Watford v Crystal Palace as it happened

Live text commentary as Kevin Phillips comes off the bench to earn Crystal Palace a 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road.

8 February 2013 Last updated at 22:34 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 2200: 

    Right, that's a wrap from me (as they say in the showbiz game). Make sure you tune in to our live text commentary covering Saturday's feast of football action.

    There are seven Premier League matches, with Tottenham's lunchtime home clash against Newcastle arguably the pick of the bunch. And don't forget there is a full programme of Football League action too. My colleagues Chris Bevan and Mike Henson are the men who will talk you through every kick. Don't miss it.

  2. 2157: 

    Missed any of this pulsating Championship clash? Make sure you watch highlights of the match on BBC One's Football League Show on Saturday (2345 GMT).

  3. 2155: 
    Watford 2-2 Crystal Palace

    Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway on Sky Sports: "I thoroughly enjoyed the second half. I think we got what we deserved and maybe by the end we could have got something more. I'm proud of my team. We've got 15 games left - let's have a right good go at getting promotion."

  4. 2153: 

    Oliver Lazzari ‏on Twitter: "Talking to a Sunderland- supporting mate today about Phillips being great and he's still doing the business. Absolute legend."

  5. 2150: 

    Lizzie, via text: "Jonny Williams is one more off the Palace production line. A bright future. A wonderful academy set up in South London!"

    Charlie, Leamington Spa, via text: "So proud of Palace tonight, we really showed the spirit that we're going to need if we're serious about being in the Premier League next season. We're going up!"

  6. 2148: 

    Ned [see 2146] is spot on. Leaders Cardiff and second-placed Leicester, who both play tomorrow, will be delighted by this stalemate.

    Watford go third with the point, but know they would have climbed above Leicester, who remain second courtesy of a superior goal difference, if they had held on to their lead. Palace stay fifth after their plucky fightback.

  7. 2146: 

    Ned, Cardiff fan on text: "Two teams this result will suit - Cardiff and Leicester. Both look like pulling away."

  8. 2145: 

    Veteran Crystal Palace striker Kevin Phillips on Sky Sports after his equaliser against former club Watford: "It's great to be still playing and still scoring goals. It's a magical feeling which will never go away."

  9. 2144:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Listen, all Kevin Phillips has always done is score goals. The side looked a lot better with him on. He did what he does best. Zaha got better as the game went on and Palace pinned Watford back."

  10. 2143: 

    Crystal Palace midfielder Jonathan Williams on Sky Sports: "The boys showed great character in the second half and to get a draw is a great result."

  11. 2142: 
    FULL-TIME- Watford 2-2 Crystal Palace

    And that is that. Referee Michael Naylor calls time on a thoroughly enjoyable clash at Vicarage Road.

  12. 2141: 

    Kevin Phillips blows a great chance to become the Palace matchwinner. Another purposeful run from the impressive Zaha sets up the veteran striker, but he seems to be caught up in two minds whether to shoot or pass and the chance goes begging.

  13. 2139: 

    Four minutes of injury-time. Don't switch off just yet....

  14. 2138: 

    And Palace almost take full advantage. Peter Ramage is again in the mixer as he finds space at the far post - but he can only head weakly into the hands of Manuel Almunia.

  15. 2137: 

    Watford defender Tommie Hoban unceremoniously dumps Wilfried Zaha to the ground with an untidy tackle in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area.

  16. 2136: 

    Wilfried Zaha has certainly exploded into life in the second half after a quiet opening 45 minutes. He looks for a neat one-two with Kevin Phillips, but is unable to latch on to the veteran striker's return ball before the Watford defence. One minute of normal time left for a winner...

  17. 2135:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Watford have looked a shadow of their first-half selves in the second period. As the home team they should still try and create something as we enter the last few minutes."

  18. 2133: 

    England Under 21 midfielder Jacob Butterfield comes on as Palace boss Ian Holloway plays his final card. He replaces another loanee Stephen Dobbie - but the visitors don't seem content with a draw...

  19. 2132: 

    The game is quickly switching from end-to-end as we move into the final five minutes. Watford burst down the left through Daniel Pudil, but he passes straight to the Palace defence before the visitors mount another unsuccessful attack of their own.

  20. 2131: 

    KeeleBoy on Twitter: "Why didn't Holloway buy a defender in January? Too many goals conceded is why Palace didn't stay top for very long."

  21. 2129: 

    Palace striker Glenn Murray clatters into Watford rival Daniel Pudil to have his name taken by referee Michael Naylor.

