Stoke City vs. Aston Villa: Final score 1-3, Villains out of the drop zone

Clive Mason

Matthew Lowton helped Aston Villa get out of the bottom three with a goal of the season candidate and an assist against Stoke.

Wigan Athletic, Sunderland and the rest of the bottom half have been put under massive pressure by Aston Villa, who sank Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday. Right back Matthew Lowton turned in a surprising man of the match performance, assisting on the opener and scoring the winner with a spectacular volley in a 3-1 victory for his side.

Gabriel Agbonlahor netted the opening goal in the 9th minute, taking advantage of some poor defending. Lowton and Jordan Bowery played an exchange down the right flank before Lowton played in a low cross. Agbonlahor took a touch and had time to control the ball, steady himself and line up a close-range shot, which he placed into the back of the net.

Villa were the better side throughout the first half and had a few other notable chances -- their most notable coming from Andreas Weimann, who hit the post -- but they were unable to extend their lead. They eventually paid for that in the 80th minute, when Stoke substitute Michael Kightly pulled his side level with a composed finish from 12 yards.

A draw appeared to be a likely result until lightning struck for the Villains in the 87th minute. Out of absolutely nowhere, Lowton took a ball off his chest 25 yards from goal, then struck a spectacular volley with his next touch that looped well over the hand of Asmir Begovic, then dropped like a rock well under the crossbar.

With Stoke pushing hard to hit back, Christian Benteke took advantage of their low numbers in defense, skinning Robert Huth on a counter before scoring in stoppage time to clinch his team's win.

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