Palace see off Tykes
Watson and Kuqi pile the misery on Barnsley
Last Updated: 18/10/08 7:33pm
Watson: At the double
Crystal Palace made it three wins on the trot with an impressive 3-0 victory over Barnsley at Selhurst Park.
Two goals from Ben Watson and substitute Shefki Kuqi were enough to give Watson, who missed the majority of those eight games after falling out of favour with Warnock, was on hand to slot home a first-half penalty after Heinz Muller upended Victor Moses, before arriving late in the box to convert Nick Carle's cross after the break. Substitute Kuqi added a third goal late on.
It was little more than the home side deserved against a Barnsley that rarely looked like arresting Palace's unbeaten run, which now stands at four games. Simon Davey's men remain rooted inside the relegation zone, two points adrift of safety.
With 17-year-old full-back Nathaniel Clyne making his senior debut for the home side, Palace dominated the bulk of the possession and created the first chance of the game, which saw Nick Carle miscue his effort well wide after the ball fell kindly to him inside the area.
Striker Craig Beattie also did his best to keep the Barnsley defenders alert, whistling a snap-shot just wide and forcing Bobby Hassell to make a fine last-ditch block on another attempt.
With the possession so heavily weighted in their favour, it was no surprise when they broke the deadlock with 25 minutes gone, although they could quite easily have fallen behind only seconds earlier.
Maceo Rigters managed to find some room from a corner and was able to direct a header at goal, forcing Julian Speroni to adjust and make a smart save.
Then, instantly turning defence into attack, he sent Moses racing clear with a huge clearing kick that split Rob Kozluk and Jamal Campbell-Ryce, allowing the striker to race through on goal, where he was hauled down by Muller.
PenaltyThere was little doubt referee Tony Bates would award the spot-kick, although there was some surprise when he spared the German a straight red card, opting to caution him instead.
Watson duly dispatched the penalty for his second goal of the campaign and his side could have held a greater advantage by the interval too.
First, Muller had to react quickly to prevent Anderson De Silva's attempted clearance from looping over him, while Beattie offered a further reminder of his menace when he flashed a free header over the bar.
The visitors were clearly galvanised during the interval and started the second period in a more positive manner, with Campbell-Ryce, Rigters and Anderson all registering early efforts at goal.
However, their failure to make their pressure tell soon came back to haunt them as Watson slotted home his second goal on the hour mark.
Carle did well to get in round the back of the visiting defence and his cut-back was perfect for Watson, who did not have to break his stride before leaving Muller with no chance.
The keeper was then called upon to produce a stunning point-blank save from Clint Hill as Barnsley laboured to make inroads on the deficit.
And any hopes they harboured of making a comeback were soon quashed when Kuqi shrugged off Stephen Foster to get on the end of another booming kick from Speroni before lobbing the advancing Muller with eight minutes remaining.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 18th Oct
Wolves2 - 1Coventry
Preston2 - 1Reading
QPR2 - 1N Forest
Derby2 - 1Plymouth
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Burnley1 - 1Birm'ham
Cardiff2 - 0Charlton
Bristol C1 - 0Norwich
So'ton0 - 3Watford
C Palace3 - 0Barnsley
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