Ten-man Wednesday suffered a 1-0 defeat to relegation rivals Birmingham at Hillsborough.
Liam Shaw was sent off early in the second half for accruing two yellow cards, which handed the initiative to the Blues.
And they duly capitalised, with leading scorer Scott Hogan notching the only goal of a tense basement battle.
With so much at stake given the league standings, it was no surprise to see an unconvincing start on a brisk S6 afternoon.
Possession was relatively shared and Wednesday had the first sight of goal 15 minutes in but Tom Lees didn’t truly get hold of Callum Paterson’s low cross and Neil Etheridge saved.
Lees turned provider moments later, teeing up a Shaw volley but the midfielder’s shot was high over the crossbar.
Birmingham had to wait until the half-hour mark to pose a concern in the Owls’ backline – and might have taken the lead.
Jeremie Bela delivered a teasing cross into the mix onto the head of Gary Gardner but the latter’s header was the wrong side of the post.
Wednesday survived a scare three minutes before the break when Gardner rounded Keiren Westwood and dinked across goal for the onrushing Ivan Sunjic. The Croatian stooped low to aim on target and Lees was in the right place at the right time to quell the danger.
Sam Hurchinson’s brave block denied Gardner as Birmingham finished the first half with a flourish, with the Owls needing more zip for the second period.
What they didn’t need was a reduction to 10 men just after the resumption. Shaw’s tackle on Maxime Colin was deemed worthy of a yellow card, his second of the game, and out came the red.
That gave Birmingham fresh impetus and Westwood was on high alert to save and gather Bela’s fierce hit.
But there was little the keeper could do on 64 minutes as Birmingham struck the decisive goal. The dangerous Bela drilled in a cross cum shot on the angle, from which Hogan got the merest of touches to divert into the net.
Try as they might, the Owls could not ignite a spark in the final third and the Midlanders almost put the game to bed with 10 minutes to go.
Gardner found space down the flank and looked for Hogan on the run and with the goal gaping Liam Palmer got a crucial nick to keep the score at 1-0.
That was as good as it got for Birmingham who dropped back in the final exchanges but Etheridge remained untroubled until the dying embers when first stretching to tip Bannan’s corner over before expertly keeping out a Jordan Rhodes header to preserve the points.
Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer (Dele-Bashiru 85), Lees, Dunkley (Reach 66), Penney, Harris, Hutchinson, Bannan, Shaw (S/O 50), Windass (Kachunga 76), Paterson (Rhodes 76)