Sheffield Wednesday manager Brian Laws dubbed it "the biggest travesty I've ever seen in my life". Even his opposite number Steve Bruce admitted: "We got away with it, it's as simple as that".

But there was one simple explanation as to why Birmingham City won a game they really ought to have lost. Put simply, Blues gave Wednesday a lesson in finishing.

Five years to the day since Bruce took charge of his first Blues game  -  a 1-0 loss at Molineux  -  this game could easily have ended up another defeat, and by a lot worse scoreline too.

Instead, Bruce's men again rode their luck to pull off their biggest away league win since December 2001.

For the fourth successive game, they hit three to maintain their three-point lead at the top of the Championship. And, not since Blues had won by the same score against Stockport

County at Edgeley Park in Bruce's fourth game in charge had they enjoyed such a convincing result on their travels.

Yet Blues were hopelessly over run in the first half. Marcus Tudgay's early chance was deflected over, Majid Bougherra headed over from Frank Simek's cross, Mehdi Nafti hooked off the line from Deon Burton after Bougherra had headed on and Maik Taylor twice came to Blues' rescue.

The Blues keeper parried Chris Brunt's 30-yarder after Nafti had missed a tackle in midfield and then came up with a superb onehand save to deny Burton.

But, as is invariably the case when one team does not take their chances, the opposition tends to pounce. And, four minutes before the break, skipper Stephen Clemence fired his side ahead.

It was a real captain's effort, Clemence showing great awareness after Cameron Jerome's one-two with Gary McSheffrey had provided the opening. Jerome's shot was only parried by home keeper Mark Crossley and Clemence was there to slam home the rebound with controlled power.

After expressing his delight at scoring his first goal since that now infamous one at Pride Park two months ago, Clemence succeeded in talking his way out of a booking following a lecture from fussy, funless referee Graham Laws. But the main talking point at half-time was not the scorer, but the scoreline.

Even at 1-0, words like 'daylight' and 'robbery' were already hanging on the breeze. But Wednesday still had the chances to do something about it.

Tudgay could only find the side netting from Lee Bullen's ball over the top at the start of the second half and then, when Taylor made another point-blank save from Burton, Brunt astonishingly put the rebound up over the bar and into orbit.

Admittedly, Sebastian Larsson did go close when a cock-up in the home defence needed a frantic scramble to clear their decks. But it was still against the run of play when Blues went further in front.

McSheffrey was thwarted with a challenge when he got to the home by-line down the inside left channel, but he simply cut back inside and beat Crossley at his near post with a thunderous right-foot shot.

This time, the celebrations were more restrained. But it was noticeable that it was to Nicklas Bendtner that McSheffrey ran to take the first handshake, the sullen Swede receiving McSheffrey's 13th goal in a Blues shirt a damn sight more gracefully than he had his 12th the week before.

Even then, apart from when Bendtner had his legs taken on the edge of the box by Bougherra, it was still Wednesday who came closest to scoring. Tudgay had a header cleared off the line by Larsson, sub Steve MacLean forced a solid save from Taylor with a far-post volley and a dangerous inswinging corner almost comically trapped under Tudgay's feet on the line.

That was the last of the Owls' ten good chances gone. And when Jerome raced away to add even more gloss to the scoreline, it just summed up Wednesday's day.

By then, they had been forced to play the final eight minutes down to ten men and without a keeper. Centre-half Bullen had to go in nets when Crossley limped off with a hamstring problem, after Laws had already made his three substitutions. And Jerome's third league goal of the campaign (all of them away from home) simply made the margin of Blues' victory more flattering. But what happened next was plain daft.

Jerome, understandably ecstatic having scored so seldom for Blues in comparison to last term's bagful for Cardiff City, celebrated by grabbing the ball and twice more hammering it into the roof of the net. Mr Laws, the sort of joyless individual who presumably around telling little children that Santa Claus does not exist, booked him.

"That was as tough a game as we've had," said the everhonest Bruce. "But they couldn't do the vital thing, stick the ball in the net.

"And, with the players we've got up front, we're always a threat. I wouldn't swap them for anybody."