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Selhurst Park (ATT 17,109) 18th August 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A D'Urso

C Palace Crystal Palace vs Watford Watford

C Palace 2

O Garvan (pen 13, 29)

ft

Watford 3

M Taylor (22)
A Abdi (88)
M Vydra (90+4)

New boys help Hornets to win

Last Updated: 18/08/12 5:46pm

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Eustace: Tries to hold off Jedinak

Eustace: Tries to hold off Jedinak

Watford new boys Almen Abdi and Matej Vydra secured the Hornets a 3-2 win at Crystal Palace in Gianfranco Zola's first Championship game.

Swiss midfielder Abdi and Czech striker Vydra, both on loan with the Hornets from Udinese - the Italian club also owned by Vicarage Road bosses, the Pozzo family - found the net in the last three minutes to sink a Palace side who had led for the best part of an hour.

Owen Garvan had twice put the hosts ahead in the first half with Martin Taylor equalising for Watford.

But Abdi levelled again with a 25-yard strike before Vydra sent the visiting fans wild with the winner deep into stoppage time.

Zola's side created the first chance with Joe Garner planting an early header wide before Abdi shot straight at Julian Speroni.

But Palace went ahead after 13 minutes when Hornets skipper John Eustace brought down Wilfried Zaha in the area.

Referee Andy D'Urso had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Garvan coolly found the top corner.

Watford attempted to hit straight back with Garner's header clipping the bar and a deflection sending Mark Yeates' shot wide.

And they got their equaliser in the 22nd minute when Palace failed to clear a corner from Carl Dickinson.

Sean Murray blasted the loose ball back towards goal and Speroni spilled it at the feet of Taylor, who had the simple task of tapping it into the net.

But Palace got their noses back in front just seven minutes later, Garvan controlling a flick-on from Speroni's goal-kick on his chest before lashing the ball past former Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia.

The Eagles could have been two ahead before half-time but Taylor cleared a header from Kagisho Dikgacoi off the line.

After the interval Dickinson's free-kick found Eustace in the area but the midfielder skied his effort.

Murray also fired over from long range and Dickinson's shot flew wide.

Palace also had their chances after the break, with Mile Jedinak heading Garvan's corner over the top.

Zola threw on big striker Chris Iwelumo, who climbed off the bench to hit the winner against Wycombe in the Capital One Cup last weekend, with 12 minutes to go.

But it was Abdi who sparked the comeback with a superb long-range strike after collecting the ball from Vydra.

And with virtually the last kick of the game Vydra latched on to Dickinson's pass and fired past Speroni from outside the box.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Leicester City 42 90
2 Burnley 42 83
3 Derby County 42 75
4 Queens Park Rangers 42 73
5 Wigan Athletic 41 67
6 Reading 42 64
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 42 64
8 Ipswich Town 42 64
9 Bournemouth 42 62
10 Blackburn Rovers 42 60
11 Nottingham Forest 42 59
12 Middlesbrough 42 58
13 Watford 41 57
14 Bolton Wanderers 42 54
15 Sheffield Wednesday 42 50
16 Leeds United 42 50
17 Huddersfield Town 42 46
18 Birmingham City 41 43
19 Doncaster Rovers 42 43
20 Blackpool 42 42
21 Charlton Athletic 41 41
22 Millwall 42 40
23 Barnsley 42 39
24 Yeovil Town 42 36