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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 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23

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