Ridgewell struck the equaliser to end West Ham's hopes of a rare away win
By Paul Fletcher
Birmingham scored twice in nine second-half minutes to rescue a point against rock-bottom West Ham at St Andrew's.
Blues keeper Ben Foster brilliantly denied Carlton Cole but low finishes by Frederic Piquionne and Valon Behrami gave the visitors the upper hand.
The home side rallied and Cameron Jerome struck after a knockdown from Nikola Zigic before Liam Ridgewell pounced on a rebound to equalise.
Jerome then saw a shot deflected against the woodwork by Danny Gabbidon.
It was a result that scarcely seemed possible when the Hammers scored twice after the break to put themselves on course for a first away success in the Premier League since the opening day of the 2009-10 campaign.
They played some fine, flowing football but Birmingham have proved themselves tough to beat at home and raised their game considerably, with a series of cross-field balls aimed towards giant striker Zigic causing the east Londoners considerable problems.
There was little hint of the excitement of the second half during a largely disappointing opening 45 minutes.
The on-pitch water sprinklers provided a moment of comedy after three minutes, appearing from beneath the playing surface in one half of the pitch and dousing several players and 25-year-old referee Michael Oliver.
Play stopped for more than a minute while the problem was rectified and it was the most noteworthy incident until Foster's athletic save after 18 minutes.
McLeish praises Birmingham character
Victor Obinna's right-wing cross was flicked on by Behrami and Cole showed excellent reflexes to guide the ball towards the bottom corner, but Foster demonstrated great agility to deflect the ball against the post.
The ball ran agonisingly across the face of goal from a West Ham point of view before it was put out for a corner.
Cole, one of two changes to Hammers boss Avram Grant's starting line-up from the side that lost at Arsenal, wrong-footed Foster with a shot on the turn before the break but his connection was poor and the keeper was able to readjust his position.
Grant claimed during the week that he had been encouraged by the quality of his team's performances despite winning only once in the league this season going into Saturday's fixture.
He must have been pleased by their dominance during the first half, but concerned by their failure to turn possession into goals.
Grant disappointed to let two-goal lead slip
That changed shortly after the restart when Luis Boa Morte's beautifully weighted through ball carved open the Blues backline and presented Piquionne with a chance that he gratefully accepted.
And when Behrami finished an incisive move with his first-time finish from 14 yards the match look out of reach for a home team who had showed precious little goal threat.
The match would definitely have been beyond Birmingham if Obinna's powerful strike had not rebounded off the crossbar shortly after the Hammers' second goal.
The home side had scored just four in their previous seven top-flight fixtures and looked short of confidence in attack.
Roger Johnson had headed wide from a corner and Sebastian Larsson had failed to connect with a super Barry Ferguson cross early in the second half, but they suddenly found another gear after the hour mark.
The recalled Jerome struck from close range after Zigic's knockdown and Ridgewell pounced after Rob Green could only parry a free-kick from Larsson.
The complexion of the match had changed completely and Zigic shot wide before Gabbidon deflected a goal-bound strike from Jerome against the crossbar with his thigh.
The Hammers did have a late penalty appeal after Jean Beausejour appeared to tug the shirt of Lars Joacobsen but the decision was not given in their favour.
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish: "We are disappointed to drop points at home and I would have taken a draw when we were 2-0 down because it was crucial to take something.
"We will take a piece of the pie, especially when it looked as though we were down and out.
"But with a few minutes to go I thought we could have won the game."
West Ham manager Avram Grant on the late penalty appeal: "We came here and played well but it was an undoubted penalty.
"I saw it on the pitch and I was 50 yards away, the referee was five yards away but he did not give it.
"You should not make a mistake from five yards. Like my friend Harry [Redknapp] would say, it is a farce and it is very frustrating."
90:00+4:53 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
90:00+4:21 Kieron Dyer fouled by Stephen Carr, the ref awards a free kick. Scott Parker takes the direct free kick.
90:00+3:03 Jean Beausejour produces a cross.
90:00+1:36 Sebastian Larsson fouled by Herita Ilunga, the ref awards a free kick. Barry Ferguson takes the free kick.
90:00+0:18 Substitution (West Ham) makes a substitution, with Radoslav Kovac coming on for Victor Obinna.
89:56 Sebastian Larsson delivers the ball, clearance by Herita Ilunga.
89:13 Unfair challenge on Stephen Carr by Victor Obinna results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Sebastian Larsson
from right wing, Matthew Upson manages to make a clearance.
88:34 Unfair challenge on Craig Gardner by Frederic Piquionne results in a free kick. Ben Foster takes the direct free kick.
88:34 Substitution Cameron Jerome goes off and Lee Bowyer comes on.
85:47 The ball is sent over by Herita Ilunga.
82:30 Substitution Luis Boa Morte leaves the field to be replaced by Kieron Dyer.
82:15 The ball is delivered by Herita Ilunga, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Frederic Piquionne goes harmlessly
over the crossbar.
80:45 Sebastian Larsson delivers the ball, Sebastian Larsson fouled by Victor Obinna, the ref awards a free kick. Sebastian Larsson
delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, clearance by Matthew Upson.
80:45 Booking Booking for Victor Obinna.
78:55 Barry Ferguson concedes a free kick for a foul on Luis Boa Morte. Matthew Upson takes the free kick.
76:35 Effort from inside the area by Nikola Zigic misses to the right of the target.
76:00 Valon Behrami produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
74:30 Luis Boa Morte sends in a cross, Liam Ridgewell makes a clearance.
72:40 The assist for the goal came from Sebastian Larsson.
72:40 GOAL - Liam Ridgewell:Birmingham 2 - 2 West Ham Liam Ridgewell fires in a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Birmingham 2-2 West Ham.
