Leeds United 1 (Becchio 17)
Despite constant second half pressure, Wolves could find no way through a resolute Leeds United defence and the Yorkshire club took the three points courtesy of Luciano Becchio’s 17th minute header.
Wolves kicked-off but there was an immediate chance for the home side with Carl Ikeme having to run from his area to clear from Becchio. Seconds later a Wolves corner, taken by Stephen Ward, was headed clear.
David Norris headed over from a Ross McCormack centre, and then a McCormack free-kick, taken from wide on the right, went over the heads of everyone in a crowded area and out for a goal-kick on the far side.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake collided with Leeds keeper Paddy Kenny after Kevin Doyle had flicked on a deep through ball and although the contact was accidental, the striker was penalised.
The Wolves goal was fortunate to survive in the ninth minute. Ikeme made a brilliant save in keeping out Rodolph Austin’s header and, in the terrific scramble that followed, Doyle cleared Paul Green’s low shot off the line.
Green then dropped back in defence to clear a Matt Jarvis corner before Ikeme once again came to the rescue. Becchio headed on to McCormack who looked a certain scorer until the Wolves keeper bravely threw himself at his feet to deflect the ball behind.
But, in the 17th minute, the keeper stood no chance as Becchio dived to head home McCormack’s cross from the left.
Wolves battled to get back into contention but Kenny was rarely troubled and his only real save was a routine one as he collected a Jarvis free kick on the line. At the other end, Ikeme’s work was mainly in collecting crosses.
Just before the break Leeds lost the services of Green. Twice in as many minutes he had on the pitch treatment for a knee injury before he signalled that he couldn’t continue. He was replaced by El Hadji Diouf.
Half-Time: Leeds 1 Wolves 0
Recent loan signing Slawomir Peszko made his debut for Wolves at the start of the new half when he replaced Anthony Forde.
Luke Varney had the opportunity to double his team’s advantage in the 52nd minute when he scampered after a through ball, but his touch was a little too strong and Ikeme won the race and saved.
The ball then broke nicely for Peszko who ran into the right channel of the Leeds box. He could have run on and tried a shot but chose to try and find Doyle allowing a defender to intervene and clear.
On 62 minutes, Diouf hoisted a corner from the right and had Austin’s bullet header gone anywhere but straight at Ikeme, it surely would have been a second.
Aidan White was booked for pulling back Peszco as he ran along the by-line and was about to enter the area. Ward took the free kick laying the ball back to Ebanks-Blake but his drive was deflected behind for an unproductive corner.
Sam Byram was yellow carded for a crude challenge on Jarvis before Wolves made a change with Björn Sigurdarson replacing Ebanks-Blake.
Peszko couldn’t keep the ball down as he tried a shot from just inside the Leeds area, and then Varney was perhaps lucky to escape with just a yellow card when he caught Roger Johnson with his elbow in an aerial duel.
Becchio became the fourth Leeds player to go into the book when he scythed through Richard Stearman.
Becchio’s low shot was saved by Ikeme before another Wolves attack ended when Peszko headed into the side netting after a cross from Jarvis.
The winger then sprinted into the left of the box and hit a shot that was wide of the far post before Ikeme punched clear a Diouf free kick after the Leeds substitute had been fouled by Tongo Doumbia who was booked.
Play switched from end to and in the closing minutes and after Jarvis had sent a volley narrowly wide of the far post, Byram struck a fierce shot that flew just wide.
In stoppage time, Ronald Zubar headed against the bar from Jarvis’s corner but the whistle went for an infringement anyway, and then Sigurdarson drove high over the angle after Peszko had played the back to him.
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier (capt), Pearce, Green (Diouf 45), Austin, Becchio, Varney, White, Norris, Byram, McCormack (Lees 75).
Unused subs: Ashdown, Drury, Kisnorbo, Brown, Gray.
Bookings: White (65 – shirt pulling), Byram (69 – foul), Varney (72 – reckless play), Becchio (73 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme, Zubar, Ward, Henry (capt), Stearman (Edwards 82), Johnson, Forde (Peszko 45), Doumbia, Ebanks-Blake (Sigurdarson 69), Doyle, Jarvis.
Unused subs: Hunt, Berra, Davis, De Vries.
Referee: I. Siddall.