Premiership strugglers West Ham suffered an eighth straight defeat as they went down 2-1 in the League Cup away to giantkillers Chesterfield on Tuesday.
Last season's FA Cup finalists had gone 672 minutes without a goal until striker Marlon Harewood's fourth minute strike put them ahead against League One side Chesterfield, who knocked out Premiership outfit Manchester City in the previous round of this competition.
But Chesterfield fought their way back at Saltergate as the Hammers ran out of impetus, and were rewarded in the 54th minute when Colin Larkin equalized.
Caleb Folan's 20-meter shot was palmed onto the woodwork by West Ham keeper Rob Green and Larkin, following up, stabbed home the rebound.
"We're out of this competition, out of the UEFA Cup and in a bad position in the league," under-pressure West Ham boss Alan Pardew said. "We have to take that on board and face reality, it's a different challenge and you need characters and they must really come to the fore now."
"The responsibility for the team and the results is mine and unfortunately they don't look too well right now but I'm big enough to take that on board and come out fighting and I hope my team are as well," he added.
Chesterfield manager Roy McFarland was delighted with his players' resolve.
"They kept their confidence, they kept their determination and we kept the tempo going in the second half," the former England center-half said. "They pushed us near the end, but I felt over the 90 minutes we deserved to win the game."
Birmingham, relegated from the Premiership last season, came from behind to beat top-flight newboys Sheffield United 4-2.
United went ahead through Ade Akinbiyi's well-taken goal in the 21st minute before DJ Campbell leveled four minutes before half-time for former Blades boss Steve Bruce's side.
Birmingham substitute Niclas Bendtner's shot 20 minutes from time then made it 2-1.
More poor defending from United then allowed Cameron Jerome to score 11 minutes from the finish. United hit back when David Unsworth played in Nick Montgomery five minutes from time before Sebastian Larsson made the game safe for Birmingham in the final minute.
"This time last week was one of the worst nights of my life in football, but we have maybe shut a few people up with all the nonsense that has come out," Bruce said.
United manager Neil Warnock, who changed his entire team from the side beaten by Everton last Saturday -- said few players had done much to change his mind ahead of Saturday's clash with Chelsea.
Martin O'Neill, who won the League Cup with Leicester City, saw his Aston Villa side survive extra-time before running out 3-2 winners against his old club.
Juan Pablo Angel put Villa ahead in the fifth minute before Richard Stearman leveled for Leicester in the 42nd minute.
But just before half-time Stilian Petrov was fouled in the box and from the resulting penalty Gareth Barry fired into the roof of the net.
Leicester battled back and Patrick Kisnorbo equalized again in the 85th minute. Barry could have won the game for Villa at the death with a second penalty. but this time keeper Paul Henderson guessed right to make a fine save.
But with a minute of extra-time left Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor sealed Villa's victory.
Arsenal beat West Brom 2-0, Everton defeated Luton 4-0 and Watford saw off Hull 2-1.