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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 Watford 45 88
2 Bournemouth 45 87
3 Middlesbrough 45 84
4 Norwich City 45 83
5 Ipswich Town 45 78
6 Derby County 45 77
7 Brentford 45 75
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 45 75
9 Blackburn Rovers 45 64
10 Charlton Athletic 45 60
11 Birmingham City 45 60
12 Nottingham Forest 45 59
13 Cardiff City 45 59
14 Sheffield Wednesday 45 59
15 Leeds United 45 55
16 Huddersfield Town 45 54
17 Fulham 45 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 45 51
19 Reading 44 47
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 45 46
21 Rotherham United 44 42
22 Millwall 45 41
23 Wigan Athletic 45 39
24 Blackpool 45 25

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