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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Watford 0-0 C Palace (agg 3-0)
Aidy Boothroyd confronts Fitz Hall
Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd confronts Crystal Palace's Fitz Hall
Watford will meet Leeds in the Championship play-off final after cruising past a lacklustre Palace.

The visitors rarely threatened keeper Ben Foster and took until the 71st minute to create a clear opportunity when substitute Jon Macken headed over.

Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd was dismissed from the dugout on 63 minutes after he pushed Fitz Hall sparking a 22-man scrap on the touchline.

But the home side settled down and comfortably killed the tie off.

Palace were always likely to struggle to overturn the 3-0 deficit from the first leg and Watford were in no mood to allow their goal to be breached.

The match started as lively as the first leg finished with Palace applying the early pressure in search of a crucial early goal.

And Ben Foster had to be alert early on as he halted Andy Johnson's run while Jobi McAnuff blasted over from the edge of the area.

But for all Palace's possession and pressure, they struggled to break down the resolute Watford defence, with Malky Mackay again turning in a rock solid performance.

With the visitors pushing numbers forward in search of a goal, they left themselves exposed at the back and Watford looked dangerous on the counter attack.

But for Fitz Hall's last-ditch sliding tackle on Marlon King, the home side could have put the tie beyond doubt.

For all boss Iain Dowie's encouraging his players to attack on the touchline, Palace lacked the spirit and initiative to cause the home side any problems.

Watford were content to soak up the pressure and force the visitors into mistakes.

On 63 minutes, Boothroyd had a moment of madness when he pushed Hall when the defender was retrieving the ball.

A mass brawl with players, substitutes and coaching staff ensued and the Hornets boss was sent to the stands.

Macken almost handed Palace a lifeline but he failed to keep his free header down after Tom Soares' pin point cross.

Marlon King had two decent chances to end the tie in style but he shot wide when clean through and saw an overhead effort drift wide.

Watford's solid defence deserved the clean sheet and will now travel to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the play-off final on Sunday 21 May.


Watford: Foster, Doyley, Mackay, DeMerit, Stewart, Spring, Bangura, Mahon, Chambers (Henderson 75), Young, King.
Subs Not Used: Chamberlain, Eagles, McNamee, Mariappa.

Booked: Bangura.

Crystal Palace: Kiraly, Borrowdale, Fitz Hall, Popovic (Reich 69), Boyce, Soares, Hughes (Watson 45), Leigertwood, McAnuff, Johnson, Freedman (Macken 58).
Subs Not Used: Hudson, Andrews.

Booked: Fitz Hall.

Agg (3-0)

Att: 19,041

Ref: S Tanner (Somerset).

SEE ALSO
Boothroyd relieved to get through
09 May 06 |  Championship


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