Hull City 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0 - Late Tom Eaves header condemns Garry Monk to his first league defeat as Owls boss
"Good teams back positive results up."
Wednesday manager Garry Monk made the admission after Saturday's emphatic win away to Middlesbrough.
Monk is determined to raise standards and turn the Owls from pretenders to contenders.
But on the evidence of Wednesday's disappointing display at Hull City, Monk has plenty of work to do to make that dream a reality.
Tom Eaves stepped up off the bench to grab a 72nd minute winner and sentence Monk to his first league defeat as Owls manager.
Wednesday lacked a cutting edge in attack without injured top-scorer Steven Fletcher. They missed his intelligent hold up play and strength in the air on a frustrating night.
Sam Winnall led the line in the absence of Fletcher but the former Barnsley man squandered a great chance to put the Owls ahead after the break.
Even at the death Monk's men could have salvaged a point had their finishing been better as Adam Reach blazed over when well-placed.
There was little to separate the two sides in a low-key opening 45 minutes on a chilly evening in Humberside.
Wednesday created the first chance of note when stand-in skipper Barry Bannan pounced on a sloppy clearance from Jordy de Wijs following a low delivery by Adam Reach. But the little magician, who has not been included in the latest Scotland squad ahead of their European Championship double-header later this month, saw his left foot curler from 25 yards turned behind George Long.
Centre-back De Wijs then went close for the Tigers at the other end. He headed high over the bar from inside the six-yard box after Keiren Westwood flapped at a Kamil Grosicki corner.
Some of Wednesday's attacking play was very intricate and pleasing on the eye. Atdhe Nuhiu and Bannan combined well on the counter attack to feed Reach, whose teasing cross was headed out for a corner by Hull skipper Eric Lichaj with Kadeem Harris lurking at the back post.
The Owls had a penalty shout waved away in the 18th minute after Sam Winnall collided with former Sheffield United shot-stopper Long after a great delivery by Bannan but their half-hearted appeal fell on deaf ears.
Reece Burke produced an immaculate block to prevent Nuhiu from forcing Long into action midway through the half as Monk's side continued to press for the opener.
But the visitors did not have things all their own way and Jarrod Bowen drilled a left foot shot from distance narrowly wide.
Grosicki, Hull's in-form wide man, always looked the most likely to break down Wednesday's compact defence. The Poland international raced on to Jackson Irvine's pass before cutting it back for Bowen but his effort was blocked and the Owls defence frantically scrambled the ball to safety.
Two minutes before half-time, Sam Hutchinson received his fifth yellow card of the season after a mistimed challenge on Brandon Fleming. It means the midfielder will serve a one-match suspension and miss the home match with Wigan Athletic this Saturday.
There were swathes of empty seats at the KCOM Stadium and the atmosphere felt rather flat.
And there was lack of quality on the pitch.
Wednesday, thumped 3-0 on their last visit to Hull back in January, missed a spark in the final third. It was all a little too pedestrian and predictable.
Yet Moses Odubajo, a key member of the Tigers team that pipped the Owls to promotion three years ago at Wembley, created a glorious opportunity for Winnnall in the 53rd minute. He delivered a pinpoint cross to the near post which Winnall nodded wide. Would Fletcher have scored? Given the form he is in, you would have backed Fletcher to have at the very least made the goalkeeper work from that position.
Monk looked to inject some much-needed energy and purpose into his forward line, taking off the ineffective Harris and throwing on Jacob Murphy before the hour mark.
Winnall was later withdrawn and replaced by club-record buy Jordan Rhodes as Monk attempted to beef up his attacking options.
Reach's dipping half volley from outside the box was well held by Long.
And then the Tigers struck with their first effort on goal in the second half. The Owls switched off defensively, allowing Lichaj to whip in a lovely cross and Eaves stooped to head home his first goal in Hull colours.
There was a controversial flashpoint in the 82nd minute when Murphy was scythed down on the edge of the penalty area. Wednesday's players were adamant the challenge took place inside the box and that they should have been awarded a spot-kick but referee Andy Davies signalled for a free-kick. Monk was left seething with the decision in his technical area.
The Owls left themselves open at the back as they committed more bodies forward in closing stages and Westwood made a fine save to foil Grosicki.
There was still time for Wednesday to create one last opening. Murphy was lively after coming off the bench and he set up Reach, who lifted the ball over to cap a frustrating a night for Monk’s men.
Hull: Long; Lichaj, de Wijs, Burke, Fleming; Honeyman (Batty 77), Stewart, Irvine; Grosicki (Bowler 87), Bowen, Magennis (Eaves 65). Substitutes: Ingram, Tafazolli, Pennington, Da Silva Lopes.
Owls: Westwood; Odubajo, Iorfa, Borner, Palmer; Reach, Hutchinson (Lee 78), Bannan, Harris (Murphy 58); Winnall (Rhodes 67), Nuhiu. Substitutes: Dawson, Fox, Luongo, Pelupessy.
Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)