Chesterfield 1-0 Wednesday
The B2net Stadium, Chesterfield
18/2/12 - 1pm
Wednesday's woes worsened on their first-ever visit to the B2net Stadium as Dean Morgan's late penalty gave Chesterfield all three points and saw the Owls slump to their fourth straight defeat.
Gary Megson's men carved out more chances in front of goal but the Spireites were arguably worthy of their win thanks to their second-half performance.
Defeat, coupled with a win for Sheffield United, leaves Wednesday five points adrift of their bitter rivals, and an automatic promotion place, having played two games more.
And the Owls' current poor form comes worryingly just a week before the crucial Steel City derby clash against United at Hillsborough.
Megson tried to arrest the slide in performances and results by making two changes to the side that lost 1-0 against Stevenage at Hillsborough in midweek. Reda Johnson returned from suspension to slot in at left-back while Ryan Lowe replaced Gary Madine, who dropped to the bench.
The match was played in an electric atmosphere and was a good warm-up for next week's big one. Wednesday were favourites going into the clash but Chesterfield fancied their chances.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start, pouring pressure on the Spireites goal, and Lowe almost repaid Megson's faith in handing him a start when he got his head to a Reda Johnson cross only to see his effort sail over the crossbar.
Johnson then turned from provider to possible scorer when he got on the end of a neat ball from Chris Lines, but home goalkeeper Tommy Lee was equal to his effort.
Wednesday were playing well but they couldn't get a goal for their rewards.
And the hosts looked to take advantage of the Owls' failure to convert their chances just before the half-hour mark when Liam Ridehalgh's long-range effort forced Owls stopper Stephen Bywater into a superb save.
Chris O'Grady was doing the hard yards and it was Lowe who looked the man most likely to open the scoring for the visitors. The former Bury man looked lively in attack and had claims for a penalty waved away before shooting just wide at the first half came to a close.
The only blow of an otherwise good first half for Wednesday was the loss of Jermaine Johnson through injury midway through, John Bostock coming on in his place.
Half-Time: Chesterfield 0-0 Wednesday
It'll have no doubt been a team-talk of 'more of the same' at half-time for the Owls but both sides were relatively sluggish out of the blocks at the start of the second half, with chances being at a premium.
It prompted Megson to bring on Madine for O'Grady ten minutes in but Chesterfield carved out the best chance following the interval when former Owl Drew Talbot forced Bywater into another good stop.
John Sheridan's men were starting to enjoy more of the ball and looked a bigger threat in attack following the resumption, while Wednesday couldn't repeat their spells of dominance from the first half.
Clinton Morrison was added to the Owls' attack in place of Lines after the hour mark, and the experienced frontman almost made an instant impact but
saw his shot blocked by a crowd of Spireites defenders.
The game opened up somewhat as the minutes ticked away and Morgan saw a shot blocked by Danny Batth at one end before Madine then fired a powerful effort over the bar.
The decisive goal came with 13 minutes to go when Bostock felled Nicky Ajose in the box, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot.
Up stepped Morgan to slot the ball beyond Bywater from 12 yards and score what turned out to be the winner.
Wednesday huffed and puffed with some desperate football in the last ten minutes to get back on level terms but the ball just wouldn't find its way into the back of the net.
Skipper Rob Jones saw his header cleared off the line just minutes after Morgan's goal while numerous goalmouth scrambles were dealt with in one way or another by the Chesterfield defence.
Full-Time: Chesterfield 1-0 Wednesday
Chesterfield: Lee, Ford, Trotman, Thompson (Morgan 45), Robertson, Ridehalgh, Davis, Allott, Talbot, Ajose, Lester (Westcarr 85). Substitutes: Flemming, Bowery, Whitaker.
Wednesday: Bywater, Buxton, Batth, Jones (C), R Johnson, Prutton, Lines (Morrison 66), Semedo, J Johnson (Bostock 25), Lowe, O'Grady (Madine 54). Substitutes: Weaver, Llera.