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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 18 35
2 Bournemouth 18 32
3 Middlesbrough 18 32
4 Ipswich Town 18 31
5 Brentford 18 31
6 Blackburn Rovers 18 30
7 Watford 18 29
8 Nottingham Forest 18 28
9 Charlton Athletic 18 28
10 Norwich City 18 27
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 27
12 Cardiff City 18 26
13 Sheffield Wednesday 18 22
14 Huddersfield Town 18 21
15 Reading 18 21
16 Leeds United 18 20
17 Fulham 18 19
18 Millwall 18 19
19 Birmingham City 18 19
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 18 18
21 Bolton Wanderers 18 18
22 Rotherham United 18 18
23 Wigan Athletic 18 17
24 Blackpool 18 8

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