Southampton returned to the top of the Championship table and the appointment of Neil Warnock inspired Leeds to derby day heroics.
Crystal Palace snapped out of their winless run, as did Peterborough, Nottingham Forest took the spoils in a relegation six-pointer at the City Ground and there was further misery for Portsmouth.
Southampton took full advantage of West Ham's lack of weekend activity to clamber back to the summit, with Jos Hooiveld, Aaron Martin, Adam Lallana and Tadanari Lee seeing them to a crushing 4-0 victory over Derby.
Cardiff missed the chance to move back above Reading into third after going down 3-0 at in-formIpswich, with Bluebirds old boy Michael Chopra among the goals at Portman Road.
Crystal Palace entered their home date with Watford without a win in six, but saw loan star Chris Martin bag a brace as they swept aside the Hornets 4-0.
Peterborough also returned to winning ways, after going seven without success, as they saw off struggling Bristol City 3-0 at London Road.
Leeds announced on Saturday that Warnock is to fill their managerial void and he will inherit a side buoyed by a remarkable 3-2 victory over Yorkshire rivals Doncaster - with the Whites hitting back from two goals down to snatch a dramatic win.
Portsmouth, fresh from entering administration and incurring a 10-point penalty, saw their troubles mount on the road at Barnsley, with Dave Kitson seeing red in a 2-0 defeat which saw Pompey slip into the bottom three.
Nottingham Forest gave their survival bid a welcome shot in the arm, with a 2-0 victory over fellow strugglers Coventry seeing them move out of the drop zone for the first time since November.