Promotion chasing Middlesbrough lead the npower Championship after defeating Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 in front of their biggest home crowd in over three years.
Justin Hoyte's magical opener was witnessed by 28,229 fans on Teesside, before a controversial equaliser from Gary Madine temporarily tethered Boro back to second place.
But Ishmael Miller and second-half substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz scored the goals to edge their side above Crystal Palace, who must wait until Saturday's game at Peterborough to try and reclaim top spot.
The hosts poured forward from the first whistle, spurred on by an unusually raucous crowd, but it was visiting defender Miguel Llera who provided an early scare, his free shot hooked away from the six-yard box following a corner.
Jay Bothroyd then drove high and wide, allowing Boro to regroup and fashion the classiest of opening goals. With 13 minutes played, Emmanuel Ledesma won possession on the halfway line, splitting the Owls defence with a fine through-ball to meet Hoyte, who stepped inside to curl the ball into the top of the net with his laces.
Almost 30,000 people then held their breath as Josh McEachran bobbed and weaved, unfeasibly beating man after man through the box only for Chris Kirkland to get a block in before the young midfielder let fly.
Wednesday ought to have equalised before the break as Llera scooped a pinpoint corner across Jason Steele's goal and harmlessly wide. That was a let off, but Boro were punished for not taking their visitors seriously enough three minutes after the break.
There was a hint of offside as Bothroyd picked out Antonio in the box, the ex-Reading man chesting the ball down for Madine to tuck it away. Mowbray remonstrated with the fourth official but the goal was given. Even Madine had looked across to the linesman for confirmation before celebrating.
There was a period of quiet reflection for Boro who seemed stunned into submission, but there was soon another almighty roar when from the north stand when Miller made it 2-1. Scott McDonald collected Ledesma's hopeful pass into the box and dutifully sent the ball bobbling towards the far corner, only for Miller to steal in and tuck it safely over the line.
Having failed to finish sides off at home over recent months, Boro needed that third goal, and they found it through substitute Jutkiewicz. The Teessiders won a regulation corner in the 76th minute, Leadbitter guiding the ball to the near post and onto the Polish striker's forehead to make the points safe.
- Sports & Recreation
- Gary Madine
- Justin Hoyte
- Ishmael Miller