Gordon Strachan finally tasted victory as Middlesbrough manager at the fifth attempt as his side put five past a shellshocked QPR at Loftus Road.
Boro had a modest 1-0 lead at the break thanks to Dave Kitson but let loose after the break with a brace from Leroy Lita, one from Gary O'Neil and a fifth from Mark Yeats to win 5-1. Rangers striker Patrick Agyemang had earlier made it 2-1 after 53 minutes.
Boro's north-east rivals, league leaders Newcastle, shrugged off the 49th-minute sending off of top scorer Kevin Nolan to beat Watford 2-0 at St James' Park.
Peter Lovenkrands opened the scoring after 20 minutes, with Fabrice Pancrate adding a second seven minutes from time.
Second-placed West Brom lost two points on the Magpies after a turbulent finale to their 2-2 draw at Derby.
Paul Dickov (42) thought he had earned Derby the win before Simon Cox (82) equalised,
Graham Dorrans and DJ Campbell then traded stoppage-time strikes, the latter netting after 95 minutes to secure the hosts a share of the spoils.
Nottingham Forest hammered Leicester 5-1 in the early kick-off to move into third, leapfrogging their opponents in the process. Robert Earnshaw claimed the match-ball after his hat-trick, while there were also goals for Paul Anderson, Dele Adebola and Leicester's Martyn Waghorn.
Meanwhile, Chris Burke scored the only goal of the game to earn Cardiff three points against Preston and there was also a 1-0 win for Sheffield United at Plymouth, courtesy of James Harper's 88th-minute strike.
Elsewhere, Barnsley snatched a 2-1 win against Blackpool, Doncaster came out 3-0 winners from their trip to Crystal Palace, Swansea drew 2-2 with Peterborough, Sheffield Wednesday went down 2-0 at home to Reading and Bristol City's match at home to Ipswich ended goalless.
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