The npower Championship's bottom club Crystal Palace secured a much-needed boost with a thrilling 3-2 win over Watford.
Palace led 1-0 after midfielder Darren Ambrose struck in the 18th minute with a spectacular 20-yard strike but Watford hit back as Danny Graham tapped in Stephen McGinn's cross after referee Andy Penn played a good advantage (48) and Jordon Mutch stretched to net the Hornets' second four minutes later.
Owen Garvan swept home the equaliser and, three minutes later, made it 3-2 to ease the pressure on Eagles boss George Burley.
Table-topping QPR earned a point at Portsmouth thanks to Tommy Smith's last-minute penalty. Liam Lawrence broke the deadlock with a twice-taken penalty - the first effort saved by Rangers goalkeeper Paddy Kenny - after Matthew Connolly was sent off for a professional foul. But Lawrence was himself dismissed after his late handball earned him a second booking and Smith converted from the spot against his former club.
Leeds' Bradley Johnson scored for both teams and Hull scorer John Bostock was sent off in an entertaining 2-2 draw. Bostock curled home a brilliant free-kick from 35 yards but Johnson struck from 20 yards to equalise. Andy O'Brien headed the hosts' second before Bostock received a second yellow card for a foolish hack at George McCartney, but Johnson swiped Tom Cairney's poor corner into his own net eight minutes from time.
Kris Boyd's fifth goal of the season helped lowly Middlesbrough to a 2-0 win at Scunthorpe. The summer signing from Rangers struck in the sixth minute when he fired home from six yards to put Tony Mowbray's side ahead, while strike partner Scott McDonald added a second midway through the half, and that was how it stayed.
Burnley came from behind to draw with Doncaster. James Hayter scored his fourth goal of the campaign in the 13th minute but Burnley could have been level as half-time approached, only for Rovers goalkeeper Neil Sullivan to push away Chris Eagles' penalty. Jack Cork grabbed a 63rd-minute equaliser, though, after Clarke Carlisle's header struck the post.
Nottingham Forest boosted their play-off bid with a 2-1 win over Coventry despite falling behind to Luke Chambers' 35th-minute own goal. Radoslaw Majewski levelled six minutes later from long range before Chris Cohen's free-kick from the right eluded everybody and curled inside the far post (62).
Preston's troubles continued as they were sunk by a Barnsley winner a minute from time. Defender Craig Morgan put North End 1-0 up inside four minutes but the Tykes hit back shortly before half-time with a superb 30-yard strike from winger Adam Hammill. Garry O'Connor grabbed the late winner after a horrible mix-up between Sean St Ledger and goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.
Kris Commons' brace, the first a 20-yard free-kick, gave in-form Derby a 2-0 win at Ipswich and John Marquis' equaliser deep into injury time earned Millwall a 1-1 draw with Norwich, who had led through David Fox.
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