Preston are the Coca-Cola Championship's new leaders after battling to a 1-1 draw with gutsy Coventry at Deepdale.
North End struggled to get into the game and were outplayed during the early exchanges, but they scored an unexpected opener when David Nugent (35) headed in via the crossbar.
Dele Adebola equalised with 10 minutes to go when he turned and fired home from the edge of the area .
Cardiff give up top spot for the first time since September following a 3-0 thrashing at in-form Stoke, who were thankful for a stunning performance from substitute Ricardo Fuller.
Michael Chopra should have given the Welsh side an undeserved lead when he headed wide from close range and that was the clearest chance of a goalless first half.
However, Fuller struck on the hour mark following Roger Johnson's slip to put Stoke in front and Liam Lawrence made it two shortly after.
Striker Mamady Sidibe made it three goals in five minutes after Fuller's good work and Stephen McPhail was dismissed to compound Cardiff's misery.
Burnley made their numerical advantage count as they saw off 10-man Leeds 2-1 at Turf Moor.
A poor first half ended almost without incident as both sides struggled to create a chance.
United defender Hayden Foxe was dismissed soon after half-time for his second booking, before the Clarets scored goals in close succession through Gifton Noel-Williams (67) and Andy Gray (69), with David Healy (87) scoring a fine consolation late on.
An early blitz from Sheffield Wednesday was enough to see off Tony Mowbray's West Brom who continue to struggle away from home.
Glenn Whelan gave Brian Laws' side an early lead when he powered home a header in the 11th minute from Chris Brunt's accurate cross, before unmarked Madjid Bougherra made it two with another headed effort four minutes later.
Jason Koumas pulled one back for Albion with two minutes left but Steve MacLean scored from the spot to make the final score 3-1 to the Owls.
Barnsley deservedly won their relegation battle with Southend 2-0 at Oakwell.
Brian Howard (24) put the Tykes ahead when he converted Marc Richards' cross as the hosts went into the interval with a narrow advantage.
Kyel Reid (87) sealed the points which lift Barnsley out of the relegation zone at the expense of Yorkshire rivals Leeds - but he was sent off for a second booking in injury time.
Hull manager Phil Parkinson endured a nightmare return to Layer Road as former employers Colchester crushed his side 5-1 thanks to Chris Iwelumo's four goals.
Parkinson was booed by home fans before the match started but soon had his spirits raised when Nicky Forster gave the Tigers the lead (16), only for Iwelumo to level three minutes afterwards.
Iwelumo then gave the Essex side the lead with a 54th-minute penalty and Jamie Cureton (57) soon added a third, before Iwelumo (66 and 79) made it a fine evening personally.
Luton fell to their eighth straight defeat as Plymouth triumphed 1-0 at Home Park.
An entertaining first half ended without a goal, as Akos Buzsaky came closest with a free-kick which bounced back off the woodwork.
But Bojan Djordjic (60) gave Argyle the lead with his third goal in as many games and it proved to be the winner.
Wolves and Crystal Palace fought out a frustrating 1-1 draw at Molineux.
A dull first half passed with little goal-mouth action, with only 19-year-old Daniel Jones' run and shot lifting the tedium.
But Lewis Gobern (63) struck for Wanderers with a crossed free-kick which crept into the net after it was missed by everyone, only for Dougie Freedman (84) to volley an equaliser.
Norwich came from behind to win an entertaining clash with Rob Kelly's Leicester 3-1 at Carrow Road.
Elvis Hammond, Iain Hume and Levi Porter missed early chances for Leicester as the game started brightly, and they took a deserved lead through Paddy McCarthy's bullet header in the 23rd minute.
The Canaries struck an equaliser seconds before the interval through Carl Robinson, before Robert Earnshaw (59) and a Gareth McAuley own goal (90) then gave them the win.
Sunderland cruised to a deserved 2-1 win over QPR at Loftus Road.
The visitors surged ahead through Daryl Murphy's 17th-minute tap-in, before Kevin Gallen's headed `goal' was disallowed for offside moments afterwards.
Grant Leadbitter rounded Simon Royce on the stroke of half-time to make it two, but though youngster Ray Jones (73) did find a consolation it was not enough for the Londoners.