Cardiff City moved three points behind Championship leaders Wolves with a hard-fought 2-1 win over struggling Barnsley on Tuesday.
Aston Villa kept up the pressure on the top two with a resounding 3-0 win over rock-bottom Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, while Fulham’s fine form continued as they beat Sheffield United by the same scoreline.
At the other end of the table, Garry Monk’s first game in charge of Birmingham City ended in a limp 1-0 defeat to his former club Middlesbrough, but they stayed 22nd as Burton Albion fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Brentford.
Millwall edged out Hull City 2-1, Preston North End saw off Bristol City by the same score and Ipswich Town were also 2-1 winners over Sheffield Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Norwich City played out a goalless draw with Nottingham Forest, while QPR against Derby County and Reading v Bolton both finished 1-1.
BLUEBIRDS CONTINUE TO SOAR
Neil Warnock’s side took full advantage of Wolves not playing until Wednesday to cut their lead at the summit.
Cardiff went two up through Callum Paterson and Marko Grujic’s fine long-range drive, but Oliver McBurnie set up a tense finale.
The hosts held on, though, registering a fifth straight win and cranking up the pressure on Nuno Espirito Santo’s side ahead of their visit to Elland Road.
VILLA COMPOUND SUNDERLAND MISERY
Third-placed Villa are just four points behind Cardiff as they romped to a 3-0 win over Chris Coleman’s beleaguered Sunderland.
Lewis Grabban, who started the season on loan at the Black Cats, opened the scoring before James Chester doubled their advantage with a header from Robert Snodgrass’ corner.
Bryan Oviedo then turned in Conor Hourihane’s cross to complete another torrid evening for Sunderland, who remain four points from safety.
MITROVIC INSPIRES COTTAGERS
Fulham are a further point back from Steve Bruce’s side as two Aleksandar Mitrovic goals saw off play-off rivals Sheffield United at Craven Cottage.
The on-loan Newcastle United striker finished Ryan Fredericks’ cross to open the scoring and then combined with Stefan Johansen to add a second before the break.
Captain Tom Cairney added a third after the interval as Slavisa Jokanovic’s side racked up an 11th win in 14 games.