CHELSEA are now five games without a win – and they had to battle to get this FA Cup replay at home to Championship side Birmingham.
A Daniel Sturridge (pic) goal on the hour was the only saving grace from a performance that was yet again best described as 'forgettable'.
Blues were boosted by the return of Ramires, John Mikel Obi and Gary Cahill from injury or illness – and all started. Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, returning from the African Nations Cup, started on the bench.
Chelsea had their by now customary sluggish start. But, nevertheless, the Birmingham opener was against the run of play.
A Nathan Redmond corner scuffed across the box offering three separate goalscoring chances for Birmingham. It was hard to tell whether the attacking or defending was more laughable until the third chance and David Murphy's goal.
Moments from the re-start Chelsea charged forward with Ramires going down in the opposition box. Referee Martin Atkinson pointed straight to the spot but Juan Mata's penalty was touched onto the post by keeper Colin Doyle.
And worse still, Chelsea were booed off by large sections at half time. Visiting Brums fans only added salt to the wounds by chanting former boss Jose Mourinho's name.
Changes were made and Fernando Torres missing in action in the first half was replaced by Didier Drogba, and not long afterwards Saloman Kalou came on for Mikel.
With their compliment of Ivorians restored the home team looked sharper. But it was an Englishman who levelled the scores.
Branislav Ivanovic, looking twice the player Jose Bosingwa usually is at right back, took the ball down to the corner flag and crossed into the box.
Sturridge soared, and delivered a perfect twisting header into the net.
But the goal seemed to have little effect on Chelsea's work-rate or penetration as they muddled through the rest of the half.
Frank Lampard was brought on for Mata with eight minutes left to a rousing cheer, but on the final whistle the boos rang-out again.
Chelsea must now travel to the Mildands twice in four days. The replay will be on March 6, just after a league game at West Brom.