Championship Review: Cardiff's slip punished by Wolves, Bolton off the bottom
Wolves have opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the Championship after they beat Ipswich Town 1-0 and Cardiff City lost 2-0 at Bolton Wanderers.
Nuno Espirito Santo's men have been the standout side so far this season and they are showing no sign of slowing down, as they head into the festive period in confident fashion.
Bristol City were unable to build on their EFL Cup win over Manchester United with another victory, as they drew 1-1 at QPR, while Leeds United, 1-0 victors over Hull City, and Aston Villa hold on to their places in the top six, despite the latter relinquishing a 2-0 lead and ultimately drawing 2-2 with a Sheffield United side who had lost three in a row.
Towards the bottom of the table, Burton Albion pulled themselves out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Reading, securing victory late on through Tom Naylor.
Middlesbrough also benefited from some late drama at Sheffield Wednesday, scoring twice in the final 19 minutes to win 2-1 and inflict a third successive defeat on their hosts.
Derby County meanwhile recorded their fourth victory and fourth clean sheet in succession, beating Millwall 3-0 at home to close in on Cardiff.
WOLVES IN COMMAND
Generally chances were at a premium at Molineux, though Wolves were more clinical than the visitors.
The only goal of the game came just before half-time, as Diogo Jota's right-wing cross fell kindly for Ivan Cavaleiro and the Portugal international slammed home.
Wolves were in control for much of the match, but their inability to finish Ipswich off led to a tense ending.
And coach Nuno showed his relief when celebrating at full-time, as Wolves ensured they will sit seven points clear at Christmas.
Merry Christmas pic.twitter.com/Dexa5gMjiX
— Wolves (@Wolves) December 23, 2017
CARDIFF SHOCKED, BOLTON OFF THE BOTTOM
Wolves also owe Bolton their gratitude, as goals from Gary Madine and Josh Vela secured a 2-0 win over second-placed Cardiff City.
The match remained goalless until the 75th minute when David Wheater's header struck a hand in the penalty area and Madine dispatched the resulting kick.
And Vela added to that just before the end, producing a simple finish after being set up by Madine.
That victory lifted Bolton off the bottom of the table and above Birmingham City, who drew 1-1 at Sunderland.
GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!! It's two! Gary Madine puts it on a plate for @velajosh25 as he makes no mistake from close-range! Merry Christmas!
— Bolton Wanderers FC (@OfficialBWFC) December 23, 2017
NUGENT DOUBLE INSPIRES DERBY
Derby County closed in on Cardiff thanks to a fine 3-0 win at home to Millwall.
All three goals came in a six-minute period, with David Nugent opening the scoring in the 23rd minute when diverting home Chris Baird's corner.
Matej Vydra doubled their lead soon after with an emphatic drive from the edge of the area and Nugent wrapped things up, moving Derby up to third as their strong promotion bid continues.
Three goals in six minutes have us like... pic.twitter.com/glDkj0hqfd
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) December 23, 2017