First-half goals from Steve Howard and Leroy Lita gave Sheffield Wednesday a win against Middlesbrough as the Owls made sure of Championship survival.

The hosts could have been relegated if they had not won and other results went against them on a dramatic final day.

But Howard gave Wednesday an early lead, firing a shot which went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Middlesbrough, without an away win in 2013, conceded a second when Leroy Lita headed in from Lewis Buxton's corner.

Wednesday end their season 18th in the table - four points above the drop zone - with this victory, their first in five games, coming in front of a crowd of 31,375 at Hillsborough.

They went ahead in the ninth minute when Howard scored his first goal for the club since joining on loan from Hartlepool.

The big striker ran on to an incisive low ball from Seyi Olofinjana and powered an effort past Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele.

Curtis Main was Boro's only threat and he dragged an attempt across goal after he had twisted to create space for the opening.

However, Wednesday doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark as Buxton's inswinging corner was glanced home by Lita in a packed six-yard box.

Boro offered more after the break and Christian Burgess headed narrowly over from Grant Leadbitter's corner, although the result never looked in doubt.

Wednesday fans ran on to the pitch at the end of the match as they celebrated maintaining their Championship status, while Peterborough filled the final relegation place after losing 3-2 at Crystal Palace.

Middlesbrough had been in the play-off places at the start of 2013, but only won three of their last 21 league matches to end the season 16th, one point and two places above their opponents.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones:

"This is a far bigger achievement than last year. Nobody will ever sway me on that because this has been a tough year for this football club.

"Everything was in jeopardy as if the club gets relegated it affects everybody, not just the players - the supporters, the whole staff.

"So I made sure the players knew about that today. Their responsibility is to keep this club in this division."

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray:

"We could have gone top on New Year's Day if we'd beaten Derby.

"So for 27 games we were as good as anybody in this league, for the rest we have struggled. We've won three of them so it should be no surprise to us we didn't get a victory today, we have to get stronger I think.

"Ultimately the squad has to be stronger and deeper to try and sustain it.

"And hopefully you keep your best 11, 12 or 13 players fit for most of the season but we've fallen away, we can't hide that fact, it is what it is."

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (6)

Sheffield Wed

  • 01 Kirkland
  • 02 Buxton
  • 04 Gardner
  • 19 Pugh
  • 32 Llera
  • 11 J Johnson (Lee - 46' )
  • 15 Helan
  • 23 Olofinjana (Semedo - 56' )
  • 25 Prutton
  • 24 Lita (Maguire - 85' )
  • 29 Howard

Substitutes

  • 43 Bywater
  • 03 R Johnson
  • 05 Taylor
  • 06 Semedo
  • 20 Lee
  • 09 Madine
  • 10 Maguire

Middlesbrough

  • 01 Steele
  • 02 Hoyte
  • 03 Bikey Booked
  • 14 Williams
  • 18 Halliday (Reach - 66' )
  • 07 Leadbitter
  • 19 Carayol (Morris - 66' )
  • 33 Smallwood (Gibson - 55' )
  • 35 Burgess
  • 23 Main
  • 27 McDonald

Substitutes

  • 32 Leutwiler
  • 25 Reach
  • 40 Gibson
  • 29 Morris
  • 38 Haroun
  • 11 Ledesma
  • 22 Williams
Ref: Haines
Att: 31,375

Match Stats

Shots

9 3

On target

4 1

Corners

5 2

Fouls

14 10

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:12 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +2:38

The ball is crossed by Adam Reach, David Prutton manages to make a clearance.

90:00 +1:39

Lewis Buxton concedes a free kick for a foul on Curtis Main. Ben Gibson takes the direct free kick.

89:08

Foul by Kieran Lee on Rhys Williams, free kick awarded. Rhys Williams takes the free kick.

84:08 Substitution

Substitution Chris Maguire replaces Leroy Lita.

77:22

Foul by Jose Semedo on Curtis Main, free kick awarded. Andre Bikey takes the direct free kick.

75:42

Rhys Williams gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Prutton. Free kick taken by Lewis Buxton.

74:37

Foul by David Prutton on Rhys Williams, free kick awarded. Bryn Morris takes the direct free kick.

72:16

Foul by Steve Howard on Andre Bikey, free kick awarded. Grant Leadbitter takes the direct free kick.

71:36

The assistant referee flags for offside against Scott McDonald. Indirect free kick taken by Chris Kirkland.

71:15

The ball is swung over by Scott McDonald.

70:23

Leroy Lita is caught offside. Jason Steele takes the free kick.

69:29

Lewis Buxton takes the free kick.

69:29 Booking

Booking Andre Bikey receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.

69:22

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jose Semedo by Andre Bikey.

