Birmingham City 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Léo Bonatini nets as Wolves strengthen grip at top of Championship

Wolves made it six wins in a row defeating Birmingham City at St Andrew's and increasing their lead in the Championship to 10 points.

Birmingham City 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Léo Bonatini nets as Wolves strengthen grip at top of Championship
Bonatini continued his impressive form for Wolves with a winner at St Andrew's. (Photo: James Baylis / AMA / Getty Images)
Birmingham City
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Birmingham City: Stockdale; Nsue, Dean, Morrison (C), Roberts, Grounds, Kieftenbeld, Ndoye (Davis 80) Jota (Gleeson 45) Boga, Jutkiewicz (Adams 68)
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ruddy; Doherty, Boly, Coady, Bennett, Douglas, N'Diaye, Saiss (Enobakhare) Cavaleiro (Costa 60) Silva, Bonatini (Price 75)
SCORE: 0-1, min, 8 Bonatini
REFEREE: Referee- Simon Hooper (ENG), Yellow cards- Roberts 12, Dean 77, 82, Morrison 83 N'Diaye 67 Jota 83
INCIDENTS: Sky Bet Championship, Birmingham City V Wolverhampton Wanderers, played at Saint Andrews, attendance 19,641

Wolves made it six wins in a row defeating Birmingham City at St Andrew's and increasing their lead in the Championship to four points.

Léo Bonatini's eighth minute opener was enough to seal victory for the away side, who were well below the recent standards which has seen them win 4-1 and 5-1 against Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United.

Team News

Wolves made one enforced change to their line-up from last time out against Bolton, with Alfred N'Diaye coming into the side in place of the suspended Ruben Neves.

Birmingham were unchanged from their last game which saw them draw to Sheffield United 1-1 at Bramall Lane.

Brilliant Bonatini

Wolves started the game positively, keeping possession and making Birmingham work hard to win the ball back.

The goal came from Marc Roberts giving the ball away cheaply to Ivan Cavaleiro whose shot was parried by David Stockdale. The ball fell to Diogo Jota who saw his shot saved but Bonatini fired shot in. Goal-line technology was used to clarify it went over the line and he wheeled away in delight at his 12th goal of the season.

Shortly after the goal, Roberts was involved again and was perhaps lucky not to have seen red. The defender was sucked into a challenge from Jota and Roberts scythed down the Portuguese attacker from behind. The tackle caused a lot of complaint in the Wolves dug-out and on the pitch. The referee only deemed it to be worthy of a yellow card.

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Wolves Press

Cavaleiro was again involved going forward winning the ball off Ndoye but he could only fire his shot well over the bar from outside the box.

Stockdale was again pushed into action when a great passing move from Wolves saw Bonatini and Jota exchange passes to eventually again find Cavaleiro whose left shot was parried away to safety.

Birmingham's only attack of note in the first half was from a set piece where Roberts could only direct a header across goal for John Ruddy to collect.

Birmingham made a surprising change at half-time taking off Spaniard Jota to bring on former Wolves player Stephen Gleeson.

The change seemed to make an early difference as Birmingham began to keep the ball better and Lukas Jutkiewicz saw his shot blocked on the edge of the box. The forward has only scored one goal in his last 26 appearances.

Despite his positive introduction Gleeson like Roberts in the first half made a poor pass, which Jota failed to take advantage of. The forward cut inside but produced a weak shot for Stockdale to simply save.

Wasteful Wolves

Just minutes after being subbed on for Cavaleiro, Helder Costa should have really put the game to bed. Bonatini played a perfect pass through for the winger to slot in his second goal of the season, but he took too long and Stockdale smothered his effort.

Jota who was celebrating his 21st birthday was again involved but yet again wasted his chance, after cutting inside and firing into the side netting.

Tempers in a derby game are often blown and this was no exception as N'Diaye got involved in a skirmish with Gleeson and Maikel Kieftenbeld.

The Senegal international put his head forward to Kieftenbeld and then shoved away Gleeson by pushing his face. Birmingham will argue he should have been off.

As the game entered the last ten minutes and tempers had been bubbling it all came to a head as Harlee Dean was sent off for a second yellow card. After Michael Morrison had fouled Jota, the 21-year-old took exception to the challenge and confronted Morrison.

Dean then came over and threw Jota to the floor. After the ensuing mass of players had calmed down the referee booked both Jota and Morrison and then sent off Dean.

Birmingham Woes

Wolves saw out the game comfortably with Birmingham having no shots on target. The result leaves them in the relegation zone with the threat of relegation looking likely.

They are the lowest scoring side in the division mustering just 10 goals. To put this into perspective there are five players in the division with more goals than them, including Wolves striker Bonatini.