Gabriel Agbonlahor scored the only goal of the game as Harry Redknapp's first match in charge of relegation-threatened Birmingham City ended in a 1-0 defeat at Villa Park in the Championship on Sunday.
Redknapp says he is working for free after succeeding Gianfranco Zola at Birmingham but he could not inspire the club to their first derby win in the league since 2005.
Che Adams had the best chance of a goalless first half at Villa Park, but the 20-year-old midfielder blazed over the crossbar after being well picked out with a low cutback by Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Villa were missing 19-goal Jonathan Kodjia through suspension but Steve Bruce's men took the lead after 68 minutes, with local hero Agbonlahor recording his first goal since February 2016.
Birmingham failed to clear a Villa corner and former England international Agbonlahor was on hand to power home a close-range finish to score his fifth career goal against rivals Birmingham just nine minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Villa are now unbeaten in their last 10 league games against Birmingham, who remain just two points above the Championship's relegation zone with two games of the season still to play, while Villa move into the top half.