Warnock enjoys Blades return
First-half Scowcroft goal beats Blades
By Steve Pass. Last Updated: 29/12/07 2:50pm
Scowcroft: Winning goal
Neil Warnock enjoyed a winning return to Bramall Lane as Crystal Palace saw off Sheffield United 1-0.
Palace boss Neil Warnock received a warm welcome from the Blades faithful on his first return to his old club since his departure in the summer.
The first real chance of the game fell to Palace youngster Shaun Scannell in the 11th minute, when the 17-year-old was put through by a threaded ball from Shaun Derry, but United keeper Paddy Kenny got down well to block his shot, before the youngster blasted the rebound wide.
Sheffield United's Rob Hulse could then have opened the scoring in the 17th minute after being picked out by a ball from Jon Stead, but the striker saw his shot luckily deflected wide by Palace keeper Julian Speroni.
Then in the 26th minute Stead himself missed a golden opportunity to give the Blades the lead, but dragged his shot wide across the Palace goal.
Three minutes later, Matthew Kilgallon headed a Keith Gillespie corner just over the bar, while in the 31st minute Phillip Bardsley needed to defend bravely to deny Scannell.
Palace took the lead in the 37th minute through a Jamie Scowcroft goal after Stead had given away a needless free-kick when handling the ball.
Ben Watson sent the free-kick into the Blades' box, which Clint Hill headed down and then Scowcroft hooked in.
In the second-half, a resurgent Sheffield United had numerous chances to level but could not find a way past Speroni.
Hulse almost equalised in the 57th minute but Speroni did well to block his shot with his legs.
Bardsley then hit a powerful, swerving free-kick in the 67th minute, but the Palace keeper again saved.
In the 71st minute, Stead's teasing cross was missed by everyone but Hulse could not finish on the back post, instead hitting the side-netting. Hulse then had a bicycle kick saved by Speroni in the 82nd minute.
The result means Palace are unbeaten in 12 games and are up to seventh in the Championship, while Bryan Robson's Blades - who were booed off - continue to languish in the bottom half.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 29th Dec
Sheff Utd0 - 1C Palace
West Brom5 - 0Scunthorpe
Barnsley2 - 2Southampton
Plymouth2 - 2Stoke City
Colchester0 - 2Blackpool
Watford2 - 4QPR
Norwich1 - 1Wolves
Preston1 - 2Cardiff
Burnley0 - 1Bristol C
Leicester1 - 1Charlton
Coventry2 - 1Ipswich
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||34||60|
|7||Brighton and Hove Albion||34||53|