Brian McDermott suffered his first defeat as Leeds United manager when the Whites went down 1-0 at Birmingham to a second half goal from Hayden Mullins.
The result ended any last lingering hopes of reaching the Npower Championship play-offs, but scores elsewhere ensured that United were safe from relegation, which was McDermott’s first aim when he took over.
After victories in the new manager’s first two games and encouraging performances, Leeds faced their first away game under McDermott and struggled to get going initially at St Andrews.
The first chance fell to Birmingham and United were fortunate to survive when Ravel Morrison hit the woodwork.
Leeds went close soon after as Rodolph Austin’s strike from distance was spilled by keeper Jack Butland and Luke Varney’s follow-up was blocked.
Michael Tonge saw an effort tipped over by Butland and Ross McCormack was also denied by the England man while at the other end Morrison went close again for the hosts.
In the second half it was United’s turn to be denied by the woodwork as McCormack’s free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar. McCormack went close twice more and Sam Byram hit an effort into the side netting after Butland had fumbled a McCormack cross, but Birmingham’s goal survived intact and it was they who came up with the winner.
This time it was Paddy Kenny’s turn to parry a Nathan Redmond strike and the ball fell to Mullins, who was able to find the net from close range.
Leeds looked to hit back, but never went closer than in the 76th minute when Butland saved well from Austin and it was a familiar take of woe from them on their travels this season as they failed to halt their poor away record.
Birmingham City 1
Leeds United 0
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Birmingham: Butland, Hancox, Robinson, Davies, Caddis, Morrison, Elliott, Mullins, Ferguson (Burke 60), Redmond, Zigic.
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Tonge (Peltier 60), Austin (Drury 83), Green, Diouf (Morison 74), McCormack, Varney.
Referee: S Hooper.