Darren Bent took his tally for the season to 21 as Sunderland beat Birmingham 3-1 to ease their way towards Barclays Premier League safety.
The England international struck after five and then 11 minutes to put the Wearsiders in complete control.
However, City staged a second-half fightback and Cameron Jerome reduced the deficit on the hour, and it took a series of fine saves from home keeper Craig Gordon and Fraizer Campbell's 88th-minute effort to deny the visitors a point.
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