Ashley Barnes struck a late winner to keep Brighton at the top of the npower Championship.standings with victory over Bristol City, while Rickie Lambert's hat-trick helped fellow high-fliers Southampton down Nottingham Forest.

Barnes netted his fifth goal of the campaign with 10 minutes remaining at Ashton Gate as Brighton made it five wins out of six since winning promotion as League One champions last term.

However, second-placed Southampton stayed within a point of Gus Poyet's men thanks to their 3-2 win over Steve McClaren's Forest at St Mary's - a club record 12th successive home league win for the Saints.

Middlesbrough - one of only two unbeaten teams along with Brighton - were also victorious as goals at the start of either half from Nicky Bailey and Joe Bennett saw them down Burnley 2-0.

West Ham claimed their first home win in more than six months after seeing off Portsmouth 4-3 in an exciting encounter that saw both teams have players sent off.

Sixth-placed Crystal Palace slipped to only their second loss of the season after going down 3-2 at Leeds. Ross McCormack's eighth-minute opener for the hosts was soon cancelled out by strikes from Patrick McCarthy and Sean Scannell, but Leeds hit back to claim the victory thanks to efforts from substitute Sean Scannell and McCormack.

Leicester gave a debut to striker Jermaine Beckford and he helped set up Andy King for a second-half equaliser as the Foxes drew 1-1 at Barnsley, for whom Jacob Butterfield had opened the scoring.

Second-half goals from Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Barry Ferguson helped Blackpool defeat Ipswich 2-0 at home.

Watford climbed out of the bottom three as goals from Mark Yeates and John Eustace earned them their first win of the season at fellow strugglers Reading.

Anthony Gerrard and Robert Earnshaw's second-half goals give Cardiff victory over bottom club Doncaster, while Aaron McLean scored the only goal as Hull defeated Peterborough.

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