There was a brief illusion of a Wigan revival last night, but Leeds recovered from their early embarrassment to leave the visitors still adrift at the foot of Super League, their defensive frailties far outweighing any positive signs.
Wigan, who were beaten by 70 points on their last visit to Headingley, took a 12-point lead, with Danny Orr largely responsible. Orr showed the confidence he has been missing when he burst through to score after eight minutes.
He was also the man who took a clever pass from Bryan Fletcher to send Chris Ashton in for the try that doubled their lead. So far so good, but Leeds burst into life in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
Rob Burrow began the resurgence with a raid down the right touchline and, although Ashton made his tackle, Scott Donald was in support to score. There was more than a touch of luck about the try that brought Leeds level with Willie Poaching appearing to knock on as he followed his own chip kick to send in Danny Williams.
It was in the two minutes before half-time, though, that Wigan began to lose touch. First Burrow danced his way through to put Leeds ahead and then Keith Senior galloped in from 40 metres out.
Mistakes continued to cost Wigan dear when Ashton knocked on from the kick-off to start the second half and, with an air of inevitability, Ali Lauitiiti went over for their fifth try.
Shane Millard's unlikely 40/20 kick set up a similar position for Chev Walker, with Wigan again unable to hold the defensive line.
They managed a try when Darrell Goulding sent Pat Richards over but Leeds kept in front with tries from Jamie Jones-Buchanan and a second from Donald. Goulding got the try he deserved but Wigan still came away with nothing.
"I'm still very confident this team can turn the corner," said Wigan coach Brian Noble. "We need to start winning some games now. There's 12 left, we need to win more than we lose."
Leeds: Smith, Donald, Walker, Senior, Williams, Sinfield, Burrow, Jones-Buchanan, Diskin, Scruton, Peacock, Ellis, Poching. Substitutes used: O'Neill, Millard, Lauitiiti, Feather.
Wigan: Ashton, Dallas, McAvoy, Goulding, Richards, Orr, Dobson, Fletcher, Higham, Logan, Tickle, Hock, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Paleaaesina, Godwin, O'Carroll, Hill.
Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield)
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