17.02.2018 18:45 h

Cardiff pounce on Aston Villa defeat in promotion push

Cardiff City moved into the Championship top two on Saturday as Wolves and Aston Villa's promotion push stumbled.

Sean Morrison's solitary strike was enough to give Cardiff a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough to leapfrog Villa, who lost 2-0 at Fulham.

Wolves remain 11 points clear at the top, but failed to cash in on a man advantage for the final half hour in a 1-1 draw at Preston.

Villa had won seven league games in a row to storm into contention for automatic promotion prior to their visit to Craven Cottage.

However, Fulham are another of the division's form teams and consolidated their place in the playoffs, six points off Cardiff, with a dominant second-half display.

England youth international Ryan Sessegnon opened the scoring with his 12th goal of the season and Floyd Ayite made the points safe 19 minutes from time when he fired into an unguarded goal from just over the halfway line after a botched clearance by Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

Cardiff took full advantage in the Welsh capital as defeat further damaged ninth-placed Middlesbrough's playoff chances.

Preston are just two points off the top six in seventh and briefly looked like they could inflict just Wolves' fifth league defeat of the season at Deepdale.

Alan Browne's towering header put the hosts into the lead seven minutes into the second-half but Preston's joy was short-lived as John Welsh picked up a second yellow card on the hour mark.

Just two minutes later, Helder Costa levelled for Wolves, but Nuno Espirito Santo's men failed to find a winner as Preston held on for a valuable point.

At the bottom, Sunderland slipped closer towards a second consecutive relegation as Brentford ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at the Stadium of Light through first-half goals from Kamohelo Mokotjo and Neal Maupay.

Burton Albion are now just below Sunderland on goal difference at the foot of the table, but will rue a missed opportunity as they failed to break down a Nottingham Forest side down to 10 men for over an hour following Eric Lichaj's red card in a 0-0 draw.

Birmingham remain just two points above the drop zone as they were beaten 1-0 by Millwall, whilst Queens Park Rangers moved up to 15th with a 2-0 win over 10-man Bolton.