Rotherham extended their lead at the top of League One to nine points with an unlikely win over a dominant Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Jack Hunt stroked the ball into the net for Wednesday after 33 minutes after a thrilling run down the left from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, but the defender was flagged offside.
The Millers had been outplayed but went ahead on the hour with their first attempt on target when Ben Wiles headed a corner goalwards and Freddie Ladapo turned the ball in from close range with this thigh.
The Owls continued to dictate the play, but Michael Smith stroked a first-time finish into the top corner late on to seal the points.
Rotherham went into the match with five straight league clean sheets, yet had goalkeeper Josh Miller to thank for preserving that record, twice denying the lively Mendez-Laing.
Barry Bannan also curled a first-time strike inches wide and Sam Hutchinson looped a header over from close range, while the below-par leaders did not muster much themselves.
But Rotherham hung in and Ladapo, who also scored the winner last season at Hillsborough, landed a classic sucker-punch, albeit from a corner awarded after goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell had looked to have kept the ball in play.
The Owls continued to boss the match and carved out a glut of chances, with Mendez-Laing dragging a shot straight at Vickers when through one-on-one, while the goalkeeper also did well to parry Bannan’s drilled free-kick to safety.
However, Rotherham’s 20th set-piece goal of the season silenced Hillsborough, Michael Ihiekwe touching an in-swinging free-kick to tee up Smith for his 21st goal of the season and 50th league goal for the Millers.
Wednesday remain eighth, a point outside the play-off places, after their first home defeat since 2 October, while a sixth straight league win sends Rotherham nine points clear of Wigan, who have three games in hand.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore told BBC Radio Sheffield:
“We can’t be too dismissive with the performance, it was a good one and we had some good chances.
“If there’s a small critique of the group, it’s just about converting those chances and being real ‘eye of the tiger’ in terms of our execution of them.
“We’ve gone up against one of the meanest defenses in the country and created some wonderful chances against them in both halves.
“That’s why we’ve got to regroup quickly and go again on Wednesday night. I’ve got no complaints with the players, I feel really proud of their performance, just disappointed with the result.
“It’s a hard one to take as their first goal is a debate if it even went out for a corner and it’s not conclusive when you looks at the replays.”
Rotherham manager Paul Warne told BBC Radio Sheffield:
“We weren’t at our best and Wednesday, a team in form and strong at home, just had too much for us. We had to change it at half-time and say a few home truths.
“But we got a good goal off a set piece and some dogged defending and rode our luck on a few occasions and overall, I don’t think the best team won.
“I’m not complaining, we found a way to win and kept a clean sheet and put our bodies on the line. I’m not buzzing, but I’m pleased we won.
“We’re normally a lot more aggressive and play higher up the pitch than that so I just asked them to play with a bit more character and belief.
“We marshalled the game a lot better in the second half and got higher up and Freddie (Ladapo) deserved his goal and made himself a real handful.”
- 5HutchinsonBooked at 72mins
- 32huntSubstituted forsowat 78′minutes
- 14ByersBooked at 64mins
- 41Mendez-LaingSubstituted forKamberiat 83′minutes
- 3. 4Brennan
- 16LindsaySubstituted forRathboneat Four. Five’minutes
- 17FergusonSubstituted forOsei-Tutuat 79′minutes
- 10LadapoSubstituted forMattockat 87′minutes
- Darren Drysdale
Match ends, Sheffield Wednesday 0, Rotherham United 2.
Second Half ends, Sheffield Wednesday 0, Rotherham United 2.
Attempt missed. Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Michael Smith.
Massimo Luongo (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Oliver Rathbone (Rotherham United).
Corner, Rotherham United. Grant by Jordan Storey.
Substitution, Rotherham United. Joe Mattock replaces Freddie Ladapo.
Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Freddie Ladapo (Rotherham United).
Goal! Sheffield Wednesday 0, Rotherham United 2. Michael Smith (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the center of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Michael Ihiekwe following a set piece situation.
Foul by Massimo Luongo (Sheffield Wednesday).
Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Sheffield Wednesday. Florian Kamberi replaces Nathaniel Mendez-Laing because of an injury.
Attempt blocked. Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sylla Sow.
Attempt blocked. Marvin Johnson (Sheffield Wednesday) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Substitution, Rotherham United. Jordi Osei-Tutu replaces Shane Ferguson.
Foul by Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday).
Daniel Barlaser (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Sheffield Wednesday. Sylla Sow replaces Jack Hunt.
Foul by Callum Paterson (Sheffield Wednesday).