King of the Palace
Attendance: 13 986
Boothroyd-Warnock clashes have always seen goals and not for the first time, the Hornets supremo has inflicted a defeat on the former Blades boss. This, Palace`s second home defeat in a fortnight leaves them with just one point from nine since Warnock took over.
After succumbing to a 3-1 defeat against Stoke last Saturday, Warnock chopped and changed his side as threatened and this rotation saw a debut for 17 year-old left back, Lee Hills. Pompey loanee Frank Songo`o went straight into the side whilst 15 year-old Bostock made the bench. Watford were unchanged from Tuesday.
The opening ten minutes or so were lively, neither side really able to make a chance of note, though if anyway was going, it would have been Watford. That said, Crystal Palace created a good chance through Ben Watson whose near-post cross didn`t quite connect with Dougie Freedman.
In turn Watford began to apply some more pressure of their own and a Marlon King shot on the turn was prevented from going in by Lee Hills who blocked just in front of the line. The Watford pressure continued and a string of crosses from Tommy Smith were not finished off as Palace`s rearguard soaked up the visitor`s pressure.
Hills was again in the right place to save Crystal Palace after 32 minutes as he blocked John-Joe O`Toole`s goalbound effort. The youngster had been allowed to skip forward at will, much like at Coventry and Palace nearly paid the price for their lack of closing down.
A minute later and the goal had come, Lloyd Doyley`s throw-on found Marlon King who fired a low cross-cum-shot across the face of goal to Tommy Smith who fired a low shot of his own in off Speroni`s right-hand post.
Palace returned after the interval with fire in their bellies and Mark Hudson walloped a header straight into the arms of Richard Lee as Palace finally created a chance of note. The Eagles fans were, rapturous…
Ten minutes after that spectacle and with and 25 to go, Selhurst Park witnessed the spectacle of Adam Johnson in full flight as Watford broke to devastating effect. Johnson rolled the ball across for King who allowed it onto his right foot before firing home for 2-0. Five in as many games for the King of Vicarage Road.
Palace`s somewhat delayed reaction of a reply to being 2-0 down at home came only from a mistake, just minutes from time when Jay DeMerit lost the ball to former Hatters loanee Besian Idriazaj who clipped the cross in for Clinton Morrison. Morrison saw his bicycle kick punched away by Richard Lee.
A defining week for Watford? Well, it could be, victory on Saturday will see them go TWELVE points ahead of Tony Mowbray`s West Brom, rivals in the promotion race.
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Lawrence, Hudson, Fonte, Hills; Songo`o, Fletcher (c), Watson (Bostock), J.Hughes; Freedman (Idriazaj) and Scowcroft.
Watford: Lee; Doyley, Shittu, DeMerit, Stewart; Smith (McAnuff), Mahon (c), O`Toole, Johnson; King (Ellington) and Henderson (Priskin).
Referee: Mr K Stroud.
Palace boss, Neil Warnock
'He has got a cultured left foot, but he got a bit cocky and I had to tell him off when he tried to showboat.
'I'm delighted with our performance as we gave everything.'
Hornets supremo, Aidy Boothroyd
'We have to make sure we keep it steady and keep our heads down.
'I'm very pleased as we weren't at our best, but it's great to win when you're not playing well.'
Interview Sources: BBC Sport