Monday 22 January 2018

High-flying Wolves make it six wins on the spin

Birmingham 0 Wolves 1

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Leo Bonatini successfully appeals to score his side's first goal of the game. Photo: PA
Wolverhampton Wanderers' Leo Bonatini successfully appeals to score his side's first goal of the game. Photo: PA

Jon Culley

Wolves maintained their lead in the Championship with a sixth straight win and a ninth in their last 10 matches, keeping the gap between themselves and Cardiff at four points.

It is the longest sequence of consecutive victories in the second tier since Reading won eight in a row during the 2005-06 season on their way to winning the division and they will be favourites to make it seven at home to Sunderland on Saturday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo (right) and Birmingham City manager Steve Cotterill shake hands. Photo: PA
Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo (right) and Birmingham City manager Steve Cotterill shake hands. Photo: PA

Yet it was not the most fluent performance from Nuno Espirito Santo's team by the standards they have set this year and they were not able to build on Leo Bonatini's 12th goal of the season, which came as a result of an early Birmingham mistake.

They were rarely less than comfortable, however, against a Birmingham side who did not play badly but are still finding it hard to gain any momentum under Steve Cotterill and remain in the bottom three, finishing the match with 10 men after defender Harlee Dean was sent off for picking up two yellow cards in the final quarter of an hour.

Birmingham picked up at creditable point at erstwhile leaders Sheffield United 10 days ago and they have not been an easy touch on their own patch.

Wolves, though, are a different proposition in their current form and the last thing Steve Cotterill's team needed was to hand them a gift of a goal, as Jonathan Grounds effectively did when he tried to pass the ball square across the edge of the Birmingham penalty area in the eighth minute.

Birmingham City's Jota (right) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota (left) battle for the ball. Photo: PA
Birmingham City's Jota (right) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota (left) battle for the ball. Photo: PA

Ivan Cavaleiro intercepted only a few yards outside the box and though his fierce shot was beaten away by goalkeeper David Stockdale, who then heroically scrambled to his feet to keep out Diego Jota's follow-up, Leo Bonatini was first to the second rebound, which was cleared under the bar by Michael Morrison but electronically judged to have crossed the line. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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