Round-Up: Keown and Dabizas keep Wigan on the wobble

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The Independent Football

The first cold snap of the winter seemed to freeze goalscoring instincts at the top of the Championship, with none of the top seven at the start of play winning. The leaders, Wigan Athletic, none the less went a point clear after a goalless draw with Leicester City at the JJB Stadium, but Ipswich Town can overtake them if they win at Sunderland this afternoon.

The first cold snap of the winter seemed to freeze goalscoring instincts at the top of the Championship, with none of the top seven at the start of play winning. The leaders, Wigan Athletic, none the less went a point clear after a goalless draw with Leicester City at the JJB Stadium, but Ipswich Town can overtake them if they win at Sunderland this afternoon.

The Wigan wobble - they had lost their two previous games, to Plymouth Argyle and Queen's Park Rangers - continued as the Foxes defended steadily, with the former Gunner Martin Keown and Euro 2004 winner Nikos Dabizas at the heart of their defence subduing the Latics' potent strike-force of Jason Roberts and Nathan Ellington.

"We had all the chances in the second half," Paul Jewell, the Wigan manager, said, "but I thought Leicester shaded the first 45 minutes without really giving us too much trouble. We are still in a good position, and 40 points from 20 games is promotion form, so I'm not complaining."

Meanwhile, third-placed Reading slipped up as struggling Nottingham Forest beat them 1-0 at the City Ground. Gareth Taylor was first to react after Paul Evans's 30-yard shot was tipped on to the crossbar by Marcus Hahnemann, and the striker tucked away the rebound for his sixth goal of the season. "Let's hope it gives the players the belief that we can start climbing the table," the relieved Forest manager, Joe Kinnear, said.

Sheffield United won 1-0 at Derby County to move above the Rams to seventh. Neil Warnock, the Blades manager, had been trying to sign a striker all week, but one of his current side provided an object lesson in shooting power when a David Geary cross was headed out to Alan Quinn, who drove the ball in.

"That should shut up the doubters," Warnock said, in reference to the barracking received after last week's draw with Watford. "It's nice to break our bad run, we've lost one in 12 - what a bad run that is."

A resolute Rotherham United defence earned a 0-0 draw at Watford, but the Millers are still 11 points from safety. Elsewhere at the bottom, Dean Ashton, who had not trained all week because of an ankle injury, scored twice as Crewe Alexandra crushed fellow strugglers Gillingham 4-1 at Gresty Road.

"I had to take Richard Walker off quickly because he was in danger of costing us the game," Dario Gradi, the Crewe manager, admitted. "We have looked better than Brighton, Rotherham and now Gillingham, so we have located the sides we can finish above."

Stoke City have still won only once in 10 away games after a sixth draw, 0-0 at Plymouth Argyle, who had a late Matt Doumbe strike disallowed. "It looked a perfectly good goal to me," the Argyle manager, Bobby Williamson, said. "It was all about the referee today, he dominated the game from start to finish."

Burnley won 1-0 at Brighton when Robert Blake's 10th goal of the season, from a Tony Grant corner, earned a 1-0 win. "Blake took the goal well," Steve Cotterill, the Clarets manager, who has twice been unsuccessful applicant for the Brighton job, said with some satisfaction.

Luton Town kept their six-point lead in League One, Steve Howard taking his season's tally to 13 goals with a hat-trick in the 4-1 win at Milton Keynes Dons. The League Two leadership is much more volatile. Scunthorpe regained pole position after they won 3-0 at Bristol Rovers, Paul Hayes scoring twice, while Swansea City had two players, Gary Monk and Andy Robinson, sent off in the first half as they lost 2-0 at Shrewsbury.

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