  22. 2128: 

    Are we going to see a winner from either side? Palace go close as Wilfried Zaha's tricky footwork allows him to pick out an unmarked Damien Delaney. But he shows all the composure of a defender in the opposing area by firing into the side-netting.

  23. 2125: 

    Peter Ramage makes a nuisance of himself in the Watford penalty area again as Jazz Richards pumps a deep free-kick in to the dangerzone. Ramage tumbles after being sandwiched between Tommie Hoban and Troy Deeney as the visiting fans appeal for a penalty. Not a chance, lads and lasses.

  24. 2123: 

    Palace continue to dominate possession as they patiently probe for an opening in the Watford rearguard. Glenn Murray just fails to plant his head on a dangerous cross and Watford survive.

  25. 2121: 

    There's an almighty racket coming from the away end as around 2,000 Palace fans celebrate their team's comeback. Momentum is firmly behind Ian Holloway's men - if anyone is going to nick a winner then I'm backing the visitors.

  26. 2119:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Watford have been defending for the whole second half. They need a respite here. They just can't keep the ball."

  27. 2116: 
    GOAL- Watford 2-2 Crystal Palace - Kevin Phillips (70 mins)

    Would you believe it? Yes, I would to be honest. Who else was going to grab the leveller other than a certain Kevin Phillips. The Palace substitute shows he has not lost any of goalpoaching instincts as he converts Jazz Richards' low cross at the far post.

  28. 2115:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "That is the goal we needed. Palace have pushed Watford back and now we have to look at the reaction from the Watford players. At the moment, they are all over the place."

    You can listen to live commentary from Vicarage Road on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra.

  29. 2113: 
    GOAL- Watford 2-1 Crystal Palace - Peter Ramage (66 mins)

    Game on. Peter Ramage bundles in from close range after an almighty goalmouth scramble. Question marks over Hornets stopper Manuel Almunia's efforts. He didn't look like he fancied getting his hands dirty there...

  30. 2112: 

    Argentine striker Fernando Forestieri, known locally as 'Fessi', replaces Matej Vydra for Watford. That nickname alludes to his resemblance to Lionel Messi apparently...

  31. 2111: 

    Palace launch an aerial attack in the Watford box - but only one man is going to win that. And that's the imposing figure of Hornets centre-half Fitz Hall. Chance goes begging for the away side.

  32. 2110: 

    Palace have 30 minutes to salvage something, anything, from this game. Watford are climbing into second place if this result remains the same.

  33. 2108: 

    Robert Pask on Twitter: "Palace look better this half, Holloway must have had a firm chat with them..."

  34. 2107: 

    Golden chance for Glenn Murray. Wilfried Zaha shows signs of why Manchester United have splashed out £15m for his services as he tricks his way past a Watford defender before laying a chance on a plate for Murray. But he tries to control in front of goal instead of burying the opportunity.

  35. 2105: 

    Momentum building for Palace. Kagisho Dikgacoi unleashes a fierce shot which whistles agonisingly over the Watford bar, before Kevin Phillips tamely shoots straight at Manuel Almunia. Encouraging signs.

  36. 2104:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "I thought Watford might come out and sit a little but when you are two goals up you can afford to play in the attacking way you were. From Crystal Palace's perspective they need the next goal. They need to see what Watford are about if they get one back."

    You can listen to live commentary from Vicarage Road on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra.

  37. 2102: 

    Here is is - 'Super' Kevin Phillips. That man has been around longer than Father Christmas. The 39-year-old striker enters the fray for Yannick Bolasie as Palace go three upfront. He receives a warm welcome from both sets of supporters - but can he come back to haunt his former club Watford?

  38. 2100: 

    Palace's Peter Ramage looks like the sort of snarling defender I used to face as Sunday League clogger. And he shows all of his steely determination to bravely block a goal-bound shot from Watford striker Troy Deeney.

  39. 2058: 

    Ross Stadden on Twitter: "As a Bristol City fan I'm unsure how we've beaten both these teams and are second bottom #inconsistent"

    Dominic O'Caollai on Twitter: "Wilfried Zaha is totally undeserving of the hype surrounding him. Very ordinary, very cocky and very predictable."

  40. 2057: 

    Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway whispered into the ears of Wilfried Zaha at the start of the second-half. I'm no lip reader but I reckon he said 'come on son, I need a goal from you - quickly'. Or words to that effect...

