Mar 23, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT
Stoke City found themselves down 1-0 after just four minutes, and the team without a win away from the Britannia since August appeared to be again headed for road woes.
Instead, Peter Crouch took control up front and four goals from four Potters gave Stoke a comprehensive away victory to send them into the top half of the Premier League table.
Christian Benteke struck early for the home side, and Villa led just after five minutes. Fabian Delph, who manager Paul Lambert tipped for England duty before the match, got the ball on the back line and cut into the box, where Benteke had acres of space unmarked, and he blasted top-shelf for the opener.
The goal is his sixth since missing three matches with a knee problem in December.
Villa wouldn’t be up for long though, as Stoke built themselves into the match down early and worked for their equalizer. They’d get it on 22 minutes when Crouch won a header in front of the box, and flicked it on to a charging Odemwingie who beat Ryan Bertrand to the ball for the equalizer.
That scoreline wouldn’t last long either, as just four minutes later Stoke would put themselves in lead, with Crouch again at the forefront. The towering presence up front got a ball from Erik Pieters on the back line and sitting all alone in the box he crashed the ball into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
Suddenly down a goal after conceding twice in four minutes, injuries hit Villa to make matters worse. Both Andreas Weimann and Karim El Ahmadi went down within minutes, forcing Paul Lambert to make an early double change.
With Villa already handcuffed off the bench, the scoreline would continue to bulge before halftime for the visitors. Just three minutes before the break, a through ball attempt by Marko Arnautovic clanked off the feet of Nathan Baker and fell right to Steven Nzonzi who rifled low past Brad Guzan to double the lead.
After the half the game bogged down, but Stoke would get themselves a fourth into stoppage time as the American Geoff Cameron got a feed from Arnautovic while streaking in the box and made no mistake for his second goal of the season and a 4-1 lead.
The win not only sends the Potters past Villa into 10th place in the Premier League standings, but marks just their second win at Villa Park in the last 13 years.
Aston Villa – Guzan; Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Bertrand; El Ahmadi (Albrighton 33′), Westwood (Holt 73′), Delph; Weimann (Sylla 33′), Benteke, Agbonlahor.
Goals: Benteke 5′
Stoke City – Begovic; Pieters (Muniesa 78′), Shawcross, Wilson, Cameron; Arnautovic, Palacios, Whelan, Nzonzi, Odemwingie; Crouch.
Goals: Odemwingie 22′, Crouch 26′, Nzonzi 42′, Cameron 90+1′
- Euro 2020 semis, final to be played at Wembley Stadium 1
- Sloppy USWNT 4-0 win over Mexico adds fuel to turf conversation fire 0
- Europe League roundup: Everton big winners at home; Spurs left with draw on the road 0
- It’s not too late for Major League Soccer to turn away from its new logo 21
- Premier League Power Rankings: Red Devils and Villans on the up 1
- PHOTO: MLS unveils new logo. What do you think? 24