Adil Rashid took five for 117 as Yorkshire completed a vital victory over Lancashire that edges them towards the LV= County Championship title, but their day was soured when captain Andrew Gale was banned for their last two matches.
No sooner had Adam Lyth taken the final wicket to give the Tykes an innings-and-18-run victory that puts them 26 points clear of next opponents Nottinghamshire, was Gale served with the ban.
He will be absent for next week's crunch match against second-placed Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and the Headingley finale against Somerset a fortnight later after being punished following an altercation with Lancashire's Ashwell Prince.
Aggrieved by what he perceived as delaying tactics by batsman Prince when Yorkshire were bowling on Tuesday evening, Gale spoke his mind rather too strongly, and a Wednesday morning apology to Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple was not sufficient to get him out of trouble.
On the day when fellow title-challengers Nottinghamshire lost to Durham at Chester-le-Street, the win at Old Trafford leaves Yorkshire well clear ahead of the Trent Bridge side going into next week's game between the top two in Nottingham.
For Lancashire, Durham's victory and the defeat to Yorkshire leaves Chapple's team very deep in relegation trouble and the Old Trafford outfit probably need to win their last two matches to avoid the drop.
Durham found a new hero in 20-year-old Irish debutant Peter Chase as his five-wicket haul set up a 54-run win against Notts in a result that greatly eases Durham's relegation worries.
In taking five for 64, Chase reduced Nottinghamshire to 285 for nine and prompted lunch to be delayed. But in the extra half hour Durham missed two chances to catch last man Gary Keedy and Chris Read moved on to 47 before John Hastings bowled him in the last over before the break.
Middlesex took a small step towards safety while Warwickshire's title hopes took a big hit as their match fizzled out into the dreariest of draws at Lord's, leaving the Bears trailing Yorkshire by 33 points with two games left.
A draw had looked inevitable from the moment since rain permitted just seven overs play on the second day and certainly at the start of the final day with the match still to enter its third innings.
The spectators' hopes that a contest might be manufactured were squashed when Middlesex decided to bat on. The home side finally declared on 372 for nine, taking a first-innings lead of 10, after which Warwickshire batted out the day, finishing on 182 for two.
It was a day's cricket which will be remembered by no-one - except for 19-year-old Warwickshire batsmen Sam Hain who scored a century (106 from 171 balls with 13 fours), albeit a pretty meaningless one, at the home of cricket.
Johann Myburgh celebrated the signing of a two-year contract by guiding Somerset to a draw against Northamptonshire on the final day at Taunton.
The 33-year-old South African, whose new agreement was announced on Tuesday, made 87 as the hosts closed on 235 for six in their second innings, leading by 101 runs as David Willey took three for 47.
Marcus Trescothick (34) and Tom Abell (36) helped frustrate a Northants attack delayed from taking the second new ball by poor light in the final session.
By the time it was made available Somerset were 196 for four, 62 runs ahead with only 23 more overs possible and about to condemn their opponents to the mathematical certainty of relegation.
Northants took 12 points from the game, while Somerset's 10 ended their mathematical chance of lifting the title.
In Division Two, Matt Coles and Sean Ervine each took three cheap wickets as Hampshire took a giant step towards promotion by crushing Leicestershire by an innings and 34 runs at the Ageas Bowl.
Coles took three for 67 to give the burly former Kent player seven for the match and Ervine took two wickets in his first over to finish with three for 22. But in truth the resistance they encountered was late and spasmodic.
Leicestershire were second best throughout and now have three matches in which to prevent an unenviable statistic of going through a season without a win for the second successive year.
Worcestershire's promotion drive ran into a road block at Derby when an inspired career-best spell of spin bowling from Wes Durston sent them crashing to a 138-run defeat.
The leaders collapsed dramatically after tea in pursuit of a target of 268 and were bowled out for 129 runs to give Derbyshire a third consecutive championship victory for the first time since 2002.
Durston took five for 19 to condemn Worcestershire to a second consecutive defeat after Derbyshire skipper Wayne Madsen had set his side up with 98 out of 296 with New Zealand seamer Mitchell McClenaghan taking five for 78.
The second century of Graham Wagg's 12-year county career saved Glamorgan from defeat in Canterbury and all but put paid to Kent's promotion hopes.
The one-time Warwickshire and Derbyshire all-rounder hit a career-best 116 not out to help Glamorgan bat out the final day and reach 415 for nine - an advantage of 357 - before the sides agreed on the stalemate.