A solitary Connor Wickham strike in the second half was enough to hand Leicester City a disappointing defeat to a tough Sheffield Wednesday side at King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
David Nugent and Ritchie De Laet both went close for The Foxes in a tight first half, but the visitors made it difficult and snatched the only goal of the game through substitute Wickham in the 70th minute.
The on-loan Sunderland striker hit a powerful half-volley at the far post from Michail Antonio's flick-on after a Lewis Buxton cross to make it 1-0, and despite Andy King hitting the post with a header ten minutes from time, City were unable to grab a late goal as they did against Leeds in midweek.
Midfielder King made his 200th start for the Club, but with Paul Konchesky missing through a hamstring injury, youngster Jeff Schlupp made his first Leicester City appearance since November 2012 at left back, having spent time training with Manchester United.
The only other change for Nigel Pearson’s Foxes was a like for like swap of Ben Marshall for Anthony Knockaert on the right wing, meaning Harry Kane continued his wide midfield role behind a front two of Chris Wood and Nugent as City looked to build momentum going into Tuesday night’s tie at Cardiff City.
Sheffield Wednesday meanwhile made two changes to the side that lost narrowly to Watford last time out, with Reda Johnson and danger man Leroy Lita coming in for Giles Coke and Wickham.
It was a disjointed opening few minutes to the game, with both sides struggling to get the ball down and play, but City eventually showed their quality when Schlupp burst forward down the left and played in Kane. The striker was then bundled to the floor by David Prutton but referee Kevin Wright waved away penalty appeals.
Moments later in the fifth minute Nugent found space on the right and unleashed a rising drive that Wednesday’s former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland did well to tip over for a corner.
The pressure mounted on the visitors with two excellent left footed deliveries from former Owl Marshall, the second glanced inches over the bar by Tuesday’s goal scoring hero Michael Keane.
Lita then headed over in a good position at the far post from Antonio’s cross, while Nugent picked up a 17th minute booking for a pull Owls’ full back Lewis Buxton.
But as the game drifted past the half hour mark there was frustration for The Foxes, who although quite comfortable in the match, were finding it difficult to break down a stubborn and physical Wednesday side.
De Laet almost managed it though, when a clever ball inside from Nugent found his run and Kirkland was forced to make a sprawling save at the Belgian’s feet.
A lively crowd urged City forward, and they almost took the lead five minutes before the break when De Laet got the better of Reda Johnson on the right, came inside and fired a ferocious effort at goal which Kirkland somehow parried away to safety in the last meaningful effort of the half.
The second half took its time to get going, but in the 53rd minute it came to life and the chance fell to Kane.
Great work from Marshall on the right opened up space for a cross, which he duly delivered onto the forehead of the on-loan Spurs striker Kane. Unfortunately to The Foxes, the youngster couldn’t keep it down and watched it go just inches over the bar.
Minutes later The Owls very nearly punished City with an effective counter that put Antonio in on goal, but Kasper Schmeichel was at his brilliant best to make a save one-on-one before holding onto the follow-up.
Wednesday defender Buxton then found his way into the book for a trip on Kane as the away side brought on Wickham for Johnson in an attacking move by manager Dave Jones.
Pearson responded by introducing Knockaert for Kane just minutes later, meaning Marshall switched to the left, allowing to Frenchman to attack from the right flank.
An excellent passage of play then followed – Knockaert’s trickery making space for Wes Morgan to pick out Chris Wood at the far post, but Marshall drove a difficult effort over the bar from the striker’s knock-down.
With 20 minutes left, the visitors struck a blow to City with a well taken goal from substitute Wickham to give them a 1-0 lead.
Buxton swung in a ball from the right that was flicked on by Antonio at the near post for Wickham to half-volley into the net from 12 yards out at the back stick. Schmeichel did get a hand to it, but the shot was struck with too much power for the Danish international.
Marshall then made way for Paul Gallagher in the 74th minute as City attempted to rescue something from what was becoming a frustrating afternoon.
City’s best chance to level soon came around 10 minutes from time, but to the frustration of The Foxes, King’s header from Knockaert’s corner at he near post struck the upright.
With five minutes left Jeremy Helan went into the book for a late challenge on De Laet, forcing him to be replaced by Sean St. Ledger and be stretchered off.
Morgan switched to centre forward in the closing stages as Pearson's men gave it their all in five minutes of stoppage time, roared on by a vocal support, and almost grabbed the goal they craved right at the death.
A long ball upfield was nodded on by Morgan into the path of an incoming Wood, who managed to get something on it only to see Kirkland gratefully save and with it secure his team all three points to cap off a frustrating afternoon for The Foxes.
City (4-4-2): Schmeichel, De Laet (St. Ledger 86), Schlupp, Drinkwater, Morgan (c), King, Keane, Marshall (Gallagher 74), Nugent, Kane (Knockaert 61), Wood
Unused subs: Whitbread, Vardy, Logan, Waghorn, Wellens
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Kirkland, Buxton, Helan, Gardner (c), Llera, Pugh, Lita (Semedo 79), Antonio, Johnson (Wickham 59), Prutton, Lee
Unused subs: Bywater, Taylor, McCabe, Johnson, Madine
Goal: Wickham 70
Referee: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire)