Notts County 0
Wolves 1 (Ebanks-Landell 76)
Ethan Ebanks-Land ell celebrated his full League debut for Wolves by scoring the only goal of the game and sending the Molineux men to the top of the League One table.
But it was never easy for Kenny Jackett’s side who were pushed all the way by bottom placed County.
Kevin McDonald returned from injury and Ebanks-Land ell played at right-back with Samuel Ricketts away on international duty and Jack Price, who was unwell, missing from the team that took on Oldham in the FA Cup.
Over 2,500 Wolves supporters were congregated in the Jimmy Sirrel Stand alongside the pitch as County kicked-off on a cloudy but dry afternoon.
Inside the first minute home keeper Bartosz Bialkowski was quickly off his line to save at Jake Cassidy’s feet as the Welsh striker tried to connect with James Henry’s flick.
County replied with an Alan Sheehan corner that was headed clear by Bakary Sako.
Cassidy tested Bialkowski with a low effort from just outside the area but the Polish keeper dived to save with relative ease.
Sako volleyed wide from 25-yards before Sheehan and Henry were given a lecture by the referee after the Molineux winger reacted strongly to a scything tackle from the defender.
The Magpies were close to taking the lead in the 19th minute after Ebanks-Land ell had fouled Jamal Campbell-Ryce to the left of the Wolves box.
Sheehan’s free-kick was headed towards goal by Manny Smith and Richard Stearman cleared from in front of the line. The ball bounced back to Smith and this time his close range shot was deflected over the bar by Stearman.
Danny Batth, who was captaining the side in Ricketts absence, was booked for leaning on Callum McGregor as the County man ran through. Sheehan’s free-kick bounced clear off the defensive wall.
It took a well-timed tackle from Batth to deny McGregor a clear shot at goal shortly afterwards.
Bialkowski pawed away a curling effort from Cassidy that looked destined for the net and then David Davis went into the book for a challenge on Gary Liddle that left both players in need of treatment.
Henry tried his luck from distance but again Bialkowski managed to palm clear and just before the break a low shot from Sako was deflected into the keeper’s arms.
Half-Time: County 0 Wolves 0
Leigh Griffiths was an interval replacement for Davis but the first goal attempt of the new half fell to Campbell-Ryce whose curled shot drifted narrowly wide of the far post.
For Wolves, Sako picked out Cassidy whose shot was deflected over the bar by Sheehan. Then Griffiths looked odds on to open the scoring after Henry had broken clear and slipped the ball to the unmarked Scot who hammered in a low shot that was superbly saved by Bialkowski.
Three yellow cards followed in an eight minute spell although for the first of them, the travelling supporters were justifiably howling for a red as McGregor, as last man, was pulled up for a challenge on Henry who was otherwise clean through.
Marcus Haber, for tripping Griffiths, and Kieron Freeman, for obstructing Sako, followed McGregor into the book.
Cassidy saw his angled drive saved by Bialkowski after good work from Griffiths and Henry, but the keeper was finally beaten in the 76th minute. Smith and Sako tussled for the ball near the left-hand corner post and when the County man was penalised, Henry lifted the free-kick into the middle.
The ball was flicked on by the head of Stearman and, when it dropped in the heart of a crowded goalmouth, Ebanks-Land ell was there to sweep home a left-foot shot (pictured).
Both sides made changes for the closing stages with George Elokobi for Henry, and after McGregor had fired wide for the home team, Björn Sigurdarson for Cassidy.
With his first touch the Icelandic striker struck the base of the post after he had chased down Griffiths’s through ball
Substitute Yoann Arquin and then Mark Fotheringham shot wide as County went in search of a point saver, but Wolves held out for the three points that took them to the top.
County: Biakowski, Sheehan, Liddle (capt), Smith, McGregor (Bell 90), Haber, Labadie, Murray (Arquin 82), Campbell-Ryce (Howarth 82), Fotheringham, Freeman.
Unused subs: Spiess, Showunmi, Hollis, Holt.
Bookings: McGregor (58 – foul), Haber (65 – foul), Freeman (66 – obstruction).
Wolves: Ikeme, Ebanks-Land ell, Golbourne, Davis (Griffiths 45), Batth (capt), Stearman, Henry (Elokobi 82), Edwards, Cassidy (Sigurdarson 85), McDonald, Sako.
Unused subs: Flatt, Evans, Jacobs, Foley.
Bookings: Batth (22 – foul), Davis (33 – foul).
Referee: D. Webb.