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English Premier League

Former England manager Sam Allardyce denied opening win in debut as Crystal Palace boss

Troy Deeney scores from the penalty spot for his 100th goal for Watford to snatch 1-1 draw in English Premier League clash

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 December, 2016, 11:23pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 December, 2016, 11:23pm

Troy Deeney’s 100th goal for Watford denied former England manager Sam Allardyce a winning return to the Premier League as his Crystal Palace side were held to a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road on Monday.

Deeney, who had been dropped from the starting XI after failing to score in the past 10 matches, converted from the penalty spot in the second half to force a share of the points.

Yohan Cabaye – who scored the winner in the corresponding match last season – had given Palace the lead in the first half and Allardyce, installed after Alan Pardew was sacked last Thursday, could have been celebrating all the points if Christian Benteke had converted a first-half penalty.

The draw left Palace precariously placed fourth from bottom on 16 points before other overnight games.

“It’s two points dropped for me,” said Allardyce. “In some ways that’s encouraging in your first game, away from home. On the balance of what happened it should have been a win but from our point of view there were too many chances thrown away.

“The penalty was the big one, to go 2-0 up and then there could have been another penalty we should have had – that might have got us a win.

“But overall, if we keep that up we will hopefully turn results into victories. I was looking for the clean sheet but sadly we gave that away by giving them a soft penalty.”

England exit a dark moment, says new Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri said: “Considering everything that happened in the first 10 minutes [15 minutes, when Watford had to make two changes through injury], which has never happened to me in my whole career, that can change any team, so yeah, in the end we are happy.

“I didn’t like the performance of my team but I am happy with how the spirit of the team came out in the second half.”

Watford’s form has slipped alarmingly with just one win in their last six games, and the draw extended their woeful Boxing Day record of not having won for 30 years.

Palace should have gone 2-0 up in the 37th minute when a wild challenge by Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes on Benteke gifted the visitors a penalty – the Brazilian was fortunate to escape without even a booking from referee Mark Clattenburg.

Gomes, though, redeemed himself, getting down to save Benteke’s soft penalty which was the Belgian international’s second miss from the spot this term.

Watford got the break they needed with 20 minutes remaining when Damien Delaney was penalised for tugging Sebastian Proedl’s shirt in the box and Deeney drilled the resulting spot kick down the middle.

The barrel-chested striker celebrated in robust style as he became the fifth Hornets player to bring up a century of goals.