Watford’s English Premiership push on track

Watford’s bid for a quick return to the English Premiership was off to a good start as they defeated Sheffield United 1-0 on Saturday to extend their 100% record.

Adrian Boothroyd’s side were relegated along with the Blades last season, but they went top of the Championship thanks to Lee Williamson’s first goal for the club.

Williamson struck in the 56th minute. He met Darius Henderson’s cross with a volley that deflected off Leigh Bromby and flew past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.

It took a goal-line clearance by Tommy Smith to preserve the points after Michael Tonge’s free kick was only parried by Mart Poom.

In contrast to Watford’s impressive form, Bryan Robson is still waiting for his first league win since taking charge at Bramall Lane.

West Bromwich, last season’s beaten play-off finalists, cruised to a 2-0 home win against Preston.

England international Kevin Phillips opened the scoring in the 65th minute when he converted James Morrison’s cross. Phillips was then replaced by Ishmael Miller and the on-loan Manchester City striker marked his debut with a 71st minute goal.

Miller took possession on the halfway line and jinked his way into the penalty area before sliding home a perfect finish.

Plymouth manager Ian Holloway missed his side’s 1-1 draw against Ipswich after being taken to hospital shortly before the Home Park clash. Holloway fell ill before kick-off and was told to get hospital treatment as a precautionary measure.

His team were understandably slow to get started and Alan Lee put Ipswich ahead in the first minute when he headed in Jonathan Walters’s cross. But Sylvan Ebanks-Blake rescued a point for Plymouth from the penalty spot in the 84th minute after David Wright brought down Peter Halmosi.

Ipswich finished with 10 men after when substitute Fabian Wilnis was sent off for a foul on David Norris.

Teddy Sheringham scored his first goal for Colchester, but Geraint Williams’s side were held to a 2-2 draw by Barnsley at Layer Road.

Former Manchester United and Tottenham striker Sheringham continues to defy critics who say the 41-year-old should retire. He finished George Elokobi’s cross in the 45th minute to cancel out Brian Howard’s penalty, awarded for a foul by Dean Gerken that led to the goalkeeper’s dismissal.

Matthew Connolly headed the hosts in front after the interval before Barnsley’s Paul Reid was sent off. Howard rescued Barnsley in the 85th minute when he scored his second penalty of the day after Johnnie Jackson’s handball.

Leicester’s Patrick Kisnorbo thought he had won the points when he put his side ahead with three minutes to play at Crystal Palace, but Clinton Morrison equalised with virtually the last kick to earn a 2-2 draw.

Stuart Green put Palace ahead with a superb free kick in the 33rd minute, but DJ Campbell tapped in an equaliser after 63 minutes to set the stage for the dramatic finish.

Elsewhere, Jamie Cureton scored twice as Norwich beat Southampton 2-1, while Cardiff won 2-0 at QPR, Scunthorpe beat Burnley 2-0, Blackpool drew 1-1 with Bristol City and Coventry drew 1-1 with Hull. — Sapa-AFP

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Steve Griffiths
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