Leyton Orient 1 (Cox 47)
Wolves 3 (Stearman 17, Sako 32, Henry 90+5)
Wolves moved up to 99 points and the verge of the League One title following a 3-1 victory over one-time promotion rivals Leyton Orient.
After Richard Stearman and Bakary Sako had opened up a two goal advantage, Russell Slade’s men hit back to reduce the deficit and it took some magnificent saves from Man of the Match Carl Ikeme to maintain the advantage before James Henry settled things with virtually the last kick.
Jack Price came in for Lee Evans as the only change to Kenny Jackett’s starting line-up. Evans was named as a substitute. The East Stand at Brisbane Road was populated by just over 2,500 travelling supporters.
Orient licked-off and after just 20 seconds David Mooney tried his luck from 20-yards but he was well wide of the mark.
Home skipper Nathan Clarke was lectured after a heavy challenge on Kevin McDonald who then got in his team’s first goal attempt moments later – a low, curling shot that tested Jamie Jones in the Orient goal after Sako had slipped in a short through pass.
Both sides won free-kicks in good positions - Wolves after Sako had been fouled on the left by Romain Vincelot and the Londoners after Sako had tripped Mooney to the right of the box. Sako’s free-kick was taken by James whilst Dean Cox’s effort for Orient was too high for everyone.
Wolves moved into the lead in the 17th minute when Danny Batth helped on Michael Jacobs’ corner to Stearman who nodded home at the far post.
Jacobs went in search of a second with a probing run from the halfway line but he was crowded out as he ran into the box, and then James had to dive full length to cling hold of a 22-yards drive from Sako.
Mathieu Baudry was just too high with a powerful header after Cox had supplied the cross, and Wolves were lucky not to concede a penalty when Mooney’s shot struck Stearman’s arm just inside the area.
It was Wanderers, however, that struck next with Sako finding the net via the inside of a post after Nouha Dicko nodded a return pass into his team-mate’s path (pictured).
Price was yellow carded for pulling back Cox and he was followed into the book by Clarke for a foul on Dicko.
Orient pinned Wolves back in the closing minutes of the half. Mooney cut into the box and saw his low shot saved by Ikeme before an effort from Moses Odubajo was deflected behind for a corner.
From Cox’s corner, Clarke’s header drew a superb save from Ikeme. Again Cox took the corner and this time Mooney headed wide.
As the seconds ticked away Ikeme touched behind a fierce cross-shot from Mooney and from yet another Cox corner, Vincelot headed towards goal and Chris Dagnall nodded the ball into the net. But home celebrations were quickly stifled by the offside flag.
Half-Time: Orient 0 Wolves 2
Orient began the new half where they had left off and within the first 30 seconds Ikeme made a double save first from Dagnall and then from Mooney’s follow up.
But the visiting defence was finally breeched in the 47th minute and it was Cox who did the damage with a shot from 15-yards after he had been teed up by Dagnall.
Another good run from Jacobs was halted by Baudry’s tackle in the home area and after Vincelot had been booked for a challenge on Stearman, Scott Cuthbert’s last ditch sliding tackle robbed Dicko after he had cut into the box from the left.
Dicko then met a Price centre at the near post and although he fell backwards he still managed to hook the ball through the six-yard box with no-one able to get a touch which was all that was needed.
Dicko ran into the right-hand channel of the Orient area and, despite having Baudry on his shoulder and from a tight angle, he still got in a shot that forced a save from Jones.
Scott Golbourne played the ball inside to Price and he in turn helped it on to Dave Edwards who sprinted into the box and hit a shot that James did well to keep out.
In the 71st minute the Wolves goal had a tremendous escape with Ikeme at his best. He did well to push away a driven cross from Clarke before substitute Shaun Batt got a touch forcing a reflex save from the keeper. The ball bounced up and Batt connected once again, this time heading against the bar.
Dagnall tried to force home the rebound and in clearing the ball Batth booted the keeper in the face bloodying his nose. While Ikeme was receiving treatment there was a double change for Wolves with Henry and Leon Clarke replacing Jacobs and Dicko respectively.
McDonald was booked after committing three fouls in as many minutes before Evans was sent on for the final few minutes in place of Sako.
Try as they may, the home attack couldn’t find another way through a determined Wolves defence and deep into stoppage Henry picked the ball up and ran on for a few yards before dispatching a cracking shot from all of 25-yards that flew into the net to complete a good afternoon’s work from the men in gold and black.
Orient: Jones, Sawyer, Vincelot (James 75), Cuthbert, Baudry, Cox, Mooney (Lasimant 83), Odubajo, N. Clarke (capt), Dagnall (Batt 66), Lundstram.
Unused subs: Larkins, Gorman, Simpson, Ness.
Bookings: N. Clarke (39 – foal), Vincelot (55 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme, Ricketts (capt), Golbourne, McDonald, Batth, Stearman, Jacobs (Henry 74), Edwards, Dicko (L. Clarke 74), Price, Sako (Evans 83).
Unused subs: McCarey, Doherty, Ebanks-Landell, McAlinden,
Bookings: Price (38 – foul), McDonald (78 – persistent fouling).
Referee: N. Swarbrick.
Attendance: 8,161 (2,527 away supporters).