    Wilfried Zaha
  41. 2055: 

    Watford start on the front foot - just like they did in the first-half. Goalscorer Almen Abdi swings in a corner which is headed away by defending Palace striker Glenn Murray, before Abdi loses possession close to the left touchline.

  42. 2053: 

    Ian Holloway makes a half-time switch as Jonathan Williams replaces Alex Marrow before Palace restart the match. Marrow was walking a disciplinary tightrope after being booked for almost kicking Nathaniel Chalobah off the pitch in the first-half.

  43. 2050: 

    Matthew Bennett on Twitter: "Watford stroke the ball around with ease, sit back when they want and then pounce like a tiger on the counter. Sublime stuff."

  44. 2048: 

    Charlie in Leamington Spa on text: "After our bright start to the season, why have we already resorted to playing route one? We have plenty of talented players but they need time on the ball. We need to make the most of Zaha while we still have him!"

  45. 2046: 

    Palace's current crop face an uphill task if they are to travel back across London (or rather anti-clockwise around the M25) without joining a select band of Eagles teams. Only three Palace sides have suffered a seasonal league 'double' at the hands of Watford since 1921 - and only one in the last 77 seasons (2001/02).

  46. 2044: 

    These two teams met on the opening day of the season when Palace held a 2-1 half-time lead in the reverse fixture. But two goals in the final three minutes saw the Hornets sting their hosts to grab a dramatic 3-2 victory. Can Palace exact revenge with a similarly-stunning fightback?

  47. 2042: 

    While you wait for the kettle to brew for your half-time cuppa, let me know what you make of these two sides. Are either capable of sustaining their Premier League promotion push? On this evidence Watford have the attacking flair to fire their way into the top-flight.

  48. 2040:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Palace are lucky they're not going in 3-0 down. It has been poor but could have been a lot worse. Watford are good for their two goals. They have punished Crystal Palace as their poor away form continues. Watford started the better, more composed and had a good shape to the team. Chalobah, at 18 years old, is one to keep an eye on."

    You can listen to live commentary from Vicarage Road on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra.

  49. 2039: 

    William Illsley on Twitter: "Watford were the worst team I've seen at Ewood Park this season (with the exception of Blackburn). What happened?"

  50. 2037: 
    HALF-TIME- Watford 2-0 Crystal Palace

    All the pre-match talk anticipating a entertaining match has proved spot on. Watford are the happier side though, with goals in the opening quarter of an hour from Almen Abdi and Nathaniel Chalobah putting the Hornets firmly in control.

  51. 2036: 

    Simon in Hove on text: "Presumably Ian Holloway is about as happy as a badger who knows that the mating season is still a long way off..."

  52. 2035: 

    In a blink of an eye, Watford burst forward on the counter in search of a third goal. A silky dragback from Troy Deeney helps him put Matej Vydra clear, but the Czech is denied by a superb sliding challenge from last-man Jazz Richards.

  53. 2033: 

    Three minutes of injury-time to be added.

  54. 2032: 

    Neat interplay between Watford pair Matej Vydra and Almen Abdi creates room for the latter inside the Palace box. But he is slightly off-balance and can only screw horribly over the crossbar from a central position.

  55. 2031:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Palace are starting to get to grips with this now but there has been too many long balls to Murray. Yes he is a big man but you cannot always do that."

    You can listen to live commentary from Vicarage Road on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra.

  56. 2030: 

    We have only seen glimpses of Manchester United new boy Wilfried Zaha. But he links up with Stephen Dobbie twice in quick succession, just failing to pick up the Scot's return pass before setting up Dobbie to shoot straight at Hornets goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

  57. 2028: 

    Five minutes of normal time left in this entertaining first-half at Vicarage Road. Can Palace salvage anything before the break?

  58. 2027: 

    Palace, presumably with the sharp words of Ian Holloway ringing in their ears, are enjoying a sustained period of possession in Watford territory. Kagisho Dikgacoi spurns a shooting opportunity before the move frustratingly breaks down for the visitors.

  59. 2027: 

    Lewis Lloyd on text: "Early days, sure, but with Palace now having to press and push even more forward to get themselves back in the game, they'll leave themselves vulnerable to Watford's counter attack and we all know how savage that is!"

  60. 2024: 

    Nathaniel Chalobah is clearly made of strong stuff. After looking as though his evening was over, he jogs back on to the pitch rather gingerly as Watford return to their full complement of players.

  61. 2023: 

    Ed Woodhouse on Twitter: "Watford are fantastic. So energetic. Best footballing team in the Championship?"

