Leaders Tranmere nearly lost to Preston, needing a late Jake Cassidy goal to cancel out Paul Huntingdon’s 51st-minute header.
Second-placed Stevenage were thrashed 4-0 at home by Paolo Di Canio’s rampant Swindon, with Raffaele De Vita, Matt Ritchie, Miles Storey and Adam Rooney all on target.
It was Stevenage’s worst defeat in their Football League history and could have been even heavier but for Steve Arnold’s penalty save from Tommy Miller at 2-0.
That hammering sees them slip to third, with Crawley second on goal difference after a 1-1 draw at home to Oldham Athletic. Crawley needed a late equaliser from Kyle McFadzean, who converted Nicky Adams’s pass with 11 minutes remaining.
Former Everton forward Jose Baxter had put the Latics ahead 12 minutes earlier with his fourth game in nine League One matches since joining the club on a free in the summer. Both sides were reduced to 10 men after Hope Akpan and Jean-Yves Mvoto were dismissed
Sheffield United could go level on points with Tranmere if they beat Portsmouth on Monday, but the 10-goal swing means they are unlikely to go top.
Swindon’s win keeps them seventh on goal difference behind Notts County, who lost 2-0 at home to Doncaster, who move up to fifth.
Paul Keegan’s header put the visitors ahead just after the hour mark, with Chris Brown doubling that lead two minutes later.
MK Dons rise to eighth after a comfortable 3-0 win at struggling Scunthorpe United. Former Manchester United winger Luke Chadwick scored a first-half double, with another ex-United star Alan Smith adding a third on the hour mark.
Yeovil Town went 10th after Byron Webster’s first-half goal gave them a narrow win at Crewe Alexandra, who slip to 18th.
Brentford are a point behind in 11th after two own goals saw them twice throw away leads given to them by Paul Hayes as bottom side Hartlepool claimed an unlikely 2-2 draw at Griffin Park.
Defenders Harlee Dean and Tony Craig did the damage for the Bees, with Craig’s misdirected header coming in the 90th minute.
A stirring comeback by Shrewsbury Town saw them come from two goals down to draw with mid-table Colchester United and move out of the relegation zone.
Craig Eastmond and Charlie Wyatt put the visitors 2-0 up but Asa Hall scored twice in the last 11 minutes to earn his side a valuable point.
Second-bottom Bury drew 1-1 at home to mid-table Walsall after an early Will Grigg goal was quickly cancelled out by Bury youngster Dominic Poleon.
Eddie Howe’s impressive return to Bournemouth continued as they downed Carlisle United 4-2 at Brunton Park.
Marc Pugh opened the scoring for the visitors on eight minutes, putting them back in front after Liam Noble levelled. Lewis Grabban and Lee Barnard extended the Cherries’ lead, with David Symington pulling one back for Carlisle.
The Cherries are now unbeaten in the four matches since Howe’s surprise return from Championship Burnley, and lie 16th, four points clear of the relegation zone.
Leyton Orient lie 19th, just outside the bottom four, after a 1-0 loss at home to fellow strugglers Coventry City, who are 21st. David McGoldrick’s early goal was enough for the Sky Blues.