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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 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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