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Vicarage Road Stadium (ATT 15,856) 31st December 2005 - Kick off 13:00 Ref: P Dowd

Watford Watford vs Crystal Palace C Palace

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Hornets pay the penalty

By Simon Fudge.   Last Updated: 31/12/05 6:10pm

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Crystal Palace boosted their promotion hopes with an important 2-1 victory at Watford on New Year's Eve.

It was a third straight win for The Eagles, who claimed the points through a disputed second half penalty from Andy Johnson.

Following a cagey start at Vicarage Road, Palace took the lead on 18 minutes when Darren Ward scored his second goal in as many matches after converting Jobi McAnuff's free kick at the far post.

The visitors nearly doubled their lead, but McAnuff saw his angled shot pushed around the post by Watford's on-loan goalkeeper Ben Foster, as Palace took a one-goal lead into the half-time break.

Marlon King had an early chance just after half time for Watford, while Tom Soares forced a fine save from Foster after trying to chip the Watford number one.

The home side levelled just before the hour mark, as King headed Gavin Mahon's long ball forward into the path of Darius Henderson and he struck home from close range.

Palace goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly then made an instinctive save to deny Clarke Carlisle at the far post five minutes later, as Watford looked odds-on to win the contest.

Palace, however, had other ideas and were rewarded a controversial penalty midway through the second half.

Referee Phil Dowd adjudged Carlisle to have pulled back Clinton Morrison in the Watford box and Johnson converted the spot kick to claim all three points for Iain Dowie's side.

Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 46 90
2 Watford 46 89
3 Norwich City 46 86
4 Middlesbrough 46 85
5 Brentford 46 78
6 Ipswich Town 46 78
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 78
8 Derby County 46 77
9 Blackburn Rovers 46 67
10 Birmingham City 46 63
11 Cardiff City 46 62
12 Charlton Athletic 46 60
13 Sheffield Wednesday 46 60
14 Nottingham Forest 46 59
15 Leeds United 46 56
16 Huddersfield Town 46 55
17 Fulham 46 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 46 51
19 Reading 46 50
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 46 47
21 Rotherham United 46 46
22 Millwall 46 41
23 Wigan Athletic 46 39
24 Blackpool 46 26

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