SOME FIRST-HALF heroics from young 'keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell failed to prevent Leeds United from falling to a 3-0 defeat against Championship leaders Wolves at Elland Road.
After going desperately close three times in the space of five minutes, Romain Saiss headed home a 28th-minute corner before Willy Boly finished in similar fashion on the stroke of half-time, latching on to the rebound after Danny Batth's header had cannoned back off the crossbar.
A dominant and classy Wolves then bagged their third with 16 minutes left when Benik Afobe chipped Peacock-Farrell from 30 yards out to leave United nine points off the play-offs with ten games left.
After some early pressure from Leeds who twice threatened through Pontus Jansson Wolves went desperately close three times inside five minutes with Peacock-Farell first producing an excellent save to tip a stinging shot from Ivan Cavaleiro just wide.
Two minutes later, Jota then had the goal at his mercy six yards out and central following a cross from Barry Douglas but Jota failed to make any connection and the chance was gone.
Bonatini was then picked out by a free-kick from Doherty but tried to finish with his thigh and sent the ball flying over the bar.
But the Wolves pressure was beginning to become relentless and the visitors made the breakthrough in the 28th minute when Romain Saiss clinically headed home a Douglas corner, giving Peacock-Farrell no chance in goal.
The strike came just moments after two more chances for Wolves, firstly for Jota whose shot was blocked by Peacock-Farrell and then for Bonatini whose effort was deflected wide for the corner from which the visitors scored.
Wolves deserved their lead and Leeds were then forced into a defensive reshuffle when skipper Liam Cooper hobbled off with what looked like a bad injury.
Matthew Pennington came on in his place as Gaetano Berardi took the captain's armband and Pennington immediately had a lucky escape after giving the ball straight to Bonatini who set up Jota who dithered and wasted the chance.
Peacock-Farrell then again came to United's rescue with a superb save to deny Bonatini who was one-on-one shortly before the break.
But there was again nothing Peacock-Farrell could do about the second Wolves goal which arrived from another corner in the 45th minute with Willy Boly heading home by latching on to the rebound after Danny Batth's initial header had hit the crossbar.
The returning Pablo Hernandez was brought on during the interval but Wolves almost made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute when Bonatini flicked on a header from Douglas from yet another corner but Leeds cleared the ball off the line.
Leeds looked to rally and after Stuart Dallas had put a decent effort from long range wide, Berardi put a rasping shot from even further out narrowly over the bar.
Hernandez then almost picked out Dallas only for Batth to intervene but only the crossbar denied Wolves a third soon after as Jota's rising effort hit the woodwork.
But a third goal for Wolves looked likely and it arrived in the 74th minute when substitute Benik Afobe beat an onrushing Peacock-Farrell to a fine pass by Jota before producing a brilliant chipped finish from 30 yards out.
Leeds United: Peacock-Farrell, Anita, Jansson, Cooper (Pennington 36), Berardi, Phillips, Forshaw, Sacko (Hernandez 46), Saiz, Dallas, Lasogga (Ekuban 73). Subs not used: Wiedwald, O'Kane, Vieira, Alioski.
Wolves: Ruddy, Coady, Batth (c), Boly, Doherty, Saiss, N'Diaye, Douglas, Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White 86), Jota (Costa 75), Bonatini (Afobe 70). Subs not used: Norris, Bennett, Costa, Miranda, Hause.
Referee: Tim Robinson.