Ruben Neves, with one flash of quality, edged a difficult game for the Championship leaders.
It leaves Carlos Carvalhal without a win in six matches as pressure mounts on the Wednesday manager but his side deserved more for their performance here.
Wolves were aiming go seven points clear at the top after having a six match winning streak checked by a surprise goalless draw with Sunderland.
Ruben Neves’ strike from distance secured a crucial win over Sheffield Wednesday for Wolves
Neves’ first-half goal proved the difference in a nail-biter at Hillsborough on Friday night
The 1-0 victory ensured Wolves extended their lead at top of the Championship to seven points
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves side are now unbeaten in their previous eight league games
MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1)
Wildsmith; Palmer, Loovens, Van Aken, Fox; Jones, Butterfield (Joao 64); Hooper, Wallace, Reach; Rhodes (Nuhiu 64)
Subs not used: Matias, Kean, Pudil, Abdi, Venancio
Bookings: Butterfield 33
Sent off: Fox 86
Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty; Neves, Saiss; Vinagre (Batth 67), Cavaleiro (N’Diaye 90), Bonatini (Costa 72); Jota
Subs not used: Gibbs-White, Roderick, Enobakhare, Norris
Goals: Neves 34
Bookings: Jota 29; Bennett 43
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
Carvalhal, serving a touchline ban, was forced to take a back seat amid speculation on whether this might be his last match as Wednesday manager. However, owner Dejphon Chansiri has been unmoved and soundings from those closest to the club suggest this was not a definitive fixture for the head coach.
There has been strong fan pressure for a change but the Thai businessman does not take kindly to being told what to do. He also has a genuinely strong relationship with Carvalhal.
Of Championship managers, only Ipswich’s Mick McCarthy and Millwall’s Neil Harris have served longer at their current clubs. Certainly, there was no indication pre match that Chansiri would subject his manager to a one game demand to beat or even draw with the Championship leaders.
That said, fan pressure could ultimately force the issue.
Five games without a win, allied to a frustratingly cautious and predictable approach, had pushed the Owls owner into having to resist calls for his manager’s head.
Wolves man Leo Bonatini strikes an early effort as the home defence closes him down
Ivan Cavaleiro holds off the incoming challenge of Wednesday defender Morgan Fox
Under 17 World Cup winner Morgan Gibbs-White watches on from the bench at Hillsborough
Wednesday settled well and should have scored when Adam Reach volleyed wide from 12 yards. They were playing without keeper Keiren Westwood and key midfielder Barry Bannan, new additions to a long casualty list.
Then John Ruddy was forced into the game’s first save from Joost van Aken’s header.
Wolves had little patches of promise without penetrating until Wednesday failed to clear a free-kick and Neves stroked a fine 20-yard shot on the run into the bottom corner.
Wednesday were reduced to ten men when Morgan Fox received a second yellow card for bringing down Helder Costa just outside the area.
Aside from the dismissal, Wednesday dominated after the break, Romain Saiss and Leo Bonatini both came close with chances. Wolves had to defend desperately at times came away with the points.