Fletcher scored early in the contest but Wolves could not build on their lead
By Paul Fletcher
Wolves missed the opportunity to climb out of the bottom three after they were held to a draw by 10-man Birmingham.
Steven Fletcher put Wolves ahead with a penalty after Ben Foster fouled Stephen Ward early in the contest.
Sebastian Larsson hit the crossbar and later struck the equaliser after a poor header from Michael Mancienne.
Craig Gardner picked up a second yellow before the break but a scrappy and goalless second half left Wolves 19th in the table, one point from safety.
And Mick McCarthy's team could even finish Sunday propping up the Premier League if West Ham defeat Manchester City in the late game.
But the result edged Blues a point nearer to safety as Alex McLeish's team are now four clear of the bottom three with three games left.
Wolves lacked magic - McCarthy
The Carling Cup winners, thrashed 5-0 by Liverpool in their previous league game, face matches against Newcastle, Fulham and Tottenham.
Wolves have now gone five games without a victory and take on Black Country rivals West Brom in their next fixture before ending the season with matches against Sunderland and Blackburn.
It promises to be a tight and edgy end to the campaign for the men from Molineux, as McCarthy's team look to avoid a return to the Championship after two seasons in the top flight.
Certainly, Sunday's contest at St Andrew's was more about feisty tackles than finessed passing.
The second half was particularly disappointing, with hardly any chances of note for either team.
In truth, it was up to Wolves to make the running on a hot day in the Midlands.
With Gardner off and defender Roger Johnson limping through the latter stages of the match after picking up an injury, Wolves had to press home the opportunity to claim a vital three points but Blues looked relatively comfortable.
Wolves had got off to the ideal start when Fletcher's penalty - a low left-foot strike that sent Foster the wrong way - gave them the lead after seven minutes.
Foster was at fault for the goal, gifting possession to Matt Jarvis with an atrocious kick under no pressure, before bringing down Ward after he had been played through.
If anything the early goal served to further enliven a contest that had started at a furious pace, and Gardner and Jamie O'Hara were both booked after squaring up to each other.
The Blues midfielder had taken exception to a heavy tackle from his opponent and their clash led to a melee that required the intervention of several players.
Birmingham seemed to produce the majority of the precious moments of true quality and the impressive Larsson saw his free-kick crash against the crossbar after Gardner was cynically brought down by Richard Stearman on the edge of the area.
Fletcher scuffed a rare opening for Wolves when a corner reached him at the far post before Blues drew level when Larsson pounced on Mancienne's error.
The defender tried to head a long upfield kick by Foster to his own keeper but did not get enough power on the ball.
The alert Larsson nipped in and drilled a right-foot strike beyond Wayne Hennessey for his 27th-minute equaliser, but their celebrations were cut short when Gardner was dismissed shortly afterwards.
Point not enough for McLeish
The midfielder went down under pressure from Jody Craddock but referee Kevin Friend adjudged that there had been no contact between the players and booked the Birmingham man for simulation.
The recalled Kevin Phillips was sacrificed shortly afterwards, with midfielder Jean Beausejour replacing him to ensure the home side were not overrun in the middle of the park.
There was one final chance before the break but Kevin Foley snatched at his shot 12 yards from goal, with his effort drifting wide.
Wolves replaced defender Stearman with attacking midfielder Adam Hammill at the restart as they attempted to take advantage of their numerical supremacy.
However, the match became an increasingly ragged and bad-tempered affair.
Lee Bowyer and Karl Henry tussled several times, with the Wolves skipper booked for a late tackle on the Blues midfielder.
Jarvis dispossessed Bowyer close to the Blues box but snatched his shot disappointingly wide as the game petered out.
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