Jermain Defoe's hat-trick spared Sunderland's blushes as they defeated Exeter 6-3 in a thrilling Capital One Cup clash.
The Black Cats fielded a strong line-up but conceded three times in the first half as their defence was frequently exposed again, before they ultimately rallied to break the visitors' spirit in the second period.
The hosts were 2-0 up through Jack Rodwell and Defoe before Emmanuel Oyeleke and David Wheeler brought the Grecians back into the match.
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Defoe's second was cancelled out by Tom McCready prior to half-time, yet Rodwell headed in another, Duncan Watmore tapped in to celebrate his England Under-21 call-up and Defoe swept home a third late on.
Watford were a top-flight casualty, though, as they slipped to a 1-0 loss at Sky Bet Championship Preston thanks to Marnick Vermijl's first goal for North End.
Teenage striker Joe Dodoo also netted a treble while Andrej Kramaric was on target too as Leicester progressed courtesy of a 4-1 win at Bury, for whom Danny Mayor scored.
Bournemouth and Newcastle both struck four in convincing victories over Hartlepool and Northampton respectively.
Junior Stanislas claimed a brace while Yann Kermorgant and Dan Gosling each scored in the first half of the Cherries' 4-0 success.
Florian Thauvin opened his Newcastle account on his full debut, with Siem De Jong, Daryl Janmaat and Mike Williamson also finding the net against the Cobblers, for whom Marc Richards converted a penalty in a 4-1 loss.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel's first Norwich goal in two years followed Jonny Howson's first-half effort, before Paul Green pulled one back, as the Canaries saw off Rotherham 2-1.
Nathan Dyer, Matt Grimes and Marvin Emnes found the net for Swansea in a 3-0 triumph over York.
Carlisle's long trip to QPR resulted in a 2-1 success for the visitors thanks to Jason Kennedy's winner 11 minutes from time after Derek Asamoah and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas traded goals.
Braces from Wes Thomas and Ross McCormack helped Birmingham and Fulham to victories, 2-0 and 3-0 respectively over Gillingham and nine-man Sheffield United, while Greg Luer's strike settled Hull's tie with Rochdale 1-0 in the hosts' favour.
Charlton were 4-1 victors over Peterborough - Mikhail Kennedy, Karlan Ahearne-Grant, Ahmed Kashi and Igor Vetokele all scoring for the Addicks - while Garath McCleary's 84th-minute finish earned Reading a 2-1 success over Portsmouth, who had led through Conor Chaplin before Nick Blackman levelled.
Walsall won 2-1 against Brighton, Wolves defeated Barnet by the same scoreline and Atdhe Nuhiu's goal earned Sheffiled Wednesday a 1-0 success over Oxford at Hillsborough.
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