In the Npower Championship, both front-runners were rewarded with wins this weekend. Indeed, Southampton and West Ham United now join each other on 50 points at the top, with the Hammers having a slightly inferior goal difference.
Victory for the Saints came at the City Ground, where they overcame a struggling Nottingham Forest side by a comprehensive margin of 3-0.
Strikes from Guly Do Prado, David Connolly and Morgan Schneiderlin brought the points back to the South Coast, and suggested that Southampton's promotion party push shows no signs of abating in the absence of Rickie Lambert.
Steve Cotterill's Forest didn't help their cause in the second-half when captain Luke Chambers got sent off on 50 minutes for an adjudged elbow on David Connolly. It was an uphill struggle from here as Connolly, who had replaced suspended top scorer Lambert, rubbed salt in the wounds 15 minutes later for 2-0.
11 minutes before the final whistle, Frenchman Schneiderlin made the victory safe and condemned a Forest side, joined again by Marlon Harewood in his second spell at the club, to their 16th defeat of the season. They continue to find themselves 22nd, and are in the division's relegation zone.
West Ham remain undefeated in five games as they overcame Portsmouth by a slender 1-0 score-line at Fratton Park. Mark Noble got the all-important goal from a spot-kick after he was brought down by ex-West Ham loanee Tal Ben Haim in the box. The Hammers remain steadily on course for their target of promotion back to the Premier League.
Elsewhere, Birmingham racked up a huge victory at Millwall, beating the Lions 6-0 at The Den. Incredibly, the game was just 1-0 at the break but a flurry of second-half goals, including an injury-time strike from the much-coveted Nathan Redmond, saw the points head north.
Andy Thorn's Coventry City remain marooned at the foot of the Championship table after a 1-0 defeat at Derby County. A Callum Ball winner at Pride Park means the Sky Blues added to the club's troubles, and the Midlands outfit will find it extra tough to survive after losing top scorer Lukas Jutkiewicz to Middlesbrough this week.
Jutkiewicz himself managed 33 minutes on his Boro debut, but Tony Mowbray's side went down 2-0 at home to Burnley.
Leeds lost ground in the race for a play-off spot as they drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace in South London.
In the late kick-off, Reading were victorious on the road, with a 2-1 victory over Sean Dyche's Watford. Jimmy Kebe's effort and a late goal by substitute Adam Le Fondre saw the Royals avenge their demons from the FA Cup defeat to Stevenage last weekend.
Nick Barmby continued his impressive form as new permanent boss of Hull City - a solitary Robert Koren goal overcame Peterborough in a 1-0 win.
Ipswich were ten minutes away from a vital victory, only to be denied by the evergreen Kevin Phillips who ensured Blackpool didn't leave empty handed in a 2-2 draw at Portman Road.
Barnsley remain steadily in mid-table after Keith Hill's side took a Championship scalp in Leicester City, who went down 2-1 at home.
And finally, Gus Poyet's Brighton remain impressive in their first campaign back in the Championship after a comfortable 2-0 victory against Bristol City at the AMEX.News Now - Sport News