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 By PA Sport

Fulham knock Villa out of automatic promotion places as Cardiff enter

Fulham and Aston Villa will be battling it out in the Championship playoff final.
Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon scored the first goal in their 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

Fulham put an end to Aston Villa's winning run and boosted their own chances of a push for automatic Championship promotion with a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage.

Second-half goals from Ryan Sessegnon and Floyd Ayite proved to be the difference, with the west London side pulling themselves within four points of their opponents.

Ryan Fredericks was able to find space down the right-hand flank and squared into the box for Sessegnon, who calmly connected to drill past the outstretched Sam Johnstone in the 51st minute.

Fulham doubled their lead after 71 minutes -- albeit with an awful mistake -- as Johnstone's kick out fell straight to Ayite just inside his own half, and Ayite was able to direct his shot into an empty net.

Villa's defeat allowed Cardiff City to move back into the automatic promotion places with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

Sean Morrison headed the winner after 34 minutes to seal all three points at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The hosts' fourth win in six matches was enough to also move them above Derby, who are not in action this weekend.

Runaway leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers' run of three successive victories ended when 10-man Preston North End extended their unbeaten run to six league games as they held on to seal a 1-1 draw.

Once Alan Browne put the hosts ahead just after the break, Helder Costa grabbed a second-half equaliser for Wolves almost immediately after John Welsh was dismissed for a second yellow card.

Sunderland passed up the chance to boost their survival hopes as Brentford won 2-0 on their first visit to the Stadium of Light.

Brentford secured the three points courtesy of two first-half goals and a solid opening 45 minutes, capitalising by following up Kamo Mokotjo's 14th-minute opener with a second goal in the 28th minute through striker Neal Maupay.

Goals from Joel Lynch and Matt Smith gave QPR a 2-0 victory over 10-man Bolton Wanderers at Loftus Road, with Bolton losing six of their last seven away league games.

Lynch nodded in the opener in the 72nd minute and Smith headed home in injury time.

Wanderers right-back Mark Little was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Massimo Luongo near the left-hand touchline four minutes into the second half.

Substitute Fred Onyedinma earned Millwall a 1-0 win at Birmingham City.

Onyedinma's goal completed the first double over Birmingham in 19 years and inflicted a third successive defeat in their battle to avoid relegation.

Birmingham enjoyed most of the early possession but Millwall, now unbeaten in six league matches, capably contained their opponents.

Burton Albion, the Championship's bottom side, failed to break down 10-man Nottingham Forest as a 0-0 draw at the Pirelli Stadium did little to improve the fortunes of either club.

Forest had to play for more than an hour a man down after Eric Lichaj was given a straight red card for a poor challenge on Albion attacker Martin Samuelsen on 28 minutes.

The result meant Albion's home frustrations continued, with no win at home since September, while Forest have failed to find the net in eight of their last nine league outings.

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