Yohan Cabaye's second-half penalty was enough to give Crystal Palace all three points against newly-promoted Watford at Vicarage Road on 27 September. The hosts had not lost a match or even conceded a goal at home since winning promotion back to the Premier League in May, but Allan Nyom's rash challenge on Wilfried Zaha presented the ideal opportunity for Alan Pardew's side to record a second consecutive victory in all competitions and a first in the top-flight since August.
After a frantic start, home goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was forced into a strong save to deny Brede Hangeland as the impressive centre-back rose to head Cabaye's corner. The rest of the first half was sorely lacking in entertainment, however, with both sides showing plenty of endeavour but a chronic shortage of effective quality.
Jose Manuel Jurado, a summer signing from Spartak Moscow, ignited the second 45 into life early on as he saw a wonderfully curled, right-footed free kick smack against Wayne Hennessey's crossbar. Mehdi Abdi then saw a low shot saved before it was Palace's turn to hit the woodwork as Dwight Gayle capitalised on good work from Bakary Sako and some awkward Craig Cathcart defending before sending an effort against the post.
Zaha replaced Sako with just under 20 minutes remaining and his introduction proved pivotal as he was clumsily felled by the sliding Nyom. Watford appealed desperately to referee Anthony Taylor that the infringement had actually occurred outside the penalty area, but the decision stood and Jurado was cautioned for his protestations. Cabaye had missed three of his last four attempts from the spot before today, but made no mistake this time as he powered his effort past Gomes who dived the right way but could not get a hand to it.
Gayle twice came close to doubling the visitors' advantage, while Yannick Bolasie, fresh from signing a new three-and-a-half year contract yesterday, also had an effort in stoppage time. Palace move up to sixth in the table ahead of their next fixture against West Brom. Watford slip below Norwich to 13th and travel to Bournemouth next.