  62. 2022: 
    Nathaniel Chalobah

    Nathaniel Chalobah is on loan at Watford from Chelsea and recently won the England Men's Youth Player of the Year award for 2012. He has started brightly here and headed in his third of the season to put the Hornets in control.

    After initially slowly picking himself up off the turf following Alex Marrow's overzealous tackle, Chalobah is down receiving more treatment. Doesn't look good for the lad...

  63. 2020: 

    Watford goalscorer Nathaniel Chalobah is sent crashing to the turf by Palace's Alex Marrow, which sparks a flare-up between several players from each team. Referee Michael Naylor restores calm before dishing out a yellow card to Marrow and then Watford's Troy Deeney for his part in the subsequent cajoling.

  64. 2018: 

    Palace are starting to find their feet now. Glenn Murray starts a delightful move inside the Watford area which ends with Stephen Dobbie firing into the side-netting. Close, but not close enough.

  65. 2017:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Crystal Palace have to find a way to get the midfield involved. Wilfried Zaha has to be brought into the game. He has to come inside. Watford have set up to cut off the wide men."

    You can listen to live commentary from Vicarage Road on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

  66. 2016: 

    Let's not forget Palace have a potent goalscorer of their own in Glenn Murray. But the Championship's leading marksman fails to add to his tally of 24 goals this season with two off-target headers in quick succession.

  67. 2015: 

    Dennis Ethan on Twitter: "With goals so early, this match could be in for a thriller. I'm not ruling Crystal Palace out yet."

  68. 2014: 

    Ian Holloway is going nuts on the sideline. Hope no children are within earshot of the Palace boss right now...

  69. 2012: 

    Put this one in the scrapbook - Watford striker Matej Vydra wastes a golden opportunity. Marco Cassetti flies down the right flank again and another sublime cross lands on the Czech international's forehead. However, he directs the ball wide of the Palace goal.

  70. 2011: 

    Dan Cox ‏on Twitter: "Downing a pint every goal, please calm down Watford."

  71. 2010: 

    Palace escape after more suspect defending almost gifts a third to Watford. Two Palace defenders miss Marco Cassetti's delightful drilled right-wing cross into the danger zone, but Matej Vydra cannot stretch enough to turn in the ball.

  72. 2009: 

    Of course, it is still early days at Vicarage Road but, as things stand, the Hornets are going second in the Championship.

    Almen Adbi
  73. 2007: 

    First decent opportunity for Crystal Palace and it falls to Yannick Bolasie. The young winger seizes on a loose ball before driving into the heart of the Watford defence and unleashing a rising effort. But Manuel Almunia watches it sail over his crossbar.

  74. 2004:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    On Nathaniel Chalobah's goal to double Watford's lead: "Excellent start from Watford. Nathaniel Chalobah was the first to react and he has got the goal. Crystal Palace have not started well at all and are showing their poor away form. That was sloppy defending, there was a hint of offside but it has not been dealt with."

  75. 2003: 

    Is there any way back for Palace, even at this early stage? They will have to press forward now - which leaves them open to the devastating Watford counter attack.

  76. 2001: 
    GOAL- Watford 2-0 Crystal Palace - Nathaniel Chalobah (14 mins)

    More defensive woe for Palace as Watford double their early lead. Watford defensive duo Fitz Hall and Marco Cassetti combine for the latter to smash a shot into the turf and towards the far post where Nathaniel Chalobah is on hand to convert.

  77. 1959: 

    Toby Eccleshall on Twitter: "All the spotlight may be on Vydra but Almen Abdi is the man who makes the Watford team tick."

  78. 1958: 

    Jazz Richards smashes a right-wing cross into the Watford penalty area as he looks to atone for his earlier error. But it is far too strong for Yannick Bolasie, who shoots a quizzical look to his team-mate.

  79. 1957:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    On Almen Abdi's opening goal for Watford: "He had a shot from a similar area just a few moments ago. It was a poor clearance from Palace and Abdi has made the most of it with a good finish."

  80. 1955: 

    It has to be said Palace did not do themselves any favours with Almen Abdi's opener. Jazz Richards cheaply gave away possession to the home side after scuffing a clearance from his own byline. And he was punished badly.

  81. 1953: 
    GOAL- Watford 1-0 Crystal Palace - Almen Abdi (6 mins)

    We all thought there would be goals - and here is the opener. Watford draw first blood as Almen Abdi is again allowed too much space by the Palace defence before lashing in a low strike.

  82. 1953: 

    These two sides are the highest scorers in the Championship, so I'm expecting a goal-fest. It's certainly been a lively start with each team eager to burst forward.

