Gomes own goal takes Stoke into top half

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Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes scored an unfortunate own goal to gift Stoke City a 1-0 win on Sunday that elevated Mark Hughes’s side into the top half of the Premier League table.

Watford’s recent victims at Vicarage Road include Manchester United and champions Leicester City and they would have climbed to sixth place with victory, but they were second-best against Stoke.

The visitors secured victory in the 29th minute when Charlie Adam’s header from Xherdan Shaqiri’s right-sided corner hit the post, bounced off Gomes and flew into the net.

Stoke climb four places to 10th, while Watford, who lost Miguel Britos to a late red card, remain eighth.

Stoke showed their intent from the off, Bruno Martins Indi testing Gomes following a free-kick and Giannelli Imbula — deputising for the suspended Joe Allen — driving narrowly wide from 25 yards.

Watford threatened through Daryl Janmaat, who worked visiting goalkeeper Lee Grant after cutting inside onto his left foot.

But there was a blow for the hosts in the 19th when centre-back Younes Kaboul had to go off after appearing to injure his calf.

Compounding the upheaval at the heart of the home defence, replacement Christian Kabasele took a good two minutes to find his shin-pads and shirt before he was able to come on in Kaboul’s place.

Stoke made the breakthrough shortly after and although Adam wheeled away in celebration, replays showed the goal would have to go down as Gomes’s.

Hughes’s men continued to threaten in the second half and should have doubled their lead in the early stages when Marko Arnautovic failed to pick out Jon Walters with a low cross.

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri threw on striker Odion Ighalo in place of Jose Holebas, but the nearest his side came to an equaliser was a Janmaat volley that sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.

Britos received his marching orders in the final minute of normal time after being shown a second yellow card for tugging back Shaqiri.

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