Two-goal Dexter Blackstock fired Nottingham Forest to their seventh successive home win but boss Billy Davies admitted he was poised to substitute the striker shortly before his clincher.
Blackstock's first against Sheffield Wednesday at the City Ground was from a hotly-disputed penalty. But he was about to be hauled off just before his second was scored in the 2-1 win.
Davies said: "Yes, we were going to make a substitution before he scored. Sometimes it works out for you and sometimes it doesn't - but it did here."
He added: "I was just pleased that we showed the character to win what was a very difficult game against a team who had won four out of their last five matches and were clearly working very hard for a new manager.
"It was a good test for us, having lost our first game in 20 to our nearest and dearest last weekend. But it was important for us to dig in and show the mettle we needed to come off the pitch with three points."
It was rough justice on Wednesday and manager Irvine argued: "I thought we deserved to get something out of the game.
"I thought we might actually go on and win it because we were on the front when we scored the equaliser.
"But when you put into context how good a side Forest are, we can take a lot of heart from the performance. If we perform like that in our other games we will win more than we lose."
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