Wolves edge Birmingham to restore four-point lead

Leo Bonatini scores for Wolves

Leo Bonatini’s goal – his 12th of the season – was given by goal-line technology at St Andrew’s

Wolves re-established their four-point lead at the top of the Championship as they beat Birmingham City at St Andrew’s for the third season running.

But they needed goal-line technology to prove that Leo Bonatini’s eighth-minute shot had crossed the whitewash to earn a sixth straight win.

Wolves failed to add another largely due to a string of fine saves by home keeper David Stockdale.

Even after Harlee Dean’s late red card for Blues, there were no more goals.

Shot-shy Birmingham’s 11th failure to score in 20 Championship games this season leaves them in the bottom three, into which they had tumbled again thanks to Bolton’s weekend win over Barnsley.

But against a rampant Wolves side who had scored 15 goals in their previous five matches, Steve Cotterill’s competitive Blues were far from disgraced in an at times hot-tempered derby.

The game took just eight minutes to erupt into life when Wolves scored in dramatic fashion.

Birmingham's Harlee Dean is sent off<!–

Harlee Dean was the third Birmingham player to be sent off in the last three meetings of the sides

Blues defender Jonathan Grounds gave the ball away cheaply, letting in Ivan Cavaleiro. And, although Stockdale saved his fierce left-foot shot and the follow-up effort from Diogo Jota, when Bonatini had a go too, Michael Morrison back on the goal-line blocked his effort – but the alert button went off on referee Simon Hooper’s wrist, and he gave the goal.

Stockdale followed up with another superb save from Cavaleiro as Wolves made light of the absence of suspended record signing Ruben Neves.

Then, in the second half, Stockdale needed Marc Roberts’ help to keep out Jota, after he had got clear following another unforced Blues error, then also saved with his legs from Helder Costa.

Although the scoring was done, the drama was not as a late 83rd-minute flare-up – the third of the night – brought yellow cards for Wolves’ Jota and Blues duo Morrison and Dean.

But, having just been booked for a foul on Alfred N’Diaye just six minutes earlier, Dean’s punishment was doubled up to a red – and that was effectively game over.

For all their spirited effort in limiting Wolves to only their third 1-0 win among the 15 in 20 games they have racked up this season, Blues, the EFL’s lowest scorers, still disappointed their own fans by failing to get a single effort on target.

Live Text

Match ends, Birmingham City 0, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.

Second Half ends, Birmingham City 0, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.

Attempt blocked. Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Che Adams.

Attempt missed. Che Adams (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Nsue with a cross.

Foul by Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

David Davis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Che Adams (Birmingham City).

Second yellow card to Harlee Dean (Birmingham City).

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card.

Michael Morrison (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card.

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Michael Morrison (Birmingham City).

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Bright Enobakhare replaces Romain Saiss because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution, Birmingham City. David Davis replaces Cheikh Ndoye.

Delay in match Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) because of an injury.

Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Alfred N’Diaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Harlee Dean (Birmingham City).

Barry Douglas (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nsue (Birmingham City).

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Jack Price replaces Léo Bonatini.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Barry Douglas.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Matt Doherty.

Foul by Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Cheikh Ndoye (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nsue with a cross.

Attempt missed. Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Hélder Costa.

Substitution, Birmingham City. Che Adams replaces Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Alfred N’Diaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Alfred N’Diaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Harlee Dean (Birmingham City).

Léo Bonatini (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City).

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Hélder Costa replaces Ivan Cavaleiro.

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