Cardiff City re-established a firm grip on the Championship title race as two Fraizer Campbell headers at Molineux opened an eight-point lead at the top.
Campbell's close-range header from a long throw set the league leaders on their way, and he rose again after the break for his fifth goal in five games.
Relegation-threatened Wolves responded with Bakary Sako's deflected free-kick.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake then wasted a late chance to snatch a draw when he missed a sitter from no more than five yards.
After coming off the bench, Wolves' 11-goal top scorer seemed certain to equalise 10 minutes from time after being set up by Sako, but the substitute's effort bounded over the bar.
Cardiff held out to extend their unbeaten run away from home to nine games, leaving Wolves still in the bottom three - and boss Dean Saunders still searching for his first victory after eight games in charge.
Cardiff's joy on the road
- Cardiff City have now collected 23 points from a possible last 27 away from home
Cardiff can reflect on an efficient if unspectacular victory, capitalising on Hull's defeat by Bolton on Saturday to stretch clear at the summit once more.
The visitors' pressure had been building gradually when striker Campbell again showed the kind of scoring instinct that Mackay predicted he would add to the side.
Centre-back Ben Turner used his considerable frame to flick on Aron Gunnarsson's long throw and Campbell could hardly miss from four yards.
Cardiff were competent in possession, streets ahead of their hosts in terms of movement off the ball.
The eagerness all over the pitch to receive the ball perfectly illustrated the contrasting pressures on both sides - Cardiff keen to create in search of significant rewards, Wolves afraid to make a mistake in their battle for survival.
For all their passing ability, it was another Gunnarsson long throw that almost doubled the lead.
A defensive header reached the edge of the area where Don Cowie fired back towards goal. Craig Bellamy was quickest to react after Carl Ikeme's save, but the striker's celebrations were ended by an offside flag.
Wolves rallied, creating two inviting opportunities for Kevin Doyle. His first header lacked conviction and was deflected for a corner, the second straight at goalkeeper David Marshall.
Just as the home side looked to be gathering momentum, Cardiff doubled the lead on 67 minutes.
Bellamy delivered an inswinging cross from the left, and Campbell again rose unmarked to glance the ball home.
That looked game over but, having looked comfortable for so long, Cardiff had to dig deep in the final stages as a more attacking Wolves formation finally brought the home team to life.
Wolves took just three minutes to respond, when Sako's driven free-kick from the edge of area pierced the defensive wall and deflected past a stranded Marshall.
Sako then delivered a glorious chance for Ebanks-Blake to grab an equaliser after racing 80 yards down the left flank. But, with the goal at his mercy, his downward side-foot effort bounced over the bar.
Wolves manager Dean Saunders:
"There were a lot of positives to take out of the game but we made two catastrophic mistakes.
"We conceded a goal from a long throw and to make matters worse I had walked the players through that before the game and shown them on the DVD.
"It was one of those goals that keeps you awake as a manager.
"Then we conceded from another mistake. Carl Ikeme will be the first to hold his hands up because nine times out of 10 he usually comes and catches that.
"But we managed to reply straight away and then Sylvan misses an open goal for two-all."
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay:
"It was never going to be easy here. I have never had an easy game at Wolves.
"They have players with Premier League quality and I was delighted with the way that we played and controlled the game to get our three points.
"We knew that Wolves would throw caution to the wind after half-time and they did and we handled that well.
"I was pleased with the way we saw the game out in the last 10 or 15 minutes."
Live text and stats
Sunday, 24 February 2013
- Final Result
- Full Time
- 90:00+6:39 The referee blows for the end of the match.
- 90:00+4:53 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Craig Conway by Bjorn Sigurdarson. Aron Gunnarsson takes the indirect free kick.
- 90:00+2:47 Craig Bellamy produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the left-hand upright. Corner
taken short by Heidar Helguson.
- 90:00+0:10 Aron Gunnarsson fouled by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, the ref awards a free kick. David Marshall takes the indirect free kick.
- 89:45 Foul by Heidar Helguson on Roger Johnson, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Carl Ikeme.
- 89:00 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jack Robinson on Craig Conway. Kevin McNaughton restarts play with the free kick.
- 81:47 Substitution Fraizer Campbell goes off and Heidar Helguson comes on.
- 80:57 Matthew Connolly challenges Kevin Doyle unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Jamie O'Hara.
- 79:40 Substitution Don Cowie leaves the field to be replaced by Bo-Kyung Kim.
- 79:40 Strike from close range by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake clears the bar.
- 79:20 Corner taken by Craig Bellamy played to the near post, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
- 78:05 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Craig Conway by Bjorn Sigurdarson. Free kick taken by Craig Bellamy.
- 77:04 Substitution (Wolverhampton) makes a substitution, with Kevin Foley coming on for Matt Doherty.
