Wolves surrendered a two-goal lead as a resilient Leeds United came back to secure a 3-2 win on Friday night.
Jesse Marsch’s men sleepwalked into half-time two goals down before a Raul Jimenez red card changed the game, allowing the visitors to secure a vital three points.
Leeds started fast and nearly carved open their hosts inside the opening 10 seconds, before Dan James blasted over just after the two-minute mark.
At the other end, Adam Forshaw retreated just in time to stop Daniel Podence pulling the trigger at point-blank range after Rayan Ait-Nouri robbed Diego Llorente of possession, before Jack Harrison’s cross was poked narrowly wide by Rodrigo.
The visitors then pressed Ruben Neves into giving away the ball cheaply, with Patrick Bamford firing the wrong side of Jose Sa’s post as Leeds maintained their early pressure.
Lengthy injury treatment to Bamford and Neves – which forced both off – disrupted the fast flow of the first half, but Wolves took the lead almost immediately after they had to haul the Portugal midfielder off. Neves’ replacement Francisco Trincao picked out the run of Jonny Otto, who swept into the far corner to give the hosts a 26th-minute lead.
Trincao rattled the frame of Meslier’s goal in first half stoppage time with a curling effort from distance before Jimenez failed to lob the Frenchman. And eventually this sustained pressure crushed Leeds as Wolves grabbed their second 55 minutes into an elongated first half.
Bruno Lage’s men caught Leeds napping while plotting a free-kick, with Podence squaring for super-sub Trincao to double the lead.
Leeds had it all to do after the break – they hadn’t won after conceding first in the Premier League all season while Wolves had lost just once in last 49 games after scoring first – but were handed a reprieve when Jimenez received a second booking for clattering into Meslier.
Marsch’s men pulled one back just after the hour mark. Luke Ayling struck the post after ghosting in behind Ait-Nouri, and Romain Saiss’ awful clearance had to be swept off the line by Conor Coady, and eventually Jack Harrison was able to slam home.
And Leeds equalised almost immediately after their first goal. James struck the bar before Saiss and Sa fluffed another clearance, allowing Rodrigo to ghost in and finish with the outside of his boot, with Coady unable to stop the ball from crossing the line.
A low cross from Harrison was steered goalwards by James from six yards but Saiss made a great recovery challenge to deny the Welshman, while Dallas’ left-foot strike forced Sa into a stretching save and Charlie Cresswell headed over.
With eight minutes of stoppage time looming, Leeds notched themselves in front for the first time on the night. Wolves failed to deal with a lofty free-kick, and Ayling was on hand to fire through the open legs of Sa.
Trincao forced substitute stopper Kristoffer Klaesson into a flying save as Wolves looked to have the last laugh, but Leeds held on to take a precious three points back to Elland Road.
Lage’s side miss the chance to move back into the top six, while Leeds’ back-to-back wins have moved them seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Jose Sa (GK) – 2/10 – Completely lost control of his own box in the second half.
Willy Boly (CB) – 3/10 – Wasn’t impressive on only his second Premier League start of the season. Didn’t deal with Leeds’ high free-kick at all.
Conor Coady (CB) – 5/10 – Tried maintaining a cool head when everything around him was collapsing.
Romain Saiss (CB) – 3/10 – A monstrous first half was let down by a calamitous second.
Jonny Otto (RWB) – 6/10 – Had a tough opening period when Leeds were on top but responded brilliantly and finished his goal well.
Leander Dendoncker (CM) – 3/10 – Allowed Ayling to ghost past him inside his own box for the winner.
Ruben Neves (CM) – 5/10 – Had one hairy moment on the ball before being brought off with a knock.
Joao Moutinho (CM) – 7/10 – Like Jonny initially found it hard to beat Leeds’ press but his class soon told. His quick thinking led to Wolves’ second.
Rayan Ait-Nouri (LWB) – 6/10 – The double-team of Saiss and Ait-Nouri felt unstoppable at times, but switched off for Leeds’ goals.
Daniel Podence (CF) – 7/10 – Always looked lively even if his trickery didn’t pay off.
Raul Jimenez (CF) – 2/10 – Looked a shadow of his former self, but that’s understandable. Picked up his second red card of the season.
Francisco Trincao (RW, 25′ for Neves) – 8/10 – Instant impact providing the assist for Jonny’s opener and a great finish for the second.
Hwang Hee-Chan (CF, 78′ for Podence) – 4/10
Fabio Silva (CF, 90′ for Dendoncker) – N/A
Chiquinho (RW, 90′ for Jonny) – N/A
Illan Meslier (GK) – 5/10 – Didn’t inspire confidence but unlike on so many other occasions it was hard to blame the Frenchman for any goals he conceded. Subbed after 55 minutes after being bulldozed by Jimenez.
Luke Ayling (RB) – 8/10 – Torn inside-out by Ait-Nouri and Podence but returned the favour at the other end. Scored an invaluable winner and pulled out Robbie Keane’s famous celebration.
Diego Llorente (CB) – 2/10 – Just as well that he was brought off with a back injury because he was dreadful in his 40 minutes on the pitch.
Pascal Struijk (CB) – 4/10 – Started the game by holding Llorente’s hand but looked very lost after the Spaniard was subbed, clumsily galloping across the backline to Leeds’ detriment.
Stuart Dallas (LB) – 5/10 – If there was a criticism of him, it would be that he wasn’t involved enough going forward, but that didn’t really matter come full-time.
Adam Forshaw (CM) – 8/10 – An all-action display. One of only two outfield Leeds players who were aware of Wolves’ quick free-kick for the second goal. Never stopped running.
Mateusz Klich (CM) – 4/10 – Very quiet before being brought off with concussion.
Rodrigo (AM) – 9/10 – Looked capable of creating danger whenever he was on the ball and was good value for his goal.
Dan James (RW) – 6/10 – Threatened to cause Wolves a lot more problems than he actually did. Chaos factor prevailed in the end, I guess.
Patrick Bamford (CF) – 5/10 – Enjoyed a promising 22 minutes before being subbed with an ankle injury. Visibly upset on the bench after such a disrupted season.
Jack Harrison (LW) – 9/10 – Started the game brightly, faded after Wolves took the lead, shone again when Leeds had the one-man advantage.
Sam Greenwood (RW, 22′ for Bamford) – 4/10 – Looked out of his depth. Not really his fault as there should probably be several senior players ahead of him but Leeds neglected using the transfer market for this purpose.
Robin Koch (CM, 40′ for Llorente) – 8/10 – Class. His distribution and composure on the ball helped Leeds massively.
Charlie Cresswell (CB, 45+8′ for Klich, concussion sub) – 5/10 – Like Greenwood just isn’t ready for Premier League football yet.
Kristoffer Klaesson (GK, 55′ for Meslier) – 6/10