Leeds United 0
Happy days are here again at the 'Golden Palace'. You could both see and hear it on the terraces as the Wolves fans turned up in their numbers once more to shout themselves hoarse and clap their hands raw in acclaiming their team's fourth straight win.
You could see it on the pitch in the efforts of a young, hungry Wolves team who showed just the composure needed to match their considerable talent before Michael Kightly's virtuoso late effort finally won a deserved three points.
And you could also see it in the under-stated but obvious pride of manager Mick McCarthy in realising that although his inexpensively reassembled side remain only eighth, they are now just four points off top spot and genuinely in the hunt for an automatic promotion place.
But, for those of a more sensitive, faint-hearted disposition, the cut-price Kightly's latest moment of inspiration was of even greater value, sparing McCarthy the need to turn the air blue with a post-match rant at referee Michael Jones.
Had it stayed goalless and Mr Jones' astonishing verdict not to award a penalty for Manuel Rui Marques' cynical first-half flattening of a galloping Kightly proved important, McCarthy's wrath would have been entirely warranted. It was a frighteningly poor decision that once again strengthened the argument that referees should actually have played the game before being allowed to officiate over such fast and furious contests. But the fact that Mr Jones' inadequacy in distinguishing between a blatant foul and what he interpreted as a 'dive' allowed the Wolves boss to be generous in his own subtle way.
"My lamps are fading," admitted McCarthy, "and I have to wear glasses now for reading. But it looks like I'll have to get some of those long-sighted ones as well, because if that's not a penalty, then there's never been one.
"He's booked Michael and said he dived, but if he'd got booked for arguing the toss, then I couldn't have blamed him.
"I guess I can be a bit magnanimous as we've won. But if we hadn't, I'd have been seething."
Wolves' failure to earn that breakthrough from the penalty spot, which caused rage and bewilderment both in the home dug-out and up in the stands, was far from the only near miss against a poor, but spirited Leeds United side. Stand-in stopper Rob Edwards, still keeping both Gary Breen and captain Jody Craddock out of the team, twice hit the woodwork either side of the break with headers, each from Michael McIndoe set pieces.
And, although Richard Cresswell did produce one glaring miss for Leeds with a free first-half header, Wolves carried by far the greater threat. But, just when it looked like the afternoon was going to turn into a hard luck story, and it looked like the home side's efforts were starting to dwindle, help came from an unlikely attacking source.
Showing all his old wiles, left-back Jackie McNamara made a foraging run deep into Leeds territory. But, knowing his work was done, he cannily offloaded and fed Kightly just outside the right corner of the box.
The winger cut in from the right, evading two challenges. And, with the Leeds cover poor, he slotted home his left-foot shot, making up for earlier with his fifth goal for Wolves, to trigger the sort of explosion of noise from the relieved home terraces that is starting to become a feature of trips to Molineux again.
But it was Leeds who had the strength of character to conjure up a big finish. And it still needed one superb late save from Matt Murray, the only time he was tested all afternoon, to keep out an Eddie Lewis curler, keep Wolves' noses in front and match the 1-0 win they managed at Elland Road back in September.
That makes a grand total of 12 by that scoreline this season for Wolves now, four of which have come in the past six games. And his most costly January signing Andy Keogh, so keen to break his duck against his old club, is now overdue a first goal.
But, while McCarthy's team may be the lowest scorers in the top half of the Championship, only three have conceded fewer. And, in any case, it's the points that count.
"It was hard to get a head of steam up at times," said McCarthy. "Leeds made it extremely difficult for us and the lads have had to work hard. But I don’t think there's any doubt that we deserved to win it.
"That's a really significant result and performance to grind out a 1-0 the way we did. Had we not got the three points, we'd have felt let down, but that's a really big three points."
And it must have had chief executive Jez Moxey rubbing his hands with glee.
Moxey has a knack of picking just the right moment to launch the club's annual 'Early Bird' season ticket promotion. But to have chosen to start promoting the potential of cut-price Premiership football just prior to the team's best winning run in five years has proved even more inspired than usual.
Saturday's gate was 4,500 up on this season's average, the best genuine league attendance of the campaign.
And all of them went home wondering chiefly why it took so long to break the deadlock, collectively bemused by a penalty decision that, despite Mr Jones' lame post-match insistence that Kightly had tripped himself up, must surely rate as one of the worst ever.
"I didn't speak to the ref," said a grinning McCarthy afterwards. "There was no point but I've put my report in. Two or three pages of foolscap. And he can look forward to reading that on Tuesday morning."
Scorers: Kightly (76)
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Murray; Henry, N Collins, Edwards, McNamara; Kightly (Bothroyd 85), Olofinjana, Potter, McIndoe (Craddock 87); Ward, Keogh. Subs: Budtz (gk), Clapham, M Davies
LEEDS UNITED (4-4-2): Ankergren; Richardson, Rui Marques, Heath, Lewis; Carole (Moore 80), Nicholls, Douglas, Blake (Elliott 88); Cresswell, Healy. Subs: Stack (gk), Foxe, Howson
Referee: M Jones (Chester)
Bookings: Wolves - Kightly (unsportsmanlike conduct), Potter (foul), Henry (foul); Leeds - Blake (dissent), Rui Marques (foul)