Goals from Ross Wallace and Kieran Lee ensured Sheffield Wednesday will carry a two goal lead into the play-off semi-final second leg with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Wallace and Lee struck either side of the break to give Wednesday a deserved first leg win over a Brighton outfit who finished the game with ten men.
Four injuries - three of which came before the 50 minute mark - forced Brighton players from the field and saw them play more than half an hour a man down.
It allowed a dominant Wednesday side to turn the screw, though the met a bright yellow brick wall in their attempts to widen their advantage before Monday’s trip to the South Coast.
The margin could have been greater but for the controversial chalking off of a Fernando Forestieri strike which looked to have given the Owls the lead.
Wednesday were happy to bide their time for openings in the early stages, playing the ball around the back.
But it was the visitors who found the first real opportunity.
Sam Baldock’s shot from 15 yards deflected wide off Glenn Loovens and Tomer Hemed hit the foot of the post with a header from the subsequent corner.
Ross Wallace drew a fine save from David Stockdale with a low drive from the edge of the box.
Wednesday looked to have taken the lead when Forestieri was released by Hooper and cracked home low past Stockdale. But, belatedly and with some encouragement from several Brighton players, the assistant flagged for offside, apparently against Forestieri from a long Keiren Westwood clearance.
The decision deflated what had been a raucous home crowd, packing four sides of Hillsborough. And it took some of the pace out of the game.
Brighton suffered injury blows at both ends of the pitch with Hemed and Connor Goldson forced off five minutes from the break.
And the Owls ensured it got even worse for the visitors as the half entered time added on.
Wallace cut inside from the right and smashed a superb strike into the far bottom corner from close to 30 yards.
Early in the second half, Daniel Pudil fired a zipping shot just wide from the edge of the box.
Brighton were then forced into their final substitution with less than 50 minutes on the clock when Steve Sidwell was forced off.
But their biggest blow was to come when Anthony Knockaert pulled up injured and the Seagulls were forced to play on with ten men with more than half an hour left.
Jiri Skalak clipped a free kick narrowly over for the visitors after Glenn Loovens had sold Daniel Pudil short with a back pass.
But Wednesday would get their second. A superb through ball from Forestieri allowed Lee to shake off his marker and clip a shot beyond Stockdale.
The Owls had a big shout for a penalty when substitute Marco Matias looked to have been clipped close to the byline.
Brighton struggled to get out of their own half but Skalak volleyed over from the corner of the box after a long ball forward.
Wednesday pushed deep into injury time but could not find a third.
Yet they will be content with a two goal advantage heading to a ground where they battled out a goalless draw earlier in the season.
Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Pudil, Wallace (Matias 67), Lee, Lopez (Nuhiu 63), Bannan, Forestieri, Hooper (Joao 83). Subs: Wildsmith, Sasso, Hutchinson, Helan.
Brighton: Stockdale, Bruno, Goldson (Rosenior 40), Greer, Bong, Sidwell (Towell 50), Kayal, Skalak, Knockaert, Baldock, Hemed (Wilson 39). Subs: Maenpaa, Calderon, Murphy, LuaLua.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)