Tony Pulis fresh from grieving his mother’s passing away was given some balm in Stoke’s last gasp win over Villa, in keeping with this Premiership season’s theme of adrenaline driven finishes. It was wily Robert Huth who stuck out an opportunistic foot to guide Matthew Etherington’s shot into goal. It left Villa devastated. Jermaine Pennant, a former Arsenal project played his part in the free kick leading to the goal.
Stewart Downing’s lunging header (video) in the 35th minute put Villa ahead against the run of play. It is goal of the week material. Stoke then had to withstand Villa’s trio of Ashley Young, Gabby Agbanlahor, and Downing for the next 45 minutes to conjure up the equalizer.
Rory Delap using his head this time nodded a clearance back to Fuller who laid it off to Etherington (a vastly underrated player) whose inch perfect cross was headed home by newly signed Kenwyne Jones (video). Stoke were back in the match.
Stoke managed its first win of the season after three losses as Villa contemplates a schizophrenic start to theirs with two wins and two losses, including the Newcastle debacle before recovering to beat a very good Everton side the following week. Gerard Houllier was not present for today’s match busy wrapping up last minute duties with the French Federation but he will be present for Bolton, Villa’s next opponent.