Sammie Szmodics celebrated his new contract by firing a second-half brace to help Blackburn to an enthralling 4-2 victory over Birmingham.
Wayne Rooney’s men had the better of the first half and Siriki Dembele clattered the woodwork but the visitors were made to pay for that profligacy.
Szmodics, who extended his Blackburn deal to 2026 on Tuesday, showed his clinical edge by lobbing John Ruddy in the 47th minute before another lofted finish five minutes later gave him his 13th of the campaign.
The game looked over when James Hill profited from a goalkeeping error to net his first Blackburn goal but Birmingham turned the game on its head.
Szmodics’ former Peterborough teammate Dembele netted a brace of his own with a classy 63rd-minute strike before a spectacular 20-yard effort gave the visitors real hope of an improbable point.
Harry Leonard’s injury-time strike made the points safe for Blackburn, who go seventh after a third win in four. Birmingham have now lost seven consecutive away games.
Birmingham weathered a fast Blackburn start and should have gone ahead in the 23rd minute when Lee Buchanan lashed over from close range.
They went closer three minutes later when Dembele tricked his way into the area on the left before unleashing an effort that rattled the crossbar.
Juninho Bacuna missed a glorious chance just before the break when he received the ball on the right but flashed a low shot beyond the far post, and Ruddy kept the scores level just before the break when he parried Callum Brittain’s curling shot behind.
Blackburn were ruthless after the break and Szmodics put them ahead in the 47th minute when he latched on to Adam Wharton’s defence-splitting pass before lobbing the stranded Ruddy.
He repeated the trick five minutes later, meeting Leonard’s clever pass before calmly lifting the ball over the goalkeeper from inside the area and it felt like game over in the 59th minute when Hill let fly with a speculative effort that Ruddy allowed to squirm beyond him and into the corner.
Birmingham came roaring back and superb skill from Dembele four minutes later saw him go past Brittain and fire clinically into the top corner.
It changed the complexion of the game and Leopold Wahlstedt made a smart near-post save from Bacuna before his brilliant reaction stop repelled Lukas Jutkiewicz’s point-blank header.
Dembele’s fifth of the season in the 78th minute, a stunning curling strike from the edge of the area that flew into the roof of the net, set up a grandstand finish.
But Leonard fired into the bottom-left corner in the second minute of injury time to secure the points as Ewood breathed a collective sigh of relief.