City boss Bryan Gunn pulled no punches as far as referee Mark Haywood was concerned after today's official almost managed to ruin his St Andrews showdown with best pal Alex McLeish.
In the end a stunning, 53rd minute free-kick from man of the match Sammy Clingan gave the Canaries a richly-deserved 1-1 draw and kept the Norfolk side heading north going into the two-week break for internationals.
But Cameron Jerome's 38th minute opener clearly niggled after the Blues striker appeared to slam into David Marshall unfairly before stabbing the ball home.
On such decisions are relegation causes won and lost. Fortunately for all concerned, the new City boss has instilled enough spirit in his side for such blows to be overcome.
“Delighted that we got a point at a place like St Andrew's,” said Gunn, who handed Alan Lee a start for today's meeting with the promotion hopefuls.
“But disappointed that we didn't get three. The referee told us before the game that he would try and get the major decisions right. And the one major decision of the game he got wrong.
“It should have been a foul on the goalkeeper – he had a bleeding nose at half-time when he came in, so for me there must have been contact. And 99 times out of 100 that would have been a free-kick.”
Certainly had it happened in front of the Tilton Road End was Gunn's next message. There is a spot of Sir Alex in there; officials beware.
“Had it been at the other end it would have been a free-kick. So I thought he was poor.”
Fortunately, the Canaries have rather more about them these days and the 2,000 travelling City fans were granted much to savour – the only thing that was lacking was a first sighting of Korey Smith and Tom Adeyemi in first team action. Both FA Youth Cup stars were sat on the bench today. Given that then put them ahead of both ex-skipper Mark Fotheringham and Matty Pattison suggests that the latter pair will struggle to grace a Canary team-sheet again with Simon Lappin handed the start in Darel Russell's absence.
“There's good players in the squad; good individuals,” added Gunn. “But more importantly, when they play as a team they're a good team.
“And they've shown in recent weeks their commitment to each other, their commitment to me as a manager and their commitment to the club. And the inspiration from the supporters certainly helped us.
“We've now got a two-week break and then we've got 25,000 fans waiting for us to come out against Sheffield Wednesday…”
A win there and Norwich would, indeed, be flying out of trouble. Tonight they sit just two points off the drop zone, but firmly heading in the right direction.
That said, however, the game still threatened to turn on that controversial, 38th minute challenge.
The ball in caused the initial problem as Hameur Bouazza's left-wing cross hung all-too long in the air on the edge of the City six-yard box.
Marshall was always favourite to come and claim; which he did. But as the lurking Jerome slammed into him, so the ball popped out of his hands and the one-time Cardiff striker had the easiest of chances to stab the ball home into an empty net.
Given that the balance of play for the preceeding 38 minutes had belonged to the visitors, it was rough justice on all concerned. Whether Marshall was at fault would be one for those of a generous or mean spirit to decide.
Either way it came to be over-shadowed by Clingan's stunning, 53rd minute free-kick that levelled the scores. It was a total peach; top corner; with pace; 25-yards out.
It could have got even better moments later when Lappin's deep corner picked out Lee at the far post. His header was looping over a lost Maik Taylor before Sebastian Larsson headed off the line.
Taylor then needed to whip the ball off David Mooney's toes with one hand, before Liam Ridgewell rode to his rescue with a smart interception at the near post as Lee almost reached a Ryan Bertrand cross.
Norwich had Blues rocking; they just needed one last punch to put them on the canvas for good.
Lee almost sneaked onto the end of a Ryan Bertrand break; twice Taylor would get himself into an almighty muddle; Alan Gow would crack a sweet volley down to the keeper's left. They were pushing their hosts hard.
The final ten minutes and it was Birmingham's turn to have a go. Not for the first time of late, Messrs Shackell and Doherty stood tall, stood proud and stood firm. And with Marshall tipping a late Kevin Phillips header over the bar, so a fine point off a fine performance was their's.