Wolves 2 Blues 0
There was very little expectation going into a game against a Wolves side already promoted to the Premier League.
On another day – and with a tad more composure – Blues could have nicked a point at the death. But in truth, it was a comfortable win for Wolves who will be champing at the bit to entertain the big boys next season.
For Blues, destiny is still in their own hands, though they have a tough looking run-in.
Blues started the game fairly well. The set-up was compact and they adopted a pressing game which seemed to, initially, unsettle Wolves.
But for John Ruddy’s impressive double save from Maxime Colin, Garry Monk’s men could have taken a surprise lead in the 11th minute.
From that point, the Premier League bound hosts started to settle into a rhythm and ten minutes after that scare, Diogo Jota slid them in front.
That seemed to knock the stuffing out of Blues who were chasing shadows for a while. With Ruben Neves pulling the strings – and the target of some good, honest rough stuff – Wolves were going through the gears.
After the break, Blues’ uphill battle became the equivalent of Mount Everest when Harlee Dean was sent off. The referee got it spot on but, in truth, Dean was the victim of Michael Morrison’s hospital ball for which he tried to make amends.
The introduction of Jacques Maghoma lifted Blues. Almost instantly, he stung the hands of Ruddy and won a flurry of free kicks as Blues looked to find a way through.
Yet for all their toil and discipline, Blues rarely troubled Wolves. The home side were creating chances of their own with Helder Costa and Barry Douglas coming close.
And then Blues almost snatched an equaliser in the dying embers. Jutkiewicz took the ball from the hands of the sliding Ruddy and shot instead of squaring it to Morrison or Davis who were waiting for the pullback for what would have been a simple tap-in.
Less than minute later, substitute Benik Afobe secured the points for Wolves. He beat the offside trap and coolly slotted past Stockdale.
If ever there was a microcosm of Blues’ season, that was it.
Vital Blues Man of the Match: Wes Harding