Sheffield Wednesday were back to winning ways at Hillsborough on Saturday, with Atdhe Nuhiu’s penalty settling the clash with ten-man Middlesbrough.
The game looked to be heading to a goalless draw but five minutes from time, Leon Best’s strike was handled on the line by Dean Whitehead, who received a straight red card.
Nuhiu took responsibility from 12 yards and thumped his penalty home leaving Boro with little time to respond.
The visitors went into the clash on the back of a six-game winless run and without having hit the target during that period – with the S6 meeting extending that barren spell to an alarming seven.
The early signs were good for Wednesday, with Stuart Gray’s side enjoying plenty of possession and pressing Boro, albeit without creating anything clear cut.
Wednesday, though, were fortunate not to go a goal behind after ten minutes.
Jacob Butterfield’s pot shot from distance struck both posts and rolled along the goal line, before Chris Kirkland gathered with the visitors adamant the ball had crossed the line.
Then on the half hour mark, Wednesday went close after a swift move upfield, which saw Liam Palmer receive possession after overlapping down the right and feed for Best, who stabbed agonisingly wide.
Wednesday edged the early throes of the second half as Chris Maguire fired an early warning shot over the crossbar from a free kick.
The attacking emphasis was certainly with Wednesday and Chelsea loanee Sam Hutchinson almost broke the deadlock from distance on 56 minutes but Tomas Mejias made a stunning save to pluck the ball from the top corner.
Middlesbrough remained a threat on the counter and had a golden chance to break their goalscoring drought minutes later.
Danny Graham sprung the offside trap and charged towards goal but Kirkland made a fine stop in the one-on-one situation and was up off the deck quickly to save from Kei Kamara on the rebound.
As the clock ticked down, Wednesday continued to pile the pressure on Boro with substitute Jermaine Johnson and Caolan Lavery both looking lively in the final third.
Mejias did well to make a point blank save from Giles Coke’s volley before the pressure finally paid off in the 85th minute and the Owls were awarded a penalty.
Following a goalmouth scramble, Best’s strike was adjudged to have been cleared off the line by the arm of Whitehead, who saw red for his troubles, and Nuhiu obliged from 12 yards, striking home from the spot.
There was little time left for Middlesbrough to respond as their miserable run in front of goal extended to seven games, with Wednesday on the other hand moving 12 points clear of danger.
Owls: Kirkland, Palmer, Loovens, Onyewu, Mattock (Helan 42), Maguire (Nuhiu 71), Hutchinson, Maghoma (J Johnson 62), Coke, Lavery, Best
Middlesbrough: Mejias, Friend, Butterfield (Main 75), Varga, Graham, Whitehead, Chalobah, Omeruo, Adomah (Ledesma 58), Kamara, Woodgate (Gibson 46)