Norwich City ran riot in the second half as they moved top of the Championship with a thumping 4-0 victory over struggling Sheffield Wednesday.
The Canaries capitalised on a slip-up from Sheffield United, who were beaten by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, while Middlesbrough were held by Stoke City in the late kick-off.
Elsewhere, Paul Gallagher came off the bench and scored before having to play in goal for the closing stages of Preston North End's 1-1 draw with rock-bottom Ipswich Town.
Meanwhile, Derby County bounced back from their EFL Cup defeat to Chelsea by ending Birmingham City's 11-match unbeaten streak, and Thomas Frank claimed a first win as Brentford boss.
CANARIES FLY INTO TOP SPOT
It has been a slow but sure progression up the table from Daniel Farke's side, who have now won four on the bounce after claiming pole position in emphatic fashion.
A trio of goals in 10 second-half minutes – including a double from Teemu Pukki – did the damage at Hillsborough, with Wednesday hardly a threat at the other end.
Indeed, Norwich had been on top throughout, with Mario Vrancic missing a fifth-minute penalty.
Vrancic atoned for his mistake late on, though, teeing up Dennis Srbeny for a fourth as Norwich wrapped up the win in style.
GALLAGHER TAKES THE GLOVES
Paul Lambert looked to be heading for a victory in his first match in charge of Ipswich, but Preston's Gallagher had other ideas.
With Freddie Sears having put Ipswich ahead from the spot on the stroke of half-time, Gallagher made a swift impact from the bench, scoring from a free-kick just two minutes after coming on.
The striker's day took another twist moments later, though, as he was handed the gloves following goalkeeper Chris Maxwell's dismissal.
But despite a late spell of pressure, the makeshift keeper was not tested too much as fellow strugglers Preston denied Lambert a winning start.
GRABBAN RUN GOES ON AS BLADES ARE BLUNTED
Sheffield United were made to rue poor finishing as Lewis Grabban's goal snatched the points for Forest.
Joao Carvalho's effort caused havoc for United's defence and Grabban was on hand to nudge home his 10th goal in 11 games.
Grabban's effort was the only chance of note for either side, as Forest held firm to move up into sixth place.
RAMS CHARGE CONTINUES
Derby's EFL Cup adventure came to an end at in a thrilling encounter at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, but Frank Lampard's side are well in the race for promotion.
They returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win over in-form Birmingham, who had taken an early lead through Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Two goals in the space of three minutes from Mason Bennett and Harry Wilson put the Rams in control, with Jack Marriott's neat finish securing the points 17 minutes from time.
HUGILL MISS PROVES COSTLY
Jordan Hugill missed a gilt-edged chance to send Middlesbrough back to the top of the Championship as Stoke held their former boss Tony Pulis to a 0-0 draw.
Stoke had the better of proceedings for much of a scrappy encounter, with Benik Afobe twice going close to putting the hosts ahead, but it was Hugill who spurned the best opportunity of the game, failing to beat Jack Butland despite having much of the goal to aim for.
The point left Boro in third place, two points behind leaders Norwich City, while Stoke continue to languish in the bottom half.
Brentford finally got their first win under new boss Frank, with Sergi Canos and Ollie Watkins getting their goals in a 2-0 win over Millwall.
Meanwhile, Reading eased the pressure on Paul Clement by coming out on top in a five-goal thriller against Bristol City.