Sheffield Wednesday: Two penalties, a sending off and more late drama - the story of the Owls' heartbreaking defeat at the Championship leaders

Close, but no cigar.

Sheffield Wednesday gave a classy, well-drilled West Bromwich Albion outfit a real fright in the second half at a rain-drenched Hawthorns. The bare minimum the Owls deserved was a point after a determined, spirited showing.

But another late defensive lapse in concentration cost them a draw as substitute Charlie Austin converted an 88th minute to ensure the Baggies stayed top of the Championship by two points.

The result was harsh on Wednesday, who competed well versus a strong, in-form Baggies side and were the better team after the restart.

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502 Bad Gateway

502 Bad Gateway

Yet the Owls inexcusably keep throwing away points by conceding late goals. Their poor game management has been found wanting in the recent tussles with Blackburn Rovers, Swansea City and WBA. Time and time again they make careless individual defensive mistakes, shipping in six goals in the last three outings.

A deflated and frustrated Garry Monk branded it "déjà vu" before he conducted his post-match media duties pitchside. This dramatic, painful reversal was completely avoidable and they will continue falling down the league unless they quickly address the conceding late goals issue.

Monk said: "I feel sick for the players. To come to the league leaders and play that well and get nothing. The first half was even, but in the second we were the better team.

"To create that amount of chances and not win. How we've not won that game, let alone not take any points is astounding. Everything in terms of performance is there apart from being ruthless and clinical.

A frustrated Owls Morgan Fox at the final whistle after their defeat to WBA

"It's quite an uncanny situation - probably the first time in my managerial career where the last three games have been exactly like that."

The truth is Wednesday could have taken an early lead after a bright start, but they lacked a cutting edge when it mattered most.

Steven Fletcher was inches away from sliding in at the far post and turning in Jacob Murphy's delivery, Julian Börner's snapshot was deflected wide, Barry Bannan hit the post direct from a corner and Kieran Lee was kept at bay by the agility of Sam Johnstone.

But shortly after Filip Krovinovic curled wide from the edge of the box after a clever backheel by Hal Robson-Kanu, the Baggies went ahead in the 10th minute against the run of play. Robson-Kanu raced clean through after a sublime defence-splitting pass from dangerman Matheus Pereira before steering a shot in between Keiren Westwood's legs.

Pereira's through ball exploited Julian Börner's lack of pace and Robson-Kanu brilliantly held his nerve to notch his fourth goal in six matches.

No one can dispute the character and togetherness the Owls showed after half-time. Monk's side caused WBA all sorts of problems and they restored parity just before the hour mark when leading marksman Fletcher fired home from the spot after Filip Krovinovic bundled Kieran Lee to the ground in panic after being caught in possession. Fletcher placed the ball down the centre while Johnstone dived left.

Morgan Fox hit the crossbar from a Bannan free-kick and Lee's shot was well charged down as they pushed for a second.

"In the second half, they stepped up a bit but unfortunately we made a mistake which gave them the penalty," said Baggies boss Slaven Bilic.

"After that they were physically good although we could have scored straight away with a chance, but they were winning those second balls and were much more present with a number of players in our part of the pitch, so we needed a presence from the bench."

Poor finishing came back to haunt Wednesday, though, at the end when they gifted the WBA a penalty.

Liam Palmer stopped and appealed for offside after a long ball upfield and Pereira scented blood. The Brazilian ran through and beat the onrushing Keiren Westwood to the ball, with the Republic of Ireland international fouling him. Fussy referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot and Austin coolly slotted home.

Palmer was dismissed in added on time after a reckless, late lunge on Grady Diangana to round off a thoroughly miserable afternoon.

There is no way Wednesday should have let the Baggies empty-handed after a hard-working, gutsy display. Their performance deserved more.But Monk's men were the architects of their own downfall again due to poor decision-making and indiscipline.

It would be more worrying if the Owls were not playing well and losing. It sometimes boils down to fine margins and details in the second-tier.

Yet the fact is it is now four without a win and just two victories from eight matches. That is anything but promotion form and Wednesday are in serious danger of losing touch with the play-off pack.