Watson earns Palace a point
Sheff Wed ended a run of three straight defeats after a battling 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.
Last Updated: 01/11/08 6:16pm
Sheffield Wednesday ended a run of three straight defeats after a battling 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.
The Owls led early on at Selhurst Park when Leon Clarke put the visitors in front after just seven minutes of the game.
However, Palace claimed a point through Ben Watson's second-half penalty, although Neil Warnock's men have now failed to win in their last four Championship matches.
Palace have failed to pick up where they left off last season under Warnock and they created little in front of goal against a side who had won only one of their previous seven away league matches.
Paul Ifill had the Eagles' best chance just before the break when his shot from the edge of the area was tipped away at full stretch by Owls goalkeeper Lee Grant.
Palace midfielder Watson fired a volley just wide inside the first 60 seconds, but Wednesday stunned Warnock's side in their first attack in the seventh minute.
Sean McAllister drilled the ball across the six-yard line from the right and when the home defence failed to clear it, Clarke rifled home an angled drive for his second goal of the season.
Palace responded through Shefki Kuqi, but his header came to no harm and clear-cut chances were few and far between until Jose Fonte headed Watson's free-kick just wide.
Craig Beattie curled a free-kick high over the crossbar, while Marcus Tudgay dragged his shot wide from 12 yards for the visitors before Palace winger John Oster's piledriver was comfortably held by Grant.
Palace resumed with more purpose in the second half and hauled themselves level from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute.
Kuqi, in the starting line-up for the first time this season, was deemed to have been fouled in the area by Wednesday central defender Beevers and Watson coolly placed his spot kick into the bottom corner.
Clarke skewed a chance to put the Owls back in front from close range four minutes later and the visitors threatened again soon after as Steve Watson's free-kick was held by Julian Speroni and Tudgay headed McAllister's corner just over.
Both sides had by now thrown off their first-half shackles. Kuqi's angled drive whistled over Grant's crossbar and Owls manager Brian Laws sent on strikers Akpo Sodje and Jermaine Johnson in a bid to win the match.
James O'Connor's free-kick hit Palace's wall and Watson's curled just over at the other end before substitute Johnson rattled the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Johnson went close again in the closing stages, while Sean Scannell forced a Grant into a fine save with his legs.