West Bromwich Albion 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1 - More late woe for Garry Monk's side as Charlie Austin's penalty extends their winless streak to four
Sheffield Wednesday's winless run stretched to four matches after a heartbreaking defeat to Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns this afternoon.
Substitute Charlie Austin's late penalty denied Garry Monk's spirited side after Steven Fletcher's 58th minute spot-kick had cancelled out Hal Robson-Kanu's first half opener.
The defeat was harsh on Wednesday, who battled hard and created a number of opportunities after the break.
But Monk's team conceded late for the fourth match running to slip to ninth in the standings.
To round off a frustrating afternoon, Liam Palmer saw red in the dying minutes.
It was Wednesday who created the first chance of note after former WBA loanee Jacob Murphy caught Ahmed Hegazi, one of two changes made by the hosts, napping and the winger fizzed in a low left foot cross which narrowly evaded Steven Fletcher in the centre.
Playing with plenty of confidence and self belief, the visitors continued their strong start. A superb solo run from Kadeem Harris threatened to unlock the Baggies defence and the winger's fierce drive was headed behind.
The Owls won a number of corners in the early stages and Julian Börner, recalled to the side after missing the Swansea City draw through illness, flashed an effort narrowly wide before skipper Barry Bannan struck the post with a delivery to the near post.
Kieran Lee, making his 200th appearance for the club, was also foiled by Sam Johnstone after another promising move.
But WBA opened the scoring against the run of play in the 10th minute. Matheus Pereira threaded a glorious pass in behind Wednesday's rearguard into the path of Robson-Kanu, who calmly slid the ball through Keiren Westwood's legs.
It took a while for Wednesday to regroup after falling behind as the Baggies dominated possession.
Lee was cautioned after pulling down Filip Krovinovic and Sam Hutchinson, fit-again following a calf problem, later joined him in the book after a mistimed challenge on Grady Diangana to compound the Owls' frustration.
In a stop-start encounter at a rain-lashed Hawthorns, Monk's men demonstrated their fighting spirit after the break.
WBA looked far from convincing at the back, with Hegazi coming to Sam Johnstone's rescue after he spilled a Murphy centre.
But the Owls' persistence paid off just before the hour mark when Fletcher levelled things from the penalty spot after Lee was hauled down by Filip Krovinovic after the Croatian dwelled on the ball for far too long. The strike ended Fletcher's six-match goal drought.
The equaliser prompted Monk to tinker with his attacking options as he threw on Adam Reach for Harris, who was yellow carded for taking a long walk off the wrong side of the pitch.
Fletcher's spot-kick opened the contest up and Robson-Kanu came agonisingly close to bagging a second, firing just wide at the near post after a superb Darnell Furlong cross.
There was plenty of grit, spirit and quality about Wednesday's second half showing.
And Morgan Fox nearly scored for the second match running, his volley from Bannan's free-kick striking the crossbar.
Moments later, Lee saw his low drive brilliantly blocked by the WBA defence following excellent closing down by Reach deep inside WBA's half.
Yet they did have things all their own way as Robson-Kanu just failed to connect with Matt Phillips' peach of a cross.
Both teams made changes in the closing stages, with Monk introducing Massimo Luongo at the expense of Lee to add extra energy to the midfield.
Luongo almost made an instant impact but Johnstone was equal to his right foot attempt from long range.
In a breathless finale, Austin headed against the post from a Diangana centre as it looked like the Baggies would have to settle for a point.
But there was to be a late twist in the tale when fussy referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot in the 88th minute after Westwood was adjudged to have fouled the lively Pereira. Austin took the resulting penalty and he made no mistake from 12 yards.
Palmer was then given his marching orders after a late, reckless tackle on Diangana to round of a miserable afternoon for Wednesday.
WBA: Johnstone; Furlong, Hegazi (Barry 74), Bartley, Townsend; Ajayi, Krovinovic (Brunt 80), Pereira, Phillips, Diangana, Robson-Kanu (Austin 75). Substitutes: Bond, Gibbs, Edwards, Zohore.
Owls: Westwood; Palmer, Iorfa, Börner, Fox; Hutchinson, Lee (Luongo 70), Bannan; Murphy, Harris, Fletcher. Substitutes: Dawson, Odubajo, Lees, Nuhiu, Forestieri.
Attendance: 25,566 (1,982)
Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)