Hornets win in cup thriller
Eagles late show not enough as Hornets hold on
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 24/01/09 10:45pm
Hornets: Cup win
Watford booked their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a thrilling 4-3 win over Championship rivals Crystal Palace.
The Hornets, who are currently fighting the drop in the Championship, went in front when Jobi McAnuff's corner fell to American defender Jay DeMerit who let fly from 12 yards out.
Midfielder McAnuff was at the heart of the action once more when the 27-year-old's left-wing cross was headed home by versatile defender Jack Cork in the 27th minute.
Palace hit back just minutes after the second-half whistle when John Oster's inswinging free-kick fell to Clint Hill who headed home from six yards out.
Watford restored their advantage in the 67th minute when McAnuff again claimed an assist as his corner found Will Hoskins who volleyed into the back of the net for his first goal in twelve games.
On-loan Southampton striker Grzegorz Rasiak made it four with half an hour to go when man of the match contender McAnuff crossed from the right and the 30-year-old made no mistake.
With five minutes to go Paul Ifill managed to pull one back when he slotted in for Palace.
Watford were in for a tense finish as Ifill added his second of the game with a clinical effort, but the home side managed to hold on for the 4-3 win.
Brendan Rodgers' Watford side were happy to survive a late rally from the Eagles to see off a spirited Palace side despite being 3-1 ahead at one point.
The Hornets stung the away side early on when DeMerit lashed an unstoppable volley home after John Oster could have put Palace ahead when his decent header was blocked by Adrian Mariappa.
Watford went two up after a fine counter-attacking move saw Rasiak release McAnuff down the left, he cut inside and the former Palace winger delivered a deep cross to the back post where Cork managed to loop a header back across Julian Speroni and into the far corner.
Below-par Palace clawed one back in the 38th minute when Oster delivered a deep free-kick from the left which Alan Lee headed back across goal to find Hill who netted from six yards out.
Palace dominated after the break but Watford hit a crucial third with their first attack in the 67th minute.
Hoskins' clever flick released Rasiak in the area but the Pole hesitated and was denied by a fine block from Matt Lawrence.
McAnuff latched on to the rebound but his volley was kept out by a combination
of Speroni and defender Matthew Lawrence.
From the resulting corner, Rasiak headed down to Hoskins who swivelled to plant a powerful left-footed strike home.
Rasiak then went from provider to scorer as McAnuff ran the length of the field before squaring to the striker who curled a stunning shot around Speroni and into the top corner with the outside of his left boot.
Ifill then struck twice in the dying minutes but Watford hung on for the win.
|Team Name||Watford||Crystal Palace|
|Shots On Target||6||4|
|Shots Off Target||2||8|
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