QPR claimed their first away victory in six attempts as they dispatched Coventry 2-0 to enter 2011 with a seven-point lead at the top.
On-loan Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker hit the target 16 minutes into the second half only to see what would have been his first professional strike go down as an own goal by Keiren Westwood as the ball came off the Sky Blues goalkeeper's shoulder.
Tommy Smith's header from a sublime cross by Adel Taarabt put QPR in a more commanding position to ensure fellow promotionhopefuls Coventry suffered a third successive defeat against fellow top-six sides.
Cardiff's automatic promotion hopes took a blow as Watford came from behind to pick up three home points with a thumping 4-1 win.
Hornets striker Danny Graham missed an early penalty but did score to cancel out Peter Whittingham's 16th-minute opener before goals from Marvin Sordell and John Eustace put the home side in control.
Cardiff ended 2010 in second place despite Graham adding a late fourth from the penalty spot.
Leicester were stung by goals from Steve Morison and Jason Puncheon as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Millwall.
Wales striker Morison took his tally for the season to 11 and Puncheon grabbed his second goal since joining on loan from Southampton.
Substitute Brett Pitman kept his cool to score a penalty deep into stoppage time and rescue a point for Bristol City in a 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace.
It had looked like Neil Danns's second-minute free-kick would give visitors Crystal Palace victory but Julian Speroni brought down Danny Rose and Pitman converted the 94th-minute spot-kick.