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Pictures and analysis of Wolves 2 Leeds 2

At least Danny Batth's last-gasp equaliser ensured that for once there were home cheers at the final whistle at Molineux.



At least Danny Batth's last-gasp equaliser ensured that for once there were home cheers at the final whistle at Molineux.

But there was little else to smile about as the return of the gallows humour underlined the stark reality of a second successive relegation facing Wolves.

"You're nothing special, we lose every week" sang the South Bank in response to a taunt from the Leeds fans.

Wolves supporters realise their team is in deep trouble but it remains to be seen whether the depth of the plight resonates as clearly with the under-achieving players.

There were signs on Saturday that they are finally awaking from their long slumber and are prepared to fight for the cause.

In a continuation of the improvement seen in the 2-1 defeat at Leicester, the team produced their best performance under new boss Dean Saunders.

Just like we thought a managerless and out-of-form Blackpool represented the best chance of a victory for a while in the last home game, Leeds arrived with four away defeats on the spin and in patchy form.

But despite taking the lead for the 10th time in 16 home games this season – Wolves have failed to hold it on all but four occasions – that elusive victory still won't come.

The debate now is whether the improvement in performances will come quickly enough to save Wolves from the drop.

If these last two home games represented such ideal opportunities to turn the season around, then the next four appear far more daunting. Trips to Derby and form team Barnsley, who have taken 19 points out of their last 21, before the visits of runaway leaders Cardiff and play-off hopefuls Watford don't suggest an easy end in sight to a winless run now stretching to nine games.

Wolves have the talent to put together a run like Barnsley's but whether they possess the necessary hunger is another matter.

That 'young and hungry' brigade are no longer young or hungry but rich footballers supposedly in their prime.

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the 5-1 defeat to Albion and reminds us all what a disastrous year it's been in the history of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In the 45 league games including that one since, Wolves have won just nine, losing 25 and conceded a staggering 83 goals. Saunders insisted he won't be the fourth manager to be sacked for failing to address the chronic inability to stop leaking goals and is desperate to sign players to improve the creaking defence.

But Wolves' problems run so deep that there's no guarantee that the arrival of a centre-half in the loan window will answer their prayers. The malaise runs right from the questionable decisions of chairman Steve Morgan downwards.

Four managers in 12 months suggests the 'Wolves way' is little more than a revolving door policy. On the pitch, the losing mentality is so entrenched that there was an almost palpable brittleness to the team in the first half on Saturday as fans waited for the familiar script to unfold – Wolves play OK, take the lead and then, from seemingly nowhere, find themselves in a losing position. At least they were saved by the heroics of Batth, who was already in the running for the man of the match award on his belated full home league debut for the club before his classic downward header rescued a point in the second minute of time added on. And it was a richly deserved one too for the 20 minutes or so from half-time onwards when Wolves finally rediscovered some of their old snap and tempo.

The effort, commitment and quality of football in that period ensured the poison, that's close to the surface at Molineux, never poured out.

Lee Peltier's 53rd-minute own goal from Stephen Ward's cross provided the platform from which they could, and maybe should, have handed Saunders his first three points as Wolves manager.

Before the goal, there was a twisting header from Jamie O'Hara which drifted wide, a stinging drive from Bakary Sako that was tipped away and two towering headers from Batth, one just wide and another nodded off the line by Paul Green with Kevin Doyle stabbing the rebound wide.

Crucially, though, in this more convincing passage of play, there was also a breakaway 64th-minute equaliser from Leeds as Luke Varney superbly found the corner of the net after Wolves failed dismally to clear their lines following a hopeful goal kick.

So battered have Wolves been over the last 12 months that everyone in the ground knew that any chance of a home victory had vanished in that one moment.

Carl Ikeme produced a heroic reaction save to deny Varney a winner but it looked to have come in the shape of Ross McCormack's penalty after Sako had got the wrong side of Sam Byram, who bought a cheap spot-kick by falling dramatically.

Thankfully for Wolves, Batth's goal gave them hope but they need to rediscover that missing hunger to ensure they in the Championship.

By Tim Nash

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