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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 Derby County 14 26
2 Watford 14 26
3 Norwich City 15 26
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 14 26
5 Bournemouth 14 24
6 Middlesbrough 14 24
7 Nottingham Forest 14 22
8 Blackburn Rovers 14 22
9 Charlton Athletic 14 22
10 Ipswich Town 14 21
11 Cardiff City 14 19
12 Sheffield Wednesday 14 19
13 Brentford 14 19
14 Reading 14 18
15 Millwall 14 17
16 Rotherham United 14 17
17 Huddersfield Town 14 17
18 Leeds United 14 16
19 Wigan Athletic 14 15
20 Fulham 14 14
21 Brighton and Hove Albion 14 13
22 Bolton Wanderers 15 11
23 Birmingham City 14 11
24 Blackpool 14 6

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