Miguel Llera's own goal condemned Sheffield Wednesday to a 10th defeat of the season as they lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in an uninspiring npower Championship affair.
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Both sides had spurned golden opportunities but a lack of quality in the final third was the enduring theme for much of the game, before Spanish defender Llera headed past Chris Kirkland with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining.
The hosts dominated possession for long periods, but the visitors looked lively on the break and the 4,400 away fans that made the journey down the M1 had every right to feel aggrieved not to see their side collect at least a point for their endeavour.
Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll handed Jermaine Jenas his first competitive start for almost a year in place of Adlene Guedioura, while Dexter Blackstock started for the first time since September in place of Simon Cox after the Republic of Ireland striker picked up a foot injury on international duty.
Wednesday boss Dave Jones, having failed to land Sunderland striker Connor Wickham on loan during the week, made just the one change to the side that lost to Middlesbrough - with Nejc Pecnik preferred to Paul Corry.
Gary Madine had the first chance of the game for the visitors, but Lee Camp was alert to tip his 25-yard effort around the post after three minutes.
From the resulting corner the ball dropped to Jay Bothroyd in the box, but the former Cardiff striker's powerful shot was well blocked by Camp.
Forest's best opportunity of the first half came when Andy Reid played a delightful one-two with Billy Sharp on the edge of the area, but after finding himself one-on-one with Kirkland the Irish midfielder hit his shot straight at the keeper.
Wednesday grew in confidence as the half went on, with Madine latching onto Michail Antonio's long throw only for Camp to snuff out the danger. Owls captain Jose Semedo then picked out former Reading winger Antonio with a fabulous long pass, but Danny Collins did well to scramble his dangerous cross clear.
Sharp missed two glorious opportunities in as many minutes - firing wide after Blackstock laid off Greg Halford's pass on 38 minutes and sending Chris Cohen's searching cross narrowly wide with a diving header moments later.
Wednesday's clearest opening of the half came a minute before the break, Bothroyd's corner dropping kindly for Pecnik who volleyed narrowly over from eight yards.
Bothroyd missed a glorious opportunity shortly before the hour mark. Full-back Daniel Jones got past Camp on the by-line and pulled the ball back for the 30-year-old, whose shot was headed off the line by Collins.
Five minutes later substitute Henri Lansbury wastefully sent his effort over from six yards after a brilliant one-two with Blackstock had left him with only Kirkland to beat.
The game looked to be dwindling towards a goalless draw when out of nowhere Llera inexplicably nodded Cohen's cross from the right past Kirkland, after Sharp had failed to make contact.
Madine had a chance to equalise moments later but he headed Jermaine Johnson's cross wide, while at the other end Cohen's late effort went narrowly wide of the target.