Ian Holloway could hardly have wished for a better start to his new job as Crystal Palace boss as a Glenn Murray hat-trick helped the Eagles soar to the top of the npower Championship with a 5-0 thrashing of Ipswich.
Palace’s win, coupled with another shocking away day capitulation by Cardiff and just a point for second-placed Middlesbrough, sent Holloway’s new side flying high into pole position.
Yannick Bolasie opened the scoring for Palace on 24 minutes and then two penalties in five second half minutes by Murray sealed the win. Murray completed his hat-trick after 61 minutes, and substitute Andre Moritz netted a fifth in injury time.
Cardiff’s away day woes continued in a bizarre match against Charlton at The Valley, with the visitors blowing an early 2-0 lead to trail 5-2 before two injury-time strikes made the result a more respectable 5-4 in the Addicks’ favour.
It had all started so well for the Bluebirds, with Heidar Helguson and Joe Mason easing the visitors into a 2-0 lead inside 24 minutes, before two Johnnie Jackson goals brought the Londoners level at half-time.
The home side, hovering just one place above the drop zone after an humiliating 4-1 home loss to Boro on Saturday, then charged towards victory with further goals from Dale Stephens, Danny Haynes and a Rob Hulse header.
Craig Noone and Aron Gunnarsson both scored in injury time to give Cardiff hopes of a dramatic rescue mission, but the home side held out for a much-needed victory.
Boro failed to extend a run of six straight wins but will consider a point a good return as they were held to a goalless draw by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Leicester were held to a goalless draw by Dougie Freedman’s Bolton at the Reebok Stadium, allowing Hull to jump to fourth with a 2-1 win over Wolves at the KC Stadium.
Sone Aluko’s 29th minute free-kick put the Tigers in front and Jay Simpson added a second in the 51st minute before James Chester’s 67th minute own goal gave the visitors hope.
Lee Novak’s strike five minutes into injury time salvaged a point for Huddersfield in a 2-2 draw with Blackburn at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Novak opened the scoring after 15 before Jordan Rhodes and a Danny Murphy penalty appeared to have swung the game in Rovers’ favour. But Novak poked home from close range to snatch the Terriers a point.
Managerless Blackpool proved there is life after Holloway with a 2-0 win at struggling Sheffield Wednesday. Tom Ince put the Seasiders in front after 18 and Ludovic Sylvestre added a late second.
Charlie Austin scored his 17th goal of the season with an 83rd minute header which earned Burnley a 1-0 win over Leeds at Turf Moor.
Substitute Stephen Dobbie struck in injury time to give Brighton a 1-0 home win over Peterborough, while second-half goals from Chris Burke and Marlon King saw Birmingham to a 2-0 win over Bristol City.
James O’Connor and Nathan Tyson gave Derby a 2-0 win over Barnsley at Pride Park, and the game between Watford and Millwall ended goalless.