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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Saturday, 24 January 2009

Watford 4-3 Crystal Palace

Jack Cork celebrates his Watford goal
Cork celebrates scoring Watford's second - his first for the Hornets

Watford booked their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup despite a late Crystal Palace rally at Vicarage Road.

Jay DeMerit lashed in a volley from a poorly defended corner and Jack Cork's header gave Watford a commanding lead.

Clint Hill pulled one back for Palace with a close range header, before Will Hoskins netted a third for Watford.

Jobi McAnuff played in Grzegorz Rasiak to put the home side in control, but Neil Danns and Paul Ifill both struck late on to set-up a tense finale.

However, it was a case of too little too late for Palace as Ifill's header came during the fourth of five added minutes.

Before the match Neil Warnock was critical of his side's defence and he only had to wait until the 17th minute to see his side go a goal down.

Jose Fonte could only scuff McAnuff's corner clear and the ball fell to DeMerit who controlled the ball on his chest before volleying high into the top corner with the aid of a deflection.

Watford were soon two in front as former Palace winger McAnuff delivered a deep cross which Cork headed back across Julian Speroni and into the far corner.

The home side were good value for their lead, but Palace hit back after the interval as Alan Lee headed John Oster's deep free-kick back across goal for Hill flick in from 10 yards.

Spurred on by the goal Palace began to dominate. However, they failed to convert their superiority into goals and were made to pay as Hoskins planted a powerful left-footed strike home to restore his side's two-goal advantage.

McAnuff again turned provider for Watford's fourth, running the whole length of the pitch before squaring for Rasiak who curled the ball beyond Speroni into the top corner.

Palace never gave up and Danns scrambled in eight minutes from time before Ifill's injury time consolation.

Watford assistant manager Dean Austin:
"We need to use this as a platform. The Cup is not a hindrance for us, it's our first win in a while and we can work from here.

"We know there are goals in this team and we scored some excellent goals today but the problem all season has been conceding too many at the other end.

"We conceded territory and the ball was flicked on and they were first to all the bits and pieces."

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock on 23-year-old referee Michael Oliver:
"I find it difficult to understand how they give referees Championship football at 23.

"I don't see how they can have the understanding of the game at that age. The way they are going he will be in the Premier League next year.

"We are pushing young referees because we haven't got a great group at the top. Young referees should have experienced linesman and I was hoping for a Premier League referee today."

Watford: Loach, Hoyte (Kiernan 90), DeMerit, Mariappa, Doyley, Cork, McAnuff, Harley, Jenkins, Rasiak (O'Toole 77), Hoskins (Bridcutt 86).
Subs Not Used: Searle, Sadler, Eustace, Bangura.

Goals: DeMerit 17, Cork 27, Hoskins 67, Rasiak 70.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Clyne (Butterfield 76), Lawrence, Fonte, Hill, Derry (Fletcher 75), Danns, Ifill, Oster, Lee (Kuqi 78), Moses.
Subs Not Used: Carle, Flahavan, Scannell, Hills.

Booked: Fonte, Lee, Danns.

Goals: Hill 48, Ifill 83, 90.

Att: 10,006

Ref: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Watford's Jobi McAnuff 7.78 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Live text - FA Cup fourth round
24 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
FA Cup photos
24 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Lawro's predictions
22 Jan 09 |  Football
FA Cup commentaries
23 Jan 09 |  FA Cup

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Sunday TimesBuoyant Jack Cork inspires Watford - 8 hrs ago
Telegraph Warnock turns fire on 'brash' young refs - 10 hrs ago
Crystal Palace FCWatford 4 Crystal Palace 3 - 10 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited FA Cup: Watford 4-3 Crystal Palace - 16 hrs ago
Sky Sports Swans Send Holders Crashing - 22 hrs ago
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