Derby manager Frank Lampard was far from downhearted following a battling 2-2 draw at Birmingham as he relished a welcome hard-earned point.
Lukas Jutkiewicz gave Birmingham a second-minute lead only for former Ipswich striker Martyn Waghorn to equalise five minutes later with his 12th goal of the season.
Michael Morrison restored the lead for Birmingham after 19 minutes but Richard Keogh salvaged a point with a 28th-minute header.
Morrison and Keogh were involved in a crucial incident in the closing stages when the Derby captain appeared to handle a close-range Morrison shot only for the penalty appeal to be rejected by referee Simon Hooper.
Lampard, however, thought Derby themselves should have had a first-half penalty when trailing 2-1 after Craig Bryson had been impeded.
The Rams boss said: “It was a point won as Birmingham is a tough place to visit. It was a hard-fought game with two different styles of football.
“I was pleased with what we did because we dealt well with a lot of their stuff other than the two corners from which they scored.
“We are not a big team and we have to deal with these sort of situations. They are bigger than us but we have to compete and make it difficult for them. Of course I am disappointed as we should deal better with these situations.”
Lampard contends that Derby are still in with a chance of making the play-offs.
“We have a game in hand,” said the former Chelsea midfielder. “We have to play at Bristol City and Swansea but it is becoming more critical as we need to win games.
“This championship is so difficult to predict as four games can mean such a lot. We have to remain positive and focus on QPR on Monday.”
Commenting on the rejected penalty decisions, Lampard admitted: “The Bryson incident was incredible after the goalkeeper had spilled the ball. The referee had a clear view.
“It is frustrating but the referee’s decisions made a big difference to the result.”
Birmingham manager Garry Monk admitted there were two obvious penalty incidents.
He said: “You have to live with the referee’s decisions.
“Considering we were playing against another promotion candidate we acquitted ourselves fantastically well.
“To our credit we twice took the lead in the first half. We then had a problem with them getting to our back four too easily but we addressed that in the second half and, apart from the two late saves by Lee Camp, we looked the most likely team to have won.
“We have also recently played Leeds and Sheffield United and we have acquitted ourselves well.
“My players have shown great effort and commitment. We have a good structure and always look a threat.
“We now want to finish the season strongly as it has been tough for everyone as a lot of things have gone on.
“This group of players have shown great spirit which was typified against Derby. They are a credit but we now have a huge game at Rotherham.”