Doncaster 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday
The Owls slipped to a 1-0 defeat away at Doncaster on Saturday in a fiery South Yorkshire derby.
The game was settled by Chris Brown’s first half strike, as the forward scored the simplest of goals from close range on the rebound.
Wednesday rallied after the interval but could not find a way through as Rovers continued their climb away from the Championship drop zone.
There was a terrific atmosphere inside the ground at kick off with the away end at full capacity as 4,300 Owls fans made the short hop to the Keepmoat.
After an even first 15 minutes, Wednesday began to assert their authority on the game and had two good chances to take an early lead.
Following a sustained period of pressure, Lewis Buxton brought a good low stop from Sam Johnstone after a partially cleared corner.
Then moments later, Jeremy Helan stole a march on his marker and fizzed a firm ball into the middle for Leon Best, who could only prod wide from a central position.
James Coppinger fired the first warning shot of the game for Rovers with a stinging drive from 20 yards that the returning Chris Kirkland saved and gathered at the second attempt.
But it was Doncaster who got the all-important first break in front of goal just past the half hour mark.
Billy Sharp sprung the offside trap and struck a firm shot that Kirkland saved, but the ball fell kindly to Brown who was lurking on the goal line to tap in and give Rovers the lead.
The goal proved somewhat of a turning point, as the hosts finished the first half on the front foot with the attacking impetus.
The half time break allowed the Owls to regroup and ten minutes after the restart, Chris Maguire demonstrated excellent technique from 25 yards to volley on target but Johnstone made a strong one-handed stop to deny the Scot.
In a bid to freshen up the attack, Stuart Gray sent Benik Afobe into the action in place of Atdhe Nuhiu but shortly after that change, Rovers almost doubled their lead.
David Cotterill’s dangerous free kick picked out Paul Keegan in the centre, whose header was superbly stopped at point-blank range by Kirkland.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Wednesday were still well in the hunt for an equaliser but struggled to turn possession into clear cut chances.
Sam Hutchinson powered a header just over the bar from a Maguire corner but as the clock ticked down, there was a sense it would not be the Owls’ day.
As the game entered stoppage time, Kirkland produced the save of the match to deny Cotterill sealing the game from a free kick 20 yards from goal.
But Wednesday could not find a way through the Rovers backline in the five minutes of added time as the hosts continued their good run in the Championship and climb away from danger.
Doncaster: Johnstone, Quinn, Husband, Duffy, Brown, Sharp, Cotterill, Keegan, Wellens, Meite, Coppinger
Owls: Kirkland, Buxton, Loovens, Oneweyu, Helan, Maguire, Lee, Palmer (J Johnson 75), Lavery (Hutchinson 50), Nuhiu (Afobe 63), Best