Fulham moved back into second place in the Championship and an automatic promotion slot with a thumping 7-0 victory at relegation-threatened Reading.
Marco Silva’s men took a 13th-minute lead through Harry Wilson and stretched it on the brink of half-time with an Aleksandar Mitrovic penalty. Fulham proved rampant in the second period, as Reading collapsed, with further goals from Wilson, Kenny Tete, Neeskens Kebano, Tosin Adarabioyo and Mitrovic again.
The visitors had not won in five league matches, though four had been draws, and had slipped from top in the Championship to third behind Bournemouth and Blackburn. But Reading started lethargically and were soon 1-0 down when Josh Laurent delivered a loose attempted back pass to goalkeeper Luke Southwood. It went straight to Wilson, who slid the ball into the empty net.
Then followed a spectacular brace of disallowed efforts from Andy Carroll – one from an overhead kick, the other a left-footed 20-yard volley. Both shots thundered past Marek Rodak but, on each occasion, the former England forward was adjudged offside.
Fulham were fortunate to stretch their lead in first-half stoppage time. Tom Holmes needlessly brought down Wilson in the area and Mitrovic coolly dispatched the penalty. Fulham upped the tempo at the start of the second period and, on the hour, Antonee Robinson crossed low into the area and Wilson was on hand to guide home unchallenged.
It was 4-0 in the 68th minute when Mitrovic nodded goalwards and Tete was on hand to glance it past Southwood. That became 5-0 two minutes later, with Kebano drifting in at the back post to stab in a Wilson cross. Fulham added another in the 75th minute when Adarabioyo towered above the home defence to nod in a Wilson corner. They completed the rout one minute from the end of normal time, Mitrovic tapping in after the Reading defence had again been breached with ease.
Elsewhere, Sunderland missed the chance to go top of League One and finished with 10 men as Chris Maguire’s hat-trick set Lincoln on their way to a 3-1 victory at the Stadium of Light.
The hosts were behind after half an hour when Maguire drilled a low shot in at the near post. Defender Carl Winchester was sent off for a second caution in the 56th minute after bringing down Maguire in the penalty area, and the forward got up to slot in the resulting spot-kick.
Sunderland reduced the deficit in the 68th minute when Ross Stewart bundled home a rebound after his own penalty had been saved by Joshua Griffiths. The was no late rally, however, as Maguire completed his treble with 15 minutes left.
Wycombe closed up to a point behind Sunderland with a 2-0 win at Bolton. After a delay following an early clash of heads, Brandon Hanlan gave Wycombe the lead in the 35th minute. The visitors doubled their advantage seven minutes into the second half through Jack Grimmer, the defender scoring his first goal for the club after 82 appearances.
MK Dons sit fifth after a 1-0 home win over AFC Wimbledon, who finished with 10 men. Matt O’Riley gave MK Dons the lead after half an hour before the visitors saw defender Nesta Guinness-Walker sent off for a second caution ahead of the break.
Forest Green extended their lead at the top of League Two to nine points with a 2-0 home win over struggling Colchester. The visitors, on a five-match winless run in all competitions, fell behind to Jamille Matt’s 15th-minute strike. Josh March added a second in stoppage time.
Rob Edwards’ team took advantage of second-placed Tranmere drawing 1-1 at Salford to further tighten their grip at the top. In-form Mansfield closed up on the play-offs with a 3-2 win over fellow top-seven hopefuls Swindon.
George Maris gave Mansfield an early lead, before Harry McKirdy equalised. Mansfield were soon in front again through a penalty from Stephen McLaughlin, with Jordan Bowery making it 3-1 shortly before half-time. Swindon midfielder Ellis Iandolo slotted in a late second, but it proved only a consolation.