Chuba Akpom continued his stunning scoring form as Middlesbrough moved within three points of second-placed Sheffield United by thrashing 10-man Preston 4-0 in the Championship.
The 27-year-old striker registered his 25th goal of the season – and 11th in 10 games – as Boro responded to Tuesday’s home draw with Stoke in perfect fashion.
Akpom broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute before on-loan Aston Villa forward Cameron Archer grabbed a quickfire second-half double.
Preston finished the game with 10 men after Bambo Diaby saw red with two minutes left and Marcus Forss rounded off the scoring deep into stoppage time.
Luton, in fourth, fell three points behind Boro after a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.
Alfie Doughty’s second-half effort looked to be enough to make it four successive wins for the Hatters but Amad Diallo’s penalty four minutes from time helped the Black Cats to a share of the spoils.
Millwall missed a chance to climb into fifth after a 1-0 defeat at home by relegation-threatened Huddersfield.
Danny Ward scored the only goal in the 67th minute to earn Town a first win in six which moved them third-bottom.
Norwich are three points adrift of the play-off places having been held 0-0 at Stoke, which extended their winless run to three games.
At the other end of the table, bottom side Wigan drew 1-1 at Watford, James McClean equalising after Keinan Davis’ opener for the Hornets on the stroke of half-time.
Blackpool, the other team in the bottom three, were beaten 4-1 at home by Coventry.
Jerry Yates’ penalty for the Tangerines cancelled out Ben Sheaf’s opener before a Curtis Nelson own goal just before the break put Coventry back in front.
Kyle McFadzean extended Coventry’s lead early in the second half and Matt Godden added a fourth as they moved level on points with Norwich in seventh place.
Rotherham’s clash with Cardiff at the New York Stadium was abandoned in the 47th minute due to heavy rain. Cardiff, who started the day fourth-bottom, were leading 1-0 at the time thanks to Jaden Philogene’s strike in the fifth minute.
QPR’s miserable run continued with a 1-0 defeat by Birmingham at Loftus Road.
Tahith Chong’s early strike condemned Gareth Ainsworth’s side – thrashed 6-1 at Blackpool in midweek – to a ninth defeat in 15 league games, which includes nine losses.
Reading and Hull drew 1-1 at the Madejski Stadium, Andy Carroll cancelling out Regan Slater’s opener for the Tigers.
Sky Bet League One
Plymouth kept the pressure on Sky Bet League One leaders Sheffield Wednesday after a 2-0 victory over struggling Forest Green.
The win at Home Park saw Argyle close the gap on Wednesday to a point following their 1-1 draw with Bolton on Friday evening.
James Bolton gave the Pilgrims an eighth-minute lead before Bali Mumba doubled the advantage two minutes into the second half.
Ipswich kept on the coattails of Argyle with a sixth straight victory as they overcame Shrewsbury 2-0.
George Hirst put them ahead with his second goal in two games in the 15th minute before Massimo Luongo’s first goal for the Tractor Boys wrapped up the points.
Slobodan Tedic’s first goal for Barnsley with five minutes remaining gave the Tykes a vital 1-0 win at fellow promotion chasers Wycombe.
Tedic’s close-range header gave Barnsley an eighth win in nine to consolidate their place in the play-off zone.
Derby lost ground after they lost at home for the first time since October with goals from Jayden Stockley and Carlos Mendes Gomes giving Fleetwood a 2-0 win.
Peterborough kept their play-off bid on track with a comfortable 3-0 win over Lincoln after goals from Jonson Clarke-Harris, Jack Taylor and Joe Ward.
At the other end of the table, MK Dons moved out of the relegation places after Sullay Kaikai’s goal gave them a 1-0 win over Accrington, who dropped into the bottom four.
Oxford remain just two points above the relegation zone as Ash Hunter’s late goal earned Morecambe a 1-1 draw, with the Shrimps two points from safety.
Elsewhere, Colby Bishop’s double gave Portsmouth a 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers, Cambridge’s survival hopes were hit by a 2-1 defeat by Charlton, Cheltenham moved eight points clear of the drop zone with a 3-1 win over Exeter and Burton won 2-1 at Port Vale.
Sky Bet League Two
In League Two, Colchester staged a remarkable recovery to secure a point in a 2-2 draw at Leyton Orient.
The hosts had gone in front with goals from George Moncur and Ruel Sotiriou but the visitors snatched two goals in three minutes late on through Connor Hall and Noah Chilvers.
Second-placed Stevenage and third-placed Carlisle failed to take advantage as they played out a 0-0 draw at Brunton Park.
Northampton cashed in to move back into the automatic promotion places as Louis Appere scored the game’s only goal midway through the first half in a 1-0 win over Crewe at Sixfields.
Play-off chasers Stockport and Mansfield cancelled each other out as they drew 1-1 at Edgeley Park.
Luke Bolton hit a brace as Salford enhanced their own play-off hopes with a 3-1 win over Doncaster.
Stevie Mallan was also on target for the Ammies after Doncaster had earlier levelled through George Miller.
Andy Cook scored a double as Bradford twice had to come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Hartlepool, who netted through Callum Cooke and Dan Kemp.
In the fight for Football League survival, Rochdale played out a remarkable 4-4 draw with Swindon as Charlie Austin netted all four for the Robins.
Ian Henderson levelled in stoppage-time for Dale but they are five points adrift of Hartlepool at the bottom and six points from safety.
Crawley secured a massive win in their own survival battle as Ashley Nadesan’s early strike earned them a first away win of the season – 1-0 at AFC Wimbledon.
Elsewhere, Walsall won for the first time in 13 after beating Gillingham 2-0, Newport came away from Tranmere with a 3-1 victory and Harrogate edged out Barrow 1-0.