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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 December, 2003, 17:29 GMT
Watford 1-3 Stoke
Ade Akinbiyi scored twice to help Stoke complete a superb comeback at Watford.

Heidar Helguson had put the Hornets ahead as early as the fourth minute, but on-loan defender Gerry Taggart levelled just 11 minutes later with a firm header.

Akinbiyi's second-half brace was enough to earn the Potters their third successive victory - which was only marred by John Halls' red card for violent conduct in stoppage time.

Danny Webber's ankle injury had forced Hornets boss Ray Lewington had been forced to start with Helguson - who had been carrying a knee problem himself.

But the Icelandic international was on hand to open the scoring from six yards after Paul Devlin's dangerous centre from the right had not been cleared.

John Eustace created the equaliser, whipping in a free-kick which evaded the Watford defence but found Taggart, who crashed his header past Lenny Pidgeley.

Akinbiyi and Darel Russell both went close before the interval, after which Lewington threw on Lee Cook for Jamie Hand.

But it was Akinbiyi who put Tony Pulis' side ahead when Pidgeley hesitated over the impressive Peter Hoekstra's cross, and the former Leicester striker netted from six yards.

Despite the introduction of Micah Hyde and Bruce Dyer, there was no way back for the Hornets after Akinbiyi ran at their defence to claim the third with a sweet finish.


Watford: Pidgeley, Kelly, Cox, Gayle, Brown, Vernazza, Ardley, Hand, Devlin, Helguson, Fitzgerald.
Subs: Chamberlain, Dyche, Dyer, Hyde, Cook.

Stoke: de Goey, Halls, Thomas, Taggart, Clarke, Hoekstra, Russell, Eustace, Marcus Hall, Noel-Williams, Akinbiyi.
Subs: Asaba, Cutler, Neal, Commons, Johnson.

Referee: A Butler (Nottinghamshire)





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