JONNY’S ON THE SPOT FOR BORO!
Pulis’ boys into play-offs
JONNY Howson took advantage of a howler from Millwall keeper Jordan Archer to secure victory for Middlesbrough – and a place in the Championship play-offs.
Boro already led through Britt Assombalonga’s first half goal when Archer allowed Stewart Downing’s cross to slip from his grasp, enabling Howson to tap home from close range. Boro boss Tony Pulis said:
“We’re delighted that we’re now in the play-offs.”
The defeat virtually ended Millwall’s chances of reaching the play-offs.
Cardiff won 2-0 at Hull with two goals from skipper Sean Morrison to go back above Fulham into second place. It means they will be promoted if they beat Reading at home next weekend.
In League Two, Wycombe Wanderers clinched promotion with a 2-1 victory at Chesterfield, Dominic Gape netting the winner.
Barnet won 1-0 at Morecambe to keep their chances of staying up alive going into the final game.
ASTALEMATE with Sheffield Wednesday could not dampen the title celebrations for Wolves as Nuno Esperito Santo hailed a special day for the club after receiving the Championship trophy.
No side could break the deadlock at Molineux as Wolves missed the chance to get to 100 points after failing to take chances against a stubborn Owls defence.
And Wolves boss Santo challenged his side to end their campaign with victory against Sunderland next weekend on their ascent to the Premier League.
“It’s a special day today, a fantastic day.” he said. “When you get something that you can hold onto, that’s when you feel you are a champion.
“Everybody feels today that we are champions, and it is well deserved.
“This season deserves to end better than today. It deserves to end with a win.
“We must feel the taste of winning because this is what we’ve been doing all season and teams perform better when they are in winning momentums, so let’s proceed and try to engage this momentum to the next season.”
Diogo Jota got behind the Owls defence and a vital eighth-minute Daniel Pudil challenge warded off a lurking Helder Costa.
At the other end, Fernando Forestieri’s attempted bicycle kick bounced harmlessly into John Ruddy’s arms.
Romain Saiss let fly on 20 minutes which fizzed wide as Wolves struggled to break down Wednesday on the counter.
Joey Pelupessy’s short 33rdminute backpass was intercepted by Wolves marksman Benik Afobe who rounded Cameron Dawson but fired across goal from a tight angle.
Jota drove at the Wednesday rearguard moments later and the Atletico Madrid loanee’s powerful effort was dealt with by Dawson.
The Owls stopper showed sharp reactions when Barry Douglas’ 42nd-minute corner evaded all but Saiss at the back post and Dawson parried the header wide. Jota nearly handed Wolves the opener after the restart but Dawson diverted off target, the stopper getting a fingertip to the forward’s low effort later on as skipper Danny Batth also nodded wide during a flurry of chances.
Jota slipped in Costa after the hour who was stopped by Jordan Thorniley’s well timed tackle.
Saiss’ effort was charged down by Thorniley and deflected over with 15 minutes left, while Bright Enobakhare should have tested Wildsmith when put through one-on-one by Leo Bonatini.
Bonatini was denied by the onrushing Dawson after nearly latching onto Saiss’ pass with five minutes remaining, but the deadlock remained.
Owls boss Jos Luhukay hopes his side can take their recent form of five wins and a draw over their last eight games into next season as he paid tribute to the champions.
“There’s progression, there’s some growing in the team and how we had the stability back and the balance,” he said.
“We need progression and the way we play, so I’m very happy with the last two-and-a-half months that we have the progression and it’s also of course for the next season.
“You play the best team in the league, so when you have a draw here, it’s for us a very good result.”
ALL OVER: Jonny Howson celebrates scoring Boro’s second against Millwall
CUP OF CHEER: The Wolves players celebrate with the trophy and some champagne after their first home game since winning the Championship