Craig Bellamy set Cardiff on their way to reclaiming the second automatic promotion place in the npower Championship as rivals Swansea and Norwich were each forced to settle for a point.
Bellamy fired home in the 21st minute and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas added a second after 71 as Dave Jones' men beat rock-bottom Sheffield United 2-0 at Bramall Lane and jumped to second.
Queen's Park Rangers took another giant stride towards the Barclays Premier League with Adel Taarabt's first-minute strike enough to beat Barnsley at Oakwell and move Neil Warnock's men 10 points clear.
Norwich took a second-minute lead through Sam Vokes at Watford but Danny Graham and Don Cowie replied for the home side and the Canaries needed Simeon Jackson to earn them a 2-2 draw.
The Swans also led through a 63rd-minute Mark Gower strike but Corry Evans' equaliser seven minutes later gave Hull a 1-1 draw and with it still a slim chance of edging into the play-offs.
Reading stayed in the play-off zone and increased Scunthorpe's relegation worries with second-half goals from Shane Long and Ian Harte handing the Royals a 2-0 win at Glanford Park.
Leeds slipped up again, blowing Max Gradel's 58th-minute opener at Derby, who replied through Jamie Ward and Ben Davies for a 2-1 win, but Millwall failed to capitalise in a goalless home draw with Bristol City.
Instead Nottingham Forest arrested their recent slump and moved back to the brink of the top six as a late David McGoldrick double gave them a 2-0 win over Burnley, who had Marvin Bartley sent off after 32 minutes.
Crystal Palace edged closer to safety in a 1-1 draw at Leicester with Sean Scannell's opener for the visitors cancelled out by Matt Oakley. Second-bottom Preston needed Paul Hayes to cancel out Brian Stock's goal for a 1-1 draw at Doncaster.
Ipswich fought back to claim a 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough at Portman Road, while Marlon King's double and a Gary McSheffrey strike gave Coventry a 3-0 win at Portsmouth, who had Hayden Mullins sent off after 69 minutes for deliberate handball.
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