Wolverhampton 3 Cardiff City 0: Kightly breathes life into Wolves' pursuit of play-offs

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The Independent Online

Wolverhampton Wanderers' challenge for the play-offs is still alive after they overcame a tepid first-half performance to register their biggest Championship victory of the season.

Leading early through Andy Keogh, they struck again via Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and England Under-21 winger Michael Kightly either side of half-time to cut from five points to two the advantage sixth-placed Crystal Palace hold over them.

Eventual domination of a Cardiff City side who played well for 40 minutes before going the way of many a mid-table FA Cup final-bound team lifted them two spots to seventh, but the Wolves manager, Mick McCarthy, admitted: "We didn't play as well as on Saturday yet we won. It's there for others to throw away and we need favours."

Kightly's pass to the right helped bring the eighth-minute breakthrough, Kevin Foley nodding first time into the area for Keogh to head firmly in off the fingertips of Peter Enckleman.

Cardiff, in the absence of their manager Dave Jones, who was nursing a chest infection, responded by stretching Wolves, Jody Craddock blocking Joe Ledley's shot and Wayne Hennessey saving with his legs when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was presented with a chance.

It was against the run of play when the lead was doubled just before half-time, Ebanks-Blake touching home from Keogh's cross.

The control that had earlier eluded Wolves was there throughout the second half and Enckelman pushed out Ebanks-Blake's low shot for Kightly to force in the rebound before the hour.

Hennessey, watched by his Welsh team manager John Toshack, saved splendidly for the second time from Hasselbaink before Cardiff's appetite for the battle subsided. "Wolves had more devilment and edge than us," acknowledged their acting manager, Terry Burton.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Hennessey; Foley (Collins, 86), Breen, Craddock, Elokobi; Kightly (Ward, 60), Olofinjana, Gibson, Jarvis (Elliott, 75); Keogh, Ebanks-Blake. Substitutes not used: Stack (gk), Eastwood.

Cardiff City (4-4-1-1): Enckelman; McNaughton, Johnson, Loovens, Capaldi; Ramsey ( Scimeca, 63), Rae, McPhail, Whittingham (Blake, 81); Ledley; Hasselbaink (Thompson, 63). Substitutes not used: Oakes (gk), Purse.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

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