SHEFFIELD Wednesday saw their automatic promotion hopes falter with a 1-0 home defeat against Stevenage.
It is the second time this season that the Owls have been humbled by Boro - the first being the 5-1 thumping away in September.
Miguel Llera was injured so Rob Jones returned at centre half and Jon Otsemobor came back in at right back with Lewis Buxton switching to the left.
The Owls had the better of the opening 45 minutes but fell behind on the stroke of half time when a corner was headed back across the Wednesday goal by Chris Beardsley and was bundled in by Scott Laird at the back post.
Earlier Jermaine Johnson had been at his best as he tore at the Stevenage defence time and again. However, the closest Johnson came to a goal was when his long range shot was tipped over the bar by Chris Day.
Chris Lines, who was booked after half an hour for a foul on Laird, had tried his luck from 30 yards out with a free kick. He got it over the wall but Day made a comfortable save.
Wednesday again began strong in the second half. Gary Madine was inches away from connecting on a Johnson cross from the left.
Although the Owls were in ascendency with possession they were rewarded with corners rather than clear cut chances throughout the middle part of the second half.
Johnson was again the best source for Wednesday’s strikers. With Gary Madine replaced by Clinton Morrison and Mike Jones on for David Prutton, Johnson set up Chris O’Grady up on the edge of the box, but could only see his shot saved by Day.
As the match wore on Wednesday’s attacks became increasingly less threatening. Manager Gary Megson moved centre half Rob Jones up front but nothing would fall for the home side.
OWLS: Bywater, Otsemobor, Batth, R Jones, Buxton, Lines, Semedo, Prutton, J Johnson, Madine, O’Grady. Subs: Weaver, Bennett, Beevers, M Jones, Morrison.
BORO: Day, Henry, Roberts, Ashton, Laird, Wilson, Byrom, Bostwick, Charles, Freeman, Beardsley. Subs: Julian, Edwards, Long, May, Cowan.
Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)
Read Paul Thompson’s match report and analysis in Wednesday’s Star.