LONDON: Robert Huth scored with virtually the last kick of the match to earn Stoke City their first Premier League points of the season with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Monday.
New Villa manager Gerard Houllier was not in the ground and Stoke boss Tony Pulis also missed the first half following the death of his mother but he arrived in time to see Huth snatch a dramatic victory 10 minutes after Kenwyne Jones had equalised.
Villa, who missed the chance to go third in the table, deservedly led 1-0 at halftime courtesy of a stooping header by Stewart Downing after 35 minutes.
Stoke remained in the bottom three but their late fightback left West Ham United as the only team in the Premier League still to earn a point this season.
The arrival of Pulis to rapturous applause sparked a much-improved display by Stoke who could have leaked further goals late in the first half when Villa, still under the guidance of caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald, were rampant.
Villa still looked on course for the victory as the second half ebbed and flowed but they buckled in the closing stages.
Striker Jones, Stoke’s record signing at 8 million pounds ($12.33 million) from Sunderland, equalised when he headed past Brad Friedel from Matthew Etherington’s clipped cross.
Then, deep into stoppage time, Stoke were awarded a dubious free kick and debutant Jermaine Pennant swung in a cross which Etherington lashed into a crowded penalty area for Huth to stick out his leg and deflect the ball past Friedel.
Houllier, appointed last week to succeed Martin O’Neill who quit before the start of the season, has not yet completed his commitments in his previous job with the French Football Federation.
BDST: 1459HRS, September 14, 2010