Wolves celebrate promotion with win over Birmingham


Wolves promoted

Wolves were promoted to the Premier League on Saturday without kicking a ball

Promoted Wolves edged to within a point of the Championship title as a goal in each half saw them to victory over 10-man Birmingham City in a typically competitive Midlands derby at Molineux.

Matt Doherty’s low right wing cross set up Diogo Jota’s close-range opener.

Substitute Benik Afobe’s neat chip settled the outcome late on.

But it was a miserable day for Blues defender Harlee Dean, who was sent off against Wolves for the second time this season after slicing down Helder Costa.

Wolves were promoted to the Premier League for the first time since relegation in 2012 on Saturday, after Fulham could only draw with Brentford.

They will be champions if they avoid defeat at lowly Bolton next week.

Garry Monk’s Birmingham remain in relegation danger, two points clear of 22nd placed Barnsley, who have a game in hand, with three matches left.

It might have been a different story for Blues but for John Ruddy’s superb early double save when Lukas Jutkiewicz fed in free-running Maxime Colin, who just escaped the linesman’s attention on the edge of the box.

Ruddy’s first acrobatic block was followed by an even better stop when he quickly readjusted to turn away Colin’s second effort.

  • Relive Wolves’ victory over Birmingham
  • How Wolves won promotion to the Premier League

Instead, it was Wolves who went in front when Romain Saiss sent Doherty clear down the right and his hard, low cross curled wickedly out of keeper David Stockdale’s reach, allowing Jota to steer in from three yards.

Atletico Madrid loanee Jota was then denied by Stockdale at the near post early in the second half before the contest swung even further in Wolves’ way when Dean was red carded for bringing down Costa when he was clean through on goal.

Jutkiewicz went close to an equaliser when he had a left foot shot tipped over, before substitutes Leo Bonatini and Afobe were denied at the other end.

But Afobe brought the show down when he was fed into the box by Alfred N’Diaye and dinked the ball over the advancing Stockdale.

Benik Afobe<!–

Benik Afobe chips in his fifth goal for Wolves since returning on loan in January

As well as Dean’s red card, Blues also had Jonathan Grounds and Michael Morrison booked for heavy challenges on Jota.

And Wolves old boy David Davis was probably lucky to escape getting a yellow card as well, for his early challenge on Saiss – although he did not escape vitriolic jeers from the home fans.

Former Brentford defender Dean’s season could now be over with his second dismissal of the campaign likely to result in a four-match ban – although Blues are set to appeal the decision.

It means Birmingham have had a man sent off in four successive derbies against Wolves following red cards for Jack Storer and Paul Robinson last season.

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Wolves fans did not come onto the pitch at full-time after an appeal from the club on Friday

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo told BBC WM: “It is good to have 95 points, and we can now celebrate. But let’s now do something special. Lets dream now. Let us get to 98, 101, 104 points maybe?

“Birmingham came to fight for something that was important to them. Some of their tackles were out of order but the referee punished them.

“The Championship is the hardest competition the world. Each team comes to fight and derbies are special. And we were also intense in what we did. We were ready for it.”

Birmingham City manager Garry Monk told BBC WM: “We came to try and make it more difficult for them and, had we taken our chances, we might have got something.

“The sending off didn’t help. You need things to go for you when you’re playing a quality side like Wolves.

“Harlee made an attempt to play the ball and just mistimed his challenge. The ruling is that should have been a yellow card, not red, so we’ll be looking for that to be rescinded.

“We now have three massive games to come. But you can see the players are fighting and are committed.”

Live Text

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Birmingham City 0.

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Birmingham City 0.

Foul by Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Birmingham City 0. Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Alfred N’Diaye with a through ball.

Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom left corner.

Foul by Léo Bonatini (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Barry Douglas.

Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Maxime Colin (Birmingham City).

Attempt missed. Léo Bonatini (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Benik Afobe.

Attempt missed. David Davis (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Willy Boly.

Substitution, Birmingham City. Craig Gardner replaces Cheikh Ndoye.

Attempt missed. Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Foul by Alfred N’Diaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Benik Afobe replaces Diogo Jota.

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Romain Saiss tries a through ball, but Matt Doherty is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Léo Bonatini with a through ball.

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alfred N’Diaye replaces Rúben Neves.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Wes Harding.

Attempt missed. Barry Douglas (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Hélder Costa.

Attempt blocked. Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Romain Saiss.

Foul by Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution, Birmingham City. Jacques Maghoma replaces Jonathan Grounds.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Willy Boly.

Attempt blocked. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cheikh Ndoye.

Foul by Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Maxime Colin (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by John Ruddy.

Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jonathan Grounds.

Foul by Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Cheikh Ndoye (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Ryan Bennett (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

Attempt missed. Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/43686450

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