Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford: FA Cup dream ends for Hornets

Watford and Crystal Palace fans descended upon Wembley with memories of their last outings two decades ago.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford: FA Cup dream ends for Hornets
Troy Deeney and Co are left wondering what could have been (photo: Getty Images)
Crystal Palace
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Crystal Palace: (4-4-2) Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Puncheon (Sako 81'), Cabaye, Jedinak, Zaha; Bolasie (McArthur 74'), Wickham (Adebayor 86').
Watford: (4-4-2) Pantilimon; Nyom (Anya 82'), Britos, Cathcart, Ake; Abdi (Guedioura 55'), Capoue (Suarez 32'), Watson, Jurado; Deeney, Ighalo.
SCORE: 1-0, Bolasie 6'. 1-1, Deeney 55'. 2-1, Wickham 61'.
REFEREE: Craig Pawson. Booked: Jurado (38'), Dann (54'), Suarez (79'), Deeney (89').

Watford's spirited season filtered out as they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Crystal Palace in a disappointing performance at Wembley

Nothing to offer from Watford in a mediocre first half for the Hornets

In a tense cauldron of noise, Watford could not have got off to a worse start. After a wave of Crystal Palace attacks, Yohan Cabaye eventually produced a corner that was flicked on by Damien Delaney at the near post and nodded home by Yannick Bolasie on six minutes.

The Hornets eventually jumped into life as Allan Nyom's dangerous cross was almost put into his own net by Damien Delaney, although Palace still threatened as Cabaye tested Costel Pantillimon with two long range curler. Watford's task became even more difficult on the half hour mark, as central midfielder Etienne Capoue left the field on a stretcher with a knee injury, gutted that his big day had ended early.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, the introduction of Mario Suarez could not provide a spark before half-time, as a poor 45 minutes from the North London side came to an agonising close. With his position perceived to be under threat at the helm of the club, Quique Sanchez Flores had a big team talk in store, particularly as his main men Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo had received next to no service.

Palace have enough to see off Watford

Flores' master plan had seemingly fallen on death ears when Miguel Britos was fortunate not to give away a penalty after tangling with Connor Wickham just seconds after the restart. However, captain Deeney almost took advantage of the moment of luck, heading just over from another Nyom cross.

Costel Pantillimon made a much more confident start to the second half, as he produced an excellent save with his legs to keep out Bolasie, after the midfielder had bombed down the winger and cut inside. Though it was the man everyone would choose to overcome a battle who grabbed the next goal. A Jose Manuel Jurado corner found Troy Deeney, who had offered a warning to the Palace defence just moments earlier, and the Watford captain headed his team back into the game.

Deeney gave Watford hope (photo: Andy Hooper)
Deeney gave Watford hope (photo: Andy Hooper)

Watford would have been desperate to hold it but it lasted just a matter of minutes. Pape Souare fired over before the left back crossed to Connor Wickham, who is a mismatch in the air for Nathan Ake, and the big striker glanced Palace back into the lead.

Watford produced late efforts through Deeney, Jurado and Adlene Guedioura, but were leaving space at the back as Wilf Zaha hit the side netting and Wickham had a shot blocked. Eventually the game filtered out for Watford as Crystal Palace cruised into the FA Cup final.