Stephen Hunt (right) celebrates scoring the game's only goal
By Les Roopanarine
A clinical first-half strike from Stephen Hunt combined with a first clean sheet since mid-April gave Wolves local bragging rights over Birmingham.
Hunt capped a dominant Wolves display by stealing in at the near post to convert a Sylvan Ebanks-Blake centre.
Ben Foster earlier saved efforts from David Edwards, Hunt and Ebanks-Blake, but Birmingham were otherwise poor.
The visitors' best chance came when substitute Kevin Phillips headed wide in the final minutes.
It was a rare moment of promise for Birmingham, who turned in an uncharacteristically subdued performance on an afternoon when it seemed that a Wolves side severely depleted by injury were there for the taking.
In the event, nothing could have been further from the truth. From the first whistle, second-from-bottom Wolves played with a poise and assurance belying their lowly league position.
Win is all that matters - McCarthy
Edwards set the tone early on, embarking on a marauding run down the right which Birmingham defender Roger Johnson curtailed with a hefty challenge, earning a booking for his troubles.
With the Wolves treatment room more crowded than the dressing room, manager Mick McCarthy had been obliged to fill his bench with a quartet of academy players.
Yet, from the moment Johnson's name entered the referee's book, it was clear that Birmingham, precariously poised two points above the relegation zone, would have to fight tooth and claw if they were to pick up their first away win since March.
Until the final minutes, when Alex McLeish's side were belatedly roused from their torpor by the arrival of Phillips, and the stretching Cameron Jerome narrowly failed to connect with a cross from substitute Jean Beausejour with the goal at his mercy, it never looked likely to happen.
Pressing from the outset, Wolves called Foster into action twice in as many minutes. Edwards forced the first save, with a header from Stephen Ward's cross, before Hunt was denied at close range following another centre.
In response, a Birmingham side missing top scorer Craig Gardner from the starting line-up could muster nothing more than a Sebastian Larsson free-kick which flew harmlessly into the stands.
It was an uncharacteristically tepid derby display from the visitors, and Wolves, no doubt sensing the possibility of a second win in three games, were soon causing Foster further problems.
With Liam Ridgewell absent, Birmingham were forced to reorganise their defence and Scott Dann was repeatedly pulled out towards the left, a position in which he looked uncomfortable.
The danger signs were clear for the visitors when Dann's inability to cut out Wolves' right-wing supply line allowed Ebanks-Blake to smash a near-post shot towards Foster, who once again repelled the danger.
But when Ebanks-Blake stoked the dying embers of the opening period by wriggling past Dann to find Hunt at the near post, even Foster was powerless to deny McCarthy's men a deserved lead, the Republic of Ireland midfielder gleefully turning home his second goal of the season.
Outclassed and outfought in the first period, the expectation was that Birmingham would improve in the second. They did, but not until the final stages of the match, by which time Wolves should have been out of sight.
Birmingham deserved to lose - McLeish
With the half only two minutes old, Ward found Edwards in the six-yard box, but with the goal at his mercy the Wales midfielder contrived to head wide.
Nenand Milijas showed greater aerial accuracy from a Hunt corner just after the hour, only for Foster to come to Birmingham's rescue once again.
The arrival of Phillips, so often Wolves' tormentor down the years, briefly reinvigorated the visitors, but when he failed to find the target with a header from six yards following a delightful chip from Gardner, the writing was on the wall for Birmingham.
A second consecutive derby date awaits for Wolves, who face West Brom next weekend, but it will hold few fears if they can reproduce this level of performance.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: "There's no doubt we deserved the victory. I would say their keeper was their star player, and I don't think Wayne Hennessey had too many saves to make.
"We deserved the victory, it was a great clean sheet, and it helps everybody to feel better about themselves.
"I've spoken about the spirit in the camp, how it's good and optimistic, and I think it showed.
"With all the things that have gone wrong, it was set up for us to get beat, but the players weren't going to let it happen. They've been terrific."
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish: "We didn't turn up at all for the first 60 minutes. We were outfought and then had a go. We need to start games the way we finish them.
"There were some boosts for us with Kevin Doyle and Matt Jarvis not playing for them, but they had their backs to the wall and they bullied us.
"Wolves had a cause, and maybe we were complacent because they had some big players missing.
"I felt there was a goal in it for us, and there's no finer man to bring on than Kevin Phillips, but it wasn't to be and Wolves deserved the victory."
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