BRISTOL CITY 5 - 3 BARNSLEY
Bristol City climbed off the foot of the npower Championship table with a vital win over in-form Barnsley in an eight-goal thriller dominated by the hosts.
Barnsley, who themselves occupied bottom spot at the start of the year, saw their impressive six-match unbeaten run in the league under David Flitcroft come to an abrupt halt.
Jon Stead struck in either half, Liam Fontaine hit his first goal since April 2010, and Lewin Nyatanga and Steven Davis also got in on the act to hand the Robins their first win in three matches and move them to within three points of Barnsley, who sit one place above the drop zone.
The visitors responded with Chris O'Grady's first goal since joining on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, and further strikes from substitutes Tomasz Cywka and Jason Scotland.
It was Manchester United loanee and Barnsley debutant Ryan Tunnicliffe who threatened first with a powerful shot inside the opening five minutes but Tom Heaton clawed it away.
Stead had already seen his header from strike partner Davies' cross clear the bar when he raced clear, only to be denied by a superb recovering challenge from Stephen Foster.
Flitcroft's side created the next opening when Marlon Harewood was afforded space and time to pick out Rory Delap but his shot from the edge of the box was tipped wide by Heaton.
The hosts seized the advantage after 16 minutes when Paul Anderson's left-wing corner was flicked on by Marvin Elliott and Stead added the final touch with his head.
Barnsley tried to respond immediately and Tom Kennedy's free-kick presented Chris Dagnall with the opportunity to get a header on target but Heaton was equal to the challenge.
Stead almost turned provider when he found Davies at the far post but Jimmy McNulty did enough to put him off as he shaped to shoot.
Heaton pulled off an incredible save to deny Martin Cranie an equaliser when the Reds defender powered a close-range header at goal with 27 minutes gone.
Soon after, the Robins doubled their lead. Brendan Moloney provided the cross and Fontaine was the unlikely scorer from six yards out.
Just seven minutes into the second half, Sean O'Driscoll's men all but put the game to bed when Fontaine headed Davies' cross into the path of Stead and he doubled his personal tally.
They added a fourth for good measure three minutes later, Nyatanga profiting from slack defending to head in from inside the six-yard box.
O'Grady stabbed in after a goalmouth scramble to reduce the deficit before the hour-mark but Barnsley's flicker of hope appeared to fade when Davies intercepted David Perkins' poor pass to slot past Luke Steele.
Cywka, introduced from the bench just after the hour, volleyed in from the edge of the box with eight minutes left and Scotland fired in from long range to round off the scoring in stoppage time.
- LEAGUE ONE
Swindon, who began the day top but still in turmoil following the departure of manager Paolo di Canio and a number of his backroom staff, slipped to second after being held 1-1 by Preston.
Adam Rooney claimed the equaliser for the Robins moments after coming off the bench, cancelling out Preston's first goal under new manager Simon Grayson, scored by Will Hayhurst.
Two other promotion contenders, Doncaster and Yeovil, played out a 1-1 draw at the Keepmoat Stadium, ending Yeovil's run of eight consecutive wins.
Paddy Madden struck for the visitors early on to score his eleventh goal in eight games, breaking a club record by scoring for the eighth game in a row.
But former Swindon striker Billy Paynter hit back for the hosts.
- LEAGUE TWO
Cheltenham drew 2-2 at Accrington Stanley. The Robins twice led through Marlon Pack, the first from the penalty spot, but former England international James Beattie responded with both goals for Stanley.
Bristol Rovers drew 1-1 at Morecambe. Eliot Richards goal early in the second half cancelled out a second-minute strike from Jack Redshaw.