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West Ham United
6 April 2013
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 27544
M. Kightly 80'
G. Agbonlahor 9'
M. Lowton 87'
C. Benteke 90'+
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "There is always one team that dragged into trouble at the end of the season and Stoke are doing their bit to take that role for 2012/13 after another abject performance. Aston Villa however looked excellent throughout as they saw Gabriel Agbonlahor, Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke seal all three crucial points that brings them to within one of Stoke."
Aston Villa collect a deserved win at the Britannia Stadium in a result that will have great implications for this season's relegation battle as Villa escape the bottom three and pile pressure on Stoke. Tony Pulis' side had opened the first half brightly as though the Potters looked to overwhelm their inexperienced opponents. However Matt Lowton surprised his marker on the right flank following a throw-in and set up Gabriel Agbonlahor to give the away side a lead against the run of play. From then on Paul Lambert's side grew in confidence and threatened frequently on the counterattack through their pacey front men with Andreas Weimann striking the post, while the intelligent use of the ball by Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph gradually reduced Stoke's influence on the match. The Potters did not look like they had the creativity required to break through Villa's defence, but the late introduction of Charlie Adam instigated an equaliser for Michael Kightly that looked to have brought the Potters a point. However Lowton again stepped up to strike a superb 30-yard effort to put Villa in front before Christian Benteke emphasised the scoreline with a solo goal against a desperate Stoke's under-manned defence. Boos rang out for the home side at the Britannia Stadium, who are now in free-fall, while Villa will take great confidence from a deserved win that takes them out of the drop zone.
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "The Villa fans start singing "you're getting sacked in the morning" to Tony Pulis and the Stoke fans join in!"
Stoke push forward in numbers and pose a substantial aerial threat in the final few minutes of the match as they look to salvage a point following Matt Lowton's spectacular effort.
90' + 4'
The referee blows the full-time whistle to end a memorable away win for Aston Villa over a disappointing Stoke.
90' + 3'
A frustrated N'Zonzi concedes a free kick against Bennett outside the left edge of the Stoke box.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Charlie Adam
90' + 2'
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "The Britannia Stadium is emptying very quickly, the boos will be very loud at full-time I think."
90' + 1'
Assist Yacouba Sylla
90' + 1'
Goal Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke seals Villa's victory after taking advantage of Stoke's late push forward. The Belgium international receives the ball on the halfway line before he charges past an ineffective challenge from Huth, bears down on goalkeeper Begovic and slots the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "Take a bow Matthew Lowton! That is a truly world class finish from the full back. Stoke clear a left wing cross out to Lowton 30 yards from goal, he controls the ball on his chest a fires an unstoppable volley past Begovic to send the Villa fans delirious."
Goal Matthew Lowton
Outstanding goal from Matt Lowton! Charles N'Zogbia takes a corner on the left flank but Stoke are able to clear. The ball however drops to Lowton over 30 yards from goal outside the right edge of the box. The right-back chests down the ball and unleashes a perfectly executed dipping volley that sees the ball fly into the top left corner of the net. It is one of the best goals of the season and it could be crucial in Villa's survival bid.
N'Zogbia wins a left-wing corner after his shot is blocked by Shawcross.
England international striker Darren Bent enters in place of Weimann in search of a late winner, joining attacking midfielder Charles N'Zogbia as a late substitute.
Jerome blasts the ball disappointingly wide.
Adam hits the ball over the Villa defence before taking a touch to control the ball and Jones and Jerome are able to combine to retain possession but unable to get a shot away after what looked like a potential handball from Vlaar. The Potters advance up the pitch before winning a free kick outside the edge of the box.
Jordan Nathaniel Bowery
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "Stoke are level, whether they really deserve it is debatable but the attacking changes made by Tony Pulis have paid off. Jon Walters dances down the left wing, cuts inside and plays a pass to susbstitute Charlie Adam. The Scot has to stretch but he gets just enough on the ball to touch it fellow sub Michael Kightly and he fires past Guzan from 12 yards."
Assist Charlie Adam
Goal Michael Kightly
Goal Michael Kightly! Charlie Adam's introduction has changed the game, as the Scotland international picks up the ball in the middle of the park before running out to the left flank and finding Jon Walters with an accurate pass. Walters cuts inside his marker and passes back to Adam, who stretches to poke the ball through to Kightly in the centre of the box. The winger finishes neatly with his left foot into the bottom left corner of the net to equalise for the home side.
Adam immediately looks to show his range of passing with his left foot, but his delivery from the right flank is overhit.
Ryan Shotton is replaced by Charlie Adam to cheers from the home crowd.
Forward Agbonlahor is taken off for midfielder Yacouba Sylla as Paul Lambert looks to consolidate his side's 1-0 lead.
