|Head boy sends Wolves packing|
Sat 18th Aug 2012 19:27
With all the talk about new players, it was the head of an old favourite Luciano Becchio who secured all three-points to give Neil Warnock a winning start to the new Championship season.
Despite Tom Lees returning to fitness, Warnock kept the same starting 11 that beat Shrewsbury in the League Cup last weekend. Leeds started the brighter in this lunchtime televised encounter which maybe slightly did not live up to its billing.
When Wolves did make a rare break, they did look very strong and comfortable on the ball, they nearly went ahead when Ebanks Blake ran clear but Paddy Kenny was quick off his line to smother the danger.
Kenny had a hand in what was the games decider, his long clearance found McCormack on the left and he provided the perfect cross for Becchio to power home on17 minutes with a diving header.
Wolves tried to come back into it, but despite their possession they could not cope with an aggressive battling midfield held together by Varney, Norris, Austin and Paul Green.
With his slight frame, Byram looks nothing like a footballer, but his composure on the ball and ability to get stuck in and recover well provided a near faultless 90 minutes.
Warnock had to make an enforced change on 45 when the hardworking Green pulled up with a knee injury, El Hadji Diouf made another non-contract substitute bow and received a warmer reception than last weekend.
The majority of those who remained unconvinced by Diouf's likely 12 month contract offer soon saw his worth. He is capable of keeping possession, having a run at defenders and providing some half-decent passes.
Leeds really should have killed the game off in the opening seconds of the second half, when Varney was through one-on-one but the ball cannoned off his shin into Ikeme's grateful arms.
Wolves enjoyed slightly more possession in the second half, but rarely they looked a cohesive unit and I was surprised how apathetic their ans were, indeed they only seemed to make a noise when abusing Neil Warnock!
Even five minutes of injury time failed to stir them from their slumber, despite a string of corners and half chances which could have easily made Leeds pay for their skewed chances in front of goal.
No doubt they are a club still experiencing a hangover having bowed out of the Premiership and seem to be disjointed with many of their players wanting to get away. Leeds on the other hand, although it was far from a great performance today looked much more like a team unit which is a massive step in the right direction after the shambolic performances last season.
To the fans credit too, they were in good voice and did not rise to Ken Bates programme notes where he again claimed protests had put off potential investors and asked did we want to go the same way as Portsmouth or Rangers? I don't think I heard a single "Bates Out" chant although during his pre-recorded pre-match address, he did endure at least three coughing fits.......