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Bramall Lane (ATT 23,982) 29th December 2007 - Kick off 12:45 Ref: A D'Urso

Sheff Utd Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace C Palace

Warnock enjoys Blades return

First-half Scowcroft goal beats Blades

By Steve Pass.   Last Updated: 29/12/07 2:50pm

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Scowcroft: Winning goal

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.

Goal

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.

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Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 22 42
2 Ipswich Town 22 41
3 Brentford 22 40
4 Middlesbrough 22 39
5 Derby County 22 39
6 Watford 22 38
7 Norwich City 22 34
8 Blackburn Rovers 22 34
9 Nottingham Forest 22 31
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 31
11 Cardiff City 22 30
12 Charlton Athletic 22 30
13 Fulham 22 28
14 Sheffield Wednesday 22 28
15 Birmingham City 22 28
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
17 Reading 22 25
18 Leeds United 22 24
19 Rotherham United 22 24
20 Huddersfield Town 22 24
21 Millwall 22 23
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 22 19
23 Wigan Athletic 22 17
24 Blackpool 22 13

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