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

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