A second-half volley from Marvin Johnson saw Wednesday pick up all three points in a hard-fought game at Fleetwood this afternoon.
It was hardly a classic amidst the wind and rain of the north-west coast but, with leaders Plymouth and second-placed Ipswich also winning, we stay firmly in touch in third spot, trailing the Tractor Boys by two points and Plymouth by four.
Below us, fourth-placed Barnsley were held at Accrington so are now nine points behind us with two games in hand.
Mark McGuinness headed over early on at Fleetwood from a Barry Bannan corner but it was the home side who took the lead on eight minutes, Shaun Rooney drilling home a low 20-yarder after slack Wednesday defending down our right-hand side.
However, we were level eight minutes later when Johnson’s wayward shot was turned home from inside the box by George Byers.
Smith then failed to connect properly with a Bannan cross from close range but it was Fleetwood who came closest to regaining the lead just before half time.
Rooney nodded against the bar and, when the ball was crossed in again, Brendan Wiredu saw his header cleared off the line by Johnson.
McGuinness again headed over from a Bannan corner after the restart before Wednesday struck the winner with 17 minutes left. Keeper Jay Lynch’s punch from another Bannan corner only found Johnson on the edge of the box and he volleyed home.
Fleetwood were then reduced to 10 men on 83 minutes, goalscorer Rooney receiving a second yellow card when Johnson went down under his challenge. There looked to be minimal contact and Rooney reacted angrily, appearing to push Owls boss Darren Moore as he left the field, before being hurried down the tunnel by some of the home side’s coaching staff.
The 10 men forced a couple of corners during seven minutes of added time but Wednesday held on to the lead, stretching our unbeaten run to 11 games and chalking up a first win in the last four.
Dawson, Mighten, Palmer, McGuinness, James, Johnson, Byers (Windass 87), Bannan (Dele-Bashiru 87), Bakinson (Vaulks 60), Gregory (Paterson 29), Smith. Unused subs: Stockdale. Hunt, Famewo.