Hull City's hopes of a return to the Premier League were boosted on Friday as their nearest rivals for second place, Crystal Palace and Watford, both missed the chance to climb above them.
Crystal Palace's promotion hopes took a major blow as Birmingham City ran riot at Selhurst Park.
After Watford were held to a late draw by Burnley, the Eagles knew they could move second in the Championship with a win. However, Ian Holloway's side were a shadow of their normal selves and suffered an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat as rejuvenated Birmingham won a third successive match.
Nathan Redmond's fine solo effort got City off the mark in the 24th minute, with the teenager showing great skill to ghost past the Palace defence before firing home. Damien Delaney's own goal six minutes later doubled the visitors' advantage, although it looked like a comeback could be on after Palace began the second half impressively.
The hosts, though, soon faded and a Ravel Morrison strike followed by Shane Ferguson's exquisite free-kick saw Palace's 18-match unbeaten league record at Selhurst Park come to a crashing end.
Sam Vokes hit a last-gasp equaliser to deny Watford the chance to go second in the Championship as they were held to a 3-3 draw against Burnley.
The striker, on as a 79th-minute substitute, struck three minutes into stoppage time as Sean Dyche enjoyed a happy return to Vicarage Road.
Dyche insisted there were no hard feelings despite being replaced by Gianfranco Zola as Hornets boss in the summer, but he did his best to derail his old club's bid to reach the Premier League.
Alan Dunne grabbed a late winner as Millwall moved closer to survival with a 1-0 win over 10-man Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
The home side were rocked by captain Wes Morgan's early dismissal but held firm for 87 minutes before seeing their promotion hopes suffer another blow as their winless run extended to six matches.
Leicester's hopes of ending their barren run were dealt a severe blow after only three minutes when skipper Morgan clumsily bundled into Andy Keogh and, as the last man, left referee Stuart Attwell little choice but to send him off.
Millwall were disappointingly conservative considering their numerical superiority but took the spoils when Irishman Dunne popped up three minutes from time to slot home Richard Chaplow's cut-back.
Jordan Rhodes rescued a point for managerless Blackburn, who extended their winless run to nine matches as they drew 1-1 against Lancashire neighbours Blackpool.
On-loan MK Dons centre-back Gary MacKenzie gave Blackpool a 64th minute lead as Rovers once again failed to convince. They looked set to rue earlier missed chances by David Jones and Josh King but Scotland international striker Rhodes secured a share of the spoils with his 24th Championship goal of the season.
Tom Ince and substitute Elliot Grandin came close to sealing the points for Paul Ince's men, but both teams edged five points clear of the relegation zone having shared very different ambitions at the start of the season.
Bristol City's dire away form continues to be a severe hindrance in their battle to stay up as they lost 3-0 at Derby County. Goals either side of half-time from Jeff Hendrick and Jamie Ward, who saw a third-minute penalty saved by Tom Heaton, and an injury-time strike from substitute Ben Davies, leaves the Robins rooted to the bottom of the table.
The margin of defeat would have been greater had it not been for Heaton, the woodwork, and a contender for miss of the season from Derby striker Conor Sammon. Defeat at Pride Park was a seventh in a winless run of nine on the road, and a 14th away league loss of the season for City.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report