Paul Devlin's penalty earned a 1-1 draw with visitors Charlton and rescued a point for 10-man Birmingham - but their disciplinary problems are beginning to mount after striker Geoff Horsfield collected his second straight red card of the season.
Devlin levelled matters - to cancel out Claus Jensen's first half strike - after Horsfield had been dismissed for a challenge on Luke Young.
Blues had come into the game with the worst disciplinary record in the Premiership - 52 yellow and three red cards - and Bruce's fears that suspensions could be his main headache in trying to stay in the top flight were again highlighted.
Horsfield's second red card of the season - he was also dismissed against Preston in the Worthington Cup - will leave Bruce with a major headache as his only other senior striker, Stern John, is recuperating from knee surgery.
To make matters worse his influential playmaker Aliou Cisse will now have to serve his second suspension of the season after collecting his 10th booking of the campaign. In total there were eight bookings and a sending-off.
But it is that never-say-die spirit installed by Bruce which again came to the fore after Horsfield's dismissal.
An inept first half, in which Charlton had been the better side, was forgotten as they rescued a precious point in their bid to survive via Devlin's penalty.
Charlton will feel they should have taken command after gaining a numerical advantage but they have still taken 14 points from an unbeaten six-game run to cement a mid-table place in the Premiership.
The first half chance of the game fell to City striker Horsfield who was found in a yard of space by Jovan Kirovski - scorer of the winner against Fulham last weekend.
But, after taking time to steady himself, Horsfield failed to make a clean contact with his low drive which did not seriously test Charlton keeper Dean Kiely.
Paul Konchesky then came to the rescue of the Addicks when he headed a floated free-kick from 25 yards out by Kirovski off the line with Kiely apparently beaten.
But there were precious few moments of excitement on a bitterly cold afternoon and it was Charlton who looked the more likely to open the scoring.
The danger signals were there for Blues in the 34th minute when Kevin Lisbie was put clear by Konchesky but he appeared to hesitate before shooting and Nico Vaesen was able to block his eventual low effort.
But Curbishley's side were not to be denied and three minutes later the home defence was split open as Jensen tucked away his fourth goal of the campaign in impressive fashion.
Jensen played a one-two with Scott Parker before finding himself with only Vaesen in front of him and he dummied the Blues keeper before walking the ball into an empty net.
For the home side record signing Clinton Morrison volleyed wide from a Kirovski corner but the half-time whistle was greeted with a smattering of boos by the home supporters after a limp display from their side.
At half-time Blues on-loan signing, defender Ferdinand Coly, was introduced to the home fans and the Lens player will formally sign until the end of the season when the transfer window reopens next month.
Blues began the second half in more enterprising mode but they found themselves reduced to 10 men after 53 minutes when Horsfield collected his second red card of the season.
He lunged at Young near the dug-outs but it appeared to be harsh when referee Rob Styles brandished an instant red.
That was the signal for a flare-up involving at least a dozen players which resulted in Morrison and Parker also being cautioned.
Vaesen kept City in the hunt when he saved a powerfully-struck drive from Konchesky but at the other end substitute Devlin had a similar shot deflected inches wide.
City were clearly fired up by Horsfield's dismissal and after 66 minutes Devlin brought them back on level terms from the penalty spot.
Aliou Cisse powered into the penalty area and had his legs taken from underneath him by Jensen as he was preparing to shoot.
Referee Styles pointed instantly to the spot and up stepped Devlin to hammer the ball past Kiely into the roof of the net.
Blues were dealt another blow when Cisse collected his 10th booking of the campaign for disputing a Charlton free-kick with a linesman and he will have to serve a two-match suspension.
But Bruce's side held on with relative ease although Parker drilled a shot wide when well placed in the penalty area.
Birmingham manager Steve Bruce has claimed the Premiership could be
'spoiled' by what he believes to be a 'constant' stream of red and yellow
cards being handed out by referees.
Bruce had no complaints about the sending-off of striker Geoff Horsfield for
what he described as a 'horrible challenge' on Charlton`s Luke Young.
But he was baffled by the number of yellow cards handed out by referee Rob
Styles, with all nine of them in today`s 1-1 draw at St Andrews coming in the
final half hour.
Birmingham will pay a heavy price with Horsfield facing a three-match
suspension while Aliou Cisse and Olivier Tebily will be banned for reaching 10
and five yellow cards respectively.
Bruce said: 'To be brutally honest the red card was deserved. Geoff would
never deliberately hurt someone but it was a horrible looking tackle and I can
understand the referee`s decision.
'But some of the decisions after that baffled me. There were nine cards in
the last 30 minutes and unless we are really careful we're going to spoil the
best league in the world with this constant nonsense.
'Commonsense has gone out of the window and it is the letter of the law on
Bruce praised his side for fighting back to earn a point through Paul Devlin's
hotly disputed penalty for a foul by Charlton goalscorer Claus Jensen on Cisse.
He said: 'The way we came back was magnificent. We played better with 10 men
and it again showed the spirit I have here.'
Charlton manager Alan Curbishley admitted: 'The game got out of hand in the
second half but I think it is better to have a look at things again on video
before commenting on certain things.
'From our point of view the players were saying it was not a penalty and even
some Bluenoses said the same after watching the incident again on television.
'But I was more disappointed with the way we played in the second half and
decisions like that do tend to even themselves out.'