UNITED OPEN UP WITH A WINNER
Becchio goal secures win against Wolves...
Published 18 August 2012 at 02:00
UNITED 1 (Becchio 17) WOLVES 0
United: Kenny, Byram, Peltier, Pearce, White, Green (Diouf 45), Austin, Norris, Varney, McCormack (Lees 75), Becchio. Subs: Ashdown, Drury, Kisnorbo, Brown, Gray.
Wolves: Ikeme, Stearman (Edwards 83), Henry, Ebanks-Blake, Ward, Johnson, Jarvis, Zubar, Forde, Doumba, Doyle. Subs: Peszko, Hunt, Sigurdarson, Berra, Davies, de Vries.
Referee: T Bates
Booked: White, Byram, Varney , Becchio (United) Doumbia, Peszko (Wolves).
See more from the opening day game on LUTV...
United manager Neil Warnock named eight league debutants in his starting line-up for the Championship opener against a newly-relegated Wolves side at Elland Road.
One of those league debut men was defender Lee Peltier, who was also handed the captain's armband.
Elland Road was rocking with a great atmosphere at kick-off, and United responded to that support by starting the contest on the front foot, opening the visitors three times inside the opening five minutes. The third of those moves saw Luciano Becchio appear to be impeded on the edge of the box, but no foul was given.
An opening goal also came in the ninth minute when Carl Ikeme blocked a Rodolph Austin header on the line. Wolves failed to clear and Paul Green had a follow-up shot blocked before Sam Byram sent an effort wide.
Wolves were caught short again when Luciano Becchio and Ross McCormack got on the end of another move and Ikeme denied the Scot. But the opening goal came within a minute.
Paddy Kenny pumped a long ball up field, McCormack picked it up out wide, and his centre was perfect for Becchio to score with a superb diving header.
It was a great start for Leeds and no less than the early play deserved. The game continued to ebb and flow as Wolves looked to force a way back, but United were looking solid at the back and looked to move the ball at pace when in attack.
United were forced into making a change towards the end of the first half when Green was withdrawn after taking a knock, to be replaced by El Hadji Diouf.
As the half drew to a close, McCormack had another shot blocked, but it was Leeds who went in one goal to the good.
United started the second half well and David Norris couldn't quite get the power on a header as he looked to turn a McCormack cross towards goal.
Luke Varney was also put through on goal after another full length move, but his first touch took the ball away from him and the keeper had come off his line by the time he was nudged by a Wolves defender.
When Wolves did look to force an opening, Peszko getting into space after a good ball by Karl Henry, teenager Byram was on hand to clear the danger.
United still pressed and probed though and Varney had a shot deflected wide,
There was a flurry of bookings in the second period as well as United showed a mean streak in keeping the visitors at bay, but in contrast to last season, where Leeds would have sat deep to protect the lead, the Whites still looked to go forward.
Becchio had a shot saved on 75 minutes after one attack before Warnock made his second change, introducing Tom Lees for the final 15 minutes in place of McCormack.
That change saw Byram move into midfield and the youngster came close to scoring his first league goal with less than three minutes remaining when he tried his luck with an opportunist strike from distance which almost shaved the post.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end, but United remained cool to open the campaign with an impressive victory against one of the fancied sides in the division.