Last Updated: 06/04/13 4:50pm
Stoke 1 Aston Villa 3. All over and Villa claim a vital victory which lifts them out of the drop zone and drags Stoke into trouble.
Benteke with a clever flick. Emotions boiling over as NZonzi clatters into a rash tackle. Stoke need to make sure they end this game with 11 men on the field. Final few seconds now being played out.
Lambert still pointing out what he wants from his players. No way they are going to mess this up now. Villa are on their way to a third win in four. They have found form at just the right time.
Foul by Adam on N'Zogbia, for which he sees yellow. All gone wrong for Stoke. Fans flooding through the exits at the Britannia Stadium.
GOAL VILLA - BENTEKE. Game over as Benteke makes it three. With Stoke pushing men forward, they leave gaping holes at the back. Benteke is sprung clear. He keeps his composure to slide under Begovic.
Another long throw sent into the Villa box, this time from Cameron, Vlaar able to smuggle the ball clear. Kightly picks it up, but his cross is cleared. Villa dropping very deep.
Shawcross slides in at the back post, but diverts the ball over the crossbar. Whistle had gone anyway, with Jerome pulled up for a foul on Guzan. Villa survive.
Surely that is three points wrapped up for Villa. They only need to sit tight and pick up a welcome win. They concede a corner though. Nervy finish on the cards.
GOAL VILLA - LOWTON. What a goal from Lowton! And what an important one for Villa. Unstoppable volley from the full-back. A corner is cleared to 30 yards from goal, but is returned with interest into the top corner.
Benteke flicks a long ball on, but ends up diverting it away from a run from Bent. Villa haven't clicked up top this afternoon. As I say that, Benteke and N'Zogbia win a corner.
Final change of the afternoon sees Weimann make way for Bent. Maybe Villa feel they can grab a second and three much-needed points.
Adam goes down under a Baker challenge on the edge of the box, just left of centre. Great chance for Stoke to test Guzan, or grab a winner. Pulis bouncing around on the touchline. Jerome goes for power, and hammers high and wide. What a waste.
Poor pass from Benteke, who has dropped very deep looking for the ball. Better from Stoke, as Adam floats the ball over the top. Cameron well forward, and claims handball inside the box. Nothing given.
Villa throw on a pair of experienced legs in the form of N'Zogbia. Bowery, who had a great chance at the start of the second half, makes his way off.
Suddenly the Stoke fans are back on side and are calling on their side to go looking for a winner. More misery for Villa, who have had enough chances to put this result beyond doubt.
GOAL STOKE - KIGHTLY. The hosts level things up. Two subs with a big part to play here. Adam starts the move, feeding Walters. Adam is then able to poke the ball through to Kightly, who sweeps the ball past Guzan from 10 yards out.
Delph loses the ball inside his own half. Jones bundles into the box. Villa struggling to clear their lines. Jones claims a penalty, but gets nothing. Delph eventually able to clear.
Adam's first touch sees him knock the ball out of play. Fresh legs, same old problems for Stoke. Pulis has now played his full hand. Has he got enough on the field to claim a point. No Owen or Crouch for the Potters today - two men with proven records.
Final change for Stoke sees Adam enter the fold. It's not NZonzi to make way, but Shotton. Ironic cheers as he makes his way from the field.
NZonzi with another terrible touch, as he loops the ball up into the air. If anyone should come off for Stoke, it's him. Potters are able to move forward, with Walters winning a throw down by the corner flag. Long throw from Shotton punched clear by Guzan.
First change for Villa sees Agbonlahor make way for Sylla. Lambert looking to tighten things up in the middle of the park and play for 1-0.
Stoke finally create an opportunity of note, and Jones does that. Not much Pulis can do when his strikers fail to kick the ball. Benteke now down for Villa, but he is waved back to his feet. Jones now arguing with Walters. Stoke losing their composure.
Back underway, as Adam is now sent out to warm up by Stoke. Guzan hammers long. Benteke unable to gather. Jerome skips past his man and cuts back for Jones. He swings at fresh air. Sums up Stoke at the moment.
Lambert trying to get instructions across to his players. Baker, meanwhile, is back on his feet. Brave defending from him. That's what Villa need in their survival bid, players putting their body on the line.
Benteke may be struggling. He pulled up when setting off after another aimless punt into space. Villa need to keep him fit if they are to stay up. Another Villa player down as Baker is caught flush in the face by a fierce drive from Jones.
Villa still working in midfield to close down space. They have put plenty into this. Agbonlahor drives them across halfway, but he can't find Benteke. Villa striker has been quiet this afternoon.
