After 17 games without a victory, a run which saw the dismissal of manager Paul Hart and the appointment of Joe Kinnear, Nottingham Forest remembered how to win again when substitute Gareth Taylor headed in Andy Reid's injury-time cross at the City Ground to beat fellow Nation-wide First Division relegation strugglers Bradford City 2-1.
"People have been ramming the stats down the players' throats," Kinnear said, "but they have now got that monkey of our backs. We're out of the bottom three and that will give all the players a massive psychological lift."
Nick Barmby, who arrived at Forest in midweek on loan from Leeds, set up the first goal in the ninth minute, finding Andy Reid, who finished calmly. Dean Windass levelled with a fine curling free-kick, and 10 minutes from time Marlon King and Bradford's Jason Gavin were sent off for fighting. But it was Taylor who landed the knock-out blow.
West Bromwich Albion, second in the table, failed to take advantage of the inactivity snow imposed on the leaders, Norwich City, losing 1-0 at home to Rotherham. Chris Sedgwick scored the Millers' winner with 17 minutes remaining.
"There was not enough determination, desire or drive in our performance," Gary Megson, the Albion manager, said. "I made three changes to the team after the break but we quickly went back to the same malaise."
Wigan Athletic, in third place, closed the gap on Albion to three points when Nathan Ellington's 16th goal of the season breached Walsall's stubborn defence with eight minutes left at the JJB Stadium. The match ended 1-0, the Latics' eighth game without defeat.
South-east London's double- pronged assault on the play-offs continued as Millwall beat Burnley 2-0 at the New Den to go fifth, while at Selhurst Park 10-man Crystal Palace beat Gillingham 1-0. Burnley's manager, Stan Ternent, complained about racist "monkey chants" aimed by Millwall fans at Mo Camara after goals by Paul Ifill and Peter Sweeney had won the match for the Lions.
Theo Paphitis, the Millwall chairman, pointed out the efforts the club had made to stamp out racism, and said no police or stewards had mentioned the abuse, but added that the club would investigate complaints made by Burnley fans. "If we can prove incidents of racism we will take the strongest actions," he said.
Meanwhile, Palace were reduced to 10 men three minutes into the second half. Mark Hudson brought down Mam-ady Sidibe and was sent off, but Cedric Berthelin pushed Nicky Southall's penalty on to the bar. A retake was ordered and this time Southall needed no assistance in hitting the bar. Five minutes later, Danny Butterfield scored the winner.
Ipswich Town, fourth, dominated Preston North End at Portman Road and second-half goals by Tommy Miller and Ian Westlake won it 2-0.
That smell? It's Wimbledon's goose, well and truly cooked after a 4-0 defeat at Watford left them 17 points from safety at the bottom.
Danny Wilson, the Bristol City manager, had an unhappy return to Sheffield Wednesday, who sacked him four years ago. His side lost 1-0, allowing Plymouth Argyle, 1-0 winners at Blackpool, to go top of the Second Division again.