Caretaker boss Andy Dawson gave incoming Scunthorpe manager Mark Robins a welcome boost as the Iron romped to a 3-0 victory at Gillingham in League One.
Russ Wilcox paid the price for a poor run of results earlier this week, but United responded to the news that Robins will take over on Monday with a resounding success.
Aided by the dismissal of Doug Loft, Scunthorpe ended a run of four straight defeats with goals from Paddy Madden, Neal Bishop and Gary McSheffrey, the latter deep in stoppage time.
Basement dwellers Crewe also enjoyed a change of fortune when beating Coventry 2-1, with Febian Brandy and George Cooper putting Alex in control before an Anthony Grant own goal gave City hope, only for Jack Finch to see red and the fightback fade.
Meanwhile, Bristol City moved five points clear at the top of the table after a Wes Burns strike three minutes into stoppage time earned them a 3-2 win over Chesterfield at Ashton Gate.
The leaders twice went ahead through an Ian Evatt own goal and a Derrick Williams effort, but were pegged back by an Eoin Doyle double, the first from the penalty spot, until substitute Burns secured the victory.
With Swindon not in action, Peterborough were promoted to second thanks to a 4-1 triumph at Crawley, where Michael Smith, Christian Burgess, Marcus Maddison and Conor Washington netted for Posh after they had fallen behind early on to an Izale McLeod opener.
There was late drama at Bramall Lane as Sheffield United scored in the 90th minute and then in the first minute of stoppage time through Marc McNulty and Paddy McCarthy to take the lead against 10-man Leyton Orient, but Romain Vincelot levelled it up at 2-2 when netting for the visitors nine minutes into time added on.
Jay Simpson had earlier put the O’s in front in the first half, but caretaker boss Kevin Nugent then saw Jobi McAnuff sent off before the action-packed closing stages.
Gavin Massey bagged a brace as Colchester came from behind to edge out Fleetwood 2-1 after Liam McAlinden had put the visitors in front.
Oldham beat Walsall by the same scoreline as Conor Wilkinson and Mike Jones responded to Jordan Cook’s opener.
Tome Pope’s double put Port Vale in charge versus Yeovil before Chris Lines and Colin Daniel also struck in a 4-1 home win, with Aaron Martin providing the only reply by the visitors.