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Selhurst Park (ATT 13,986) 29th October 2007 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: K Stroud

C Palace Crystal Palace vs Watford Watford

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King delivers for Watford

Hornets striker influential in hard-fought victory

By James Dall.   Last Updated: 30/10/07 1:05pm

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King: The main man

King: The main man

Adrian Boothroyd's Watford regained their six-point lead at the top of the Championship with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

In a game of few chances, goals from Tommy Smith and Marlon King were enough to hand The Hornets the points - a result which sees Palace slip into the relegation places.

After taking the early initiative, Palace created the first opening when James Scowcroft's excellent flick found Ben Watson, however his inviting cross rolled agonisingly wide.

On 23 minutes it was Watford's turn to carve out an opportunity, and it came via the dangerous King.

The powerful striker turned well in a clustered box to strike towards goal, but his effort picked up a deflection and spun wide of Julian Speroni's right post.

The Hornets then came within inches of taking the lead after John O'Toole failed to get a toe on Gavin Mahon's header.

King influence

Seconds later Smith put the away side ahead, when he reacted quickest to a blocked King effort to smash home from a tight angle.

Six minutes into the second half Mark Hudson was presented with a decent opportunity to level, but he failed to keep his powerful header below the bar.

Neil Warnock threw on Besian Idrizaj in a bid to turn his side's fortunes, but Palace's hopes of a comeback were dashed when the influential King dispatched expertly from the edge of the area.

History made

On 73 minutes the former Blades boss made further changes, one of which included the appearance of John Bostock, who became the club's youngest player to make a competitive appearance.

The 15-year-old showed glimpses of his potential, notably through a clever ball which saw debutant Franck Songo'o hit a swerving effort just wide.

Palace were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Mahon climbed all over Hudson, but the strong appeals were waved away by referee Keith Stroud.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 23 45
2 Ipswich Town 23 44
3 Derby County 23 42
4 Middlesbrough 23 42
5 Brentford 23 40
6 Watford 23 38
7 Norwich City 23 37
8 Blackburn Rovers 23 34
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 23 34
10 Nottingham Forest 23 31
11 Cardiff City 23 31
12 Charlton Athletic 23 31
13 Sheffield Wednesday 23 31
14 Bolton Wanderers 23 29
15 Fulham 23 28
16 Birmingham City 23 28
17 Reading 23 26
18 Rotherham United 23 25
19 Huddersfield Town 23 25
20 Leeds United 23 24
21 Millwall 23 23
22 Wigan Athletic 23 20
23 Brighton and Hove Albion 23 20
24 Blackpool 23 13

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