66:15

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Grant Leadbitter, Anthony Gardner makes a clearance.

65:44 Substitution

Substitution Adam Reach comes on in place of Andrew Halliday.

65:44 Substitution

Substitution (Middlesbrough) makes a substitution, with Bryn Morris coming on for Mustapha Carayol.

65:06

Grant Leadbitter takes a shot. Chris Kirkland makes a save.

64:17

Miguel Llera gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Curtis Main. Free kick taken by Grant Leadbitter.

62:43

Jose Semedo challenges Andre Bikey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Andre Bikey takes the free kick.

60:49

Free kick awarded for a foul by Andre Bikey on Kieran Lee. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Danny Pugh from right wing.

59:35

Steve Howard concedes a free kick for a foul on Christian Burgess. Andre Bikey restarts play with the free kick.

58:04

Grant Leadbitter takes the outswinging corner, Mustapha Carayol produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.

54:05

Free kick taken by Andre Bikey.

54:05 Substitution

Substitution Jose Semedo joins the action as a substitute, replacing Seyi Olofinjana.

54:05 Substitution

Substitution (Middlesbrough) makes a substitution, with Ben Gibson coming on for Richard Smallwood.

54:05

David Prutton concedes a free kick for a foul on Grant Leadbitter.

50:30

Unfair challenge on Lewis Buxton by Curtis Main results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Chris Kirkland.

46:52

Leroy Lita takes a shot. Jason Steele makes a comfortable save.

45:41

Grant Leadbitter takes a shot. Save by Chris Kirkland.

45:01

The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Kieran Lee on for Jermaine Johnson.

45:00 +2:25 Half time

Half Time It is the end of the first-half.

44:43

Danny Pugh fouled by Scott McDonald, the ref awards a free kick. Lewis Buxton takes the direct free kick.

43:33

David Prutton fouled by Richard Smallwood, the ref awards a free kick. Lewis Buxton takes the free kick.

41:25

Unfair challenge on Jermaine Johnson by Richard Smallwood results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Danny Pugh, free kick awarded for a foul by Anthony Gardner on Jason Steele. Jason Steele takes the direct free kick.

35:36

Shot by Danny Pugh from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.

33:35

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Lewis Buxton.

33:10

Steve Howard takes a shot. Clearance by Christian Burgess.

30:30

Assist on the goal came from Lewis Buxton.

30:30 Goal scored

Goal! - Leroy Lita - Sheff Wed 2 - 0 Middlesbro Leroy Lita grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Sheff Wed 2-0 Middlesbrough.

29:56

Corner taken by Lewis Buxton from the left by-line to the near post,

28:46

Effort from outside the area by Seyi Olofinjana goes wide right of the goal.

27:58

Effort from outside the penalty box by Jermaine Johnson goes wide right of the target.

27:38

Centre by Jermaine Johnson.

26:41

Grant Leadbitter challenges Seyi Olofinjana unfairly and gives away a free kick. Chris Kirkland restarts play with the free kick.

25:22

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jermaine Johnson by Andrew Halliday. Chris Kirkland takes the free kick.

23:23

A cross is delivered by Curtis Main.

22:13

Leroy Lita fouled by Christian Burgess, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Danny Pugh.

21:05

Rhys Williams fouled by Seyi Olofinjana, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Grant Leadbitter, Lewis Buxton manages to make a clearance.

20:22

Handball decision goes against Steve Howard. Indirect free kick taken by Richard Smallwood.

19:11

Corner from the left by-line taken by Lewis Buxton, Anthony Gardner concedes a free kick for a foul on Andre Bikey. Free kick taken by Jason Steele.

18:43

Inswinging corner taken by Danny Pugh, Jason Steele makes a save.

15:19

The referee blows for offside. Chris Kirkland restarts play with the free kick.

8:25

David Prutton provided the assist for the goal.

8:25 Goal scored

Goal! - Steve Howard - Sheff Wed 1 - 0 Middlesbro A goal is scored by Steve Howard from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Sheff Wed 1-0 Middlesbrough.

7:34

Unfair challenge on Rhys Williams by Jermaine Johnson results in a free kick. Grant Leadbitter restarts play with the free kick.

6:59

Seyi Olofinjana challenges Rhys Williams unfairly and gives away a free kick. Richard Smallwood takes the free kick.

4:49

Seyi Olofinjana produces a right-footed shot from close in that goes over the bar.

4:29

Corner taken right-footed by Lewis Buxton.

3:57

Jeremy Helan delivers the ball, clearance made by Andre Bikey.

2:14

The referee blows for offside against Leroy Lita. Jason Steele restarts play with the free kick.

0:36

Shot from just outside the box by Jermaine Johnson misses to the right of the goal.

0:00

The referee gets the match started.

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