West Bromwich Albion, who pulled off a famous escape from relegation in English football's Premier League in 2005, could be on their way to surviving again after beating Wigan Athletic 3-1 at home.
West Brom stayed bottom but moved on to 31 points, the same as North-East rivals Newcastle United and Middlesbrough who meet on Tuesday.
Stoke City are now mathematically safe from relegation after they beat the other promoted side Hull City 2-1.
Hull remain deep in trouble, along with Sunderland, who drew nil-all at Bolton Wanderers.
New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen's Blackburn Rovers look safe on 40 points after their 2-0 win over Portsmouth.
At the other end of the table, Liverpool beat West Ham 3-0 in London to go top for now.
In the other matches Fulham beat Aston Villa 3-1 to move up to seventh place while FA Cup finalists Everton drew nil-all at home with Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs withdrew their Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios from the match after reports that the dead body of his kidnapped brother had been discovered in Honduras.
Edwin Palacios, the youngest brother of the 24-year-old Spurs midfielder, was kidnapped from his parents' house in October 2007.