Dominant Huddersfield grabbed a huge survival lifeline after an impressive 3-0 win at Birmingham.
Karlan Grant’s penalty, Fraizer Campbell’s first goal since November and Elias Kachunga’s header lifted the Terriers out of the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone.
Campbell’s strike came just after Grant had a second spot-kick saved by Lee Camp.
Danny Cowley’s side are now 19th, three points above the drop zone, after their first win since returning from the enforced coronavirus break.
Limp Birmingham, who are 17th and seven points clear of the bottom three, are likely to need one more win to avoid any late scares and were second best from the early stages.
Grant’s sighters, a free-kick and a 20-yard drive, arrowed over but he made no mistake from the spot after 10 minutes.
A neat move down the left ended with Grant bursting into the area before he was brought down by Harlee Dean.
The former Charlton striker picked himself up and, although Camp got a hand to it, Grant bagged his 18th goal of the season.
Lively Huddersfield immediately chased a second with Birmingham passive and Harry Toffolo’s shot was blocked by Jake Clarke-Salter.
Blues did slowly start to improve but wasted the chances they created. Lukas Jutkiewicz headed Dan Crowley’s excellent cross over from six yards seven minutes before the break.
Gary Gardner then nodded straight at Jonas Lossl but any hopes the hosts had of a comeback evaporated within six minutes of the restart.
First, the Terriers wasted a golden chance to make it 2-0 when Camp denied Grant from the spot after Gardner had pulled down Chris Schindler.
But just 52 seconds later Huddersfield did double their lead when Campbell turned in Toffolo’s teasing low cross.
It was the just the former Manchester United striker’s third goal of the season and first since netting against Birmingham in November.
The hosts had no answer and Kachunga wrapped up victory with 18 minutes left when he headed in from Steve Mounie’s knockback.
Lewis O’Brien and Alex Pritchard also came close to adding a fourth but were thwarted by Camp.
What the managers said…
Birmingham’s Pep Clotet: “We didn’t like the game or the result. We have to put our hands up and take it as a bad game as that’s what it was and Huddersfield were better than us in most things. We have to bounce back and get points on the board. We’re not happy, we’ve spoken to the players and they are committed 100 per cent to bouncing back.
“We need to make sure our focus is there from the start. As a team we always need a strong start. I have a good relationship with all the players, I respect them and trust them 100 per cent. All the players are fully focused on doing their best. It’s not like they are not trying.”
Huddersfield’s Danny Cowley: “To be a good team you have to do it consistently, that is the challenge now. We will work really hard to do that. We’re not going to over celebrate. We’re pleased to perform well, we’ve taken a lot of criticism and most of it has been fair, but when you’re in a difficult moment you learn a lot about yourself.
“You are defined by the difficult moments and how you respond. We have to take the confidence from it and the focus now goes to the game on Saturday against Preston. We’re Huddersfield Town, we’re a working-class club and working-class town and we have to compete. We did that and did the fundamentals well.”