Andy Keogh’s bullet header handed the home side an eighth-minute lead before Sylvan Ebanks-Blake served further notice of his growing reputation with his ninth goal in the last 11 games.
Wanderers picked up where they left off in the second half and Kightly’s night was complete when he tapped in from close range in the 57th minute after City goalkeeper Peter Enckelman had spilled Ebanks-Blake’s shot.
A virus prevented Bluebirds boss Dave Jones taking his place on the bench, however there were few signs of a tonic in his side’s display.
The result moved the home side into seventh position just two points behind Crystal Palace with two games to play, while the FA Cup final is now all the Bluebirds have to look forward to after their play-off hopes ended for another year.
WOLVERHAMPTON: Hennessey, Foley (Collins 87), Breen, Craddock, Elokobi, Kightly (Stephen Ward 60), Olofinjana, Gibson, Jarvis (Elliott 76), Keogh, Ebanks-Blake.
CARDIFF: Enckelman, McNaughton, Loovens, Johnson, Capaldi, Whittingham (Blake 82), Rae, McPhail, Ledley, Ramsey (Scimeca 62), Hasselbaink (Thompson 62).
Ref: Mark Halsey
* WREXHAM have been relegated to the Blue Square Premier after last night’s 2-0 defeat at Hereford.
Brian Little’s team fell behind three minutes before the break to a goal from Gary Hooper, and Theo Robinson added a second for the Bulls on the hour mark.
The result leaves Wrexham six points behind Dagenham with two games to play, but the Daggers’ final game is against 23rd-placed Mansfield, ensuring that one of those sides will make it to 44 points and thus condemning the north Wales side to the drop.