Forward Stevie May claimed his first goal in Sheffield Wednesday colours as they cruised to a 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough.
The Scotland Under-21 international, a £800,000 acquisition from St Johnstone, registered and his strike partner Atdhe Nuhiu scored twice either side of half-time to seal the Owls’ first every win at the Riverside Stadium.
It is Wednesday’s second successive win on the road and stretches their unbeaten run to five matches.
The Owls made a dream start, taking the lead after six minutes through Nuhiu. The big striker forced the ball in from inside the six-yard box after Tom Lees headed on Jacques Maghoma’s corner. It was woeful defending by the hosts from the set play.
Middlesbrough almost responded immediately, with Adam Reach’s shot from an acute angle tipped around the post by Keiren Westwood, who has just been recalled back into the Republic of Ireland squad.
With 16 minutes on the clock, Liam Palmer was harshly adjudged to have brought down Adam Reach out wide and Grant Leadbitter’s free kick struck the crossbar.
Palmer then had a penalty appeal turned down following a challenge by Kenneth Omeruo, on a season long loan deal from Chelsea, but Premier League official Phil Dowd wasn’t interested.
Wednesday continued to ask questions of Boro’s defence as Coke drilled a 20-yard shot well wide after being fed by Maghoma.
Midway through the half, Stuart Gray’s side almost doubled their advantage after a lovely counter attack involving Maghoma and Nuhiu. The ball dropped to May, whose low left foot effort was tipped on to the post by Tomas Mejias.
Chris Maguire became the first player to go in the referee’s notebook in the 36th minute after a late challenge on Reach.
Kike, seeking his fourth goal in five outings, was denied by Westwood after a quickly taken free kick from Damia but it would not have counted as the Spanish forward was ruled to be standing in an off side position.
While Middlesbrough’s passing was slow and predictable for much of the first half, with Kike far too isolated up front.
Wednesday claimed their second of the afternoon four minutes before the interval. Nuhiu headed Chris Maguire’s free kick into the path of May, who delicately lifted the ball over Meijas.
Boro were booed at half-time and their poor showing prompted head coach Aitor Karanka to take off Damia and hand Adam Clayton his home debut.
Middlesbrough briefly improved as Kike tried his luck from distance after Coke dallied in possession but his right foot drive went straight at Westwood.
But Nuhiu heaped further misery on Boro by making it three nil in the 56th minute, glancing in Maghoma’s inviting free kick.
There were more jeers from the home fans after the hour mark as another pass drifted aimlessly out of play.
Boro came close to pulling a goal back courtesy of Kike but his shot was superbly tipped around the post by Westwood.
Ultimately, Karanka’s men did reduce the deficit in the 71st minute after Loovens upended Kike. Dowd pointed to the spot and Leadbitter made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Westwood the wrong way.
But could Wednesday nearly restored their three goal cushion when Coke headed May’s great centre on to the right hand upright, with Madine’s follow up strike pushed out for a corner by Mejias.
By piling men forward, Middlesbrough left themselves vulnerable at the back and substitute Gary Madine blazed over following another incisive counter attack.
Boro reduced the deficit in added on time when Leadbitter slotted in another penalty after Loovens was adjudged to have handled his goalbound shot. But Wednesday hung on to end their Riverside hoodoo.
Middlesbrough have made three alterations from the side who triumphed at Bolton Wanderers in midweek. In come Daniel Ayala, Adam Reach and Dean Whitehead, out go Seb Hines, Adam Clayton and Emilio Nsue.
Middlesbrough: Mejias; Damia, Ayala, Omeruo, Friend; Reach, Leadbitter, Whitehead, Adomah; Tomlin, Kike. Substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Hines, Husband, Clayton, Nsue, Williams, Fewster.
Wednesday: Westwood; Palmer, Lees, Loovens, Mattock; Maguire, Coke, Semedo, Maghoma; May, Nuhiu. Substitutes: Kirkland; McCabe, Helan, Zayatte, Corry, Floro, Madine.