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Football: Watford on the rise as Cardiff stay in front

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Watford moved into one of the two coveted automatic promotion spots from the second-tier Championship to England's elite Premier League after a 2-1 win at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.

Leaders Cardiff remained five points clear at the top despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Derby County.

But it was Watford who were on the move up the table despite falling a goal behind at their Vicarage Road home north of London when Michail Antonio fired Wednesday in front with a 19th minute goal.

The Yorkshire club failed to make the most of their early dominance, although manager Dave Jones insisted afterwards they were denied a legitimate second goal.

Whatever the rights and wrongs, Wednesday were made to pay for failing to take a 2-0 lead when Argentina striker Fernando Forestieri, on as a substitute after the interval, struck twice for the Hornets in the space of 10 minutes in the second half.

Watford are now unbeaten in seven matches and manager Gianfranco Zola said: "We know that it is getting tight for everyone, all the games are really difficult and so you need to win games differently.

"They created a lot of problems and fortunately the two players that came on in the second half (Nathaniel Chalobah and Forestieri), they gave the excellent quality that we needed to edge to the win," added the former Chelsea and Italy star forward.

Meanwhile stunned Wednesday boss Dave Jones said referee Darren Sheldrake should be demoted after he failed to spot either a Lewis Buxton header crossing the line for what the visitors were certain what a second goal, or an ensuing handball by Nyron Nosworthy.

"What can I say, we should be 2-0 up," Jones said. "I don't know how the referee and the linesman miss it. He either gives hand ball or he gives the ball across the line, he can't miss both and he did.

"And that changes the whole complexion.

"He (Sheldrake) should be dropped down to wherever they drop them, see the referee psychologist or whoever else they see and have a good look at that for 90 minutes because that is probably one of the poorest performances I've seen for a long time."

Elsewhere veteran striker Kevin Phillips scored a hat-trick as Crystal Palace dented third-placed Hull's hopes of automatic promotion with a 4-2 win at Selhurst Park.

Phillips, 40 in July, needed just eight minutes either side of half-time, to grab his three goals.

Jay Simpson pulled one back for the visitors before Wilfried Zaha restored Palace's three-goal lead, with David Meyler scoring another for Hull late on.

Palace remained in fourth but are now just a point behind Hull, who fell a place behind Watford.

Dean Saunders's 10th match as Wolves manager produced a first win in charge of the Black County club, a 2-0 victory at Millwall condemning the Londoners to a seventh defeat in their last eight league games.

David Edwards fired the visitors in front after nine minutes and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake added a superb second just after the hour as Wolves climbed out of the bottom three.

Former Manchester United winger Chris Eagles scored the decisive goal in the Lancashire derby, his injury-time effort seeing Bolton to a 1-0 win at home to Blackburn Rovers, owned by Indian poultry firm Venky's, at the Reebok Stadium.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130305/football-watford-the-rise-cardiff-stay-front