MX23RW : Wednesday, January 16 19:14:44

Result: Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Birmingham City to move in on Championship crown

Result: Wolves beat Blues to move in on title
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Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Birmingham City 2-0 at Molineux to move within touching distance of being crowned winners of the Championship this season.

Wolverhampton Wanderers moved to within just a single point of being crowned winners of the Championship courtesy of a 2-0 victory over 10-man Birmingham City at Molineux this afternoon.

Nuno Espirito Santo's charges were handed promotion after Fulham slipped up against Brentford on Saturday, leaving Wolves to cap off a memorable weekend by earning a dominant win thanks to goals from Diogo Jota and Benik Afobe in the derby.

Wolves started the game with typical possessional dominance, but the hosts fell asleep at the back in the 11th minute, allowing Lukas Jutkiewicz to break in behind before being thwarted by two standout saves from John Ruddy.

Those early chances were the best of the half for Birmingham, who despite pressing with impressive energy and intent, found themselves passed into relative submission by a dominant Wolves outfit.

It took the home side the best part of 21 minutes to carve out a clear-cut opportunity, but they made the most of it to take the lead.

Matt Doherty broke in down the right channel and was able to cut back into the middle, where Jota slid the ball beyond David Stockdale.

Helder Costa impressed on the right flank and he was crucial as Wanderers went in search of a second, the winger beating his marker before squaring into the middle for substitute Leo Bonatini, who could only thump an effort into the grateful arms of Stockdale.

Any hope of a City turnaround was scuppered early on after the interval, when Costa drew a sliding challenge from Harlee Dean on the edge of the box, who was then dismissed with a straight red having been deemed the last man in defence.

The second period was certainly more attritional than the first and Wolves might have just put the game to bed with 20 minutes remaining, although Stockdale did well to save from Romain Saiss after he broke clear from Marc Roberts.

Birmingham continued to scrap and Jutkiewicz passed up a half-chance in the closing stages, before City were punished by some clinical work from the hosts, Alfred N'Diaye threading Afobe in behind, who chipped the ball over Stockdale to seal all three points.

Victory for Wanderers now leaves them within touching distance of Championship glory, while defeat for Garry Monk's men pushes Birmingham right into the midst of a developing relegation scrap.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (3-4-3): Ruddy; Bennett; Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves (N'Diaye 70'), Saiss, Douglas; Costa, Jota (Afobe 74'), Cavaleiro (Bonatini 16')

BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-5-1): Stockdale; Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin; Grounds (Maghoma 62'), Kieftenbeld (Roberts 54'), Ndoye (Gardner 78'), Davis, Jota; Jutkiewicz

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The mighty Nuno Espirito Santo watches on during the EFL Cup game between Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 23, 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22183150104057
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
4Chelsea22145340172347
5Arsenal22125546321441
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22125544321241
7Watford229583232032
8Leicester CityLeicester229492625131
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham229493032-231
10Everton228683331230
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves228592328-529
12Bournemouth2283113142-1127
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
15Burnley2263132343-2021
16Southampton2247112339-1619
17Cardiff CityCardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2246121631-1518
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

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