Reading manager Steve Coppell said his side landed a crucial psychological blow in the Championship promotion race by beating leaders Wolverhampton 1-0.
The Royals, in second place, are now just two points behind Mick McCarthy’s team after Wolves defender Neill Collins headed into his own net in the second minute at the Madejski Stadium. Collins was then sent off in the last minute after arguing with the linesman to cap a miserable performance.
“I see it as psychologically important to win. There is a third of the season to go and it is all to play for,” Coppell said.
Wolverhampton boss McCarthy is adamant his team have no reason to panic after a result that throws the promotion battle wide open.
“Apart from the goal which is a defining moment I’m delighted with how we played,” McCarthy said. “We scrapped to the bitter end and they’ve had a right go.
Birmingham got their promotion charge back on track as Lee Carsley’s second-half goal clinched a 1-0 win over Derby at St Andrews — the Blues’ first success in five matches.
Alex McLeish snatched the points when former Everton midfielder Carsley flicked in Hameur Bouazza’s right-wing cross in the 59th minute.
Playoff hopefuls Sheffield United were beaten 1-0 at home by Doncaster, who clinched the victory thanks to James O’Connor’s 50th-minute strike.
Swansea boss Roberto Martinez insisted his team are starting to hit top form after they routed Preston 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
Martinez’s Swans dumped holders Portsmouth out of the FA Cup on Saturday and chalked up a fifth successive win by brushing aside North End.
“They believe in what I have been doing my methods and my coaching and things are now beginning to work out for us on the pitch,” Martinez said. “The team is building up well and I think we are improving with each game at the moment.”
At the other end of the table, Charlton boss Phil Parkinson set his sights on survival after his side defeated south London rivals Crystal Palace 1-0 at the Valley to earn their first win in 19 league matches.
Elsewhere, Bryan Gunn was frustrated in his first match as permanent Norwich manager as Southampton hit back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Carrow Road.
QPR thrashed Blackpool 3-0, Nottingham Forest’s resurgence continued as they defeated 10-man Sheffield Wednesday 2-1, Ipswich won 2-1 at Barnsley, Bristol City won 2-0 at Plymouth and Watford strolled to a 3-0 victory over Burnley.