Cardiff and Middlesbrough closed the gap on West Brom and Newcastle to a solitary point as the Coca-Cola Championship's top two clubs both lost on Tuesday night.
Cardiff's 2-0 win at home to Coventry - after goals from Anthony Gerrard (five) and a Peter Whittingham penalty on the hour - was all the more valuable following Newcastle's surprise 2-1 defeat at Scunthorpe and West Brom's equally unexpected 1-0 setback at home to Swansea.
Similarly, there was good reason for Boro celebration too after Adam Johnson struck twice - with a 22nd-minute penalty and then again just before the hour - to put them within a whisker of the top of the table.
The Magpies came unstuck at Glanford Park, where Martyn Woolford's goals after 53 minutes and 79 minutes ruined their night and Kevin Nolan's goal after 65 minutes did not do enough to save them.
The architect of West Brom's downfall was painfully familiar, Swansea's Craig Beattie scoring the only goal of the game against his old team at The Hawthorns.
Preston stayed on the heels of the top teams with a 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday, who were one of only two teams to lose at home tonight.
Goals from Neil Mellor (20) and Jon Parkin (55) did the trick, with Michael Gray (38) giving the Owls only fleeting hope.
Nottingham Forest left it late before they too put themselves in the thick of the battle amid the top-of-the-table congestion.
Guy Moussi was the matchwinner with a 90th-minute strike in a 1-0 victory at home to Barnsley - only to be sent off for a second bookable offence as he celebrated his achievement.
Blackpool were another team to make ground on the leaders - with a 3-0 lead at home to Sheffield United thanks to Marcel Seip (60), Jason Euell (69) and Charlie Adam (82).
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