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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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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 22 42
2 Ipswich Town 22 41
3 Brentford 22 40
4 Middlesbrough 22 39
5 Derby County 22 39
6 Watford 22 38
7 Norwich City 22 34
8 Blackburn Rovers 22 34
9 Nottingham Forest 22 31
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 31
11 Cardiff City 22 30
12 Charlton Athletic 22 30
13 Fulham 22 28
14 Sheffield Wednesday 22 28
15 Birmingham City 22 28
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
17 Reading 22 25
18 Leeds United 22 24
19 Rotherham United 22 24
20 Huddersfield Town 22 24
21 Millwall 22 23
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 22 19
23 Wigan Athletic 22 17
24 Blackpool 22 13

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