71:31 Foul by Scott Parker on Craig Gardner, free kick awarded. Sebastian Larsson has an effort direct from the free kick, save
made by Robert Green.
69:58 Frederic Piquionne challenges Liam Ridgewell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ben Foster.
68:49 The ball is swung over by Sebastian Larsson.
68:16 Victor Obinna takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
67:44 Foul by Jean Beausejour on Luis Boa Morte, free kick awarded. Robert Green takes the free kick.
66:43 Jean Beausejour takes a shot. Blocked by Robert Green.
65:34 Free kick awarded for a foul by Frederic Piquionne on Jean Beausejour. Sebastian Larsson produces a shot on goal direct from
the free kick, save by Robert Green.
65:27 The ball is delivered by Barry Ferguson.
64:55 Sebastian Larsson produces a cross, clearance by Daniel Gabbidon.
63:19 Assist by Nikola Zigic.
63:19 GOAL - Cameron Jerome:Birmingham 1 - 2 West Ham Cameron Jerome scores a goal from close range to the top right corner of the goal. Birmingham 1-2 West Ham.
62:26 Cameron Jerome fouled by Scott Parker, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.
61:49 Cameron Jerome challenges Matthew Upson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Robert Green takes the indirect free kick.
61:00 The official flags Carlton Cole offside. Ben Foster takes the free kick.
59:31 Substitution Keith Fahey leaves the field to be replaced by Craig Gardner.
59:31 Substitution Jean Beausejour joins the action as a substitute, replacing Alexander Hleb.
57:05 Assist by Carlton Cole.
57:05 GOAL - Valon Behrami:Birmingham 0 - 2 West Ham Goal scored by Valon Behrami from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Birmingham 0-2 West Ham.
56:02 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Victor Obinna from the left by-line, Close range headed effort by Carlton Cole clears
55:47 Luis Boa Morte produces a cross, clearance by Scott Dann.
55:07 Carlton Cole produces a cross.
54:24 The assistant referee signals for offside against Nikola Zigic. Indirect free kick taken by Robert Green.
53:06 Stephen Carr fouled by Scott Parker, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Sebastian Larsson,
Daniel Gabbidon manages to make a clearance.
50:25 Effort from outside the area by Victor Obinna goes wide right of the goal.
50:13 Carlton Cole fouled by Barry Ferguson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Herita Ilunga.
47:48 Assist on the goal came from Luis Boa Morte.
47:48 GOAL - Frederic Piquionne:Birmingham 0 - 1 West Ham Frederic Piquionne finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal.
Birmingham 0-1 West Ham.
47:00 Carlton Cole gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Scott Dann. Ben Foster takes the direct free kick.
46:47 The ball is sent over by Sebastian Larsson, save by Robert Green.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:00+1:29 The ref blows to signal half-time.
45:00+0:39 Corner from the right by-line taken by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Frederic Piquionne.
Correction - 45:00+0:15 Keith Fahey takes a shot.
45:00+0:15 Keith Fahey takes a shot. Blocked by Matthew Upson.
43:58 The ball is swung over by Sebastian Larsson, Matthew Upson fouled by Cameron Jerome, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free
kick taken by Robert Green.
43:21 Carlton Cole takes a shot. Comfortable save by Ben Foster.
42:10 Corner taken by Victor Obinna from the right by-line, clearance made by Nikola Zigic.
39:54 Carlton Cole takes a shot. Save made by Ben Foster.
38:41 Stephen Carr delivers the ball, clearance by Scott Parker.
37:42 Unfair challenge on Keith Fahey by Victor Obinna results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball from the free
kick right-footed from left wing, Carlton Cole manages to make a clearance.
32:50 Nikola Zigic challenges Herita Ilunga unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Robert Green.
32:22 Herita Ilunga delivers the ball.
30:53 Free kick awarded for a foul by Liam Ridgewell on Victor Obinna. Free kick crossed right-footed by Lars Jacobsen from right
30:28 Keith Fahey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Valon Behrami. Lars Jacobsen takes the direct free kick.
28:19 Victor Obinna has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the goal.
26:51 The ball is sent over by Victor Obinna.
25:58 Cameron Jerome is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Robert Green.
23:26 Frederic Piquionne takes a shot. Scott Dann gets a block in.
22:17 Valon Behrami produces a cross.
21:29 Victor Obinna takes a shot.
20:43 Victor Obinna takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Nikola Zigic.
19:56 Liam Ridgewell concedes a free kick for a foul on Frederic Piquionne. Lars Jacobsen takes the free kick.
18:08 Free kick awarded for a foul by Frederic Piquionne on Scott Dann. Scott Dann takes the direct free kick.
17:37 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Luis Boa Morte.
17:05 Carlton Cole takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
16:28 A cross is delivered by Valon Behrami.
15:19 Alexander Hleb concedes a free kick for a foul on Luis Boa Morte. Robert Green takes the free kick.
14:30 Outswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, Matthew Upson makes a clearance.
13:53 Victor Obinna delivers the ball, comfortable save by Ben Foster.
10:32 Carlton Cole has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide right of the goal.
9:14 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line, Header by Roger Johnson from deep inside
the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
8:17 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Frederic Piquionne by Nikola Zigic. Matthew Upson takes the direct free kick.
6:48 Carlton Cole takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
5:08 Unfair challenge on Liam Ridgewell by Valon Behrami results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Sebastian Larsson.
4:09 Frederic Piquionne has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
1:55 The ball is delivered by Liam Ridgewell.
0:48 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Liam Ridgewell by Valon Behrami. Scott Dann takes the free kick.
0:00 The game gets underway.
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