Chris Coleman suffered defeat in his first game as Sunderland manager as they fell to promotion-hopefuls Aston Villa in Tuesday's Championship clash.
The 47-year-old, who left his post as Wales head coach to take over at the Stadium of Light this week, could not prevent a 2-1 defeat at Villa Park that leaves Sunderland deep in the relegation mire.
Coleman's old club Fulham denied Sheffield United the chance to go top of the table as they won a nine-goal thriller at Bramall Lane, while Cardiff City climbed into second place and Derby County got back to winning ways.
Norwich City and Bristol City had disappointing results, Reading snatched a draw at Bolton Wanderers and there were stalemates between Millwall and Hull City, and Brentford and Burton Albion.
COLEMAN FACES HUGE TASK AT SUNDERLAND
The appointment of a new manager could not galvanise Sunderland enough as they went down 2-1 against Aston Villa.
Albert Adomah's third goal in two games and a deflected strike from Josh Onomah were enough for the home side, who moved into fourth in the table.
Lewis Grabban gave Sunderland a lifeline in the second half but they could not muster the equaliser that would have taken them to within three points of safety.
It could have been worse for Coleman and the Black Cats had relegation rivals Bolton not surrendered a two-goal lead against Reading, with Liam Moore and Leandro Bacuna scoring in the final 14 minutes at the Macron Stadium to keep the hosts in the bottom three.
Burton moved a point nearer to 21st-placed Birmingham City with a 1-1 draw at Brentford, although Ben Turner's equaliser was not enough to lift them out of the relegation zone.
Millwall and Hull edged away from the drop with a 0-0 draw.
SESSEGNON STOCK RISES AS FULHAM BLUNT BLADES' PROMOTION HOPES
The game of the day took place at Bramall Lane as Fulham claimed a stunning 5-4 win over Sheffield United to prevent the Blades from going top.
Leon Clarke put the hosts ahead before goals from Sheyi Ojo and Ryan Sessegnon made it 2-1 to the visitors, with the 17-year-old scoring again before half-time to keep his side in front after Clarke had snatched a quick equaliser.
Ojo got his second after 69 minutes and the highly rated Sessegnon clinched his hat-trick to make it 5-2, but Samir Carruthers struck in the 86th minute and Clarke completed his own treble in stoppage time to set up a nervy finish.
Fulham held on for a win that takes them above Norwich into 14th place, though, and United's spirits were further dampened with the news that Cardiff had leapfrogged them to go second thanks to Callum Paterson's solitary goal away to Barnsley.
BRISTOL CITY SLIP UP AS DERBY INCH INTO PLAY-OFF PLACES
Bristol City's promotion hopes took a hit as they fell to a 2-1 home defeat to Preston.
Paul Gallagher and Callum Robinson sealed the visitors' first win since September 26 at Ashton Gate, despite a late strike from Cauley Woodrow.
The loss saw them drop below Villa in the table and allowed Derby to close to within two points thanks to their 2-0 victory at home to QPR.
Nottingham Forest are very much in the hunt for the top six, too, with Daryl Murphy's second-half goal giving them a 1-0 win over Norwich that leaves them two points behind Derby, having played a game more.
|Balotelli returns to Nice training after Marseille talks stall|
|Owens wants to play in the CFL, says agent|
|I don´t like thinking too much - Johnson|
|Toulon president fined as French club receive suspended points penalty|
|Top of the flops - Mickelson plays exquisite trick shot over man´s head!|
|Kerber targeted Wimbledon after 2017 disappointment|
|England´s World Cup heroes given dedicated parking spots|
|Insigne prefers Messi to new Juve star Ronaldo|
|Koepka enjoys playing with a chip on the shoulder|
|Ryan Hall to leave Leeds Rhinos amid reports of NRL move|
|Hamann slams Lahm for Low criticism|
|Hart named in Manchester City squad for United States tour|
|F1 Raceweek: Leader Vettel heads home|
|Unfair to pin Brazil blame on Neymar, says Kaka|
|Thomas and friends ´want to beat each other´s brains in´|
|Woods´ love for links fathered at Carnoustie|
|Confident Rose targets tournament wins and number one spot|
|Hallgrimsson leaves Iceland post|
|Australian Open to consult players over fifth-set tie-breaks|
|Daley´s coming home - Ajax rewrite Three Lions anthem|
|Woods: Open my best chance at winning another major|
|Blind completes Ajax return from Manchester United|
|I belong at the top, says Anderson|
|Leaving Madrid was my biggest regret, Panucci warns Ronaldo|
|Folau in no rush to settle future amid Reds rumours|
|Degenkolb: I need two or three secretaries to manage congratulations!|
|Harrington v Garcia: When winning makes life tougher|
|Mafi and Timani fined by Rebels|
|Watson: Johnson and Woods can prosper at Carnoustie|
|Alderweireld hints at Tottenham departure|
|Maradona takes over as Dynamo Brest chairman|
|The Open 2018: Wounded animal Spieth is a danger to Carnoustie rivals|
|Wests´ Reynolds to miss the rest of 2018|
|Pussy Riot members jailed for World Cup final protest|
|Ronaldo capture boosts Serie A - Mourinho|
|Goals at three World Cups and 50 for the Socceroos – Cahill´s international career in numbers|
|Giroud: It´s coming home|
|Harper wins Home Run Derby in Nationals Park|
|Brighton sign Button from Fulham|
|Bolt set to trial with A-League club Central Coast Mariners|
|Thomas asks Seahawks for extension or trade|
|Walker doubts he´ll join Knicks, wants ´long´ stay at Hornets|
|Socceroos hero Cahill retires from internationals|
|Record income revenue for Barcelona|
|Kudla untroubled as Young bows out in Newport|
|Celtics still hoping to re-sign Smart|
|Villarreal sign highly rated Velez midfielder Caseres|
|Juventus signing Ronaldo should give Milan optimism – Kaka|
|Berrettini masters Mayer in Bastad|
|Manchester United and Ajax agree Daley Blind transfer|
|Familiarity with demands of Real Madrid an advantage – Lopetegui|
|Parmentier rallies to avoid Bucharest exit, Arruabarrena bows out in Gstaad|
|Steelers fail to sign Bell to long-term deal|
|Over 10 per cent of Croatia´s population welcomes World Cup heroes home|
|Thierry Henry quits pundit role to focus on coaching|
|France´s World Cup winners given heroes´ welcome in Paris|
|At the end we will see who is best - Ronaldo sidesteps Messi rivalry|
|Qatar? China? Ronaldo only has eyes for glory at Juventus|
|Proud Kane praises team-mates after Golden Boot win|
|The Open 2018 diary: Is that Tiger Woods? Harrington feels the Burn...|
|Porte targeting Vuelta after Tour de France anguish|
|Maradona madness, #WaistcoatWednesday, bruised Batshuayi - Alternative World Cup awards|
|It could be the best time - Martinez hints at Hazard Chelsea exit|
|England call up Billings as cover for injury doubt Roy|
|McIlroy on track for fitting major haul - Harrington|
|Froome plays down Thomas battle for Sky supremacy|
|Carnoustie record counts for little at The Open, says Fleetwood|
|I don´t see it - Napoli chief De Laurentiis plays down talk of Callejon-Suso swap|
|One or two changes required at Chelsea, says Sarri|
|Monaco confirm Golovin approach|