Sheffield Wednesday turned in an impressive Hillsborough display to beat ten-man Brighton 3-1 on Saturday.
Leroy Lita and Danny Pugh put the Owls into the ascendancy and Ashley Barnes was sent off to compound the first half damage.
Andrea Orlandi pulled one back for the visitors early in the second period only to see Michail Antonio extend Wednesday’s lead and ultimately seal victory.
Brighton arrived on the cusp of the play-offs and needing a positive result to keep on the shirt tails of the top six, while Wednesday were out to move into the clutch of clubs directly above them in the table at the other end having markedly improved their form in 2013.
And that pedigree continued just four minutes in when Lita fired the Owls in front.
Antonio picked up possession down the left flank and sent over a looping ball into the danger zone, where Lita was on hand to cleverly volley past Tomasz Kuszczak.
Brighton responded with Inigo Calderon forcing Miguel Llera into evasive action a yard from goal after some good work down the right, before Chris Kirkland saved low from Leonardo Calderon moments later.
The contest then settled into an even affair, with the Seagulls perhaps edging the attacking threat – until their chances of taking something back to Sussex were dramatically reduced ten minutes before half time.
First, Barnes saw red for a late lunge on Kieran Lee and from the resulting free kick, Pugh smashed in a rasping drive from a tight angle that nestled into the back of the net.
That double blow gave Brighton a mountain to climb in the second half and Gus Poyet introduced livewire striker Craig Mackail-Smith to aid the cause.
The former Peterborough man looked typically busy in the early throes but Wednesday almost put the game out of reach when Lita slotted inches wide following a drilled cross from Jeremy Helan.
But on 53 minutes, Brighton reduced the arrears – with Mackail-Smith at the heart of the action.
The bubbly hitman danced his way into the penalty area only to see a snapshot cleared off the line by Pugh and Orlandi was on hand to blast home the rebound.
But the visitors’ joy was short-lived as Wednesday promptly restored their two-goal advantage.
Pugh swung an accurate corner to the back post and the alert Antonio forced the ball over the line from close range.
From that juncture, the points looked safe for Wednesday but there was still time for controversy late on when a block by Pugh on Calderon earned the Owls loanee a booking and led to a melee in the technical areas, with Dave Jones and Brighton first team coach Charlie Oatway each sent to the stand.
Owls: Kirkland, Buxton, Gardner, Llera, Pugh, Lee, Prutton, Coke, Helan (Madine 82), Antonio, Lita (Semedo 90)
Unused substitutes: Bywater, Mattock, Taylor, McCabe, J Johnson
Brighton: Kuszczak, Hammond, El-Abd, Barnes, Orlandi, Calderon, Ulloa (Vicente 62), Upson, Lopez, Bridcutt (Mackail-Smith 46), Bridge
Unused substitutes: Saltor, Hoskins, Ankergren, Dicker, LuaLua