Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough became the new Sky Bet Championship leaders as they took full advantage of Derby County's latest slip up by defeating Millwall 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium.Boro came into their clash with the Lions having won just one of their previous five fixtures in all competitions, but they were rarely troubled by Ian Holloway's struggling outfit after Patrick Bamford opened the scoring. Kike added a second to move him into double figures for the season and Jelle Vossen rounded off a happy evening for Karanka.
Middlesbrough reached the summit because the Rams, the leaders before the evening's games, suffered a second defeat in four days after going down at Brighton & Hove Albion.
After the 2-0 loss to Fulham at the weekend, Steve McClaren's men were defeated by that scoreline again. Despite seeing the visitors dominate for long spells, the Seagulls claimed all three points thanks to Dale Stephen's fortuitous 69th-minute effort and substitute Kazenga LuaLua's drilled finish.
Watford moved up to third with a 1-0 success over Fulham, Troy Deeney's ninth-minute strike proving the difference, while Bournemouth also jumped above Norwich City into fourth with a 2-1 success over Play-Off hopefuls Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Yann Kermorgant scored twice, the second coming from the penalty spot, either side of Benik Afobe's effort for the visitors, meaning Eddie Howe's men tasted victory for the first time since early February.
Brentford were indebted to a brace too as Chris Long's double was added to by Alex Pritchard and Jon Toral in a 4-1 triumph over Huddersfield Town, for whom Harry Bunn was on target.
Despite Millwall's loss, Rotherham United were unable to move further adrift of danger as they were beaten 3-1 by Cardiff City in South Yorkshire.
The Millers, who remain six points clear of the bottom three, were swept aside by first-half goals from Bruno Manga, Federico Macheda and Conor McAleny, with Danny Ward's effort 10 minutes from time a mere consolation for the hosts.
The Dougie Freedman-led revival at Nottingham Forest hit a bump in the road in a 2-1 loss at Charlton Athletic, with Frederic Bulot's first-half double ensuring Michail Antonio's goal came in a losing cause.
In the evening's later kick-off, Jamie Mackie's stoppage-time equaliser earned Reading a point in a 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.
Trotters boss Neil Lennon was forced into three first-half substitutions, losing Kevin McNaughton, David Wheater and Zach Clough, but Eidur Gudjohnsen, one of the trio to come on before half-time, had put them ahead before Mackie's late intervention ensured the spoils were shared.