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Saturday, 9 March, 2002, 17:38 GMT
C Palace 0-2 Watford
Watford's Allan Nielsen
Nielsen was transfer-listed along with Gayle
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Transfer-listed duo Allan Nielsen and Marcus Gayle made Gianluca Vialli think again when they both scored in Watford's win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The pair were told to leave Vicarage Road last month as part of a clear-out of the club's under-achieving squad, who still harbour a slim hope of making the First Division play-offs.

But they offered their manager a timely reminder of their abilities with goals either side of half-time to put a severe dent in Palace's promotion hopes.

Eagles manager Trevor Francis threw on struggling striker Ade Akinbiyi in a desperate attempt to salvage something from the game.

But his team failed to find the scoring touch for the fourth match running at Selhurst Park after an outstanding display from Hornets goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain.

Bumpy pitch

The 37-year-old celebrated his 700th appearance for Watford with a string of excellent saves, and Francis endured calls for his resignation from the 16,817 crowd.

After Palace goalkeeper Matt Clarke was forced to save from Tommy Smith in the first minute, the home side began to dominate.

Julian Gray came close with a shot and then sent over a cross from which Clinton Morrison then Hayden Mullins, from the follow-up, had shots saved by Chamberlain.

Dougie Freedman missed from three yard when unmarked before Watford took the lead in first half stoppage time, Nielsen slamming home a low Stephen Glass cross from the right.

Gayle doubled their lead within two minutes of the restart when Clarke missed Glass' cross on a bumpy pitch and the Hornets frontman tapped home.

Watford had a late scare when Chamberlain was forced to tip over a misdirected back-header from defender Neil Cox.

And the outstanding keeper pulled off a stunning one-handed save from Freedman at the death.


Crystal Palace: Clarke, Smith, Murphy, Austin, Mullins, Black, Granville, Riihilahti, Gray, Freedman, Morrison. Subs: Kolinko, Thomson, Frampton, Kirovski, Akinbiyi.

Watford: Chamberlain, Robinson, Brown, Galli, Cox, Glass, Nielsen, Hyde, Mahon, Smith, Gayle. Subs: Baardsen, Noel-Williams, Cook, Fisken, Doyley.

Referee: H Webb (Rotherham)

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BBC Sport's Tony Husband
"The points were sewn up early in the second period"
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