Cardiff passed up the chance to make inroads on leaders Southampton after being pegged back by struggling Coventry.
Local lad Peter Whittingham, once on Coventry's books, had looked to have proved the scourge of the Sky Blues yet again with his fourth goal in five meetings between the two clubs just after half-time.
It came via Aron Gunnarsson's long throw, so often a weapon for Coventry in his three years at the club prior to his summer move to south Wales, as the ball broke for Whittingham to lash home from the edge of the penalty area.
The midfielder then saw a long-range strike tipped on to the crossbar by Joe Murphy before Sky Blues marksman Lukas Jutkiewicz moved level with Whittingham on seven goals for the season, his well-taken header shortly after the hour mark adjudged to have crossed the line.
Chris Burke hit a dramatic injury-time winner as Birmingham beat struggling Burnley 2-1 to gain ground on their Championship promotion rivals.
City, who began the night with three games in hand over most of the teams around them, had led through Jean Beausejour's second-minute strike and would have been winning more comfortably had Marlon King not been guilty of an alarming miss.
City looked like being made to pay for their profligacy again as Marvin Bartley's strike early in the second half put Burnley level only for Burke to pop up with an injury-time winner.