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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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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Leicester City 43 93
2 Burnley 43 86
3 Derby County 43 78
4 Queens Park Rangers 43 73
5 Wigan Athletic 42 70
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 43 65
7 Reading 43 64
8 Ipswich Town 43 64
9 Nottingham Forest 43 62
10 Bournemouth 43 62
11 Blackburn Rovers 43 61
12 Watford 42 60
13 Middlesbrough 43 58
14 Bolton Wanderers 43 55
15 Sheffield Wednesday 43 53
16 Leeds United 43 53
17 Huddersfield Town 43 47
18 Birmingham City 42 43
19 Doncaster Rovers 43 43
20 Millwall 43 43
21 Charlton Athletic 42 42
22 Blackpool 43 42
23 Barnsley 43 39
24 Yeovil Town 43 37

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