Fans the highlight as Sheffield Wednesday's survival hopes take a hit in poor Middlesbrough showing

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They didn’t get the win, but the second half performance against Swansea City gave fans hope as they made the trip to the Riverside. Wednesday had another chance to get out of the bottom three, even if it was against a Boro side unbeaten in their last five.

Things almost got off to the perfect start as a delightful ball over from the top from Will Vaulks found an on-rushing Marvin Johnson inside the opening five minutes, but with only the goalkeeper to beat – albeit from a tight angle – he drilled it just wide of the mark.

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It was as good as it was going to get for the Owls in a tough opening stanza, though, with the hosts having plenty of possession and constantly looking like the bigger threat. To make matters worse the only real plus point for Wednesday, Will Vaulks, ended up semi-hamstrung by a yellow card that meant he’d have to be careful for the remaining hour.

Sam Greenwood fired a freekick over the bar, Isaiah Jones should’ve scored but fluffed his lines from close range, and then they finally broke the deadlock. Only two teams in the division have conceded more goals from set pieces than Wednesday, and the number rose to 14 as a corner wasn’t dealt with and Michael Ihiekwe could only watch on as he clipped his back and beat James Beadle between the sticks.

Half time couldn’t come soon enough for the Owls, with hope of another second half resurgence, but it wasn’t to come. Djeidi Gassama came on at the break for Bailey Cadamarteri, and 20 minutes later Ian Poveda made his return alongside Dominic Iorfa – Bambo Diaby and Pol Valentin made way.

It felt like more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’ for Boro’s second, though, and they could’ve been well clear after had the referee, Matthew Donohue, decided to give either of the big penalty shouts against Vaulks or Marvin Johnson – neither was given.

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The second did come though, and with Wednesday wasteful on the ball when they have it, the result had long since seemed inevitable. Jones was the one who got it, with the attacker seeing his effort on goal deflected over Beadle’s head and into the back of the net. To make matters worse, the break had come from an Owls corner.

Jeff Hendrick and Michael Smith were introduced, but the damage was done. Danny Röhl’s side had no control over the game, and in their rare ventures forward they weren’t able to show any sort of quality. Iké Ugbo’s curling effort before he was taken off was as close as they came, but Seny Dieng pulled off a great save to make sure there would be no talk of a comeback.

They did get their penalty in the end, Barry Bannan being adjudged to have handled in the box, but Greenwood couldn't convert from 12 yards out as he saw his effort cannon back off the post. It wouldn't matter.

Despite it all, Owls fans remained. Honolulu Wednesday was belted from the away end occupied by over 2,500 fans, and it was another occasion where you couldn't help but feel that they deserve better than what they're currently getting. 2-0 it ended, and in many ways the final whistle came as a relief.

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Elsewhere things didn’t look much better either. Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Queens Park Rangers and even Rotherham United claimed all three points, but defeat for Plymouth Argyle and a draw between Huddersfield Town and Stoke City meant that the Owls are still in touching distance of safety.

A win at the Riverside would’ve taken Wednesday out of the drop zone - defeat sees them two points off 21st-place, and now they head to QPR for what has somehow become an even bigger game than it was before.

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