipid opening spell offered little hint of the drama to follow, but with the end of the first quarter approaching the game was enlivened by three goals in seven explosive minutes.
Everton, growing in authority as the composed passing of Mikel Arteta and athletic dynamism of Pienaar began to tell in midfield, probed along the right through Phil Neville.
The former Manchester United man fed Anichebe inside the area, and the Nigeria forward - making only his third start since his return from long-term injury - turned Liam Ridgewell to blast an unstoppable shot past Birmingham keeper Joe Hart and into the top corner.
Only moments earlier Hart had reacted superbly to keep out a low, curling effort from Pienaar, but within three minutes the England man was beaten again.
Arteta found Pienaar on the right, and the South Africa midfielder eluded Lee Bowyer to stand up a cross for Yakubu, who shrugged off a challenge from Roger Johnson to head in from point-blank range.
It looked briefly as though Everton might be destined for a second headline-dominating scoreline in as many weeks, but Birmingham are nothing if not resilient and four minutes later they were back in the hunt.
Ridgewell knocked Scott Dann's lobbed pass to Fahey, whose left-flank cross into the danger area was guided home on the turn by Jerome.
The former Middlesbrough trainee's third goal in two games was the perfect response to Alex McLeish's pre-match suggestion that Birmingham's European fate would be determined by their strikeforce.
And Jerome was again in the thick of things when Birmingham pulled level six minutes after the break, rising to flick a Hart goal-kick to Gardner, who blasted a low drive beyond the sprawling Tim Howard.
It was a fairytale goal for the locally-born Gardner, a Birmingham fan who began his career with Aston Villa and was making only his fifth appearance for the Blues since his January switch from Villa Park.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair thereafter, Birmingham threatening in fits and starts while Everton spurned a chance to claim maximum points when Cahill, breaking through on goal, delivered a weak shot under pressure from Johnson.
'Sloppy' defending frustrates Moyes
Hurt in that challenge, Cahill was subsequently withdrawn and was soon followed to the sidelines by Anichebe, who likewise picked up an injury.
But if those setbacks interrupted Everton's efforts to make further attacking inroads, ultimately the sides were too evenly matched to deserve maximum points from a game that left both with all to play for in the scrap for Europa League qualification.
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish:
"Everton came here on fire, but St Andrews is a tough place to come.
"We had to up the tempo because we were pedestrian in the first 20 minutes, we were getting no penetration and we weren't getting the ball to the forwards.
"But once we did Cameron Jerome led the line brilliantly, that was the best I've seen him.
"And Craig Gardner's contribution was the kind we would anticipate from him.
"I still feel that we're short of strength-in-depth and experience in terms of Europe, but as we proved today we'll keep going to the end."
Everton manager David Moyes:
"At times our football was very good, but we let in a couple of sloppy goals and that was our downfall.
"Our play was good and we were in total control, but then we got sloppy and that gave Birmingham a lifeline.
"The injuries to Tim Cahill and Victor Anichebe don't look too bad."
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