A potentially tight match between two relegated sides, hosts Middlesbrough and Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion, turned out to be nothing of the sort as Roberto Di Matteo's Albion humbled Boro at the Riverside. Chris Brunt's pair of first-half strikes, a deflected free-kick and a shot from 50 yards after Boro goalkeeper Danny Coyne's poor clearance, set the stage for a rout. Youssouf Mulumbu made it 3-0 before the break; Roman Bednar and Jerome Thomas wrapped up a 5-0 thrashing.
A bad week for Renault's former F1 managing director Flavio Briatore ended on a high note when Queens Park Rangers, his club, won 2-0 at Cardiff City, Jay Simpson, on loan from Arsenal scoring both first-half goals. "We executed our plans to perfection which rarely happens," QPR manager Jim Magilton said. His employer might agree. The Bluebirds slip to sixth behind Preston who came from behind, Chris Brown scoring two in their 3-2 defeat of visitors Coventry City.
Blackpool followed their excellent midweek win over Newcastle with a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest, Charlie Adam skipping past four tackles to score. "I felt as though we've nicked something, put it in the bag and got out of here with a win," Pool manager Ian Holloway admitted.
Also lurking just outside the top six, Watford and Leicester City served up a goal feast at Vicarage Road, Matt Fryatt scoring twice for the visitors and Heidar Helguson inspiring the Hornets recovery on his return on loan with two goals. It ended 3-3.
Bristol City's 100 per cent home record ended when Grant McCann grabbed Scunthorpe United's equaliser for a 1-1 draw and Crystal Palace, humbled at home last Saturday by the Iron, gave a better account of themselves by beating Derby County 1-0, Darren Ambrose running through to finish right-footed.
At the bottom, Roy Keane's Ipswich Town still await their first win, but served up plenty of good finishing and bad defending in a 3-3 draw at Doncaster Rovers, but Darren Ferguson's Peterborough showed resolve as they came back from 2-0 down to beat Reading 3-2 for their first Championship win. Under new manager Mark Robins, Barnsley eked out another point from a 0-0 draw with Swansea.
Leeds United took over at the top when Bradley Johnson scored two in a 4-1 defeat of Gillingham, while deposed Charlton Athletic were held to a 2-2 draw at Norwich City. Ricky Lambert scored the goals as Southampton beat Yeovil 2-0 for their first win.
Defender Sol Campbell, late of the Premiership, made his Notts County debut, at Morecambe, but the Magpies' deep pockets are not yet equating to results. A 2-1 defeat left them trailing leaders Bournemouth, 2-0 winners at Darlington, by eight points.