Cardiff City are on the brink of promotion to the Premier League after they beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 and Watford lost to Peterborough.
Malky Mackay’s men knew victory against Forest and defeat for third-placed Watford on Saturday would leave the Welsh club on the verge of top-flight football for the first time since 1962.
And they stepped up to the task courtesy of French striker Rudy Gestede, who stole the show with two goals as Cardiff ran out comfortable victors.
Heidar Helguson opened the scoring in the 26th minute before the visitors were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time after striker Darius Henderson saw red.
Substitute Gestede made sure of the victory with two goals in the space of six minutes as Cardiff maintained their six-point lead at the summit ahead of Hull, who edged Ipswich 2-1.
The 2008 FA Cup finalists are now nine points clear of Watford in the automatic promotion places with four games remaining, after Gianfranco Zola’s men suffered a 3-2-loss to resurgent Peterborough, who are unbeaten in eight games.
Watford’s slip-up means Cardiff only need a point from their next fixture to secure promotion.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Brian McDermott’s tenure as Leeds manager got off to a winning start as they came from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1.
McDermott was appointed manager of the struggling club on Friday following Neil Warnock’s sacking but his new side found themselves trailing after Jermaine Johnson scored the opener on 27 minutes.
But a quick-fire double from Luke Varney in the second half saw Leeds end their seven-game winless streak.
In other results, a rampant Charlton side put six past lowly Barnsley in a dominant 6-0 performance, Blackburn climbed out of the relegation zone thanks to a 2-0 win over Derby County and promotion hopefuls Brighton consolidated fifth position with a 2-0 victory at strugglers Middlesbrough.
Bolton Wanderers overcame Bristol City 2-1 to move into final promotion place, Blackpool narrowly beat Burnley 1-0, while relegation-threatened Wolves were on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Huddersfield.
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