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Soccer: Five memorable Watford v Stoke City matches

Soccer: Five memorable Watford v Stoke City matches

(Reuters) - Watford and Stoke City will meet for the 34th time in all competitions on Saturday. We look at some notable clashes between the sides.

Watford 0 Stoke City 1 (Premier League, Nov. 2016)

Walter Mazzarri appeared to snub a handshake from Stoke boss Mark Hughes after goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes's own goal gave the visitors a 1-0 win and propelled them into the top half of the table.

An injury to defender Younes Kaboul upset the hosts' momentum before midfielder Charlie Adam's header from a corner bounced off the post and on to Gomes before sneaking in. Late drama followed as Watford's Miguel Britos was sent off for a second yellow card.

Eighth-placed Watford, who were denied a provisional place in the top six due to the defeat, saw their season spiral downwards towards the end and finished 17th with Mazzarri getting the sack.

Watford 3 Stoke City 0 (Championship, Sept. 1995)

Watford manager Glenn Roeder questioned Craig Ramage's fitness suggesting he was overweight and left him out of the first four games of the season, but the mercurial midfielder had the perfect reply on his second appearance after being recalled.

After a headed goal in the first half, he scored with a free kick in the second and celebrated by rubbing his belly. "It was special to score two after a tough start to the season and I'll always remember the crowd reaction when I ran out," Ramage said.

Tommy Mooney also got on the scoresheet as the hosts snapped a four-game winless run, handing Stoke a fourth straight loss. The Potters' form picked up after the defeat, as they lost only once more in the next 15 games and went on to finish fourth in the table while Watford were relegated.

Watford 1 Stoke City 2 (Premier League, Mar. 2016)

A week after shocking Arsenal 2-1 in the FA Cup quarter-finals, Quique Sanchez Flores's Watford were brought crashing down to earth by Stoke in a 2-1 reverse.

Troy Deeney's late header from close range was scant consolation for the Hornets after goals in either half from Jonathan Walters and Joselu helped Stoke to their first win over Watford since 2004.

Watford, whose FA Cup run ended in the semi-finals against Crystal Palace, finished the season in 13th, four places below Stoke.

Watford 1 Stoke 0 (FA Cup, Jan. 1970)

The only FA Cup meeting between the teams saw Watford midfielder Colin Franks smash a 25-yard screamer past England goalkeeper Gordon Banks in front of more than 23,000 fans to seal a 1-0 win in the fourth round.

Watford's cup heroics continued as they beat Gillingham 2-1 and Liverpool by a solitary goal to reach the semi-finals for the first time since the club was formed.

Their run ended when they were hammered 5-1 by Dave Sexton's Chelsea in the semis before being forced to settle for fourth place after a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in a playoff at Highbury.

Watford 3 Stoke 1 (League Cup, January 1978)

Three years after taking over as Watford chairman, lifelong supporter Elton John watched his 'Rocketmen' - strikers Luther Blissett and Ross Jenkins - score in a 3-1 win over Stoke in a League Cup quarter-final replay at Vicarage Road after the sides drew 0-0 a month earlier.

Graham Taylor's team were beaten by a similar margin in the semi-final first leg against Nottingham Forest and failed to turn it around in the return leg against the eventual champions.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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