Huth's late goal gives Stoke 2-1 win over Villa

BY foxsports • September 13, 2010

Robert Huth's scrappy injury-time goal gave Stoke its first win of the season Monday as the host rallied to beat Aston Villa 2-1 in the Premier League.

Huth got his foot to the ball in front of goal to steer Matthew Etherington's deflected shot past goalkeeper Brad Friedel in the final seconds of added time, stunning the visitors who had looked on course for a routine win in the first half.

Stewart Downing had given Villa the lead in the 35th after meeting Gabriel Agbonlahor's long cross with a perfect diving header that sailed out of reach of goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and just inside the far post.

Villa then missed a number of first-half chances to extend the lead before Stoke's record signing Kenwyne Jones equalized with a header in the 80th.

Both teams started the game without their managers on the touchline as Stoke's Tony Pulis was mourning the death of his mother earlier Monday and new Villa boss Gerard Houllier has yet to take charge of the team.

However, Pulis arrived in time to give an emotional halftime speech, and it seemed to give his team a lift.

''Obviously he wasn't happy at halftime, he was very disappointed about what was happening,'' Etherington said about Pulis. ''He had thought it would be too much to be with us but after the first half and the way we played he came in.''

Stoke remained in the relegation zone with three points, but leapfrogged Everton into 18th place. Villa remained seventh with six points.

Stoke had lost its first three games and looked headed for its worst topflight start since 1906 after Downing's opener. Ashley Young should have made it 2-0 in the 40th when he met another perfect cross from Agbonlahor but sent his header wide from close range. Sorensen then made a couple of saves to keep Stoke in the game, blocking James Collins' close range shot in the 43rd and swatting away Downing's sliding effort two minutes later.

''In the first half we were sitting back too much, but in the second half - after the manager had had his speech - we came out and went for the win,'' Jones said.

Following a period of sustained pressure from Stoke, the equalizer finally came when Jones rose high in front of goal to meet a cross from Etherington and head into the right side of the net. Etherington helped create the winner as well after Villa failed to clear the ball following a free kick. The ball fell to Etherington on the left side of the area, and his shot was deflected by a defender and ended up in front of Huth, who poked the ball high into the net for the winner.

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