Aston Villa's automatic promotion hopes suffered a setback as a 2-0 defeat at Fulham left them outside the Championship's top two on Saturday.
Ryan Sessegnon continued his fine scoring form to help snap the Villans' seven-game winning streak in the league, opening the door to Cardiff City to move above Steve Bruce's men.
And the Bluebirds made the opportunity count with a slim 1-0 home win over Middlesbrough.
League leaders Wolves, meanwhile, were still able to increase their lead at the top despite being held to a 1-1 draw by the frustrating resilience of Preston North End.
SESSEGNON STARS TO SNAP VILLA STREAK
Fulham dented Villa's automatic promotion chances and enhanced their own with a hard-earned three points at Craven Cottage.
Talented teenager Sessegnon made the breakthrough shortly after the interval - his 12th of the campaign - before Floyd Ayite punished Sam Johnstone's poor clearance to seal the win.
7 - Ryan Sessegnon has scored seven league goals so far in 2018 - only Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (9) has netted more in England's top four tiers. Flourishing. pic.twitter.com/RX1f5dG6qe— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 17, 2018
Slavisa Jokanovic's side are now four points behind Villa and six shy of Cardiff, who edged out Middlesbrough.
Sean Morrison headed the only goal on 33 minutes to make it three wins in four for Neil Warnock's men.
WOLVES HELD AFTER SENDING OFF
Wolves extended their lead at the summit to 11 points despite being forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at plucky 10-man Preston.
Alan Browne headed in a corner to give the Lilywhites a surprise second-half lead at Deepdale, but their good work came undone on the hour.
John Welsh was dismissed for a second yellow card and that opened the door for the visitors to equalise almost immediately through Helder Costa.
Preston held on to see out a draw that puts them two points behind sixth-placed Bristol City, who visit Leeds United on Sunday.
SUNDERLAND SLIP TO JOINT-BOTTOM
Sunderland are now level on points with bottom-placed Burton Albion after Brentford ended a three-match winless run with a 2-0 victory at the Stadium of Light.
Kamohelo Mokotjo and Neal Maupay both scored first-half goals to consign Chris Coleman's side to back-to-back home defeats.
"We have got three days to turn another negative into something positive"— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) February 17, 2018
Chris Coleman cut a frustrated figure at full time but admitted his players must move on quickly ahead of Tuesday’s trip to @OfficialBWFC
Burton, meanwhile, missed a chance to leapfrog the Black Cats as they drew 0-0 at home to Nottingham Forest.
Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers both remain two points above the relegation zone following defeats to Millwall and Queens Park Rangers respectively.
|Man United & Real Madrid talk not affecting Milinkovic-Savic|
|Out-of-contract Ruiz focused on Costa Rica|
|Southgate will not bombard England with last-minute instructions|
|Muller: Germany under extreme pressure|
|Rangers score four runs in ninth to pick up walk-off win over Rockies|
|U.S. Open champion Koepka happy to continue being ´overlooked´|
|Pogba: I´m the most criticised player in the world|
|Maradona: Sampaoli´s game plan against Iceland was a disgrace|
|De Gea will bounce back from error – Marchena|
|Slater named for Maroons return|
|Woods, Faldo, Harrington and Koepka – U.S. Open champion joins fine club after successful defence|
|Fleetwood positive despite falling short at U.S. Open|
|Jesus: I had no reason to play for a penalty|
|Hernandez admits to exaggerating fouls against Australia|
|Koepka says winning two U.S. Opens not even in his ´wildest dreams´|
|Hernandez: Griezmann an idol at Atletico|
|Sri Lanka take charge despite Gabriel exploits|
|U.S. Open final-round timeline: How clinical Koepka kept his crown|
|Koepka fights off challengers to successfully defend U.S. Open title|
|´Aching´ Neymar urges referees to intervene|
|BREAKING NEWS: Koepka holds on to defend U.S. Open title|
|Lozano goal causes artificial earthquake in Mexico|
|Djokovic: Mental battle will be Murray´s biggest|
|Hummels criticises Germany tactics in Mexico loss|
|Brazil the latest favourites to stumble, but Tite and Neymar won´t panic|
|Magnificent Fleetwood matches U.S. Open record with closing 63|
|Brazil 1 Switzerland 1: Zuber pegs back below-par Selecao|
|Warrington hold off Wakefield fightback, Tigers held despite Hitchcox heroics|
|Germany follow trend of poor starts for World Cup champions|
|Reed on the charge as U.S. Open race hots up|
|Milinkovic-Savic can play for any team in Europe, says Crespo|
|Southgate keen to unleash his bold new England|
|Konta fumes as Barty takes Nottingham title|
|Kante hails Pogba´s match-winning contribution|
|Germany struggle with generation gap|
|Neymar to make first competitive start since February in Brazil´s World Cup opener|
|Kane gunning for Ronaldo hat-trick heroics in England opener|
|Balotelli would fit in at Marseille - Raiola|
|Captain Ki happy to get tough on South Korea|
|Senegal call up Mbengue with Ciss ruled out|
|Mickelson celebrates at scene of Saturday meltdown|
|Germany 0 Mexico 1: Lozano stuns woeful reigning champions|
|Chandimal to face hearing after pleading not guilty to ball tampering|
|Griezmann ´must do more´, says Deschamps|
|Gasquet shows his class on grass to end Chardy´s chances|
|Courtois: Belgium outsiders not World Cup favourites|
|You can´t compare Ronaldo and Messi – Adrien Silva|
|Kiwis name seven uncapped players for England Test|
|Lorenzo tells critics: Remember MotoGP wins next time I struggle|
|Maaloul singles out ´future of English football´ Alli as main threat|
|Poland v Senegal: Nawalka waits on Glik|
|All Blacks draft in Riccitelli and Hemopo, Barrett not risked for third Test|
|Palermo to appeal play-off result after ´illegal game´|
|Once a year is not enough! - Alonso loved Le Mans bow|
|Colombia v Japan: Kawashima eager to right the wrongs of 2014|
|Russia v Egypt: Salah poised to derail hosts´ juggernaut|
|South Korea swapping kit numbers to confuse Sweden|
|Neuer, Ozil start for Germany in World Cup opener|
|Costa Rica and Serbia serve up plenty of the spectacular in sunny Samara|
|Alonso edges closer to ´Triple Crown´ with Le Mans glory|
|Costa Rica 0 Serbia 1: Kolarov stunner seals points|
|Belgium are better than Argentina – Gomez and Panama ignoring Iceland result|
|Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar would keep the goal - Evra defends Pogba|
|Two in a row for dominant Lorenzo in Barcelona|
|Maradona denies racism claim|
|Resilient Krunic breaks Tour duck|
|Federer wins Stuttgart Open on his return|
|Injured Vunipola to miss England´s series finale in South Africa|
|Ibrahimovic not involved in Sweden´s World Cup plans, insists Andersson|
|Sri Lanka captain Chandimal charged with ball tampering|