The Hatters sealed an important 1-0 victory at St Andrew’s in a scrappy 90 minutes of football.
Dan Potts’ first half header from a Harry Cornick long throw proved the difference as Luton produced a dogged defensive display to keep their first clean sheet since their away victory at Bournemouth in mid-January.
In a cagey opening 15 minutes the Hatters came closest to opening the scoring through James Collins. The Town’s leading scorer chased down a loose ball into the Birmingham penalty box, beating the backtracking George Friend and lobbing first time into the side netting.
Five minutes later Matty Pearson, who scored in the reverse fixture at Kenilworth Road, was found at the back post by a Jordan Clark inswinging corner, but his bullet header fell straight into the arms of keeper Neil Etheridge.
The Hatters broke the deadlock in the 31st minute through Potts. Harry Cornick’s long throw from the left was brought down by Collins who fired a shot towards goal on the turn, with the ricochet floating into the path of left-back Potts unmarked at the back post, who turned it into an empty net.
A brilliant effort three minutes later from Clark almost doubled the Hatters' advantage after his left footed half-volley from inside the box was saved well by Etheridge to his left.
In what was a scrappy first half entailing 17 fouls and no yellow cards, the Hatters went in with a one goal advantage having certainly created the better chances in what was a tight 45 minutes.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with an array of fouls and stoppages breaking up the flow of the game, though it was Birmingham who had the first attempt on goal. Jérémie Bela picked the ball up down the left flank, with Gary Gardner rushing in from deep to head straight at Town stopper Simon Sluga.
The game continued to produce very few moments of attacking quality, as Birmingham rolled the dice by introducing Lukasz Jutkiewicz and big money signing Sam Cosgrove. Immediately Birmingham attempted to play direct into their physical front two players, with the Hatters showing great resilience to repel everything The Blues threw at them.
Cornick’s long throws were again causing problems for Birmingham as they once again failed to clear, resulting in a Sonny Bradley overhead kick that rolled wide of the far post.
As the time ticked down into stoppage time, the Hatters showed their discipline to repel an aerial bombardment from Birmingham as they threw everyone forward, with Luton’s front men continuing to press high and disrupt their build up play to seal a hard fought victory.
After three games without a win the Hatters showed tremendous character to bounce back at St Andrew’s, stadium and will take great confidence into their next tie away at Cardiff City on Tuesday night.
Birmingham: Etheridge, Valery, Dean (C), Friend, Pedersen, Gardner (Sunjic 69), San José, Sanchez (Leko 55), Halilovic (Harper 55), Bela (Jutkiewicz 69), Hogan (Cosgrove 69)
Subs not used: Prieto, Colin, Clarke-Salter, McGree.
Yellows: San José, Harper
Town: Sluga, Potts, Bradley (C), Pearson, Lockyer, Rea, Mpanzu, Dewsbury-Hall, Clark (Naismith 70), Cornick, Collins
Subs not used: Shea, Cranie, Tunnicliffe, Berry, Hylton, LuaLua, Adebayo, Ince.
Goals: Potts (31)