Gary McSheffrey (36) scored the Sky Blues' opener and Middlesbrough had Kevin Thomson sent off three minutes later. Alex Nimely scored a debut goal after his loan move from Manchester City (57) and Matthew Bates scored a 64th-minute own goal from David Bell's cross. Scott McDonald grabbed a consolation for Tony Mowbray's men.
West Ham United took advantage of Southampton's inactivity to move three points clear at the top with a 2-1 win at home to Nottingham Forest.
Forest scored an injury-time consolation through
Cardiff City remains four points behind West Ham in third after a thrilling 3-2 win at home to Portsmouth.
Hull City is up to fifth, behind Middlesbrough on goals scored alone, after beating Reading 1-0 at the
Birmingham City moved above Reading into the play-off zone with a 3-0 home win over Watford.
Bristol City and Millwall both moved further clear of danger with victories.
The Robins were 2-1 victors over second-bottom Doncaster Rovers as
Blackpool moved up to seventh as it scored twice in the last five minutes to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Bloomfield Road.
Leeds United climbed two places to ninth with a 3-1 win at home to Ipswich Town.
Derby County's run of four straight Championship wins came to an end in a goalless draw at Burnley, while a goal in each half from