By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Birmingham climbed back up to second, while Southampton and Sunderland also won.
Birmingham climbed back up to second in the Championship with a narrow 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace, while Southampton, Cardiff and Sunderland also strengthened their promotion chances.
Birmingham's only goal at Selhurst Park came when Gary McSheffrey and Nicklas Bendtner combined after 34 minutes to play in Cameron Jerome, and his neat turn and shot wrong-footed Gabor Kiraly.
Palace almost equalised when Paul Ifill hit the post on the stroke of half time, but they came no closer after the break as Birmingham moved within three points of leaders Derby County.
Cardiff's resurgence continued with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Leeds, although they ended the game with just nine men.
Leeds looked the better side in the first half at Ninian Park but agonisingly fell behind when Michael Chopra fired a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner after 45 minutes.
Chopra and Simon Walton were both sent off in the second half but it was not to be Leeds' day and they remain rooted to the foot of the table.
Andrew Surman netted a hat-trick as Southampton beat Barnsley 5-2, but the scoreline flattered Saints as the game was level with 20 minutes remaining.
Daniel Nardiello gave Barnsley the lead with a cool finish in only the second minute, but Surman (11) levelled for Saints with a sweetly-struck half-volley after 11 minutes and Kenwyne Jones then put Southampton in front after 48 minutes.
Istvan Ferenczi equalised against the run of play on 68 minutes, but Jones restored Southampton's lead from the penalty spot on 73 minutes.
Nardiello was dismissed for Barnsley moments later, before Surman ran riot in the closing stages and helped himself to goals after 80 and 90 minutes.
Sunderland moved into the play-off places on goal difference with a crushing 4-0 victory over Southend at The Stadium of Light.
David Connolly opened the scoring for The Black Cats when he side-footed Carlos Edwards' right-wing cross home in the fourth minute, and Tobias Hysen doubled their advantage after 13 minutes with a superb solo goal.
Stern John then secured the three points for Sunderland with two simple finishes in the space of a minute (77 and 78).
Leicester heaped more misery on struggling Coventry with a 3-0 victory over The Sky Blues, which also eased their own relegation fears.
Geoff Horsfield (11) and Andy Johnson (18) gave The Foxes an early cushion with headed goals, and Horsfield grabbed his second of the afternoon in the 26th minute after receiving a pass from Nils-Eric Johansson.
Wolves kept up their fine form as they beat Burnley 2-1.
Michael Kightly headed Jackie McNamara's cross home after five minutes and Stephen Ward added a second with a neat low finish after 40 minutes.
Chris McCann pulled a goal back for Burnley eight minutes into the second half but Wolves held on to secure victory.
Stoke and Luton played out a fiery goalless draw at The Britannia Stadium in the afternoon's final game.
Ricardo Fuller was given his marching orders for violent conduct after 29 minutes but Luton were also reduced to ten men after 37 minutes when Sol Davis scythed down Mamady Sidibe.
Click here for individual match summaries:
Cardiff 1-0 Leeds
Crystal Palace 0-1 Birmingham
Leicester 3-0 Coventry
Southampton 5-2 Barnsley
Stoke 0-0 Luton
Sunderland 4-0 Southend
Wolves 2-1 Burnley