Jerome shows impressive pace and power to withstand the pressure of his marker to receive a pass from Geoff Cameron down the right flank, before pulling the ball back for Jones. Jones' first time shot is blocked by the sliding Lowton, who had showed good anticipation to reach the ball.
Jones shrugs off his marker Ron Vlaar to create space to shoot before blasting at goal from the left edge of the box. His effort strikes Baker in the face and the Villa defender goes down to receive treatment, but the away crowd cheer in approval at his commitment.
Aston Villa exchange passes in the centre circle before Joe Bennett launches the ball towards the right flank and it rolls out of play.
After a sliced clearance from Begovic, Stoke are eventually able to clear and Jerome does well to control a long ball up to the half-way line. Jerome wins a free kick after a challenge from Matt Lowton, however Guzan confidently punches away the delivery.
Yellow Card Ryan Shawcross
Weimann is first to react to a loose ball and Shawcross is booked after he fouls the attacker on the right edge of the box. Begovic is able to reach the delivery however.
Yellow Card Ryan Shotton
Westwood curls the delivery in from the left flank and Bowery reaches the ball but is unable to get any power on his effort, which Begovic calmly collects.
Ryan Shotton is yellow-carded for a challenge on Benteke.
Stoke win a free kick but Robert Huth disappointingly strays into an offside position to receive the delivery. That's demoralising for the home side.
Steven N'Zonzi fouls Fabian Delph as he attempts to win the ball close to goal, and Villa clear with a free kick.
Guzan shows confidence to come well off his line to punch away a cross from the right flank.
Substitute Cameron Jerome receives a pass into the left channel and gets to the by-line but his cross is unable to reach any of his team-mates.
Agbonlahor wins the ball off Shotton and attempts a counterattack, but the move breaks down.
The tempo has slowed amid the string of injuries in the last few minutes, and Stoke are showing few signs of the creativity needed to get back into the match.
Westwood is receiving treatment after going down in the centre of the pitch. The young midfielder has shown good passing ability and Villa will be pleased he is able to continue.
Left-back Marc Wilson had been visibly struggling for over a minute, leaving his team effectively a man short, and is finally substituted for striker Cameron Jerome.
Shotton receives treatment after taking a blow to the face following a challenge with Benteke.
Jordan Bowery has a good chance to put Villa 2-0 up after Marc Wilson's slip allows him to receive the ball on the left edge of the box, but his shot is saved by Begovic.
The referee gets the second half underway! Matthew Etherington makes way for fellow winger Michael Kightly as Tony Pulis looks to add fresh legs in attack.
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "Half-time at the Britannia Stadium and Aston Villa are ahead thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor's 9th minute strike, but in truth the visitors could be 3-0 ahead had they taken their chances. Stoke began brightly but have failed to test Brad Guzan once and are making the normally shaky Villa defence look very solid. The visitors have looked very good, keeping possession nicely and attacking with real threat."
45' + 1'
The referee blows the half-time whistle at the Britannia Stadium.
Benteke wins a free kick after showing good strength against Shawcross to receive a ball on the half-way line as Villa look set to go in ahead at the break.
Weimann receives the ball in the box and falls under pressure from his marker. Rather than appeal for a penalty he gets back to his feet, but the attack loses momentum.
Shotton heads on Begovic's goal kick to Walters, who controls the ball on the edge of the box before attempting to find Jones with a cross. Villa head clear before Whitehead and Wilson take shots at goal from outside the box, but each are blocked.
Lowton drives a cross in from the right flank but his effort is overhit and rolls out for a goal kick.
Whitehead attempts to run beyond the Villa back line to receive a ball in from Shotton on the right flank but the pass runs through for the defence to collect.
Dean Whitehead takes a free kick from the right flank and Shawcross heads well wide after connecting with the delivery.
Yellow Card Gabriel Agbonlahor
Agbonlahor is booked for diving after receiving a neat flick from Benteke into the left channel. With Begovic rushing off his line the striker chose to go outside the keeper rather than attempt a lob and went to ground as Villa's chance goes to waste.
Stoke win a throw-in on the right flank and Shotton's long throw is headed wide by Shawcross.
OFF THE POST! Agbonlahor takes on Cameron on the left flank before passing inside to Benteke. The pass is overhit but Weimann runs onto it and collects the ball before breaking beyond his opponent and side-footing towards the far post. Begovic dives and appears to make the narrowest of touches to tip the effort onto the right post.
The Potters home crowd boo Ryan Shotton after a misplaced pass while Aston Villa are growing in confidence.
Stoke win a corner on the right flank but Villa head the ball calmly to Guzan.
