Championship Review: Wolves and Cardiff win again
Wolves and Cardiff City both look strong favourites to win promotion to the Premier League after collecting Good Friday victories.
Nuno Espirito Santo's side had two men sent off but are edging ever closer to a return to the top-flight after six years away, with the Bluebirds near-certain to join them.
Wins over Middlesbrough and Burton Albion respectively kept the Championship's top two well clear of the chasing pack, but the play-off picture is increasingly muddled.
Fulham and Aston Villa appear likely to take two of the four spots available, but below them it is all to play for in the closing weeks of the campaign.
WOLVES CLOSE IN ON PROMOTION
A 2-1 win at the Riverside Stadium means Wolves are 16 points clear in the promotion places with only seven games to go.
Helder Costa got them on their way against Boro after his initial shot was blocked, Wolves recycling the ball for Barry Douglas to cross to the back post where Costa slammed home a volley.
Ivan Cavaleiro doubled their lead before the interval, nodding in from close range after Darren Randolph parried a Willy Boly header, and although Ruben Neves and Matt Doherty both saw red in the second half Wolves held on despite Patrick Bamford's injury-time volley.
In the second late game, Sone Aluko's 13th-minute strike edged Reading to a 1-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers, Paul Clement getting off to a winning start with the Royals after Jake Bidwell's stoppage-time penalty was saved by Vito Mannone.
It's all over at the Riverside! Nine man Wolves with a superb defensive performance in the second half to protect their advantage and hold on for all three points. Big win. #MIDvWOLpic.twitter.com/2IbZNwgmGX-- Wolves (@Wolves) March 30, 2018
BLUEBIRDS MARCH ON
Cardiff City moved a step closer to promotion with a 3-1 home win over second-bottom Burton Albion.
Although Darren Bent's first goal since April cancelled out Kenneth Zohore's opener, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing restored the lead on the stroke of half-time, smashing in at the near post from a tight angle.
Callum Paterson secured Cardiff's eighth successive league victory with a 64th minute goal that means Neil Warnock's men remain seven points clear of Fulham, who won 2-0 at Norwich City thanks to quickfire second-half goals from Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney.
5 - Cardiff City are the first team in the history of the Football League to win five consecutive league matches all against teams whose name starts with the same letter (Bristol City, Barnsley, Birmingham, Brentford & Burton). Brilliant. pic.twitter.com/SItSXcYZDz-- OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 30, 2018
LATE GOAL BREAKS TYKE HEARTS
Barnsley were on track for a huge win in the battle against relegation, Brad Potts having given the Tykes a 2-1 lead at home to Bristol City with 12 minutes to go, but Josh Brownhill struck in the first minute of added time as the Robins stay in the hunt for a top-six finish.
Millwall boosted their play-off hopes with a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest, Shaun Williams scoring in the first minute and Lee Gregory wrapping up the points before the interval.
Chris Mepham's equaliser for Brentford at home to Sheffield United - his first professional goal - denied Chris Wilder's side the chance to move into the top six, while fellow play-off hopefuls Preston North End went down 4-1 to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Paul Heckingbottom collected his second win in charge of Leeds United, goals from Caleb Ekuban and Pablo Hernandez earning a 2-1 win at Elland Road.