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Watford dig deep in draw with Stoke

Ten-man Watford were held to a 1-1 draw against Stoke in a fiery and entertaining encounter at Vicarage Road on Friday night.

Jake Livermore opened the scoring on 15 minutes with a close range finish from a Ryan Porteous knock down following a corner but the home side's lead didn't last long with Stoke's Mmaee pulling the visitors level 20 minutes later.

Opportunities were spurned by both sides in the second half and tempers began to flare as both teams looked for a winner.

The lively Giorgi Chakvetadze hit the bar from a long range effort as Watford tried to play on the front foot - but hope of Watford finding a second was dealt a huge blow as forward Vakoun Bayo got sent off for a late challenge on Luke McNally.

The sending off gave the visitors more belief that they could go ahead and nick a much needed away win but they couldn't make their man advantage count.

Watford had goalkeeper Ben Hamer to thank for two crucial saves that kept the game level.

The keeper stopped Bae Junho in a one-on-one situation, saving well at his feet - and also pulled off an excellent fingertip save to deny Mmaee a second.

The draw means that Watford remain outside the Championship playoff places in tenth while Stoke are now unbeaten in their last three and are seven points off the bottom three.

Next up for the Hornets is an away trip to Plymouth Argyle on New Year's Day, while Stoke have a tricky trip to second-placed Ipswich Town.

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