Match ends, Watford 0, Stoke City 1.
Watford 0-1 Stoke City
An own goal by goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes gave Stoke City a deserved win as Watford were beaten at home for the first time since August.
Gomes was beaten when Charlie Adam's header following Xherdan Shaqiri's corner hit the base of the post before ricocheting off the Brazilian and rolling into the net.
If there was a touch of fortune about the goal, Stoke were full value for their victory against sluggish opponents who missed out on the chance to climb to sixth in the Premier League.
Watford had defender Miguel Britos sent off in the closing stages for a second yellow card after Gomes had saved well from Bruno Martins Indi, while Stoke's club-record £18.3m signing Giannelli Imbula also went close from 25 yards.
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There was controversy at the end of a scrappy game as Hornets boss Walter Mazzarri appeared to ignore Stoke counterpart Mark Hughes' handshake.
Watford were unrecognisable from the side that beat Manchester United earlier in the season and had won three of their previous five games.
They had started the day eighth in the table and could have climbed above both Everton and Manchester United, for a few hours at least, with victory.
Yet the Hornets were shown more yellow cards than they had shots on target - long-range efforts from Daryl Janmaat and Etienne Capoue easily dealt with by Lee Grant.
The loss of Younes Kaboul to injury early in the match did not help Watford's cause but questions were again raised about their indiscipline.
Britos will miss Saturday's game at West Brom after his dismissal, while Jose Holebas, midfielder Valon Behrami and Nordin Amrabat were also booked.
Stoke at their battling best
In contrast to Watford's petulance, Stoke were organised and disciplined as they stopped their opponents from scoring at home for the first time this season.
The Potters were at their battling best as they overcame the loss of influential captain Ryan Shawcross and fellow defender Phil Bardsley to injury.
Imbula was making a rare start in place of suspended midfielder Joe Allen, yet this turned out to be one of their most comfortable games of the season.
Adam revealed after the game he might have committed a foul just before the winner was scored but Stoke, who were brighter and more creative, deserved their success and are now on a run of one defeat in eight league games.
Man of the match - Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City)
'It was a foul'
Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam on his header which led to the goal: "I think it was a foul really, I pushed him but we will take it - it's a great win.
"They had a couple of chances but when the three big lads come up front for the last 10-15 minutes, you get a lot of balls in the box and that's where you have to be solid.
"We are delighted with that, it's a good three points and we move on to next week."
Stoke boss Mark Hughes on Walter Mazzarri not shaking hands at the end: "I think he just forgot for a brief moment what we do here. You offer your hand win, lose or draw. In fairness, he came and apologised but I think he was told to."
On Stoke's win: "We were a little bit stretched in terms of personnel. I thought we worked really well and made it happen, I think that was the key. To a man they ran and made it work."
Watford boss Walter Mazzarri on the missed handshake: "I was very angry at that moment with the referee and the time he gave at the end. I went into the dressing room and gave Mark my hand. I forgot in that moment.
"But I was angry with the referee for not giving a lot of time and the decisions he gave. You have to look at the whole game - the fouls, the goal they scored and the yellow cards.
"Anyone can have a bad day. And this time, he had a bad day."
Happy hunting ground
- Stoke have won on five of their past seven visits to Vicarage Road.
- The Potters have conceded just five goals in their past eight Premier League games after conceding 18 goals in the eight games prior to that.
- Heurelho Gomes is the ninth Brazilian to score a Premier League own goal and only the second goalkeeper, following Julio Cesar against Everton for QPR in October 2012.
- It was Watford's 10th Premier League own goal and their first since May 2016 (Craig Cathcart against Norwich).
- Only Sunderland (three) have received more red cards than Watford in the Premier League this season (two).
- No side has conceded more goals from corners in the Premier League this season than Watford (seven).
- The Hornets failed to score in a home Premier League game for the first time since March.
Watford are at West Brom on 3 December (15:00 GMT), when Stoke host Burnley.
- 4KaboulSubstituted forKabaseleat 21'minutes
- 3BritosBooked at 90mins
- 11BehramiBooked at 90mins
- 25HolebasBooked at 40minsSubstituted forIghaloat 56'minutes
- 7N AmrabatBooked at 24minsSubstituted forOkakaat 78'minutes
- 15Martins Indi
- 10ArnautovicSubstituted forCrouchat 82'minutes
- Robert Madley
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Watford 0, Stoke City 1.
Attempt missed. Giannelli Imbula (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri.
Charlie Adam (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Odion Ighalo (Watford).
Valon Behrami (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).
Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Erik Pieters (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jonathan Walters following a set piece situation.
Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sebastian Prödl (Watford).
Second yellow card to Miguel Britos (Watford) for a bad foul.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Miguel Britos (Watford).
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Jonathan Walters.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Daryl Janmaat with a cross.
Attempt missed. Stefano Okaka (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Odion Ighalo.
Attempt missed. Odion Ighalo (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Troy Deeney with a headed pass.
Hand ball by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).
Erik Pieters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sebastian Prödl (Watford).
Foul by Glen Johnson (Stoke City).
Odion Ighalo (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Stoke City. Peter Crouch replaces Marko Arnautovic.
Foul by Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City).
Miguel Britos (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Daryl Janmaat (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Substitution, Watford. Stefano Okaka replaces Nordin Amrabat.
Erik Pieters (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Nordin Amrabat (Watford).
Attempt blocked. Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).
Marc Muniesa (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).
Attempt missed. Miguel Britos (Watford) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).
Roberto Pereyra (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.