Watford 0 Crystal Palace 2: Warnock boys become men for play-off charge

Enchanting yet enigmatic, an authentic sui generis, Neil Warnock has inspired another revolution – this time at Crystal Palace. Soon after he arrived as manager last October, Palace were 21 points behind Watford and in a state of transition. After the match on Saturday at Vicarage Road, where the allure of the characters eclipsed that of the football, Palace found themselves a point behind and gaining momentum.

"I haven't been this relaxed for years," Warnock said, relishing the absence of pressure. The 2-0 victory against Watford, more appropriate in actuality than it could ever have been in prospect, has consolidated Palace's position in the Championship play-off positions, which seems to have taken Warnock by surprise.

When Watford defeated Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park in Warnock's third match in charge, it was, he recalled, "men against boys". This time, with men playing men, the result owed as much to Watford's profligacy in front of goal and uncertainty in defence as to Palace's slick finishing. "We had to play as much as we could on the break," Warnock said. "I said at half-time that we needed 10 minutes of quality to break them down. That's what happened."

The "10 minutes" was actually only four but enough time for Paul Ifill to score with a splendid half-volley in the 72nd minute, and for Victor Moses to score with a low shot in the 75th minute. "It's been a crappy season for me so it's nice to score," Ifill said. "It's good for Victor, too; it's frightening some of the things he can do."

For Aidy Boothroyd, the Watford manager, the sight of the Championship table is becoming frightening. At one point, automatic promotion seemed likely but now, having scored only 10 goals in 13 matches and won only once in 12, they cannot even take a play-off place for granted. "We're creating chances," Boothroyd said. "But if it [the drought] continues, I will have a problem."

Tamas Priskin came closest to scoring for Watford when he struck the crossbar early in the second half. But at the end, despite Watford's dominance, one was left with images of their defence suspended in the act of collapse and of their strikers holding their heads in frustration.

Goals: Ifill (72) 0-1; Moses (75) 0-2.

Watford (4-4-2): Lee; Doyley, Bromby, Shittu, Stewart (Ellington, 88); Smith, Eustace, O'Toole, McAnuff (Sadler, 73); Henderson, Priskin. Substitutes not used: DeMerit, Williamson, Kabba.

Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Speroni; Lawrence (Butterfield, 20), Hudson, Hill, Fonte; Soares, Derry, Watson, Sinclair (Ifill, 66), Moses; Morrison (Fletcher, 84). Substitutes not used: Hills, Scannell.

Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire).

Booked: Watford O'Toole, Shittu; Crystal Palace Morrison, Soares, Speroni, Butterfield.

Man of the match: Moses.

Attendance: 17,694.

League ups and downs


West Bromwich Albion and Stoke are guaranteed at least a play-off spot.


Swansea win title. Forest, Southend, Doncaster and Carlisle in play-offs.


MK Dons and Peterborough promoted. Hereford, Rochdale, Stockport, Darlington and Wycombe in play-offs at least.

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?