Birmingham manager Chris Hughton's first league game in charge of the club ended in defeat at Derby County.
Hughton was given a promising start when Curtis Davies headed in from a Jordon Mutch corner after 19 minutes.
But Jason Shackell headed in a Rams free-kick to level and a powerful Steve Davies shot put Derby in front.
Birmingham claimed a penalty for Shackell's challenge on Adam Rooney before Chris Burke's chipped shot hit the post as an equaliser eluded them.
Despite the efforts of the visitors in a lively game, the result will only heighten the worried mood of Birmingham fans after a summer of upheaval following their relegation from the Premier League last season.
Blues have let several of their star names leave and Hughton took over at the St Andrew's helm following the controversial departure of Alex McLeish.
The visitors escaped an early let-off when Lee Croft sidefooted a Derby chance over, prior to Birmingham taking the initiative and building up some persistent pressure, with Jean Beausejour a particular threat from the right of midfield.
Derby were saved by the crossbar before a Mutch corner was headed in by centre-back Davies.
Rather than build on their promising play though, Hughton's side undid their good work when they let defender Shackell get on the end of a Ben Davies free-kick to nod in an equaliser.
It got worse for Birmingham when Steven Davies struck with a swerving long range shot for what proved the eventual winner.
The home side created plenty of chances as Birmingham pushed for a leveller and Jamie Ward's header came back off the woodwork as they almost extended their lead.
Derby had gone into the season with an air of uncertainty about what they might be able to achieve.
After holding on, despite Rooney's shout for a spot-kick and Burke's effort, Rams fans were given hope of for more than the relegation battle of last season.