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "Oh that should be 2-0 to Villa. Ryan Shotton loses the ball inside his own half, the visitors play it to Christian Benteke on the left hand side who cuts in and rolls a beautiful pass to Gabriel Agbonlahor. The forward receives the ball in an unmarked position, cuts onto his left foot but rolls his shot agonisingly wide of Asmir Begovic's right hand post."
Right midfielder Ryan Shotton looks to attack for Stoke but he is dispossessed and Benteke picks up the ball before running at goal from the left flank and finding Agbonlahor on the right edge of the box. It's a dangerous counter attack but Agbonlahor rolls his shot wide of the left post.
Ashley Westwood looks to thread a through ball to Benteke but Begovic rushes from his goal to reach the ball first.
Bennett, Agbonlahor and Delph combine on the left flank before Delph gives the ball back with an overhit through-ball.
Stoke started the match brightly and unfortunate to concede so early but the Potters have since looked rattled and been unable to put together any attack of note.
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "Another chance for Villa and they are unlucky not to double their lead. Nathan Baker beats Robert Huth at the back post at the second attempt and heads down to Christian Benteke, the striker swivels to shoot but Asmir Begovic is able to hold his shot."
Aston Villa win a corner from the left flank and Baker directs a header at the back post towards Christian Benteke who turns before forcing Begovic into action with a shot at the near post which the keeper does well to gather.
Stoke look to keep up a high tempo as they look to get an equaliser but keeper Asmir Begovic gives the ball away in his own half to Jordan Bowery, newly included in the starting line-up. Huth backs off Bowery who takes a fierce shot from outside the box that flies narrowly wide.
Goal Gabriel Agbonlahor
Aston Villa take the lead against the run of play through Gabriel Agbonlahor! Matt Lowton takes a throw-in from the right flank and receives the ball back again before beating his man and rolling the ball to Agbonlahor. His first shot is blocked by Cameron but the ball finds its back to him on the edge of the six-yard box and the Villa striker finishes into the bottom left corner.
Stoke attack again quickly and after Jon Walters aims a through ball to Geoff Cameron by the right by-line, left-back Joe Bennett concedes a corner. Benteke defends at the near post and Villa are able to clear eventually.
Aston Villa win a throw-in down the left flank in their first attack of the match but Stoke win the ball back quickly before launching an attack with a long-ball into Kenwyne Jones, selected ahead of Peter Crouch. Jones receives the ball neatly but blasts wide from an acute angle on the right edge of the box.
Left winger Matthew Etherington wins a corner and delivers towards the near post where Ryan Shawcross is able to head the ball back to him. Etherington's second attempt at a cross is dealt with comfortably by keeper Brad Guzan who clears the ball.
Stoke have made a bright start and Steven N'Zonzi receives the ball on the edge of the box in a shooting position, but opts instead to spread the play wide to left-back Marc Wilson and the attack loses momentum.
Jon Walters combines with his teammates on the right flank before crossing the ball from the edge of the box. The home crowd roar as the Potters appeal for a handball from centre-back Nathan Baker in the Stoke box, but the ball struck him from close range and the referee waves play on.
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "Villa have won three of their last six games but still find themselves in the bottom three on goal difference, and have not kept a clean sheet in their last 20 league matches. However Stoke have only won once in their last 11 Premier League outings, and have lost eight of the remaining 10 leaving them just four points above today’s opponents."
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "Stoke boss Tony Pulis makes two changes to the side that were beaten by Everton last time out as winger Matthew Etherington returns to the starting line-up in place of Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones starts up front in place of Peter Crouch. Stoke also name an attacking bench including Michael Owen, Charlie Adam, Michael Kightly, Jerome and Crouch. Villa also make two changes with Fabian Delph replacing Barry Bannan in midfield and Jordan Bowery starting for only the second time this season in place of Yacouba Sylla."
Aston Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett; Westwood, Delph; Agbonlahor, Weimann, Bowery; Benteke. Subs: Given, N’Zogbia, Holman, Sylla, El Ahmadi, Bent, Lichaj.
Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Shotton, Whitehead, Nzonzi, Etherington; Walters, Jones. Subs: Sorensen, Owen, Adam, Kightly, Crouch, Wilkinson, Jerome
Alex Fisher at the Britannia Stadium: "Good afternoon from the Potteries where two of the football league’s founder members, Stoke and Aston Villa, meet at the Britannia Stadium for the 109th time in their history. Villa are ahead on head-to-head meetings but they have only beaten the Potters once since they returned to the top flight in 2008, and haven’t won at Stoke in their last five attempts. It is worth noting though that there haven’t been many winners in the last nine games, in fact there have been six draws."
Stoke get the game underway at the Britannia Stadium!
Hi and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage as Stoke face Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium. I'm @arthurvirgo here to talk through the events. You can get involved on Twitter @GoalUK
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