A quick-fire double from Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke during the final minutes of the game secured a vital win for the Villans and dragged Stoke into the relegation mix
Aston Villa took an early lead through Gabriel Agbonlahor who opened the scoring to equal Dwight Yorke’s record of 60 goals for the club in the Premier League.
Michael Kightley looked set to give Tony Pulis' side a valuable point with his equalizer with 10 minutes remaining, but a quickfire double from Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke gave the visitors a priceless victory to drag Stoke into the relegation mix.
The Villans, who entered the crucial fixture having never claimed victory at the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League, started the game on the back-foot when an apparent handball from Nathan Baker inside the opening minutes was turned down by referee Mark Clattenburg.
Yet despite a positive start for the Potters it was Aston Villa which opened the scoring on nine minutes with its first attempt on goal, when Agbonlahor calmly slotted the ball past Asmir Begovic inside the six yard box at the second time of asking.
The early goal saw the control of possession switch into the hands of the visitors who soon settled into a flow of confidence and Andreas Weimann came closest to doubling the lead on the half hour mark – his shot tipped onto the post after a fine fingertip save from Begovic.
The home side – which was booed off the pitch at halftime – made a second-half change with Kightly coming on for Etherington, yet Pulis’ side started the second period in much of the same vain when Bowery easily rolled the Stoke defense only to see his shot saved by the Potters keeper.
Second-half substitute Cameron Jerome provided a much-needed injection of enthusiasm in attack but the side with the lowest goal tally in the division failed to draw a meaningful save from Brad Guzan in the away goal.
Yet with 10 minutes remaining Stoke's fortunes seemed to turn, when Kightly scored the equalizer inside the penalty area after a strong period of possession for the home side.
Stoke looked set to hold on for a vital point in its bid for Premier League survival but a stunning long-range goal from Lowton and a fourth goal in as many games for Benteke pushed Lambert's side out of the relegation zone.