Watford 1-1 Crystal Palace: Deeney penalty snatches debut win from Allardyce

Troy Deeney's second half penalty ensured that Sam Allardyce wouldn't get off to a winning start in his first game as Crystal Palace manager, Watford coming from behind in a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road.

Yohan Cabaye had fired Palace ahead after 25 minutes, and they should have doubled their lead as Christian Benteke missed from the penalty spot. Deeney didn't make the same mistake from 12 yards out when presented the same opportunity with 20 minutes left, levelling the game with what proved to be it's final goal. 

Watford injuries help Palace enjoy quick start

It wasn't an ideal opening period for Watford, to say the least. Within 15 minutes of kick-off, manager Walter Mazzarri had already had his plans disrupted by injuries forcing two of his starting XI off. 

Daryl Janmaat lasted just three minutes before pulling up with a groin problem, replaced by Juan Camilo Zuniga, whilst Valon Behrami stayed on for just 13. He went down clutching his hamstring, leading to Troy Deeney's introduction. 

Amid all the reshuffling by the Hornets, Palace made a quick start, the players looking to impress their new boss.

Yohan Cabaye was at the heart of most things, and came within a whisker away of opening the scoring from distance. Christian Benteke's indecision on the edge of the penalty area saw the ball stabbed clear to the Frenchman, who struck just wide of the post.

That miss didn't matter though, with Cabaye putting the Eagles ahead soon after thanks to some exceptional work from Andros Townsend. Holding men off brilliantly before entering the final third, Townsend skipped past his markers before sliding a fantastic pass in-behind the defence for Cabaye, who rolled the ball across goal to score.

Benteke's missed penalty proved costly

It really was the dream start for Allardyce, and it could have been two before the half was over, only for Christian Benteke to miss a penalty. Fouled in the area by Gomes after an awful back pass by Sebastian Prodl saw the goalkeeper need to rush out, Benteke stepped up with his usual casual run up, but saw Gomes guess correctly and comfortably stop his penalty. 

That miss seemed to dent Palace's confidence, offering Watford some momentum as a catalyst for a way back into the game. 

Nordin Amrabat was looking dangerous down the right hand side, even more so as the second half got underway. Beating his marker, Amrabat hung a delightful cross up towards Deeney at the back post. The captain recycled the ball back across goal, but there were no takers.

Odion Ighalo is a man who has struggled for form this season, and his confidence - or lack of it - showed when he latched onto a lofted ball that the Palace defence couldn't deal with, only to strike wide.

Deeney cool from the spot

Despite that, there was a strong feeling that a second goal was coming as Palace dropped deeper and deeper looking to protect their lead, something that would cost them.

Damien Delaney was the man at error, hauling Prodl down in the box with 20 minutes to go, referee Mark Clattenburg noticing and pointing to the spot. Deeney stepped up and smashed the ball home, showing Benteke how it's done.

There were chances to win the game for the hosts from then on, but nothing clear cut, with Palace doing just enough to hang on for a point. The injuries are a concern for Mazzarri, who will be happy with the way his team fought back. For Allardyce, it was a shame to lose the lead that they could have doubled, but Palace's first half performance will give him confidence that he's got a squad willing and able to perform for him.