Gordon Strachan finally tasted his first home win in charge of Middlesbrough as they brushed aside 10-man Scunthorpe 3-0.
The visitors were always up against it from the moment Cliff Byrne was sent off for bringing down Jeremie Aliadiere in the area.
Adam Johnson, who missed a penalty in Strachan's first game as boss, made no mistake this time to give Boro an 11th-minute lead. Rhys Williams added a second in the 45th minute and Aliadiere a third a minute after the break.
The match ended on a sour note for Boro, though, as Leroy Lita was shown a straight red card for foul and abusive language in the 89th minute.
West Brom closed the gap on Newcastle as Luke Moore's 61st-minute goal set them on their way to a 2-0 home win over Peterborough, who dropped to the foot of the standings.
Ryan Bennett's own goal in the 67th minute sealed Posh's fate.
Swansea were held to a 1-1 draw at Reading, Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick on the stroke of half-time cancelling out Darren Pratley's opener for the Swans.
Jake Buxton's 38th-minute own goal and a Brett Ormerod strike (79) earned play-off hopefuls Blackpool a 2-0 win at Derby, who ended the match with 10 men following Dean Moxey's 85th-minute red card.
Clinton Morrison converted an 85th-minute penalty to give Coventry - for whom Leon Best also missed a first-half spot-kick - a 1-0 win at home to Doncaster.
In the day's late kick-off, Leicester beat Sheffield United 2-1 at the Walkers Stadium thanks to a 26th-minute header from Michael Morrison and a 35th-minute penalty from Matt Fryatt. Henri Camara pulled a goal back for the Blades two minutes after the break, but they could not find another.
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