Colchester United 1 Leicester City 1

Leicester City ended Colchester United's tremendous run of home victories in a controversial Championship encounter at Layer Road.

It was controversial because the Foxes will feel aggrieved with the manner of Colchester's equaliser, which came from a dubious penalty.

The U's had won their last 11 home games on the trot, but they were trailing to a first-half strike from Iain Hume and looked destined to suffer only their third home defeat of the campaign.

However, they were handed a lifeline by referee Danny McDermid, who awarded them a penalty for a push on Chris Iwelumo by defender Patrick McCarthy.

It looked a very harsh decision and both managers were in agreement at the end of the match. In fact, it was one of a spate of rather strange decisions made by Mr McDermid, who was officiating in his first Championship fixture.

Colchester and Iwelumo had no complaints as the big Scotsman picked himself up to convert the 48th minute penalty, and so rescue a point for the below-par U's.

It was Iwelumo's 14th goal of the season, bringing him on level terms with his strike force partner Jamie Cureton. The duo have scored 28 goals between them in a remarkable season.

Leicester had dominated the first half and they deservedly took the lead in the 19th minute when their leading scorer Hume raced on to a pass by Matt Fryatt to slot past advancing keeper Dean Gerken. It was the former Tranmere striker's ninth goal of the campaign.

Leicester had a second goal wiped out for offside when Fryatt steered the ball home, and the home side also had Gerken to thank for a number of good saves.

Colchester had been beaten by Barnet in the FA Cup the previous Tuesday and they looked to be suffering from a hangover from that performance.

They improved after the break, heartened by Iwelumo's penalty, but it was still Leicester who looked the more likely to steal what would have been their fourth away league win of the season.

They were prevented from doing this by the agility of Gerken, who made one particularly good save late on to deny Fryatt. The former Walsall striker was clean through on goal, only for Gerken to race off his line and save bravely.

This was a valuable point for Leicester in their quest to stay well clear of the relegation zone, but they could consider themselves unlucky not to have left Essex with all three.

Colchester have lost a little ground in the play-off race at the other end of the table, but in truth their priority still remains to reach the 50-point mark to achieve safety in their first season at this level.