Ipswich opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship as both Wigan and Reading were defeated.
Joe Royle's side grabbed a vital home victory over Stoke, emerging 1-0 winners thanks to Shefki Kuqi's deft winner. Kuqi got his 12th of the season
after a well-executed exchange with Ian Westlake, receiving the ball before poking past Potters stopper Steve Simonsen.
Wigan's recent enigmatic form continued as they lost 1-0 at Burnley after Graham Branch's first-half winner.
And third-placed Reading took a 3-0 beating away to clinical Preston at Deepdale, with Eddie Lewis and Patrick Agyemang ripping the Royals apart.
Agyemang rose highest to head home Lewis' free-kick after 17 minutes and Andy Hughes did his side no favours with an own goal soon after. Lewis, an
America international, was the beneficiary as Agyemang turned provider in the second half for Preston's third.
Sunderland moved into second place with a 2-1 win against hapless Nottingham Forest thanks to Marcus Stewart's winner. After a goalless first half,
Stephen Elliott got himself back on the goal trail four minutes after the break, capitalising on David Johnson's glaring miss in the first half. Andy
Reid equalised after confusion in the Black Cats' penalty area but Sunderland's influential Julio Arca stole the ball in injury time and fed Stewart
who kept his composure to clinch a vital win.
West Ham stole a point from downtrodden Rotherham thanks to two controversial penalties which allowed them to draw 2-2. Andy Monkhouse set Martin
Butler through in the first half and the veteran striker kept his cool to bury the ball beyond the on-rushing Stephen Bywater. Martin McIntosh further
stung the visitors seven minutes before the break. But the Hammers pulled a goal back in fortuitous circumstances in the second half when Marlon
Harewood's over-zealous fall inside the box won the Londoners a penalty, which Teddy Sheringham converted after 71 minutes. Harewood scored West Ham's
second penalty to level the scores, after Sheringham earned yet another hotly-disputed spot-kick.
Leeds continued their good Christmas form with a 2-1 win at home to Plymouth. A Peter Gilbert own goal put the Yorkshire club ahead and Leeds looked
set for a 1-0 victory until a late flurry which saw David Healy make it 2-0 before Stevie Crawford's consolation, both in injury time.
A Barry Hayles hat-trick inspired Millwall to a 3-0 away win at Derby. Against the run of play Hayles scored his 100th professional career goal after
18 minutes and grabbed two more as Derby advanced to make the scoreline even more commanding.
Coventry goalkeeper Luke Steele had a nightmare afternoon as his side lost 3-1 at Gillingham. Darren Byfield opened the scoring for the Gills when
Steele allowed his soft long-range shot to squeeze into the net after 15 minutes. Dele Adebola headed Coventry level before half-time but Steele was
again at fault in the second half when he failed to reach Nicky Southall's high corner and Mamady Sidibe pounced to restore the lead for Stan
Ternent's side, before Ian Cox got in on the act to make it 3-1.
Crewe left QPR with a welcome 2-1 victory, with Richard Walker and Mark Rivers scoring for the Alex and Danny #tu scoring for the home side.
Keith Gillespie's red card in the first half left Leicester with a mountain to climb at Sheffield United - and they eventually lost 2-0 thanks to
goals from Andy Gray and Alan Quinn.
Watford and Cardiff played out a goalless draw while Wolves drew their fourth match in succession at home to Brighton. Gary Hart put the visitors
ahead at Molineux before Kenny Miller's equaliser before half-time rescued a 1-1 draw.