Sheffield Wednesday's midweek win brought back something Owls have been missing - Alan Biggs
Two great late goals, three big points, the removal of a shameful stat … and yet something even more precious from the midweek win over MK Dons.
Belief, a shared sense of conviction between Sheffield Wednesday’s manager and players and the Hillsborough crowd.
It’s been lacking. On Tuesday it was back. Darren Moore and his team took their fans with them in finally winning from behind for the first time in nearly two years.
But without the result to crown the performance, the faith that things were coming right would have been a hard sell.
At 0-1, I had my tweeting finger ready to say that the Owls had played well and been unlucky, knowing it would be met with derision by a section of support.
Such an outcome would also have stirred up those - a minority, I believe - with a sacking agenda against the manager.
To an extent, it’s been understandable. Even allowing for injuries, to this point Wednesday have under-performed with the squad at their disposal.
So the greatest importance of Tuesday’s 2-1 victory was that it brought everybody together under the same banner, singing from a communal hymn sheet.
Everyone could acknowledge that if Wednesday kept playing like that, automatic promotion is a realistic target and not merely the play-offs.
Forget the haphazard and strange 3-0 against Sunderland. This, and the unfortunate 1-1 with Gillingham plus the 3-2 win at Accrington, set a standard that will succeed if it is maintained.
Tuesday was certainly the most complete display I’ve seen, albeit lacking a clinical edge until Lee Gregory and substitute Josh Windass provided it.
Windass and Massimo Luongo, boldly and decisively introduced by Moore early in the second half, showed they can be big players after their joint recovery from injury.
With latest signing Nathaniel Mendez-Laing likely to enter the fray against Wycombe on Saturday - in another match in which the Owls can tug on a rival team - they are in prime position to target the top two.
Having so many good attacking players justifies Moore’s belated switch to a more attacking approach.
But a word also about the back three of Chey Dunkley, Liam Palmer and impressive youngster Ciaran Brennan. I thought all three were superb in keeping the back door closed on a free-scoring MK Dons who only broke through with a wonder strike from Scott Twine.
Wednesday’s defiant response justifies optimism for what lies ahead.