IPSWICH HAMMER LEADERS WEST HAM 5 -1
LONDON, (AFP) - Championship leaders West Ham suffered an embarrassing 5-1 thrashing at lowly Ipswich, while second placed Southampton were held to a 1-1 draw by promotion rivals Cardiff on Tuesday.
Sam Allardyce's side arrived at Portman Road with the division's tightest defence but they were torn to pieces as Ipswich moved away from the relegation zone with their first win in eight matches in all competitions.
Ipswich led inside three minutes through Michael Chopra before Carlton Cole hit a post for the visitors moments later.
A crazy end to the first half saw three goals in quick succession, with Daryl Murphy doubling Ipswich's advantage with a header but Jack Collison halving the deficit within seconds.
Ipswich were then awarded a penalty which Lee Martin converted, and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas added a brace after the break as the Hammers saw their three-game winning run in the league come to an end.
Allardyce said: 'I was bitterly disappointed. I didn't expect us to put on such a poor performance defensively.
'That's been our ultimate strength this season, especially away from home, but as a defensive unit we just disintegrated.
'Ipswich came out of the blocks quicker than us and exposed the gaping holes we left in our back four. We were very, very poor in that department.'
Despite the Hammers' worst result of the season, the east London club stay top of the table after Southampton failed to beat third placed Cardiff at St Mary's.
Nigel Adkins' Saints are two points behind West Ham and one point ahead of Cardiff after Rickie Lambert's second half penalty earned a share of the spoils.
Craig Conway put League Cup finalists Cardiff ahead in the 36th minute when he made the most of a poor punch from goalkeeper Kelvin Davis to fire home.
But striker Lambert scored from the spot in the 57th minute after Kevin McNaughton was harshly deemed to have handled an Adam Lallana cross.
Nikola Zigic destroyed Leeds as the Birmingham striker scored all four goals in a 4-1 win at Elland Road that moved his side into fourth place.
Giant Serb Zigic cancelled out Leeds striker Ross McCormack's 19th-minute opener with a first-half header and struck three times in seven minutes in the second period as Chris Hughton's rampant Blues ran riot.
Leeds fans responded by turning on chairman Ken Bates and also manager Simon Grayson, chanting: 'You're getting sacked in the morning' to the under-fire boss.
Blackpool climbed into the play-off places after scoring twice in the closing stages to beat Coventry 2-1 at Bloomfield Road.
Coventry took the lead through Conor Thomas but veteran striker Kevin Phillips equalised in the 87th minute before Gary Taylor-Fletcher netted the winner in stoppage time.
The win moves Blackpool up to sixth, ahead of Reading on goal difference, while Coventry remain bottom - seven points from safety and still without an away win all season.
Hull are fifth after a disappointing 0-0 home draw against struggling Doncaster.
Burnley remain in the hunt for a play-off place after beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the City Ground, while Brighton earned a 1-1 draw at rivals Crystal Palace.
Barnsley defeated Derby 3-2 and Watford beat fellow strugglers Millwall 2-0 at The Den.