- 76:19 The assistant referee flags for offside against Craig Bellamy. Carl Ikeme takes the free kick.
- 74:26 David Marshall takes the free kick.
- 74:26 Substitution Mark Hudson goes off and Kevin McNaughton comes on.
- 74:26 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake concedes a free kick for a foul on Mark Hudson.
- 72:13 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is flagged offside by the assistant referee. David Marshall takes the indirect free kick.
- 70:25 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bakary Sako by Fraizer Campbell. Free kick taken by Jamie O'Hara.
- 69:33 GOAL - Bakary Sako:Wolverhampton 1 - 2 Cardiff Bakary Sako finds the net with a shot from the free kick. Wolverhampton 1-2 Cardiff.
- 68:09 Ben Turner challenges Kevin Doyle unfairly and gives away a free kick.
- 66:41 The assist for the goal came from Craig Bellamy.
- 66:41 GOAL - Fraizer Campbell:Wolverhampton 0 - 2 Cardiff Fraizer Campbell finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close range. Wolverhampton 0-2 Cardiff.
- 66:10 Foul by Matt Doherty on Craig Conway, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Bellamy.
- 64:07 The official flags Fraizer Campbell offside. Free kick taken by Roger Johnson.
- 63:45 Roger Johnson takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.
- 59:46 Fraizer Campbell concedes a free kick for a foul on Roger Johnson. Free kick taken by Carl Ikeme.
- 59:03 Foul by Bjorn Sigurdarson on Craig Conway, free kick awarded. David Marshall takes the free kick.
- 55:31 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Jamie O'Hara played to the near post, Craig Conway makes a clearance.
- 54:42 Bakary Sako takes the free kick.
- 54:42 Booking Peter Whittingham goes into the referee's book.
- 54:34 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kevin Doyle by Peter Whittingham.
- 52:04 Shot from just outside the box by Craig Bellamy misses to the right of the target.
- 51:35 Short corner worked by Craig Bellamy.
- 48:26 Don Cowie takes a shot. Save by Carl Ikeme. Craig Bellamy is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Carl Ikeme.
- 45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
- 45:01 Substitution Danny Batth leaves the field to be replaced by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
- 45:01 Substitution Kevin Doyle on for Tongo Doumbia.
- Half Time
- 45:00+1:02 The half-time whistle blows.
- 41:51 Foul by Bjorn Sigurdarson on Craig Conway, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Peter Whittingham.
- 41:08 Danny Batth gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Don Cowie. Craig Bellamy takes the free kick.
- 39:51 Close range shot by Bakary Sako goes wide of the right-hand upright.
- 38:00 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Don Cowie by Tongo Doumbia. Ben Turner restarts play with the free kick.
- 35:11 Fraizer Campbell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Matt Doherty. Danny Batth restarts play with the free kick.
- 33:04 Craig Conway takes a shot. Carl Ikeme makes a save.
- 31:08 Shot from close range by Ben Turner clears the bar.
- 30:24 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Craig Bellamy, clearance by Roger Johnson.
- 28:44 Headed effort from deep inside the area by Bakary Sako misses to the right of the target.
- 27:04 The assistant referee signals for offside against Fraizer Campbell. Danny Batth takes the indirect free kick.
- 25:56 Craig Bellamy takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Kaspars Gorkss.
- 24:39 Direct free kick taken by Craig Bellamy.
- 24:39 Booking Matt Doherty goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
- 24:35 Matt Doherty gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Taylor.
- 21:47 Aron Gunnarsson fouled by Bjorn Sigurdarson, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Andrew Taylor.
- 20:52 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie O'Hara by Craig Bellamy. Indirect free kick taken by Roger Johnson.
- 19:23 GOAL - Fraizer Campbell:Wolverhampton 0 - 1 Cardiff Fraizer Campbell finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close in. Wolverhampton 0-1 Cardiff.
- 17:16 Peter Whittingham has a drilled shot. Blocked by Karl Henry. Corner taken short by Craig Bellamy.
- 12:04 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Craig Conway by Jamie O'Hara. Indirect free kick taken by Andrew Taylor.
- 10:40 Short corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line.
- 7:18 Unfair challenge on Craig Bellamy by Karl Henry results in a free kick. Peter Whittingham takes the free kick.
- 6:41 Craig Conway takes a shot. Save by Carl Ikeme.
- 5:20 Unfair challenge on Craig Bellamy by Kaspars Gorkss results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Andrew Taylor.
- 3:57 Bjorn Sigurdarson has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.
- 1:36 Effort from outside the area by Peter Whittingham goes wide right of the goal.
- 1:15 Aron Gunnarsson has an effort at goal. Roger Johnson gets a block in.
- 0:00 The referee gets the match started.
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