Wolverhampton Wanderers’ charge towards the play offs continued today with a deserved 1-0 victory over league strugglers Leeds United at Molineux.
A 76th minute Michael Kightly goal was all that separated the teams, but Leeds could hardly have complained had it been three or four.
Twice Wolves hit the woodwork, and contrived to squander countless chances, before Kightly sealed the win, Wolves fourth in a row, that sees them now sitting 4 points off the top of the table.
Prior to kick off, all talk had been of Leeds battling qualities, but there was little evidence of fighting spirit on show today from the men in white, as they were forced into a rearguard action by Mick McCarthy’s hungry pack of Wolves.
They dominated from the outset, and to a man displayed all the qualities that Wolves fans demand. They fought, they battled, they held together as a team, and never looked in danger of losing, unless at their own hands, rather than by Leeds endeavours.
Having had a stonewall penalty turned down, having hit the woodwork twice Wolves fans could have been forgiven for thinking they’d seen this before. Bad luck, squandered chances, and controversial refereeing decisions have been the hallmarks of seasons gone by, but this is the McCarthy era, and Mick’s men are a different breed.
And with 14 minutes left on the clock, Leeds luck finally ran out.
Picking up the ball in his own half, Jackie McNamara raced into the Leeds half on a lung bursting 50 yard run, before finding Michael Kightly on the edge of the Leeds penalty area with a superb cross field pass.
The former Grays man, cut inside onto his favoured left foot and from the edge of the D drilled his low shot past Casper Ankergren and into the net.
Molineux went wild, and Kightly was buried under a sea of Old Gold shirts as Wolves finally got the goal they deserved.
In the dying minutes, Leeds came close to salvaging an undeserved point when Robbie Blake pulled his free kick back to an unmarked Eddie Lewis to shoot from 15 yards out.
But after having little to do all afternoon, Matt Murray proved why he is he divisions number one ranked ‘keeper, superbly tipping Lewis fierce shot over the bar. and any hopes Leeds had of leaving Molineux with a share of the spoils ended.
Four wins front four games, the first time that’s been achieved since 2002 has taken Mick McCarthy’s men to within just 4 points of the top of the division.
Hunger desire, hard work and the occasional flash of brilliance might just take them into the play offs. It also might just take them even higher.
Mick McCarthy on the win
“Leeds made things extremely hard for us today but we did deserve to win. And part of the reason for that is that we worked hard.”
Mick McCarthy on Wolves’ penalty claim
“Was that a penalty or am I going mad?”
“The only two blokes in the stadium who didn’t think it was a penalty was the ref and his assistant.
“However, as we won I can be more magnanimous about it. If we hadn’t, I’d have been seething.”