Championship: Shrimpers angry, Blues on the up
Southend manager Steve Tilson is to appeal against captain Kevin Maher's red card during a bitter Championship battle at Colchester.
Maher was one of three players dismissed in bottom-of-the-table Southend's 3-0 defeat at Layer Road, followed by team-mate Mark Gower and Colchester's Chris Barker for two bookable offences.
Maher's clash with Colchester skipper Karl Duguid sparked the furore, with the latter claiming he was headbutted and slamming the midfielder as 'unprofessional'.
Maher retorted: 'It's just embarrassing. He was holding his face and I had not even touched him.'
Colchester boss Geraint Williams, whose side made it seven straight home wins with goals from Greg Halford, Pat Baldwin and Jamie Cureton, will take 'internal action' against Duguid if video evidence finds against his skipper.
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce used the taunts directed at his side as ammunition to help fire City into a three-way tie at the top.
DJ Campbell scored a late winner in a 2-1 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor seconds after his arrival as a substitute.
'I showed them the programme notes and somebody suggested we had a soft underbelly, so we didn't need a team talk,' revealed Bruce.
Cardiff remain top despite a goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday, with Preston second after they were also held scoreless at home by Crystal Palace, with the Blues third - the trio separated by goal difference.
Derby are up to fourth, with Jon Stead scoring the only goal in a Pride Park win over Leicester to give the Rams a fifth successive league win.
Foxes manager Rob Kelly was furious, though, after a late equaliser from Elvis Hammond was ruled out for handball by assistant referee Carl Bassindale.
Kelly fumed: 'It was a goal. I have seen the video and I cannot see a handball.
'Decisions like that knock the stuffing out of you and you hope they even themselves out over the course of the season.'
Behind Burnley in fifth, Stoke are now sixth after their own 1-0 win over West Brom courtesy of a 40th-minute penalty from Danny Higginbotham.
Another penalty at St Mary's was the difference - and the main talking point - after Southampton's 2-1 win over Luton to lift them to seventh.
Chris Baird put the Saints in front in the 15th minute, before Grzegorz Rasiak stroked home a 38th-minute spot-kick after Leon Barnett was adjudged to have handled.
Russell Perrett's second-half strike proved nothing more than a consolation for Luton boss Mike Newell who said: 'I know it wasn't handball by my defender.
'The ball struck the Southampton striker's hand and we have four or five players in our dressing room who will swear on their lives the referee has made a mistake.'
Saints boss George Burley's view was in stark contrast as he said: 'It was definitely handball. Their player looked as if he was trying to play basketball.'
Leeds are out of the bottom three following a 2-1 win at Plymouth, where Eddie Lewis scored the winner after Bojan Djordjic cancelled out Robbie Blake's early opener.
Hopeful Leeds boss Dennis Wise said: 'This result has brought a couple of other teams closer to us who we can now try to catch.'
Barnsley moved up a place, but remain in the bottom three after an injury-time winner from loan signing Grant McCann gave them a 1-0 victory over Ipswich at Oakwell.
It was a much-needed three points for the Tykes following Andy Ritchie's dismissal on Tuesday, and caretaker boss Simon Davey said: 'It's always hard when a manager leaves, and everything seems to be in turmoil.
'I came in on Tuesday, had to prepare the team and make sure we got a performance, which we did.'
Hull slipped into the bottom three despite a stoppage-time equaliser from Michael Turner which earned the Tigers a point from a 1-1 draw at Norwich.
In the only other game, Coventry won 1-0 at QPR courtesy of a Dele Adebola strike - and that after the team travelled by tube to get to Loftus Road as their bus was stuck in traffic.
City boss Micky Adams revealed: 'We bought 23 single tickets at Hangar Lane station, and none of the fans could believe their eyes when they saw us.
'We got to the ground at 2.20pm, went on to the pitch and won 1-0. Everyone talks about preparation, but this proves it is a load of nonsense.'