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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 Derby County 34 65
2 Middlesbrough 34 63
3 Norwich City 34 62
4 Watford 34 62
5 Bournemouth 34 60
6 Ipswich Town 34 60
7 Brentford 34 58
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 34 57
9 Nottingham Forest 34 50
10 Sheffield Wednesday 34 46
11 Blackburn Rovers 34 45
12 Charlton Athletic 34 42
13 Birmingham City 34 42
14 Huddersfield Town 34 42
15 Cardiff City 34 41
16 Leeds United 34 41
17 Bolton Wanderers 34 40
18 Reading 34 40
19 Fulham 34 39
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 34 37
21 Rotherham United 34 37
22 Millwall 34 31
23 Wigan Athletic 34 28
24 Blackpool 34 22

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