Newcastle made it six straight wins in the Sky Bet Championship with a narrow 2-1 victory at Preston which maintained their cushion at the top of the table.
The Magpies were made to work by North End, who fell to a 6-0 defeat against the same opponents in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, but Aleksandar Mitrovic struck just before the hour mark.
Mitrovic then netted his second of the day, to add to his brace against Preston in midweek, 19 minutes from time before Jermaine Beckford pulled one back in a nervy finish.
Second-placed Brighton remain three points behind Rafael Benitez's side after they hammered fellow promotion contenders Norwich 5-0 at the Amex Stadium.
The Seagulls are now unbeaten in nine Championship games as Glenn Murray's hat-trick, a Lewis Dunk header and Anthony Knockaert's left-footed effort secured a vital three points.
Huddersfield's grip on the automatic promotion places continues to slide after a comprehensive 5-0 defeat at Fulham.
The Terriers have now lost three of their last four games and are three points adrift of Brighton after Fulham's Chris Martin helped himself to a double.
Tomas Kalas, Lucas Piazon and Kevin McDonald also scored as the Cottagers eased to victory.
Reading stormed into the play-off places as goals from Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter sealed a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Bristol City also maintained their place in the top six with a 2-2 draw against Barnsley despite Adam Hammill's stoppage-time equaliser.
Lee Tomlin's penalty cancelled out Marley Watkins' opener for Barnsley before Tammy Abraham thought he had won it for the Robins.
Sheffield Wednesday slipped out of the play-off positions as lowly Derby boosted their survival chances with a 2-0 win at the iPro Stadium.
Cyrus Christie and Alex Pearce scored for the Rams, while goals from Chris Wood and Souleymane Doukara secured Leeds a 2-0 home victory over Burton.
Jordi Gomez fired a late winner at Cardiff as managerless Wigan picked up just their second Championship victory in 13 games.
The Latics, who sacked Gary Caldwell as boss on Tuesday, beat the Bluebirds 1-0 but are still stuck in the relegation zone.
Rotherham remain rooted to the bottom of the table after conceding a late equaliser against Ipswich in a dramatic 2-2 draw.
The Millers looked to be on their way to just their second win of the season but David McGoldrick struck in the fifth minute of added time.
Freddie Sears opened the scoring for the Tractor Boys but Danny Ward's double at least helped the struggling visitors end a seven-game losing run.