First defeat on the road since October for the Reds as Sheffield Wednesday edge South Yorkshire derby.
Barnsley slipped to their first away defeat in four matches after being edged out 2-0 by Sheffield Wednesday.
A first half of few chances saw Tom Bradshaw and Lucas Joao both go close to opening the scoring, before a Joao header was unfortunately turned into his own net by Angus MacDonald.
Bradshaw headed just over the crossbar and substitute Stefan Payne’s cute flick could not find a way past Keiren Westwood 15 minutes from time.
The Owls added a second shortly after that chance when a corner fell the way of Sam Hutchinson, who fired home through a crowded penalty box to double the lead.
The match was marred by a controversy in the final moments as substitute Adam was shown a red card after reacting to a two-footed lunge from Hutchinson, which also saw Paul Heckingbottom sent to the stands after both sets of coaches clashed.
Hutchinson went unpunished for the challenge as the game threatened to boil over and the Reds were unable to grab a consolation late on.
Defeat brings an end to the Reds’ three match unbeaten run on the road, but they remain 11th in the table, six points outside the play-off places.
Josh Scowen saw an early chance to break through the Wednesday back line, but was denied by a crucial interception from Kieran Lee.
A dangerously floated in corner from Conor Hourihane almost gave Angus MacDonald a chance, only for the Owls to scramble the ball away from danger.
A teasing Hourihane delivery threatened to cause problems in the Owls defence, only for Keiren Westwood and his defence to be bailed out by an offside flag as Tom Bradshaw volleyed a powerful effort on target.
Hourihane won a free kick just outside the area after being bumped off the ball and despite the ingenious routine between the Irishman, Scowen and Ryan Kent, the ball flew wide of Westwood’s post.
Bradshaw was the first player to fire an effort on target, stabbing the ball at Westwood after being slipped in by Winnall. The stopper spread himself well in order to keep the scores goalless.
Wednesday responded well to this pressure and created a chance of their own as Lucas Joao nodded Daniel Pudil’s corner just wide with Adam Davies rooted.
Andy Yiadom fired Kent’s corner over the crossbar just past the half hour, with Barry Bannan also blazing over the crossbar from the best part of 25 yards.
Against the run of play, the Owls took the lead and there was more than a bit of good fortune in how the ball found the net.
Liam Palmer’s delivery from the right was headed towards goal by Lucas Joao, but Angus MacDonald got the final touch as the effort wrong-footed Davies and drifted past the Reds goalkeeper.
Sam Morsy was the first name into the book following a strong challenge in the middle of the park but the visitors were awarded a chance to level the scores just before half time.
Pudil cleaned out Scowen on the wing giving Hourihane a chance to deliver. Scowen flicked the delicious delivery toward goal, but just over the crossbar of Westwood.
The final action of the half saw Bannan pick up a caution for a foul, closely followed by another Scowen header that looped into the grateful arms of Westwood.
HALF TIME: Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Barnsley
Paul Heckingbottom’s side came out strongly in the second half, winning a corner which Wednesday managed to clear.
Joao was cautioned five minutes into the second half for a foul on Kent out wide. The winger swung the resultant free kick into the danger area and Bradshaw headed at the target, only for the ball to loop over the crossbar.
Barnsley continued to turn the screw in their search for an equaliser with a flowing move ending in a free kick to the visitors after Scowen was judged to have fouled Glenn Loovens.
Adam Reach flicked a header toward goal which Davies was able to gather with Bradshaw again coming close on the hour with a volley from the middle of the area.
Three minutes later and the Reds had arguably their best chance of the game as James Bree’s delivery was volleyed by Winnall into Bradshaw’s path, but the striker’s diving header has superbly kept out by Westwood with a dive to his right.
Another excellent Kent delivery was flicked toward goal with Westwood again gathering the loose ball before Tom Lees failed to hit the target from close range, after excellent defending from Bradshaw.
With little over a quarter of an hour remaining, a 14-pass Reds move almost culminated in a stunning goal as Adam Hammill drilled the ball to substitute Stefan Payne, only for the striker’s deft flick to bring a fine reaction save out of Westwood.
With 10 minutes to go, the Reds fell further behind when a corner fell the way of Sam Hutchinson, who scuffed an effort through a crowd of players and just beyond the reach of Davies.
Moments later, the game erupted as substitute Adam Hammill was shown a red card by the referee after appearing to react to a dangerous tackle from Wednesday goalscorer Sam Hutchinson.
Hutchinson appeared to jump into the Barnsley man with two feet but Hammill pushed the Wednesday man, resulting in a flare up both on the pitch and in the dugout.
Hutchinson appeared to have been shown the red card, but it was the reds substitute that headed off down the tunnel.
He was followed by Paul Heckingbottom, after both sets of coaches clashed in the technical area.
The final moments saw Wednesday sub Atdhe Nuhiu go closest with a deflected effort but the Reds were unable to grab a late consolation.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood (GK), Palmer, Loovens, Lees, Pudil, Lee, Bannan (Jones, 67’ ), Hutchinson, Joao (Wallace, 54’ ), Fletcher (Nuhiu, 78’ ), Reach.
Subs: Wildsmith, Semedo, Sasso, Hirst.
Reds: Davies (GK), Bree, MacDonald, Roberts, Yiadom, Scowen, Hourihane, Morsy (Hammill, 69’ ), Kent (Janko, 79’ ), Winnall, Bradshaw (Payne, 69’ ).
Subs: Townsend (GK), Evans, Kpekawa, Williams.