  83. 1951: 

    The man with the best nickname in football - Fitz Hall - goes into the referee's notebook after just four minutes. He clattered Yannick Bolasie from behind and rightly earns a yellow card.

  84. 1950: 

    Watford midfielder Almen Abdi lashes the first shot towards goal. He is allowed too much space on the edge of the Palace area and he fizzes a low shot which is bundled wide by Palace stopper Julian Speroni.

  85. 1948: 

    Despite the plummeting temperatures, there is a warm atmosphere around Vicarage Road. It is packed to the rafters.

  86. 1947: 

    Here we go. Watford get the game in a rather chilly-looking Hertfordshire underway.

  87. 1947: 

    Watford manager Gianfranco Zola: "We have improved a lot since August. We get better with every game and we are competing for the top. It will not be good for my heart today with two attacking teams. Both sides will play an open game."

  88. 1945: 

    Watford top scorer Matej Vydra starts after he was whisked back from international duty for the Czech Republic on club owner Giampaolo Pozzo's private jet. Nice.

  89. 1944: 

    The two teams are going through the customary pre-match handshakes at Vicarage Road. Kick-off is almost upon us...

  90. 1944: 

    Michael from Woking on text: "Yawn. Holloway getting the excuses in early. I'm sure he would utilise a foreign relationship to its fullest if he had one to draw upon."

  91. 1943: 

    Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia reckons August's reverse fixture will not "be a reference" for his team. "It was the start of the season and they were still building their team, as were we," says the ex-Arsenal man. "Those early games can sometimes be a lottery."

    Indeed they are Manuel. Someone could win the jackpot tonight with second place at stake…

  92. 1941: 
    Kevin Phillips

    Another interesting sub-plot to tonight's match sees Palace's 39-year-old striker Kevin Phillips return to his first professional club. Phillips made his name at Watford, scoring 24 goals in 59 league appearances, before earning a £325,000 move to Sunderland in 1997.

    "I always look forward to going back to Vicarage Road," said the former England international. "I always get a warm reception from the fans."

    That might change if 'Super Kev' bangs in the winner tonight...

  93. 1940:  
    Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright on BBC Radio 5 live sports extraWatford v Crystal Palace (1945 GMT)

    "I've heard some really good stuff about Watford, a friend of mine who has been a fan for 40 years says he's never seen such good football played here.

    "It's that time of the season where you have to make a move to be in with a shout of promotion. Whoever wins tonight can go second and that is a huge incentive for two sides who want to be in the play-offs at least."

  94. 1938: 

    We all know Ian Holloway is no shrinking violet. And he has been making his feelings about Watford's link up with Italian side Udinese perfectly clear. The Hornets have taken nine players from the Serie A club - and Holloway has circled each player in his programme with a thick black marker pen to illustrate his point. He's not happy...

  95. 1936: 

    Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway: "We've had a few draws recently and not scored enough goals. I've got seven players out injured at the moment but we are looking forward at a run towards the tape.

    "My teams always try and win games. We are up against a fantastic side.

    "I can only use five loan players but Watford have nine players from Udinese, is that right? They are exploiting a loophole and good luck to them."

  96. 1935: 

    Chris Hodgson on Twitter: "Looking forward to seeing Zaha, want to see what all the fuss is about and why Sir Alex has spent 15m on him."

    Ben Hofman on Twitter: "Never enjoyed being a Watford fan so much as now, were not ruining English football, we're playing it better than anyone else!!"

  97. 1933: 

    Watford lost four of their next six matches as they slumped to 20th in the division. But since then have climbed up the league, suffering just four defeats in their last 17 matches.

    Palace also made sticky start, losing their opening three matches, before embarking on a stunning 14-match unbeaten run. They also suffered the blow of Dougie Freedman departing for Bolton, but still remain firmly in the hunt for a Premier League return.

  98. 1931: 

    New Watford boss Gianfranco Zola enjoyed a winning start as the Hornets stung opening-day opponents Crystal Palace. Two goals in the final three minutes allowed Watford to escape Selhurst Park with a dramatic 3-2 victory. Things have been rosy ever since for both clubs - well, almost.

  99. 1930: 

    Cast your mind back to 18 August last year. While Britain still revelled in the post-Olympic feelgood factor, attention quietly switched back to football as the new campaign kicked off. And that was the last time these two teams went-head-to-head in the Championship.

