Late goals at the Cardiff Stadium, Carrow Road and the Riverside Stadium saw teams chasing Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers grab all three points where only one seemed likely. Cardiff City regained the second automatic promotion place when Seyi Olofinjana's 85th-minute header from substitute Jason Koumas' cross earned an unexpectedly narrow 1-0 win over relegation-haunted Scunthorpe United.
"Good teams keep going until the end," said the Cardiff manager Dave Jones. "It is all about results from now on but that little bit of quality will always shine through, just as it did today."
Grant Holt's goal in the 94th minute saw Norwich City move up to third after a feisty 2-1 victory over Reading. Henri Lansbury put the Canaries ahead after 16 minutes but Jimmy Kebe's run set up Shane Long's equaliser. The Royals' Jem Karacan was sent off just after the hour, but it looked as if they'd hold on until Holt's late intervention for his 14th goal of the season, and the Canaries' eighth stoppage-time goal.
"It's not down to pot luck," Norwich manager Paul Lambert said, "It's down to the never-say-die attitude of the players and how much they want to win games."
Swansea City had trailed 3-1 at Middlesbrough but Scott Sinclair's penalty on the hour and an Ashley Williams goal eight minutes later levelled. In the 94th minute, again, Craig Beattie fired in left-footed from 20 yards to seal Swans' unlikely 4-3 win, lifting them to fourth.
Only sixth-placed Leeds United had a straightforward win, goals by Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel sufficing to win 2-0 at Bristol City.
As with Scunthorpe, the battle to avoid relegation is starting to look increasingly forlorn for Preston North End. Managers often do well against former clubs but no such luck followed Preston's Phil Brown back to Hull City, where Anthony Gerrard's goal on the stroke of half-time saw the Tigers win 1-0. North End are 10 points from safety. Sheffield United have slightly less ground to make up and took a point from their 1-1 draw with Millwall at Bramall Lane. Crystal Palace lost 2-1 at Coventry and are three points above the drop.
Leicester City's steady rise to the outskirts of the play-off places continued with a 2-0 win at Derby County, first-half goals from Ayegbeni Yakubu and Andy King slicing through the Rams' defence. Burnley are in that pursuing group after only their third win away, late goals by Chris Iwelumo and Chris Eagles the pick of a 3-1 win at Watford. Portsmouth eased their worries with a 2-0 win at Doncaster and Ipswich Town drew 1-1 at Barnsley.
Craig Noone scored twice as leaders Brighton beat Hartlepool 4-1 to maintain a three-point lead over Bourne-mouth who won 1-0 at bottom club Walsall, Michael Symes on target.
Shrewsbury were the only side in the top seven to win yesterday, Nicky Wroe's goal enough to beat Stevenage 1-0 and lift them to second. Stockport County beat fifth-placed Bury 2-1 to move off the bottom. It was only their second home win of the season.
Nikica Jelavic's hat-trick was the highlight as Rangers thrashed Motherwell 6-0 at Ibrox to cut Celtic's lead in the SPL to two points. Stephen Elliott grabbed a goal in each half as third-placed Hearts won 2-0 at bottom club Hamilton. Celtic play at Dundee United this afternoon.
Clarence Seedorf scored after eight minutes and Robinho twice in the second half as Milan limbered up for the visit of Tottenham in the Champions' League on Tuesday with a 4-0 Serie A rout of Parma at San Siro.