The Owls were beaten 3-1 by high-flying Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Friday evening.
Justin Hoyte struck first for Boro with a blistering strike into the top corner in the first half before Gary Madine levelled for Dave Jones’ side soon after the interval.
Middlesbrough got their noses back in front on the hour mark through Ishmael Miller before Lukas Jutkiewicz wrapped up the points with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Wednesday were up against a Boro side in good form and the hosts went into the game knowing a win would take them to the summit.
But Middlesbrough had to be alert to prevent an early Owls goal on nine minutes.
Michail Antonio’s free kick from wide on the right found Paul Corry at the back stick, who nodded into the path of Miguel Llera, but the defender’s strike was quickly closed down and Boro were able to clear the danger.
Middlesbrough had looked dangerous on the attack during the early exchanges and thus took the lead, and in some style, on 13 minutes through Hoyte.
A cutting through ball from Emmanuel Ledesma picked out the defender, who smashed an unstoppable hit into the top corner.
Grant Leadbitter then struck a fierce free kick on target which was matched by a smart save from Chris Kirkland.
The Owls went in search of a response to going behind as the lively Antonio whipped in a cross from the right which Jay Bothroyd controlled, before firing low on target but Jason Steele was down quickly to gather at the first attempt.
Josh McEachran then gave Wednesday cause for concern when the midfielder used his superb control and trickery to evade a number of challenges but couldn’t beat Kirkland from close range.
With the half time whistle approaching, Wednesday came close twice within in a minute to restoring parity.
First, Antonio saw his curled effort pushed behind by Steele for a corner and, from the resulting flag kick, Gary Madine’s flick to the back post found Llera, who directed the ball a matter of inches the wrong side of the upright.
Wednesday had perhaps deserved more for their efforts in the first half but did get a foot back into the game four minutes after the restart.
A long ball forward from Bothroyd was neatly chested down by Antonio towards Madine, who applied the finishing touch past Steele with great composure from inside the area.
But the Owls’ good work in the second half was undone on the hour when Ledesma picked up a loose ball in midfield and threaded a clever bass into Scott McDonald, who's shot seemed destined for the goal having beaten Kirkland but Miller made sure of the goal by tapping home from close range.
Wednesday were dealt a further blow on 76 minute when second half substitute Jutkiewicz nodded past Kirkland from Leadbitter’s corner, to extend Boro’s lead and leave the Owls with a mountain to climb.
Steele then twice prevented Madine from netting his second goal of the game.
Ryhs McCabe’s deflected shot fell to the striker inside the area but Steele was out quickly to close out the danger, making two quick fire saves to prevent a nervy finish at the Riverside.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Woodgate (Hines 46), Bikey, Friend, Leadbitter, Emnes (Haroun 73), Ledesma, McEachran, McDonald, Miller (Jutkiewicz 66)
Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Zemmama, Bailey, Parnaby
Owls: Kirkland, Buxton Llera, Gardner, Jones, Antonio, Semedo, Corry (O’Grady 82), Barkley (McCabe 82), Bothroyd (J Johnson 73), Madine
Unused substitutes: Davies, Taylor, Mattock, Rodri