Monday, July 23, 2018

Championship review: Aston Villa, Fulham keep the pressure on as Wolves are held at home

SoccerNews in English Championship 3 Apr 2018

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Aston Villa and Fulham boosted their hopes of automatic promotion with victories but Championship leaders Wolves were held at home on Tuesday.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side needed a late equaliser to get a 2-2 draw against Hull City, though they still remain on course to seal a return to the Premier League.

With second-placed Cardiff City held at Sheffield United on Monday, nearest rivals Fulham seized the opportunity to close the gap on the Welsh club with a 2-0 triumph over Leeds United.

Villa, meanwhile, swept aside Reading 3-0 but remain in fourth, while Birmingham City moved further clear of the drop zone with a 1-0 result at Bolton.

 

BUUR TO THE RESCUE

Oskar Buur marked his debut by heading in an equaliser but Wolves saw their three-match winning run come to an end.

Diogo Jota converted from the spot in the 18th minute to put the home side in front, only for Hull to equalise with a penalty of their own, tucked home by David Meyler following a foul by Roderick Miranda.

The visitors appeared on course to become only the third Championship team to win at Molineux this season until Buur converted Barry Douglas’ cross in the 83rd minute.

 

PROMOTION RACE HOTTING UP

Villa capitalised on the first-half dismissal of David Edwards – who picked up two yellow cards in the space of 13 minutes – to record a comfortable victory over Reading, 

Birkir Bjarnason put Steve Bruce’s side ahead two minutes after the break, with Conor Hourihane and Scott Hogan adding further goals to keep Villa’s slim hopes of a top-two finish alive.

However, Fulham remain the side most likely to break out of the play-off places after they stretched their unbeaten league run to 18 games.

Kevin McDonald opened the scoring in the 33rd minute and Aleksandar Mitrovic doubled Fulham’s advantage just after the hour mark, cutting the gap to Cardiff down to five points.

 

BLUES ON THE RISE

Birmingham continued their resurgence under manager Garry Monk, securing a third straight victory to move further clear of the relegation zone.

Lukas Jutkiewicz grabbed the only goal of the game five minutes before the break, timing his run perfectly to meet Jacques Maghoma’s cross with a thumping finish.

Despite the dismissal of Che Adams, who was shown a red card for a heavy challenge on Craig Noone, Birmingham kept Bolton at bay to open a five-point cushion to 22nd-placed Barnsley.

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