Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday went into the game separated by just one place and three points in the league table but with the Owls having won both of their games over the festive period while the Reds were suffering defeats against Middlesbrough and Birmingham, followed up by an FA Cup defeat against Rochdale.
Stuart Pearce's response to that, within the constraints of the transfer embargo placed upon the club, has been the loan signings of Todd Kane and Gary Gardner and defender Kane was named in the starting XI after his move from Chelsea while Aston Villa midfielder Gardner was on the substitute's bench.
Both sides traded attacks in a lively first-half and, just as it looked as though the break would come with the scoreline goalless, it was the visitors' who struck on the stroke of half-time through Kieran Lee.
Gardner entered the fray, on for Chris Burke, but Chris Maguire doubled Wednesday's advantage on 50 minutes as the Owls threatened to run away with the game, a situation not helped by an injury to Britt Assombalonga which forced him off to be replaced by Lars Veldwijk.
Jamie Paterson was Pearce's last throw of the dice but the hosts remained restricted to half chances and their manager is now left to see whether he will be in charge against Forest's great rivals Derby next weekend.