Movement on the Stoke bench again. Crouch has been sent out to get warmed up. Expect to see him soon. Stoke need a target. Another long ball into the box is picked off by Guzan.
Lowton cuts out a pass intended for Kightly. Bowery sent down the right, but Huth comes across to block his path. Cameron then stops Weimann and clears on the slide.
Shawcross fires long towards Walters. All too predictable from the hosts. Baker stands his ground and the ball ends up bouncing through to Guzan. Stoke need a Plan B, or possibly Plan C or D.
Another caution, this time for Shawcross. He stepped across Weimann as the Villa man looked to burst past him. Stoke skipper looked slow and short on mobility there. Westwood's free-kick picks out Begovic again.
NZonzi urged to shoot from distance, but doesn't. His route into the box is blocked off. Kightly hangs over a cross to the back post. Walters wins the aerial battle, but nods down to Guzan.
Benteke turns the ball around the corner for Agbonlahor, and is clattered in the process. Clattenburg tries to play advantage, but there is none there. Shotton booked for his late challenge. Westwood's free-kick makes its way through to Begovic.
Cameron sends a free-kick long. Huth has drifted wide into space, but the flag goes up. So sloppy from the Stoke man as he was looking along the line. Villa able to clear their lines once again.
Cameron with a throw. He looks long. Jones comes to meet the ball, but his touch is awful and he flicks out of play. Stoke not make life difficult enough for Villa.
Villa fans making all of the noise at the moment. They are enjoying their day out. Stoke supporters, not so much. Villa on the ball now, with Westwood dinking a cross towards Bowery.
NZonzi concedes a free-kick, getting Villa off the hook. Needless from the Stoke man. Potters back on the ball, with Cameron pushed on down their left. He finds Kightly, who is crowded out by the corner flag.
Space for Weimann to move into. He finds Benteke, who looks to turn 25 yards from goal. He has his pocket picked and ends up on the turf. Shotton takes Stoke forward, but Guzan comes to punch his cross top safety. Decisive keeping.
Great touch from Bowery to keep a Guzan clearance in play. Villa prepared to play backwards and keep the ball. Stoke have to raise the tempo if they are to force Villa into mistakes.
Cameron runs the ball out for Stoke and picks out a run from Jerome. He gets to the dead-ball line and looks to fire across the face of goal. He gets past Vlaar, but his delivery is straight at Guzan.
Lowton sends the ball long, onto the head of Huth. The German drills long, but only finds Vlaar. Still all a bit scrappy. Jones is able to gather the ball eventually, with Stoke moving wide to their right. Shotton trips over fresh air.
Shawcross catches Westwood on halfway. The Villa man stays down. It appears as though he may have tweaked something. Maybe not, as he gets back to his feet. Free-kick is wasted as Begovic comes to claim on the edge of his box.
Back underway, with Villa unable to pose a threat. Weimann caught offside. Change of shape for Stoke now that Jerome has been introduced. They now have pace up top. Can they make the most of it?
Wilson has now gone down and will be replaced by Jerome. He hobbles from the field. Not been the best of seasons on the injury front for Wilson.
Wilson appears to have injured himself. He needs to go down if he can't carry on. Agbonlahor moves through the gears, with Wilson still hobbling around. NZonzi nods a Delph cross clear. Stoppage now as Walters concedes a free-kick.
Benteke with a high arm which catches Shotton. He concedes a free-kick, but no card. Not the best of challenges from the Villa man. On another day he might have found himself in trouble. Another aimless pass, this time from Wilson, rolls out of play.
Shotton with another long throw from the right. Huth can't get a touch and Westwood can hook clear. Ball played back in by Cameron, but nodded clear by Vlaar. NZonzi lifts another poor pass over the top and behind. He has been disappointing this afternoon.
Benteke gathers a loose ball wide on the Villa left. Shotton then has to slide into a challenge on Bennett. Stoke still looking shaky at the back. Fans still not making much noise.
Poor defending from Wilson, as he allowed Bowery to spin past him. Having to in, the Villa man will be disappointed not to have found the target. Should have been 2-0, but Stoke cling on. They can't get anything going as they move forward.
Shotton unable to keep the ball in play. Bennett takes his time with a throw. Benteke ends up gathering the ball on his chest, but has Huth breathing down his neck. Bowery is suddenly sprung clear, but he fires straight at Begovic.
Lambert looks happy enough on the sidelines. Villa do, however, have a woeful second half record this season. Still every reason for Stoke to believe they can get back into this.
Josh says: "I'm surprised Villa are winning at half time considering our track record of 0-0's at the Britannia - I reckon a 2-0 win."
