Saville Strike Not Enough
Leeds United 2 (Bamba 60, Diagouraga 64)
Wolves 1 (Saville 77)
Two Leeds goals in four second half minutes put Wolves on the backfoot at Elland Road and despite a strike from George Saville sparking something of a fightback, the three points went the way of the home side.
Skipper Danny Batth returned from illness to replace Sylvain Deslandes as the only change to the team that had lost so unluckily at Hull four days earlier.
Leeds kicked-off on a spring like evening in what was, for both clubs, the final midweek fixture of the season.
Crosses from James Henry and Dominic Iorfa were cleared in the opening minutes and a header into the box from Jeremy Helan was easily claimed by home keeper Marco Silvestri.
Both goals had narrow escapes within a few seconds in the sixth minute. Helan laid a Henry centre into the path of Saville whose low shot brushed the side netting as it flew wide of the near post.
From Silvestri’s goal-kick Lewis Cook took advantage of a couple of lucky breaks of the ball before hitting a low shot from 18-yards that struck the outside of the post before going behind.
In the 12th minute Henry could have given Wanderers the lead but, probably not realising he had more time than he thought, he hooked the ball wide with a first time effort following Bjorn Sigurdarson’s excellent cross.
It was Henry, from 20-yards, that hit a low drive that Silvestri could only parry. Dave Edwards, with his back to goal and the ball under his feet, tried to turn and convert but Silvestri had recovered and was able to claim.
Wood hit a terrific free-kick from 30-yards out that flashed inches wide of the post and then the Leeds striker hit the ball straight at Carl Ikeme from a third of the distance after a cross from Cook landed at his feet.
Iorfa went into the book for tripping Charlie Taylor near the left-hand corner flag.
Wood was proving to be something of a thorn in the side of the visiting defence and he wasted a good chance by shooting wide after a surging run into the Wolves box which left him with a clear sight of goal.
Lee Erwin was wide with a shot on the turn, and the half finished with a Henry free-kick from the left of the home box, following a foul on Sigurdarson, that was punched clear by Silvestri.
Half-Time: Leeds 0 Wolves 0
The new half started with a run by Matt Doherty that took him deep into the home area. But the run was a sideways one and he was wide of the mark as he turned to get his shot away.
Taylor curled a 30-yard free-kick wide before Kenny Jackett made a change sending on Adam Le Fondre for Helan. Almost immediately Leeds sent on Stuart Dallas for Lewis Coyle.
Doherty superbly blocked a goalbound cross-shot from Dallas but the relief for Wanderers was brief as Sol Bamba gave United the lead on the hour with a tremendous strike.
The defender was a good 25-yards out to the right when he made a perfect connection to a clearance arrowing the ball into the top corner of the opposite side of the net.
Worse followed just four minutes later as Toumani Diagouraga was given the time and space to sidefoot home from 12-yards after Dallas sent in low cross.
There was a half chance for Wolves to pull one back when Henry took the ball to the by-line but his low cross ran through the six-yard box with no-one getting a touch.
More substitutions followed with Joe Mason taking the place of Sigurdarson for Wolves and Jordan Botaka replaced Erwin in the Leeds team.
On 77 minutes Saville ran onto a pass from Henry and stroked the ball into the far corner to half the deficit.
But United were inches away from a third after Cook had run from just outside his own area deep into the Wolves half before feeding Botaka whose shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced out before being cleared.
There was a chance for Mason in the 82nd minute after Le Fondre had flicked a long clearance into his path. But Silvestri had spotted the danger and was quickly off his line to block at the striker’s feet.
As the game moved into stoppage time there were a few hearts in mouths amongst the home support as Henry’s corner travelled across the face of goal, but the touch that was all that was needed, just didn’t materialise.
Leeds: Silvestri, Bamba (capt), Cooper, Murphy (Bridcutt 81), Wood, Diagouraga, Erwin (Botaka 74), Taylor, Cook, Berardi, Coyle (Dallas 57).
Unused subs: Bellusci, Antenucci, Phillips, Peacock-Farrell.
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Iorfa, Price, Hause, Batth (capt), Henry, Edwards, Sigurdarson (Mason 73), Saville, Helan (Le Fondre 55).
Unused subs: Martinez, Coady, Hunte, Deslandes, Enobakhare.
Booking: Iorfa (31 – foul).
Referee: D. Coote.