Crystal Palace 4-0 Watford: Chris Martin's on song - Sunday Mirror match report
Published 17:09 18/02/12 By Chester Stern
Two neatly-taken goals from Chris Martin helped Crystal Palace to their first league victory of 2012 and ended a sparkling run in which Watford had taken 10 points from their last four outings.
The win brought to an end a dismal run since the turn of the year in which the Eagles have surrendered a lead five times and conceded crucial goals four times in the last five minutes of games.
The Hornets dominated the early exchanges using widemen Craig Forsyth and Alex Kacaniklic to maximum effect. By contrast, Palace boss Dougie Freedman (below) watched his team struggle to get out of their own half with their few attacks woefully disjointed.
But after 22 minutes Jermaine Easter turned his defender, Lloyd Doyley, on the right and fired in a rasping cross which Martin missed only to see the Eagles’ top-scorer, Wilfried Zaha, cruise in at the far post to tap home. Martin got on the scoresheet 16 minutes later, meeting a Darren Ambrose free-kick to flick a tidy header inside the near post.
The same pair combined to extend Palace’s lead moments after half-time when Easter slid another Ambrose free-kick into Martin’s path and the on-loan frontman could not miss from six yards out.
After 63 minutes the scoreline began to take on the look of a rout as Kagisho Dikgacoi sidefooted an Ambrose corner goalwards and, in the greasy conditions, the ball squirmed under Scott Loach.
Watford’s second-half substitute Gavin Massey provided a lively attacking force but when Freedman threw on Sean Scannell to add speed to the home side’s attack the Eagles simply camped in the Watford half.
Freedman said: “I am not relieved to get a win at last because our performances over the last three or four games have merited wins.
“I believe you get what you deserve in football and we certainly got what we deserved today. Some of our attacking was outstanding.”
Watford Manager Sean Dyche said: “It was a team who haven’t won this calendar year playing against a team coming off a fantastic run and we just found it tough to go again.
“They were a bit more eager.”