Championship round-up: Kightly the key as Wolves close in on the main prize

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The Independent Football

Michael Kightly's eighth goal of the season gave further evidence that Championship leaders Wolves have overcome their blip in form, the 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest opening up a five point lead over second-placed Birmingham City, who were held 1-1 by lowly Norwich City.

Wolves' winner came 14 minutes from time when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake crossed and Sam Vokes laid the ball back to Kightly who fired in from 10 yards. "It's not been a great game," Wolves manager, Mick McCarthy, said. "We set off with an attacking team and we put subs on and we got the goal that mattered. But we're a million miles away [from promotion]." Wolves now have 16 days off until their next match, at second-placed Birmingham City, who yesterday were dominated at St Andrew's by Norwich City until the 38th minute when Cameron Jerome won the aerial challenge with Canaries goalkeeper David Marshall to head in Hameur Bouazza's cross. A foul on Marshall, said Norwich manager Bryan Gunn. "It was a clean jump by Jerome," Blues manager Alex McLeish countered. "Marshall should have punched instead of trying to catch the ball. There was no contact with Jerome and Marshall hurt himself falling down." The Canaries deserved their 53rd-minute equaliser, Sammy Clingan firing in a sumptuous free-kick.

Third-placed Reading missed the chance to close the gap when they were held 0-0 at Crystal Palace and had Liam Rosenior sent off after a second yellow card in the 72nd minute.

Robbie Blake made one and scored one as Burnley won 2-1 at Plymouth Argyle to move up to fourth. After defender Steven Caldwell headed in Blake's 16th-minute cross, and Alan Judge levelled within a minute, Blake made space to fire in the late winner. But Preston North End missed the chance to gate-crash the top six when they were held to a goalless draw at doomed Charlton Athletic.

"League One is going to be difficult for all of us to take but we have got to get on with it," the Addicks coach Mark Kinsella admitted, "We will probably be favourites to come straight back up but it won't be that easy."

None of the bottom six sides won, but Barnsley and Southampton also grabbed precious points in their respective bids to avoid the drop. The Tykes drew 0-0 at Derby County, while in the' 69th-minute at Blackpool, David McGoldrick controlled Andy Surman's pass, turned and fired in to earn Saints a 1-1 draw.

Bristol City's pursuit of a top six finish was derailed at Queens Park Rangers, where Jordi Lopez and Adel Taarabt, on loan from Spurs, scored their first QPR goals in the 2-1 win, and Swansea City's ambitions are also fading after a 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Watford drew 0-0 at Ipswich Town and at the Ricoh Stadium Doncaster Rovers' goalkeeper Neil Sullivan left his area to clear the ball but it only reached Coventry City's David Bell just inside the Rovers half, from where he scored. It ended 1-0.

A harsh return to management after three year break for Joe Royle. Back at Oldham Athletic, the club he left in 1994, the former Everton and Manchester City manager saw his League One side lose 2-1 at home to Tranmere and finish with 10 men after Stefan Stam was sent off. In the big League Two match, Adam Le Fondre scored as Rochdale won 1-0 at Wycombe to replace them in the top three.