Belfast Telegraph

Stalemate good enough for Gracia as Stoke climb out of danger zone

Stoke City 0-0 Watford

By Sean Taylor

There was little to get those who braved the cold excited as Stoke and Watford shared the points in a stalemate.

Stoke had the best chance to break the deadlock just after the hour mark when Orestis Karnezis blocked Xherdan Shaqiri's driven shot and substitute Peter Crouch headed the rebound straight at the goalkeeper.

After making a winning start against Huddersfield 11 days ago, Stoke boss Paul Lambert picked the same starting line up.

Javi Gracia made four changes after seeing Watford go out of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The visitors enjoyed more of the ball during the opening stages but were largely kept at arm's length by Lambert's men.

Stoke lacked the energy they displayed last time out but almost took the lead midway through the first half. Adrian Mariappa did well to block Charlie Adam's shot.

Roberto Pereyra was presented with a chance to win the game late on when he pounced on a loose ball 10 yards out but Jack Butland made the block to preserve the point which lifted Stoke back out of the relegation places.

Belfast Telegraph

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