  100. 1929: 

    Rob, Plymouth on text: "Looking forward to all the bemusement tonight about why Fergie signed Zaha not Yannick Bolasie, Bolasie is in red hot form currently."

  101. 1928: 
    LINE-UPS- Watford v Crystal Palace (1945 GMT)

    Watford: Almunia, Hall, Doyley, Hoban, Cassetti, Chalobah, Abdi, Hogg, Pudil, Vydra, Deeney. Subs: Bond, Eustace, Yeates, Murray, Geijo, Battocchio, Forestieri.

    Crystal Palace: Speroni, Richards, Delaney, Ramage, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Marrow, Dobbie, Bolasie, Murray, Zaha. Subs: Price, Parr, Butterfield, Phillips, Wilbraham, Williams, O'Keefe.

    Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)

  102. 1925: 

    Ever wondered how your club's boss would fare in a league table of managers? Wonder no more. A BBC Sport study has analysed the number of points returned per game from each full-time managerial spell since the start of the season.

    Watford manager Gianfranco Zola fares reasonably well as he sneaks into the top 20, three places behind Crystal Palace's ex-boss Dougie Freedman for his stint at Selhurst Park. Freedman's replacement Ian Holloway has averaged 1.5 points per game since arriving and that leaves him in 44th place. What do you make of the study? Let me know using the #bbcfootball hashtag.

  103. 1923:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    A quick reminder that you can listen to live commentary of tonight's match from 1930 GMT. John Acres is describing all the action from Vicarage Road, with former Palace striker Mark Bright providing expert analysis.

    Clearly, I trust you will be listening at the same time as following these wonderful words...

  104. 1919: 

    Two changes for Crystal Palace as striker Stephen Dobbie and Kagisho Dikgacoi, back from Africa Cup of Nations duty with hosts South Africa, replace Jacob Butterfield and Stuart O'Keefe.

  105. 1917: 

    So Gianfranco Zola makes two changes to the Watford team which started last weekend's 2-1 win against Bolton. Defender Tommie Hoban and midfielder Jonathan Hogg return for Joel Ekstrand and Cristian Battocchio. Ekstrand, who was a doubt with a knee injury, misses out altogether, while Battocchio must be content with a place on the substitutes' bench.

  106. 1914: 

    David Stone on text via 81111: "Gutted I can't make it tonight, will be a cracking game. As a Watford fan it's been one of the most enjoyable seasons for a long time, Zola has got us playing some great football. Come on Watford!"

  107. 1911: 

    Watford defender Lloyd Doyley is named in Ginafranco Zola's line-up as he makes his 350th start for the club.

  108. 1908: 

    As ever, I need your input. I'm counting on it. Who will be sitting second in the Championship table in just under three hours? Watford, Crystal Palace or neither (if we see a stalemate at Vicarage Road)?

    Get in touch using the #bbcfootball hashtag on Twitter, or via text on 81111. Make sure you put your name on those texts though. Otherwise we will not be able to use them - and your 10p goes down the technological drain.

  109. 1905: 

    David Newstead on Twitter: "I wasn't predicting this as a promotion clash either, but as a Watford fan I'm happy to be proven wrong!"

  110. 1902: 

    Yet, a top-of-the-table encounter is exactly what we are dealing with tonight. Watford are sitting pretty in fourth, while Crystal Palace are just one point behind in fifth. Both teams know they will climb into the all-important top two, ahead of tomorrow's matches of course, with three points.

  111. 1900: 

    Right then, I want you to be honest. Who, back at the start of the season, circled this fixture between Watford and Crystal Palace as a potential promotion clash? No, I didn't either…

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Championship results

8 Feb 2013 23:59 UK

Championship table snapshot

As it stood on 8 Feb 2013 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Cardiff 29 21 63
2 Leicester 29 27 53
3 Watford 31 18 53
4 Hull City 29 9 53
5 Crystal Palace 31 15 52
6 Middlesbrough 29 4 47
7 Burnley 30 2 43
8 Brighton 29 8 42
9 Derby 29 4 41
10 Millwall 30 -1 41
11 Nott'm Forest 30 -2 41
12 Leeds 29 -6 41
13 Blackburn 29 3 40
14 Charlton 30 -2 39
15 Blackpool 30 3 37
16 Birmingham 30 -7 37
17 Huddersfield 30 -18 36
18 Sheffield Wed 30 -9 35
19 Ipswich 30 -18 35
20 Bolton 29 -2 34
21 Wolves 30 -8 33
22 Barnsley 30 -12 31
23 Bristol City 30 -16 28
24 Peterborough 29 -13 27