Wolves celebrate as promotion is secured
Wolves were celebrating promotion to the Premier League last night without even kicking a ball after a late Brentford equaliser at Craven Cottage meant Fulham dropped points and so can no longer catch the leaders.
Fulham needed a victory to regain second place from Cardiff in the Sky Bet Championship and to deny leaders Wolves automatic promotion.
The west London club took the lead with 20 minutes to go through an Aleksandar Mitrovic strike, but Neal Maupay’s goal in the 94th minute signalled Wolves’s return to the elite for the first time since 2012.
Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple hailed the influence of manager Nuno Espírito Santo, who took charge last summer. Dalrymple said: “What he’s brought in has been fantastic. He came in, he changed the playing style. We’ve recruited well and he’s galvanised the group really strongly in a very short space of time. Very, very quickly he had us playing a different style of football than we’d been accustomed to and a brand of football that was delivering results really quickly.”
Cardiff had left it late earlier but kept themselves in the hunt for an automatic promotion place with a 2-0 win at Norwich. Kenneth Zohore squeezed the ball past Angus Gunn in the 86th minute before Junior Hoilett’s goal in added time ended Cardiff ’s two-game losing streak.
Middlesbrough stormed into the play-off places after coming from behind to beat Bristol City 2-1 at the Riverside Stadium. Milan Djuric volleyed the visitors into a 13th-minute lead before George Friend levelled five minutes later. Daniel Ayala then headed home the winner in the 68th minute, moving Middlesbrough up to fifth and denting Bristol City’s top-six hopes.
Veteran striker Steve Morison struck his fifth goal of the season for Millwall as they came back to draw 1-1 against fellow play-off hopefuls Sheffield
United in the early kick-off. Leon Clarke opened the scoring for the Blades in the 74th minute, but Morison equalised instantly to grab a point. The sixth-placed Lions remain unbeaten in the league since New Year’s Day and Sheffield United, who are ninth, have not lost at home since late January. Derby slipped out of the top six, but Burton moved off the bottom and to within five points of safety after a 3-1 victory over the Rams at the Pirelli Stadium.
Sunderland slipped to the foot of the table and remain six points below Bolton after drawing 2-2 at Reading.
Liam Kelly gave the Royals the lead from the penalty spot. Paddy McNair fired a stunning equaliser just after the break before Lee Cattermole’s first goal since August 2014 put the visitors in front in the 66th minute. Yann Kermorgant restored parity for Reading with 11 minutes remaining to leave Chris Coleman’s side on the brink of relegation.