The sun was shining this afternoon in Stoke – and on the Villa.
Apart from the first few minutes, when the home side called for a penalty after the ball hit Baker’s arm, Villa were in fine form as today’s six-pointer got underway and should have had more than the 0-1 lead, courtesy of Agbonlahor in the ninth minute, at half-time.
Lowton offered Agbonlahor a fine cross but Villa’s number 11 was unable to turn his man to find the net. The visitors pushed on for a second goal and Weimann was unlucky, striking the post.
After the break, the previously flat Stoke showed more fight and the home side were enlivened by the introduction of Adam and Kightly. Villa seemed to sit back more than they had done in the first half and, with ten minutes left on the clock, Stoke equalised when Kightly sent the ball from deep inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. At that point, the dreaded draw seemed to be on the cards once again at the Britannia.
But Lowton had other ideas and scored a goal any striker would be proud of in the 87th minute, bringing down a high cross with his chest before unleashing a fierce shot from 25 yards between Stoke’s approaching defenders and into the top corner of the net, sending the fans in the stands into raptures.
In injury time, with the home side’s efforts focused on the other end of the pitch, Benteke was allowed to pick up the ball on the halfway line and dance his way goalwards, slotting home a late third goal to secure all three precious points for Lambert’s Limes.
This win saw Villa beat Stoke on their own turf for the first time since 1984 and, more importantly, steers Villa clear of the relegation zone and into 16th place ahead of both Sunderland and Wigan, who have games tomorrow.