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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Championship: Wolves stay top; Cardiff, Sheffield United joint-2nd

Ivan Cavaleiro opened the scoring for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Preston North End.

Wolverhampton Wanderers strengthened their position at the top of the Championship as a second-half double from Leo Bonatini helped them earn a hard-fought 3-2 win against Preston North End.

Preston impressed in the first half but Ivan Cavaleiro gave Wolves a 44th-minute lead with his second goal of the season and Bonatini doubled their advantage from the penalty spot just before the hour mark and then grabbed his seventh goal of the campaign four minutes later.

Wolves then looked set to cruise to a third successive win - and a fifth in six games - but Preston, who had arrived at Molineux on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run, made them battle all the way for it.

Jordan Hugill, who was a summer target for Wolves, reduced the arrears with his seventh goal of the season in the 65th minute when he scored for the third straight game, and Wolves defender Conor Coady turned the ball into his own net on 76 minutes to ensure a tense finish.

Tempers became frayed as the visitors pressed for an equaliser, and Preston midfielder Alan Browne was sent off for a second bookable offence. Browne left the pitch without being shown the card and had to return to be formally dismissed by referee Stephen Martin.

Cardiff City kept up the pressure on Wolves as Joe Ralls' late penalty secured a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.

Ralls drilled home from the spot in the 84th minute after substitute Adama Traore was penalised for a reckless challenge on Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

The win keeps Cardiff in second position in the table, two points behind Wolves, and saw Neil Warnock's side bounce back after picking up just one point from their previous two games.

High-flying Sheffield United made it four wins out of their last five games with a 2-1 victory over Reading. that keeps them level on points with Cardiff.

Paul Coutts and Billy Sharp put the hosts 2-0 up at the interval with Roy Beerens pulling a goal back for Reading late on.

Two first-half goals from Samuel Saiz set Leeds United on course for a 3-0 Championship win at Bristol City.

Pierre-Michel Lasogga completed a convincing and overdue victory with a second-half header before both sides were reduced to 10 men as Leeds full-back Gaetano Berardi and City substitute Matt Taylor were shown red cards for a 79th-minute confrontation.

Taylor went down clutching his face, but was judged equally guilty and the incident sparked trouble between the two benches, with stewards getting involved.

John Terry spearheaded Aston Villa's 2-1 home win over Fulham with his first goal for the midlands club since his move from Chelsea.

Terry's opener laid the foundation for Villa moving into the top six for the first time this season, as they extended their unbeaten home run in the league to nine games.

Fulham, unbeaten in their previous four matches including away triumphs at Nottingham Forest and QPR, equalised on the stroke of half-time through their leading scorer, Stefan Johansen, but Albert Adomah settled matters in the hosts' favour four minutes into the second half.

The pressure increased on Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal after his team were beaten 2-0 at Derby County and had skipper Glenn Loovens sent off.

Wednesday have now won only one of their last six games and they were struggling from the moment Loovens brought down Matej Vydra who scored from the penalty spot in the fifth minute.

At least Wednesday showed spirit and stayed in the match until the 86th minute when substitute Bradley Johnson sealed Derby's victory.

Second-half goals from Barrie McKay and Eric Lichaj helped Nottingham Forest see off hard-working Burton Albion and ease some of the pressure on Mark Warburton with a battling 2-0 win.

Nigel Clough looked set to enjoy his return to familiar territory, with his Burton side on top for the first 45 minutes.

But Forest, who had suffered four Championship defeats in their previous five outings, rolled up their sleeves to grind out a victory that left Burton still stranded in the bottom three.

Fraizer Campbell scored a late goal as Hull City beat Barnsley 1-0 to secure a first away league victory since August 2016.

The result at Oakwell pushes the Tigers up to 14th in the table and leaves Barnsley in 19th, hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Substitute Campbell broke the deadlock with a goal from a corner in the 77th minute, ending the visitors' miserable run of away form which had seen them pick up just six points from a possible 72.

Idrissa Sylla scored for the second successive game as Queens Park Rangers came back to snatch a deserved 1-1 draw at rock-bottom Bolton Wanderers.

The Guinean forward struck with 12 minutes remaining of a scrappy game at the Macron Stadium, adding to his strike at Sunderland last weekend.

Darren Pratley had given Bolton a first-half lead, heading home from close range and piling the pressure on Ian Holloway's side, who have not won a league game away from Loftus Road since February.

The West Londoners will feel they deserved a share of the spoils, however, having spent virtually the entire of the second half camped in Bolton territory. Syllla supplied the relief with his third of the season, cleverly diverting a Luke Freeman cross inside Ben Alnwick's left-hand post.

Brentford fought back from 3-1 at half-time to salvage a point in a six-goal thriller with strugglers Sunderland at Griffin Park.

Lewis Grabban's first half brace either side of a Daniel Bentley own goal was not enough to clinch only a second win of the campaign for the Black Cats as Nico Yennaris, Florian Jozefzoon and Neal Maupay ensured the points were shared.

Millwall condemned Steve Cotterill to his first loss as Birmingham boss with a 2-0 win in the late kickoff at the Den.

Blues defender Maxime Colin turned a Steve Morison cross into his own net two minutes into the second half and Ryan Tunnicliffe sealed the Lions' win 14 minutes from time.

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