Wigan 2 Colchester 1

League leaders Wigan took another giant step towards the First Division with their 11th successive League victory at the JJB Stadium.

A goal in each half from skipper Jason De Vos and an Andy Liddell penalty gave the home side victory against a stubborn Colchester outfit that was the last team to beat Paul Jewell's runaway leaders, and that was way back in August.

Once De Vos headed home Gary Teale's corner two minutes before the break, there was little doubt about the outcome and when Liddell added a second from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining, it seemed like the floodgates were set to open.

Liddell converted from the spot after De Vos had been held and the home side then squandered a hatful of chances to make the scoreline more respectable.

And they almost paid for their generosity when the visitors were awarded an injury-time penalty in a match that ended in fierce controversy.

De Vos and keeper John Filan were both adjudged to have brought down Colchester substitute Simon Atangana although it appeared to the majority of the fans that the substitute took a dive.

Referee Andy Penn awarded the spot-kick on the advice of his assistant and then booked both Filan and De Vos for their fierce protests.

When the row had died down Joe Keith converted from the spot as Wigan conceded only their second goal in their 11-game winning run.

Manager Paul Jewell paid tribute to his Wigan side after the game, despite their performance not being a classic. He said: "Colchester made it difficult but we battled away and I am delighted with the result.

"The penalty made sure that the match ended on the wrong note and my main concern was getting John Filan away from the referee before he got himself sent off." And striker Liddell, while admitting that his side is in the best possible position, he is guarding against complacency. Liddell said: "I have played in probably more attractive Wigan sides than this but never in one with so much determination and willingness to win.

"This is the type of game that we would have either drawn or lost in the past but that was never going to be the case." Colchester boss Steve Whitton took heart from his side's display, despite a defeat that sucks them closer in to the relegation dogfight.

He said: "I thought we had the better of things in the first half and to come here and to play like that against a side that is so far ahead of the rest, must give us belief that we can get out of trouble."