David Nugent's goal saw second-placed Preston keep the pressure on Coca-Cola Championship leaders Birmingham with a 1-0 win over Sunderland.
Birmingham drew 2-2 against Luton last night and victory for North End at the Stadium of Light saw Paul Simpson's side reduce the deficit at the top of the division to six points.
England under-21 striker Nugent, a reputed January target for a host of Premiership clubs, scored the only goal in the 36th minute when he headed home Brett Ormerod's cross.
Derby kept up their own promotion push with a 1-0 win over Plymouth, with Morten Bisgaard's 81st-minute effort enough to keep them level on points with Preston. Only goal difference keeps them in third place.
Colchester, meanwhile, broke into the top six with a 2-1 win at the expense of Wolves.
Geraint Williams' in-form side got off to a fine start when Jamie Cureton converted a free-kick after only four minutes, before Chris Iwelumo made it two on the stroke of half-time.
Neill Collins claimed a 90th-minute consolation for Wolves but it was too little too late for Mick McCarthy's men.
West Brom also remain in the play-off spots with a 2-0 win against Ipswich at The Hawthorns seeing them climb to fifth. Diomansy Kamara and Jason Koumas scored the goals for Tony Mowbray's side.
Sheffield Wednesday continued their impressive recent form by running in three unanswered goals in the South Yorkshire derby at Barnsley.
Wayne Andrews, Chris Brunt and Steven MacLean all made the scoresheet for an Owls side who now look like credible play-off candidates.
Coventry drew 1-1 with Southend, who remain in trouble at the bottom despite Mark Gower cancelling out Elliot Ward's 12th-minute opener in the second half at the Ricoh Arena.
Hull remain in the bottom three despite winning 2-0 against Burnley, thanks to Dean Marney's early goal and a Craig Fagan penalty.
Fellow strugglers Leeds were brushed aside 3-1 by Stoke, who scored through Mamady Sidibe, a Ugo Ehiogu own goal and Ricardo Fuller. Ian Moore scored for Leeds.
Cardiff continued to drift away from the pace-setters as they battled out to a goalless draw with Crystal Palace at Ninian Park, and Norwich beat QPR 1-0 with veteran Dion Dublin on target at Carrow Road.