London: Championship leaders Derby swept to a 3-0 win over Brighton while fellow promotion pace-setters Ipswich crushed Leeds 4-1 on Saturday.
Steve McClaren`s side had beaten Brighton four times last season, including both legs of the play-off semi-final, and they maintained their dominance over the Seagulls at the iPro Stadium.
Three goals in a devastating 10-minute spell had the game won before the halfway point of the first half.
A Chris Martin double was separated by a strike from Johnny Russell and struggling Brighton never threatened to mount a fightback.
"It was important we started well with lots of energy, and we did that," McClaren said.
"We knew we would create chances, but could we be clinical in front of goal? We certainly were in the first 20 minutes."
The Rams stay one point ahead of second placed Ipswich, who destroyed Leeds at Portman Road.
After a week which saw Italian Massimo Cellino banned from owning the club, Leeds suffered more misery despite taking the lead when Mirko Antenucci scored after just four minutes.
Ipswich were level eight minutes later with Daryl Murphy grabbing the first of his two goals.
David McGoldrick stroked home a penalty to give Ipswich the lead before Murphy scored his 13th of the season just before half-time and any hope of an unlikely comeback was ended in the 48th minute when Tommy Smith scored the fourth.
"That was as good as we have played all season for a number of reasons," Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy said.
"We went 1-0 down and had to recover against a team who are playing well. We scored four goals and our all-round performance was very good."
High-flying Brentford slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield.
The Terriers had picked up just one point from their last four fixtures but Sean Scannell`s opener and a Jake Bidwell own goal gave them victory, even though Jonathan Douglas pulled one back.
Bournemouth are up to third after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Wolves.
Harry Arter and Matt Ritchie struck for the visitors after Danny Graham`s opener for Wolves, who finished with nine men as both Rajiv van La Parra and Matt Doherty saw red.
Middlesbrough also went above Brentford after a 5-1 romp at struggling Millwall, with Jelle Vossen hitting a hat-trick and Patrick Bamford and Kike also netting to pile pressure on Lions boss Ian Holloway.
Claude Dielna struck in the third minute of second-half stoppage time to give Sheffield Wednesday a 2-1 win at Blackburn, with Kieran Lee having earlier put the Owls ahead before Alex Baptiste levelled for Rovers.
Jonny Howson struck after five minutes as Norwich won 1-0 at Wigan and Blackpool boss Lee Clark enjoyed a 1-0 win over former club Birmingham, who sacked him earlier this season.
Nottingham Forest drew 1-1 with Charlton as Robert Tesche replied to Callum Harriott`s opener, while Cardiff and Rotherham shared a goalless draw and Reading drew 0-0 with Bolton.