Reading closed in on Sunderland’s Championship points record of 105 by thrashing Cardiff 5-2 at Ninian Park. James Harper after 10 minutes and Dave Kitson on 39 gave the Royals a deserved half-time lead before an own goal by Glenn Loovens on 52 increased their advantage further.
The Bluebirds hit back through Cameron Jerome on 67 and Paul Parry on 80 but Reading had two more of their own in Kevin Doyle on 87 and James Harper’s second in injury time to seal a confident 6/4 win.
Sheffield United grabbed a late winner against Hull to all but seal automatic promotion. Neil Shipperley after 36 minutes and Paul Ifill on 52 gave the 1/2 Blades the lead before Hull hit back through Stuart Elliott on 65 and Daryl Duffy five minutes later. Veteran defender David Unsworth smashed in the decisive goal at the death.
Watford could only manage a 1-1 draw with Luton, handing the advantage to Sheffield United. Marlon King struck his twentieth goal of the season to give the Hornets the lead after 36 minutes but Ahmet Brkovic equalised on 73 for a 12/5 draw.
Leeds are also unlikely to catch the Blades after a goalless draw with Plymouth. Without a win in six matches, shrewd punters will have snapped up the draw at generous 13/5 odds.
Preston moved up a place to fifth and are almost assured a play-off place after Norwich scored two own goals at Deepdale. Jason Shackell after 20 minutes and Gary Doherty on 38 did the hard work for 5/6 North End before half-time.
Despite losing 2-0 at Leicester on Friday night, Crystal Palace also look set for a play-off place. On-loan Andy Welsh broke the deadlock three minutes before half-time and Stephen Hughes on 87 sealed a 9/5 home win.
Wolves squandered a two goal lead against Coventry. Veteran Paul Ince broke the deadlock after two minutes while Colin Cameron added a second 20 minutes later. Stern John gave the Sky Blues hope after 25 minutes and Gary McSheffrey equalised on the hour for a 9/4 draw. Wolves are 10 points adrift in seventh place of both Crystal Palace and Preston.
Crewe dragged Sheffield Wednesday back into the relegation dogfight and are within a mathematical chance of survival themselves following a 2-0 win at Gresty Road. Gareth Taylor’s double strike on 31 and 45 completed step one of the great escape at 11/8.
Southampton effectively assured their survival in the division but sent opponents Brighton to the foot of the table with a 2-0 win at the Withdean Stadium. Ricardo Fuller netted first after 37 minutes and Richard Chaplow sealed a 7/4 away victory.
Derby also took a step closer to safety but pushed Millwall deeper into the relegation mire with a 1-0 win at Pride Park. Tommy Smith scored his sixth goal of the campaign to earn the Rams three points at 10/11.