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    Stoke City 0-2 Watford

    By Alex Easley

    Troy Deeney celebrates his first goal of the season after putting Watford 1-0 ahead.
    Troy Deeney scored his first goal of the season to help Watford to a 2-0 victory at Stoke City on Saturday afternoon which was Mark Hughes’ 100th game in charge of the Potters.

    The Watford captain broke the deadlock shortly before the break to end a run of 857 minutes of Premier League football without a goal before Almen Abdi sealed the victory.

    The win sees the Hornets climb up to 13th in the table and prevented Stoke from obtaining their best points return from the opening 10 games of a Premier League campaign.

    The hosts dominated the majority of the first half without worrying Heurelho Gomes too much, but even so Hughes will have wondered how his side found themselves behind at half-time.

    Watford began the brightest without posing too much of a threat and as time went on, Stoke looked the more likely to take the lead.

    Charlie Adam was their most dangerous player and he fired an early warning as he drilled low past the post after collecting the ball from Xherdan Shaqiri.

    Stoke were forced into a first half substitution as American Geoff Cameron went off with a thigh injury soon after.

    Adam went close once again after Watford made a hash of clearing their lines and his well-hit half volley needed a deflection to take it behind and away from the goal.

    Marko Arnautovic will have been ruing missing a decent chance that really should have seen his side go ahead.

    The Austrian nodded what seemed like a straightforward header over Gomes’ bar after Shaqiri centred for him following decent build-up play.

    That was a turning point, which saw Watford suddenly burst into life and having barely gone into the Stoke half, they hit the woodwork twice in the space of 10 seconds.

    Ikechi Anya did well to cross from the byline and Odion Ighalo’s header was firm but off the crossbar.

    Ighalo then recovered to feed the ball to Abdi and he eventually played the ball into Deeney who saw his effort rifle the bar after leaning back just a bit too much.

    Deeney must have thought his goal drought was never going to end, but his team went ahead with a couple of minutes to go before the break.

    The Watford skipper received the ball 20 yards out from goal and he took a touch to bring himself into a more central position before curling the ball past Jack Butland with a fine, low finish inside the Stoke near post.
    Watford captain Troy Deeney slots the ball past Jack Butland.
    You could see the relief on his face as he wheeled away in celebration after his long wait for that moment to arrive in the top-flight of English football.

    Stoke pushed hard after the restart but frustration quickly set in as they found it difficult to make openings in the visitor’s defence.

    Swiss star Shaqiri sent a poor effort high and wide and Gomes had to adjust well to keep an Adam corner from creeping in at the near post.

    At the other end, Ighalo was denied a penalty but was undeterred as he fired a fierce volley goalwards only to see it blocked when it seemed to be heading in.

    With a quarter of the game remaining Watford killed off Stoke with a clinical finish, Wilson, was far too slack coming out of defence and Ighalo dispossessed him before teeing up Abdi, who hammered home from the edge of the area to the delight of the travelling fans.

    The near 3,000 supporters who travelled north saw their team record a fine victory and Quique Sanchez Flores’ team are proving to be a competitive addition to the Premier League at this moment in time.

    Flores was delighted with the victory and insisted he was not at all concerned by Troy Deeney’s run of games without a goal.

    He said after the game: "I wasn't worried. I talked with Deeney about this matter and he had an obsession with scoring. Finally, his goal came in a natural way.

    It is very important for the confidence of the player, of course, but I wasn't worried about this situation.

    "It was important for the confidence of the players to score and I saw a lot of that today including Abdi with the second.

    "I think we created attempts and I am happy in general with the performance and the way we attack.

    "Sometimes we score and sometimes not. It can be a problem but when you score, everything is solved. We are working every week in the same way."


    Stoke: Butland; Johnson, Cameron, Wollscheid, Pieters; Shaqiri, Whelan, Bojan, Adam, Arnatovic; Joselu

    Subs: Wilson, Walters, Crouch.

    Watford: Gomes; Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Ake; Capoue, Watson; Abdi, Deeney, Anya; Ighalo

    Subs: Behrami, Paredes, Guedioura

    MAN OF THE MATCH: Odion Ighalo
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    Item Reviewed: Stoke City 0-2 Watford Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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