Wolves 0 Leeds United 2 (Rodrigo 6, 15 (p))
A brace from club record-signing Rodrigo brought an end to Wolves under-23’s unbeaten run as Leeds extended their lead at the top of the league table.
Having made a strong start to their previous three matches, Wolves were unable to match that early intensity against a Leeds side which were riding high at the top of the Premier League 2 Division 2 table.
Leeds were also boosted by the added experience of first-teamers Domenico Berardi and Rodrigo, with the latter exerting his quality with his first chance at goal, when a wide free-kick was played to him on the edge of the Wolves box and his first-time shot curled into the far corner.
The Spanish midfielder made it two less than ten minutes later after Nigel Lonwijk was adjudged to have tripped Leeds striker Max Dean and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Rodrigo stepped up and fired his effort into the bottom right corner, which was almost kept out by stand-in keeper Louie Moulden, who is currently on trial at Wolves from Manchester City.
Wolves began to grow into the contest and Theo Corbeanu was using his pace to stretch Leeds, and it was the Canadian winger who tested goalkeeper Elia Caprile for the first time in the match, when he let off a rocket from 25 yards which had to be tipped around the post.
Having scored the goal to secure the win against Fulham last week, Chem Campbell came close to halving the deficit when he was played through between the back line, but as he cut onto his right, his effort beat Caprile, but was blocked by the recovering defenders before it crossed the line. Moments later, Owen Hesketh’s shot flew narrowly over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Just before half-time, brilliant defending by Lewis Richards denied Rodrigo a third, as the Spaniard’s header from a couple of yards out was blocked on the line by the chest of Richards who had positioned himself well, before Hugo Bueno was able to clear the danger.
Wolves began the second-half strong, but it was the visitors who first troubled their opposite goalmouth, as substitutes Ian Poveda-Ocampo and Sam Greenwood combined, but the latter's shot across goal was tipped by Moulden and then headed off the line by Jack Scott.
Caprile was almost caught out by Hesketh, who picked up the ball in the centre of midfield before driving at Leeds and launching a shot at goal which was almost deflected past the keeper, but he was able to change direction and palm the ball away. Luke Cundle then attempted a shot from distance which untroubled anyone in a white shirt.
Leeds were keeping Wolves at bay throughout the second-half, while pushing forwards for a third goal of their own, and it was Greenwood who came the closest to extending the lead, when his free-kick from just outside the penalty area clipped off the top of Moulden’s crossbar.
James Collins’ under-23s will not be back in action until the 15th March when they host Sunderland at Aggborough, live on Wolves TV, before travelling to Middlesbrough the following week.
15/03 Sunderland (H)
22/03 Middlesbrough (A)
02//04 Aston Villa (A)
12/04 Newcastle United (H)
19/04 West Bromwich Albion (H)
Wolves: Moulden, Scott, Lonwijk, Richards, Bueno, Hong Wan (Diallo 64), Cundle, Hesketh, Corbeanu, Campbell (Estrada 77), Samuels (Carty 77).
Unused subs: Mayounga, Agboola.
Leeds: Caprile, Drameh, Berardi (Casey 46), Cresswell, McCarron, McKinstry, Kenneh, Allen, Kamwa (Poveda-Ocampo 46), Rodrigo (Greenwood 46), Dean.
Unused subs: van den Heuvel, Gibbon.