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Match Reports

Report: Watford 2-2 Palace

8 February 2013

Kevin Phillips found the perfect time to register his first goal for Palace at his old club's expense as the Eagles recovered from two goals down to snatch a point against Watford.

Having found themselves 2-0 down after just 13 minutes, the visitors rallied in the second half and strikes from Peter Ramage and Phillips' maiden Eagles effort secured what could be a valuable point come May for Ian Holloway's side.

The home side began brightly and Julian Speroni was quickly called into action after only two minutes when Almen Abdi struck a powerful effort towards goal but Palace's number one got down quickly to deflect it wide for a corner.

Having got away with that early warning, the Eagles didn't learn their lesson as four minutes later the same player picked the ball up in exactly the same position, and after brushing off Kagisho Dikgacoi fired low past Speroni from just inside the area to give the Hornets a perfect start.

Stephen Dobbie was making his first start for the club and nearly marked the occasion with a quick-fire response but Manuel Almunia pushed his 20 yard shot past the post, but it was soon to be worse for the Eagles as they fell two goals behind.

After Palace failed to completely clear a corner the ball was played back into the area towards Fitz Hall, and the former Eagle nodded the ball into the path of Marco Cassetti. The veteran right-back proceeded to spoon his attempted volley well off-target but it proved to be the perfect pass for Nathaniel Chabolah to poke home from close range.

The visitors desperately attempted to re-establish a foothold in the game before the break and Glenn Murray went close with a pair of headers, the first of which Almunia nearly spilt into his own net, before Dobbie rippled the side netting just before the half hour mark.

Abdi almost added his second of the game in first-half stoppage time as his free-kick ricocheted off the Palace wall and a thankful Speroni saw the ball dip just over his crossbar as a dejected away side retreated for the interval two goals down.

Holloway shuffled his pack and brought on Jonny Williams and Phillips for the second half and it helped the Eagles begin the second 45 brightly. Kagisho Dikgacoi was inches away from reducing the deficit with a fizzing strike before Murray should have done better when the ball fell into his path six yards out but a poor touch saw the chance go begging.

However they finally made their pressure pay and turned the game on its head with two goals in quick succession to draw level. With 25 minutes remaining Damien Delaney connected with a Dobbie corner and whilst his header was blocked on the line, Ramage was on hand to force the ball into the net after a goalline scramble.

And just four minutes later Wilfried Zaha was tackled by Fernando Forestieri but the ball landed kindly into the path of Jazz Richards, and he put the ball on a plate for Phillips to score his first goal in the blue and red stripes to pull his side level.

Watford failed to carve out a single opportunity in the second half as Palace continued to cause problems in attack, and Delaney hit the side netting from a Zaha cutback from the byline with 10 minutes left and Ramage could have pinched an injury-time winner but headed straight at Almunia as the home side managed to escape with a point.

Watford: Almunia, Hall, Hogg, Deeney, Doyley, Pudil, Vydra (Forestieri 65), Abdi, Cassetti, Hoban, Chalobah (Battocchio 89). Subs not used: Bond, Eustace, Yeates, Murray, Geijo.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Richards, Delaney, Ramage, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Marrow (Williams 46), Bolasie (Phillips 53), Zaha, Dobbie (Butterfield 84), Murray. Subs not used: Price, Parr, Wilbraham, O'Keefe. 

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