West Bromwich Albion moved a point behind Championship leaders Leeds United after a comfortable victory at Sheffield Wednesday.
Charlie Austin’s penalty eight minutes before the break set the Baggies on the way to their first win in five games, which lifted Slaven Bilic’s side five points clear of third-placed Brentford.
Matheus Pereira glanced in Kieran Gibbs’ cross to double the visitors’ lead just before the hour mark.
Owls winger Kadeem Harris hit the post with a curling shot from 25 yards out soon afterwards, but Pereira smashed in a third from a narrow angle late on as Wednesday suffered a first defeat in three games.
The win was a timely one for West Brom, who headed into the game at Hillsborough having taken just one point from their two games since the season restarted on Saturday, 20 June.
With Brentford and fourth-placed Nottingham Forest both in form following the resumption, the Baggies were under pressure to get their automatic promotion bid back on track.
Wednesday started the brighter and were sharp in possession, yet did not make the most of their set-piece opportunities in the first half – with Connor Wickham heading into the side-netting from a corner.
Having gone four games without scoring, the visitors were given the perfect opportunity to end their struggles in front of goal when Moses Odubajo dragged Dara O’Shea down from Pereira’s free-kick.
Austin sent Owls keeper Joe Wildsmith the wrong way and slotted into the bottom right-hand corner to end West Brom’s 441-minute goal drought and notch his 10th goal of the season in all competitions.
The second goal came from a team move, with slick passing and good hold-up play from Callum Robinson setting up a crossing opportunity for left-back Gibbs, who found an unmarked Pereira eight yards out.
Wildsmith did well to deny Kamil Grosicki from close range after a defensive slip allowed the Poland international a sight at goal, but he could do little about Pereira’s strike with five minutes left.
The hosts rarely troubled Albion keeper Sam Johnstone, although he was called into action in the final minute of stoppage time to punch away Jabob Murphy’s fierce long-range drive.
The match was the Owls’ first since reports emerged that some players have not been paid in full this month, and the South Yorkshire club are also awaiting the outcome of an English Football League hearing into a misconduct charge relating to the sale of their stadium to owner Dejphon Chansiri.
Wednesday were sixth in mid-January after winning at Leeds, but two victories in 13 league outings since then has left Garry Monk’s side nine points off the play-offs with six games of the campaign remaining.
Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk: “I think the first half was a missed opportunity for us. They looked a bit nervous, but we didn’t quite take advantage of it.
“It is a very unfortunate scoreline. It was definitely not one we deserved.
“We gave it everything, but their freshness showed in the second half.
On reports some wages had not been paid in full: “All of that will be resolved and done properly.
“Everyone inside the camp were totally understanding of it.
“It has been explained to everyone. We know that is being resolved and is not an issue.”
West Brom head coach Slaven Bilic: “I liked the performance. It was not easy to play that game.
“There was big pressure on us and we responded like a proper, mature, quality team and that’s what I like about it.
“Everybody gave everything and that was expected. You can crumble under the pressure, but we didn’t.
“I’m really proud of the guys. Hopefully we are back in town.”