April 19, 2018 / 12:43 PM / 5 months ago

Five memorable Watford v Crystal Palace matches

(Reuters) - Watford and Crystal Palace will meet on Saturday. We look back at some notable clashes between the sides.

Football Soccer - Crystal Palace v Watford - FA Cup Semi Final - Wembley Stadium - 24/4/16 Crystal Palace's Scott Dann and teammates celebrate at full time Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic

Watford 3 Palace 3 (Championship, Sept. 2002)

Watford striker Heidar Helguson marked his return from a long-term injury by grabbing the equaliser just after the interval at Vicarage Road in a game which saw five goals scored in the first half.

Palace went in at halftime 3-2 up after two goals from Hayden Mullins and a goal from Danny Granville, with Watford replying through Neal Ardley and Micah Hyde.

The visitors, however, struggled to make an impact in the final phase of the contest after Wayne Routledge’s dismissal after two bookings late on.

Palace 0 Watford 3 (Championship playoff semi-final first-leg, May 2006)

Aidy Boothroyd’s well-drilled Watford unit were ruthless in the second half as goals from Marlon King, Ashley Young and Matthew Spring gave them a commanding lead heading into the second leg of the playoff tie.

Palace had the better chances to score in the first 45 minutes but the complexion of the match changed after the break when King’s left-footed shot found the net from the edge of the area.

Young scored an inch-perfect free kick and Spring cut inside to beat goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly from close range as Watford returned to Vicarage Road with three precious away goals.

Watford played out a 0-0 draw with Palace in the second leg before thrashing Leeds United 3-0 in Cardiff to secure promotion to the top division.

Watford 4 Palace 3 (FA Cup, Jan. 2009)

Jay DeMerit’s volley from a poorly-defended corner and Jack Cork’s header gave Watford a 2-0 lead inside 30 minutes at Vicarage Road but Clint Hill pulled one back for Palace just after halftime.

Strikers Will Hoskins and Grzegorz Rasiak scored to put the home side in control before Paul Ifill struck twice for Neil Warnock’s Palace to set up a tense finale.

Watford held on for the last couple of minutes to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup where they lost to eventual winners Chelsea.

Palace 1 Watford 0 (Championship playoff final, May 2013)

Crystal Palace striker Kevin Phillips, a loser in three previous playoff finals, scored from the penalty spot in extra time as they returned to the Premier League for the first time in eight years.

Palace were awarded the penalty after a clumsy foul by Watford’s Marco Cassetti on Wilfried Zaha, who was playing his final game at Palace before moving to Manchester United.

Watford had an opportunity to equalise at the very end but Fernando Forestieri’s effort was headed off the line by Joel Ward as Palace held on to claim victory in a match that had been described as being worth 120 million pounds to the victors.

Watford returned to the top division two years later after finishing second in the Championship under manager Slavisa Jokanovic.

Palace 2 Watford 1 (FA Cup, April 2016)

Palace progressed to the FA Cup final for the first time in 26 years after forward Connor Wickham scored the winner in a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Watford.

The Eagles came into the game in poor spirits after a dismal league run left them hovering above the relegation zone but rose to the occasion as Yannick Bolasie flicked on Yohan Cabaye’s corner to hand Alan Pardew’s side the early lead.

Watford fought back with striker Troy Deeney equalising in the second half but parity did not last long as Wickham headed Pape Souare’s cross into the net in the 65th minute to restore Palace’s lead.

Palace held on to secure a final against Manchester United, where Louis van Gaal’s team came out on top with a 2-1 victory after extra time.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas and Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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