Leeds United’s automatic promotion hopes received a massive boost after they twice came from behind to earn a vital 3-2 win over Millwall at Elland Road.
Leeds trailed to a Ben Thompson Strike early in the first half, but drew level when Pablo Hernandez rounded off a slick passing move as half-time approached.
They fell behind again after Ben Marshall converted a penalty at the start of the second half and seemed to be on course for a crippling defeat, but found another gear to salvage a huge three points with goals from Luke Ayling and Hernandez completing the turnaround.
Their afternoon got even better when second placed Sheffield United fell to a home defeat against play-off chasing Bristol City. Four Irish internationals featured for the Blades in a 3-2 reversal at Bramall Lane with Enda Stevens, John Egan and David McGoldrick all starting and Scott Hogan making an appearance from the bench.
Billy Sharp put them ahead after just six minutes, but Andreas Weimann responded on the half hour mark to level proceedings.
Hogan looked to have sealed a vital win for Sheffield United when he scored his first goal for the club 20 minutes from time, but Weimann scored twice more to complete his hat trick and condemn United to a damaging defeat.
The result sees Leeds leapfrog Sheffield United into second place. Had both games ended after 70 minutes, Sheffield United would have moved four points clear of their promotion rivals.
Elsewhere, former Irish international Daryl Murphy came off the bench to equalise for Nottingham Forest in their 2-1 win over Swansea which keeps their feint play-off hopes alive.
In a game void of real attacking quality, Swansea looked to have taken the three points when Scottish international Oli McBurnie put them ahead with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Murphy’s introduction, however, sparked a Forest revival and they turned the game around thanks to headers from him and centre back Molla Wagué.
Sixteen miles from the City Ground, Forest’s rivals Derby County reaffirmed their play-off ambitions with a 6-1 thrashing of Rotherham.
Richard Keogh captained Derby, who took the lead through a Martyn Waghorn penalty. Two more efforts from Waghorn, along with goals from Bradley Johnson, Mason Mount and Duane Holmes, completed the rout.
At Villa Park, Glenn Whelan started and Conor Hourihane came off the bench as Aston Villa recorded their fifth consecutive victory with a 2-1 win over Blackburn.
Goals from Tammy Abraham and Tyrone Mings proved enough against a Blackburn side whose solitary effort came from Amari’i Bell with 16 minutes remaining. The win sees Villa’s relentless march up the Championship table continue, and they now sit fifth.
In League One, Irish international James Collins scored yet again in Luton’s 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers as they moved a step closer to securing automatic promotion to the Championship.