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Football | English Championship

Joe Mason © Action Images

Cardiff boost promotion bid with win



Cardiff moved seven points clear at the top of the Championship after a 1-0 victory at Birmingham, while second placed Hull had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Blackpool on New Year's Day.

Malky Mackay's team took the points thanks to Joe Mason's first half goal and look well on course for promotion to the Premier League after several near-misses in recent years.

Mason, recalled to the starting line-up, netted his fifth goal of the season in the 41st minute, following up to tap home from close range after Jack Butland's parried save from Craig Conway had taken a fortuitous bounce.

His strike secured Cardiff's first win at St Andrew's since 1966 and their first league double over the Blues in 46 years.

Cardiff have won nine of their last 11 games team and will hope to extend the pattern of the last seven years, which has seen the team top at this stage promoted to the top-flight.

Hull stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches but their failure to win at Blackpool gave Cardiff a significant cushion at the top.

Steve Bruce's side, who had won six of their previous seven league matches, came closest when Blackpool's Matthew Gilks pulled off a flying save to keep out David Meyler's goalbound shot in the 60th minute.

Crystal Palace climbed to third place – two points behind Hull – after a 3-1 win over Wolves at Selhurst Park.

Ian Holloway's side raced into a three-goal lead as Brazilian midfielder Andre Moritz scored with a pair of stunning free-kicks either side of a Yannick Bolasie strike.

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake hit a consolation for Wolves, while Palace winger Wilfried Zaha showed why the Premier League's big guns are lining up to sign him this month with another fine display.

New Zealand striker Chris Wood marked his Leicester debut with a brace as the fifth-placed Foxes thrashed struggling Huddersfield 6-1.

Wood, who netted 11 times on loan at Millwall before he was recalled by West Bromwich Albion, completed his switch to the King Power Stadium on the morning of the match and needed just six minutes to open his Leicester account.

Wood formed an excellent understanding with the dangerous David Nugent and added his second midway through the first half before Ritchie De Laet's first Foxes goal capped off an outstanding 45 minutes.

Things got better for Leicester after the break as Anthony Knockaert bagged a quickfire brace and, after Scott Arfield netted a consolation, Martyn Waghorn converted late on to help City secure their second successive victory.

Watford held onto the last play-off spot despite losing 4-3 to Charlton at Vicarage Road, while Millwall remain in the hunt for a play-off spot after beating Bristol City 2-1 at the Den.

Elsewhere, fourth-placed Middlesbrough slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Derby, managerless Blackburn beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 and Brighton won 3-0 at Ipswich.

Leeds beat Bolton 1-0, Burnley won 2-0 at Sheffield Wednesday and Peterborough enjoyed a crucial 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Barnsley.

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