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Premier League

  • 23 March 2014
  • • 16:00
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 30292

Aston Villa 1-4 Stoke City: Potters ease relegation fears after first-half comeback

Aston Villa 1-4 Stoke City: Potters ease relegation fears after first-half comeback

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Going into the game, the Potters were nine points above Sunderland from two matches more but Peter Odemwingie, Peter Crouch, Steven N'Zonzi and Geoff Cameron sent them 10th

Stoke City came from behind to comfortably beat Aston Villa 4-1 and move up to 10th in the Premier League on Sunday.

Christian Benteke gave Paul Lambert's men the lead less than five minutes into the game, slamming home from close range after an assist from Fabian Delph.

But Peter Odemwingie hit back midway through the first half when he raced onto and finished a flick from Peter Crouch, who then put the Potters in front four minutes later in a fine turnaround.

An error from Nathan Baker then opened it up for Steven N'Zonzi to lash home from the edge of the area just before half-time and Villa were unable to recover, Geoff Cameron adding a fourth late in the game to rub salt into the wound.

By Sam Lee

That as strange as it was straightforward. Stoke City roared back from Christian Benteke's early goal, went 3-1 up before the break, bossed the second half completely and nicked a fourth late on. Easy as that.

Mark Hughes's men were extremely comfortable in possession and, on a day when Villa could have ended any lingering fears of relegation, they were completely and utterly outplayed despite going ahead.

The Villa fans who stayed for the final whistle booed their players off after a sobering performance for Paul Lambert, who had recently masterminded two fine wins over Norwich City and Chelsea. The Stoke fans were much happier, of course, and Hughes will be delighted that his side look like finishing the season in fine fettle.
A first away league victory since the end of August saw Stoke climb into the top half above their opponents, 12 points clear of the relegation zone, while for Villa it was a chastening defeat after successive wins over Norwich City and Chelsea.

It all looked to be going to plan for Lambert's side when Benteke gave them a dream start inside five minutes after excellent work by the in-form Delph. The midfielder turned away from Cameron down the left before finding the Belgian, who took a touch and fired high into the net from 10 yards.

Odemwingie went close to levelling in the 20th minute, seeing his effort from the edge of the box deflect on to the roof of the net, but did net two minutes later when he got on the end of Crouch's knock-down before muscling his way through and slotting the ball between the legs of the advancing Brad Guzan.

And Stoke were in front four minutes later, Crouch converting Pieters' low cross after the full-back had got the better of Andreas Weimann on the left-hand side.

All the momentum was with the visitors and they added a third three minutes before the break, N'Zonzi slotting home from the edge of the area after Bacuna's mistake let in Marko Arnautovic.

The second period was less eventful than the first, Odemwingie testing Guzan with a searing drive in the 64th minute.

Stoke kept Villa comfortably at bay before Cameron tucked away Arnautovic's low cross after the Austrian had comprehensively beaten the beleaguered Bacuna.