The penalty build-up was controversial too. Mikael Forssell, on loan from Chelsea, pushed into Roque Junior to win possession in the first place.
Then the Finn squeezed the ball to Christophe Dugarry whose exquisite backheel put his new strike partner away.
Brazilian Roque Junior brought down Forssell as they raced into the box and was walking before Dermot Gallagher reached for his red card.
Paul Robinson's save from David Dunn looked to have kept Leeds in the game, but Gallagher was forced to award a re-take following the observation by linesman Andy Martin that Robinson had moved forwards before Dunn struck the ball.
Leeds players surrounded the officials in anger and dismay. But Robbie Savage stepped forward to take over from Dunn and send a lovely penalty into the other corner. Robinson went the correct way again, but could not pull off another miracle save.
Birmingham could hardly believe their luck all round and snatched a second before the end from Forssell as Leeds became downhearted.
Dugarry passed to Dunn on the run and the midfielder's slick pass put in Forssell for a clinical finish.
It was a dramatic end to a quiet game, but another impressive and battling triumph for The Blues. The game started poorly and got worse until that finale. Poor touches, frantic tackles and a general lack of craft from either side made for poor entertainment.
Roque Junior went straight into the book for a foul on Dugarry after 5 minutes, an unusually quick caution from referee Dermot Gallagher.
The tone was already set, Savage barging into Lamine Sakho and getting away with it and then the Elland Road crowd were left baffled when Salomon Olembe was yellow-carded for fouling Damien Johnson only seconds later.
Olembe at least looked lively if small in central midfield. He covered the ground but also knew how to pick out a team-mate, a rare quality on the day.
Birmingham were hardly in the match as an attacking force.
Dunn's cross-shot did however make Robinson save, but that was an isolated foray by City into Leeds territory. Olembe's sharp feet and quick mind set up a chance for Sakho to cross but typically there were no takers as attackers reacted slowly and defenders threw bodies around.
It was the same case when Stan Lazaridis robbed Zouma Camara and sprinted to the byeline before delivering a ball to no visible team mate.
Savage was inevitably booked for clattering into Sakho on half-time, a needless foul from the Wales international, but not unexpected.
Birmingham had to be busy to contain a side desperate to make up for their dismal night at Leicester and, to Leeds's credit, they improved after the break.
Ian Harte's free kick worried Taylor before Jermaine Pennant's poor control stopped him taking advantage of a cute Olembe chip.
Sakho was more ambitious with a low drive from the edge of the box but Taylor saved at his post without much fuss.
Alan Smith took out his frustration with a couple of wild challenges and an off-the-ball clash or two, but he got away with it.
Sakho had no complaints about his booking when he kicked out at Dunn after losing his headband in a tussle.
Birmingham's chances were few, with Clemence screwing one shot hopelessly wide from Dunn's assist and their overall show confirms they have some way to go to get above mid-table.
On this evidence there is little to choose between the sides although Leeds have to turn home draws into wins rather than defeats.
Mark Viduka was quiet and headed one Harte free kick over. He is capable of much more.
Smith wasted his best opening from a Viduka knock-down, poking a shot straight at Taylor from eight yards out. Then came that dramatic finale.
LEEDS - Robinson, Kelly, Camara, Vitor Roque Junior, Harte, Pennant, Morris, Olembe, Sakho (Lennon 81), Viduka, Smith.
|Attendance: 34,305||Referee: D Gallagher|