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Bramall Lane (ATT 24,427) 27th September 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Halsey

Sheff Utd Sheffield United vs Watford Watford

Beattie strikes for Blades

Hornets face long trip back south after defeat

Last Updated: 27/09/08 7:07pm

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Beattie: On target

Beattie: On target

James Beattie was back amongst the goals as Sheffield United beat Watford 2-1 at Bramall Lane.

The powerful striker, who missed the first six matches of the season after ankle surgery, nodded home the winner to ensure the Blades bounced straight back from their 6-0 midweek mauling at Arsenal.

United caught a depleted Watford cold when Gary Speed was left unmarked two yards from goal to tap home Billy Sharp's square pass inside the first minute.

John-Joe O'Toole headed the visitors level early in the second half but Beattie clinched United's third Coca-Cola Championship win of the season.

Speed strike

The match had barely kicked off when Speed gleefully tapped home. Greg Halford's throw-in was headed on by Chris Morgan, Sharp played it across goal and Speed sidefooted home inside 60 seconds.

Danny Webber forced Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach to save one-handed, low to his right, after a fine first touch by the Blades striker.

But Loach played no further part after appearing to hurt his side and was replaced by substitute goalkeeper Richard Lee.

Lionel Ainsworth fired in Watford's best chance of the half with a spectacular overhead kick in the 42nd minute.

Stephen Quinn's long drive was held by Lee shortly after the restart as the Blades chased the insurance of a second goal. But it was Watford who struck first in the second half.

Tommy Smith's far-post corner evaded everyone bar O'Toole and the Hornets midfielder stooped low to head the ball beyond Paddy Kenny's dive in the 56th minute.

Beattie handful

However, the home side regained the lead 10 minutes later. Quinn's persistence paid off down the left and his pass put Sharp in enough space to whip in a fine cross that Beattie powerfully headed home. Sharp almost found the far corner with a superb shot on the turn moments later but Lee denied him at full stretch.

Beattie then curled a 30-yard effort just wide as the home side gathered momentum and Webber flashed a shot inches past the post.

New loan signing Nathan Dyer set up Sharp, whose fierce shot hit the post, while Speed's follow up was bundled over the crossbar.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 21 39
2 Middlesbrough 21 39
3 Derby County 21 38
4 Ipswich Town 21 38
5 Brentford 21 37
6 Watford 21 35
7 Norwich City 21 33
8 Blackburn Rovers 21 31
9 Nottingham Forest 21 30
10 Charlton Athletic 21 30
11 Cardiff City 21 30
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 30
13 Sheffield Wednesday 21 28
14 Fulham 21 25
15 Birmingham City 21 25
16 Reading 21 25
17 Huddersfield Town 21 24
18 Bolton Wanderers 21 23
19 Leeds United 21 23
20 Millwall 21 23
21 Rotherham United 21 21
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 21 18
23 Wigan Athletic 21 17
24 Blackpool 21 13

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