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Kevin Phillips seals Play-off final win

Ian Holloway A penalty in extra-time from Kevin Phillips was the only difference as Crystal Palace earned a 1-0 win over Watford at Wembley.

Watford started the Championship play-off final the brighter of the two teams but never really tested Palace keeper Julian Speroni during their early dominance.

The Eagles had an early blow with midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi coming off injured after just 18 minutes, with Stuart O’Keefe being brought into the fold.

Both teams saw chances blocked with Damien Delaney producing a fine last ditch tackle on Matej Vydra following Lloyd Doyley’s block on an Owen Garvan effort.

Having seen Vydra taken off injured at the break, the second-half certainly had more chances and Palace could have considered themselves unlucky not to break the deadlock before the end of regular time, with Aaron Wilbraham having three great chances to score but Manuel Almunia was in fine form also denying O’Keefe at the death.

Neither side could find the back of the net and the game went into extra-time, but it did not take long for a great chance to come Troy Deeney’s way, Speroni pulling off a remarkable save to keep the match goaless.

The game looked like it was heading to penalties but Marco Cassetti produced a foolish tackle on Wilfried Zaha in the box and the youngster, who was arguably the man of the match, was awarded the penalty.

Veteran forward Phillips made no mistake from the spot and under immense pressure slotted the ball into the top right corner just before half-time in extra-time.

Watford piled the pressure on in search of an equaliser, Joel Ward clearing the ball off the line in the dying moments when Fernando Forestieri cut inside before curling a shot goalwards.

But despite the late drama, it was Palace who held on and will be playing their football in the Premeir League next season.

Article title: Kevin Phillips seals Play-off final win

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