Portsmouth handed boost, Luton smash record and Charlton up the pressure: how Sunderland's promotion rivals fared
While Sunderland and Barnsley shared the spoils at Oakwell, their rivals were busy trying to build-on their own promotion aspirations.
And it turned into a disappointing evening for the Black Cats, as all the sides around them claimed maximum points during an entertaining round of fixtures.
League leaders Luton Town continued their momentum under interim manager Mick Harford as they claimed a 1-0 win at Bradford City.
The struggling Bantams looked galvanised under new boss Gary Bowyer and were in the contest for large spells.
But it was the Hatters who claimed maximum points courtesy of Jack Stacey's first-half strike - with victory seeing Luton smash a club record as they made it 12 games unbeaten on the road.
Portsmouth, currently sat fourth, took the opportunity to cut the gap between themselves and Sunderland by registering a dramatic 3-2 triumph at Walsall.
Kenny Jackett's side did it the hard way at the Banks' Stadium, having raced into a 3-0 lead courtesy of strikes from Brett Pitman, Omar Bogle and Viv Solomon-Otabor.
But two late goals from Jon Guthrie threatened to see the Saddlers mount a comeback - but Pompey held strong to claim a victory which boosts their automatic promotion hopes.
Charlton continue to breathe down their necks, though, after netting another three points on home soil.
The Addicks claimed a 2-1 triumph over Burton Albion as goals from Lyle Taylor and Ben Reeves either side of a Lucas Akins penalty proved enough.
Meanwhile, play-off chasing Blackpool and Doncaster Rovers shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Bloomfield Road - a fine strike from Tommy Rowe cancelling out Michael Nottingham's opener.
Peterborough, though, suffered a setback to their play-off hopes as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened AFC Wimbledon.
Posh saw defender Rhys Bennett controversially sent-off late on before Joe Piggott converted the resultant penalty.