Before today's game we would have taken a 0-0 draw and a point against a strong Watford team.In the end we got one,and it pushed us back to the top of the table.
Much of this match was about referee Rob Styles showboating.It only took him 20minutes or so to get his red card out.Fortunately this time it was not one of our players dismissed,rather the recently departed Stokie John Eustace,Hornets captain for the day.His challenge on Cresswell was mistimed and high,meriting a booking rather than a sending off.
Five other names went into his book,two of which are significant for The Potters run in fixtures.Both Fuller and Shawcross have now accumulated 10 bookings and will miss the next two games.For next week's game against Blackpool they will be missing,and of course join Liam Lawrence who still has one match left of his suspension.Team selection against Blackpool could be interesting.
Stoke started with three centrebacks and three forwards,but after halftime reverted to 4-4-2.Despite Watford being reduced to 10 men Stoke were still second best and under pressure for much of the time.
A further Styles contribution was to award the home side a penalty for an innocuous ball to hand involving Andy Griffin.Stoke have Carlo Nash to thank for pulling off a save from Henderson.Given his penalty failure in another high profile goalless encounter against Bristol City the other night one would imagine a change in penalty taker is on the cards at Vicarage Road.
With both Bristol City and WBA losing,Stoke's result is useful.7 matches to go then and still all to play for....the Manager's view was that his team was nervous today.....as he said it is to be hoped that the nervousness was caused by the card happy ref rather than their position at the top!!