Lambert struck all three goals in the second half at St Mary's as the Saints continued their astounding run with a 3-0 victory over Brighton, the side whom they finished runners-up to in League One last season.

Brighton had done well to hold the leaders until half-time but when Lambert nodded home three minutes after the interval it all fell apart for the visitors.

Brighton's Mauricio Taricco was shown red for dissent after a penalty was awarded on 56 minutes. Lambert stepped up and converted and did so again 12 minutes later when he was fouled in the box.

The hat-trick took his season tally to 14 goals.

Southampton remain five points clear of second-placed West Ham on 39 points after the Hammers clawed their way back from a goal down at Coventry to snatch all three points.

Clive Platt opened the scoring at the Ricoh Arena on 33 minutes from inside the penalty box, a lead the home side held until midway through the second half.

Carlton Cole restored parity on 68 minutes for West Ham before Frederic Piquionne's header on 74 minutes made sure of the points.

Robert Snodgrass scored a brace for Leeds, including a last-gasp winner, as the Yorkshire club consigned Burnley to the harshest of home defeats.

Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring for Burnley on 10 minutes and the home side looked like holding on for much of the match before Snodgrass turned the game on its head.

He ghosted in at the back post to slide the equaliser under a furious Lee Grant and was left unmarked at the back post again a minute from time with enough space to chest the ball down and finish across the keeper.

Playoff hopefuls Cardiff, Hull and Blackpool all won, while third-placed Middlesbrough dropped two points at home to Blackpool despite Scott McDonald's brace.

The Australian buried his second goal of the match to put Boro 2-1 up on 73 minutes but Jonjo Shelvey equalised within five minutes to take a point from the Riverside in a 2-2 draw.

Cardiff kept up the pressure on the top three with a 2-1 win away to Reading. Jimmy Kebe's goal for the home side 13 minutes from time made for a nervy finish but the Blue Birds held on for a much-deserved victory.

Matt Fryatt and Cameron Stewart scored for Hull as they won 2-0 at Derby to consign the Rams to a third straight loss.

Barnsley picked up all three points at home to Doncaster with a 2-0 win as Craig Davies scored twice, while Birmingham drew 1-1 with Peterborough.

Nottingham Forrest won 3-2 over Ipswich via Marcus Tudgay's 91st-minute winner, following a brace from Town's Danny Collins, and Watford defeated Portsmouth 2-0 at Vicarage Road.