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Cardiff City 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

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    Armand Traore fires the ball past Ben Alnwick in the Bolton goal

    Cardiff City moved within a point of the Championship automatic promotion places with an efficient win over Bolton Wanderers.

    Armand Traore’s first goal for the club and a headed rebound by Sean Morrison gave the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead.

    They coasted through the second half, Bruno Ecuele Manga almost adding a third with a header against the bar.

    Bolton limply accepted their fate and remain in 19th place, two points above the relegation zone.

    Cardiff stay fourth in the table, level on points with Derby in third place and one behind Aston Villa in second.

    Perhaps of equal significance is the increased strength of the Bluebirds’ hold on a play-off spot, nine points clear of seventh-placed Preston.

    This result also extended Cardiff’s unbeaten run in the Championship to five games, an impressive response to a December wobble which had seen them lose four consecutive league matches.

    Sean Morrison heads Cardiff into a 2-0 lead against Bolton

    Neil Warnock’s men made an assertive start against a Bolton side themselves unbeaten in three fixtures.

    Callum Paterson’s long throws were Cardiff’s weapon of choice, one setting up Morrison for a header well saved by Ben Alnwick before another fell to Traore, whose shot on the turn looped into the far corner to give the former Arsenal left-back his first goal since 2014.

    The Bluebirds struck again from a set-piece shortly before half-time, this time a free-kick from Joe Ralls swung in towards Morrison, whose initial header was saved before he nodded in the rebound.

    This was rudimentary football, but it was effective.

    In fairness to the hosts, they did not need to produce an exhilarating display against a passive Bolton side who rarely ventured out of their own half with much intent.

    The visitors almost fell further behind from yet another set-piece after the interval, as Ecuele Manga headed Junior Hoilett’s free-kick against the crossbar.

    Hoilett himself was the next to threaten, skilfully rounding Alnwick but seeing his shot from an acute angle blocked by Mark Beevers.

    Those misses proved to be inconsequential as Cardiff strolled to victory with almost embarrassing ease.

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