Hammers take derby spoils
Ten-man West Ham moved five points clear at the top of the Championship table after a 2-1 win over bitter rivals Millwall.
The Hammers bounced back from their midweek drubbing at the hands of Ipswich courtesy of goals from top scorer Carlton Cole and Winston Reid.
However, they were forced to play for more than 80 minutes with 10 men after Kevin Nolan was given his marching orders for a two-footed lunge on Jack Smith.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, the home side enjoyed much of the possession and were rewarded with a goal on the stroke of half-time, Cole nodding home in stoppage time. They had the chance to double their advantage but Julien Faubert's header clattered the underside of the crossbar, and visitors were soon back on level terms.
Liam Trotter volleyed past Robert Green for a 66th-minute equaliser, but the Hammers restored their lead just three minutes later, albeit in controversial circumstances. Millwall keeper David Forde could only punch clear as far as right-back Reid, who lashed in a superb long-range effort. Forde looked to have been fouled by Faubert but the incident was not spotted by referee Mike Jones.
Promotion-chasing Cardiff failed to keep pace with the Hammers as they were beaten 3-1 by Blackpool at Cardiff City Stadium.
Joe Mason thought he had done enough to secure three points for the Bluebirds, lashing home from close range after Don Cowie had nodded back across Matthew Gilks' goal, but the home side failed to hold onto their advantage. Tangerines substitute Kevin Phillips equalised before Matt Phillips scored two late goals to secure all three points for Ian Holloway's men.
Leeds United began life under caretaker manager Neil Redfearn with a resounding victory. Leeds, who parted company with Simon Grayson in midweek, kept their play-off hopes alive with a 3-0 win over nine-man Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Robert Snodgrass gave the visitors the lead in the 39th minute, but City's hopes of finding their way back into the match were dashed when James Wilson was given his marching orders just four minutes later, before Yannick Bolasie was sent off for a second bookable offence ten minutes into the second half. And Leeds made their numerical advantage count with goals from Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio.
Michael Chopra's last-gasp goal secured back-to-back wins for Ipswich who came from behind to beat bottom side Coventry 3-2. The Sky Blues looked to be heading for a fourth straight victory at the Ricoh Arena after Gary Deegan gave the home side a 2-1 half-time lead, but two second-half strikes from Chopra saw Ipswich move ten points clear of the relegation zone.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas scored his third goal in two games to give the visitors an early lead, but Coventry captain Sammy Clingan converted from the penalty spot after Ibrahima Sonko handled the ball in the area. Deegan netted on the stroke of half-time, but Chopra showed a striker's instinct to bury the ball after Lee Martin's penalty was saved before netting his tenth goal of the season in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Brighton also left it late, Will Buckley netting a late winner as Albion beat Leicester City 1-0 at the Amex Stadium. The Foxes had been forced to play the majority of the second half with 10 men after Jermaine Beckford was sent off after fouling Lewis Dunk, but it was only after Matt Sparrow was sent off for Brighton that the home side broke the deadlock.
Middlesbrough lost ground on the front runners as they were forced to settle for their eighth draw at the Riverside after a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace.
John Eustace scored in both halves as Watford beat Barnsley 2-1 at Vicarage Road, with Andy Gray's late strike a mere consolation for the visitors, while Jay Rodriguez scored his fifth goal in as many games to cancel out Paul Taylor's early strike as Burnley claimed a 1-1 draw against Peterborough at Turf Moor.
Doncaster Rovers' home clash against Reading was postponed due to a frozen pitch, while Portsmouth versus Hull City at Fratton Park also fell foul of the weather.