Wigan missed a chance to extend their lead at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship as Sunderland moved into second place with Ipswich dropping out of
the automatic promotion places.
Despite losing 2-1 to Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium, Wigan stayed top, while the Black Cats took advantage of Ipswich's 2-0 home defeat by QPR
after grinding out a vital 2-1 win at home over Cardiff. Sunderland centre-half Gary Breen pierced the Welsh side's armoury after four minutes and
Marcus Stewart converted Dean Whitehead's cross shortly before the break. It looked comfortable for Sunderland until Tony Vidmar's speculative,
looping header gave them a nervous finish. Cardiff, though, had Alan Lee sent off for a professional foul.
At the Priestfield Stadium, Paul Jewell's leaders were humbled by Gillingham who had striker Darius Henderson to thank for a priceless victory. The
Gills, third from bottom in the table, took the lead through Henderson early in the second half. Their joy was short-lived, however, as Nathan
Ellington scored his 21st goal of the season to keep his side in it but again Henderson scored, this time with a sublime effort which John Filan had
little chance of saving. Wigan scored soon after but it did not count, as Ellington had used his hand.
Ipswich never looked like taking anything from their encounter against QPR, as the visitors rode out 2-0 victors. Goalkeeper Kelvin Davies contributed
to Rangers' first after only four minutes, losing his composure to allow veteran Paul Furlong to register his 16th goal of the season. Marc Bircham
nearly made it 2-0 but Furlong had fouled a defender and the referee gave a free-kick. As Ipswich tried in vain to muster a response, Danny #tu popped
up with a fantastic headed goal with 15 minutes left.
Leeds beat West Ham 2-1 at Elland Road in front of a bumper crowd. Rob Hulse found a way through six minutes after the restart with a close-range
volley. But Alan Pardew's side levelled through Gavin Williams' deflected effort only for Shaun Derry to coolly win the game for the home side.
Coventry survived the entire second half without a recognised goalkeeper to claim a 0-0 draw at home to Stoke - but will be disappointed not to have
won the game. Sky Blues goalkeeper Ian Bennett was sent off in the first half for deliberate handball and with no replacement on the bench, midfielder
Stephen Hughes faced the entire second half defending Coventry's goal. Shortly before the hour-mark, Stoke defender David Brammer fouled Gary
McSheffrey inside the box and McSheffrey dusted himself off to take the kick, only to see Steve Simonsen make the save.
Grzegorz Rasiak's brace helped Derby to a 2-2 draw in the east midlands derby at Nottingham Forest. Rasiak put Derby in front but Forest responded
with goals by Paul Evans, who scored a penalty, and Gareth Taylor. But Rasiak was on hand to salvage a draw.
Gary Hart scored an injury-time winner to hand Brighton three points against Millwall, who had Mark Phillips sent off for a second booking soon
Paul Wotton, Dexter Blackstock and Scott Taylor handed Plymouth a 3-0 home win against Crewe, while Graham Alexander's second-half penalty won the
game for Preston against Burnley.
Paul Shaw's goal was enough to separate Sheffield United and Rotherham as the Blades won 1-0 at Bramall Lane while Reading and Leicester and Wolves
and Watford cancelled each other, drawing 0-0.