Date: 31st March 2010 at 9:18pm
Written by: Dr Watford

Hip Hop mogul P Diddy may no longer be the “preferred buyer” to own Crystal Palace but at Vicarage Road last night it was Watford that did every bit of the ‘puff` [ing] whilst the magic er, Eagles made sweet music …somehow!

In fact R`n`B took on a whole brand new meaning in this crunch 6 pointer – ROBBED n` BEATEN – as Julian Speroni`s goal lived a charmed life and Palace took 3 of their 4 chances as they exposed the Hornets glaring lack of pace at the back on the break to record a crucial 3-1 win.

Malky Mackay`s men will be, once again, rueing their luck after battering the woodwood 3 times and forcing Speroni into a clutch of miracle saves as they ran the Eagles ragged in the 1st 45 minutes but SOMEHOW went in 1-0 down at the break.

Even Palace boss Paul Hart admitted his side “got a little bit lucky” and how right he was! Watford were brilliant from the start with Eustace and Buckley at the heart of all things passion and flair.

With some pace, power and purpose, that had been missing in recent weeks, Watford bossed proceedings and if they`d gone in 2 or 3 goals up at the break, there would have been few complaints.

Speroni had already smothered efforts by Doyley and Eustace before performing miracles to SOMEHOW deny a towering header from Taylor with a clawing instinct stop, then SOMEHOW got a glove on a Buckley effort 4 yards from the line after a clever Helguson pull back.

And when Watford did beat the Palace stopper all ends up, the woodwork conspired against them. Cleverley`s thunderbolt from 25 yards rattled the bar, Lansbury`s flash header on a Cowie corner beat keeper and 2 men on the line only to catch the underside of the bar and bounce to safety SOMEHOW…

Watford were running riot – getting a lot of pleasure out of Buckley torturing Ertl at full back – but couldn`t take any of the hatful of chances they created.

A Eustace header hacked clear. 2 decent penalty shouts turned down in 2 minutes. Helguson fired over. Speroni punched clear right under his bar. Lansbury hacked down by last man Hills (who only got a yellow) as he raced clear 30 yards out. 3 last ditch tackles in the 6 yard box…

But SOMEHOW, SOMEHOW, Palace managed to weather the relentless yellow storm then did the quite unthinkable and nicked the lead as Stern John stole in the back post on 31 to head home a Hills cross.

Ok, Danns had a drive that was deflected wide without causing too many oooooo`s and Scannell had an effort that was off target and didn`t scare Loach so no, it wasn`t a deserved lead.

Yes, it was harsh on Watford … but Stern was unmarked – which tells it`s own story of our plight!!!

Then, with Hart`s words ringing in their ears, the Eagles dared to kill off Watford – and in what dramatic style.

Scannell [51] won`t score an easier goal in his career, following up a header that hit the post and Doyley`s back-peddling heel to leave him unmarked 8 yards out with Loach stranded.

Danns [65] added the 3rd as Scannell exposed the ghastly lack of pace to fire in at Loach but the England U21 stopper didn`t cover himself in glory by only palming the effort straight into Dann`s path who netted (via Scott`s desperate boot).

SHELLSHOCKED isn`t the word – Queue mass exodus from the Rookery!

And it could have got worse… Doyley did well to block Hill`s effort deep in the box after Taylor and Demerit were right royally bullied, John`s header flashed the wrong side of Loach`s post – Young Scott between the sticks probably doesn`t know what happened – he never touched the ball apart from to pick it out of the net!

For all Watford`s poise in the first half then the 2nd 45 start will have appalled Malky Mackay no doubt (if he took some time out from berating the 4th official or pulling Dyche away from another confrontation that is).

Ok, so Buckley warmed Speroni`s hands with 2 edge of the box drives, H lobbed over with the keeper stranded THEN headed inches wide with a typical H header back across goal…

…but it all got a bit desperate and direct with the confidence, and passing game, shot to bits.

Yes, Cleverley SOMEHOW rattled the post from the edge of the box and of course,there was deserved consolation from Danny Graham 10 minutes from time – after a great flick on through ball by Buckley – but there was no real chance of a comeback at the death even if H managed to SOMEHOW find Speroni`s legs rather than the net on 1-on-1.

There was still time for the ref to SOMEHOW wave away the 3rd decent penalty shout of the night when Buckley was tripped after some fancy footwork and for Palace to go down to 10 men when Hills finally got red card he deserved in the first half.

SOMEHOW, SOMEHOW, SOMEHOW… somehow Watford now need to find a win on the road to escape the drop.