Remember you can bet in-play throughout the game at Skybet.com. They say: "Can Stoke reverse their woeful form after the break? They are 5/1 to win now with the draw 9/4, while Villa are 4/7 to hold on for the win."
Eoin Martin says: "Brilliant first half from the lions, dominating against a weak Stoke side. If Villa see this through it will be a great and important victory."
Phil Humprhis says: "Hope to see Stoke come back in the second half & go on to win this game 2-1. If not I think we are doomed to relegation."
Matthew Morse says: "Unfortunately, I can see Peter Crouch coming on at half time and scoring an early equaliser! UTV!"
How do you see the second half going? Get your thoughts in to Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.
Stoke 0 Aston Villa 1. Boos ring out around the Britannia. Agbonlahor's early goal has the visitors in front and the locals are not happy.
Villa go right and then left. Stoke putting up two banks of four in front of their own goal. The Potters get the ball back and go left. Wilson skips past a tackle, but has no room in which to fire over a cross.
Stoke looking to end the half on a high. Wilson with plenty of room on their left. He floats a cross towards Jones, who nods down. Bowery happy to hack the ball anywhere. Benteke then does really well to win a free-kick for holding off Shawcross on halfway.
Walters gathers a loose ball. He crosses on the turn. Villa can only half-clear, but they throw bodies in the way of a Whitehead shot. Brave defending. Villa can then spring clear. Weimann goes down in the box this time, but again nothing given.
Guzan forced into a hurried clearance, which ends up breaking Villa's way. Stoke get men back quickly. The visitors can't pick the lock, with Westwood sending an attempted through-ball nowhere near Benteke.
Westwood wins a free-kick for Villa in the heart of midfield. They don't look to send too many men forward. Vlaar does go long, but Benteke never gets off the ground and Shawcross clears. Lowton then fires a hopeful pass out of play for a goal kick.
Flag up against Jones. He went, came back, and went again. Tight call, but the right one. Villa were playing a very high line. Jones looking to impress today, with the likes of Owen, Crouch and Jerome on the bench.
Another long ball aimed towards the box by Shawcross. No Stoke player can get a telling touch this time and the ball bobbles behind for a goal kick. Pulis still marching around his technical area.
Walters forces a throw. NZonzi then skips past a challenge and finds Shotton. Another decent delivery from the Stoke right. Whitehead is breaking into the box, but bundles the ball straight at Guzan. The ball arrived at him at a difficult height.
Whitehead over the set-piece. His whipped delivery is met by Shawcross. He makes a good connection with his header, but sees his effort loop over the crossbar and behind. Better from Stoke.
Agbonlahor speaking with Clattenburg. He can have no complaints about the caution. Back in the present and Walters wins a free-kick off Baker. Promising position for Stoke wide on their right.
Right call from Mark Clattenburg. Agbonlahor only went over once he realised he wasn't going to get on the end of a heavy touch. He had the opportunity to strike early as Begovic came out to meet him.
Baker comes over the top of Jones to concede a throw. Another chance for Shotton from a wide area. Stoke give the ball away and Agbonlahor springs clear. He goes around Begovic, before going down. He is booked for diving.
Guzan in no rush with a goal kick. No spin this time from the American. Sloppy from Benteke as he pushes his man and concedes a free-kick. Stoke get Shotton involved again. He sends over a hanging cross, which Guzan does well to watch into his arms.
Begovic takes a free-kick for Stoke deep inside their own half. He looks for Walters, but only finds Baker. Vlaar then edges out Jones in a tussle on the edge of the box. Stoke win a throw. Shotton goes long, but Shawcross' header drifts wide.
Better from Shotton as this time he drives at Bennett and whips a cross to the near post. He gets a bit too much on the delivery and it floats over the head of Walters and into the arms of Guzan.
Decent response from Stoke, but Walters hammers high over the top. Looking at the Weimann chance again, Begovic may get a fingertip to it. If he did, he has kept the Potters in this tie.
Villa still looking to play football. That approach serves them well as they slice through Stoke at pace. They work the ball to Weimann, who sends a low shot past Begovic, but sees it cannon back off the base of the post. So unlucky.
Stoke too eager at times. They are looking to force the issue, rather than wait for opportunities to present themselves. On this occasion, Whitehead pounces on a loose ball, but pokes it straight through to Guzan. No-one anywhere near his attempted pass.
Guzan clears, and does a little spin. Does that help? Bennett knocks the ball towards Benteke, but can't find him. Villa end up back inside their own half, working along their back four.
Delph concedes a free-kick inside the Stoke half. Shawcross hammers the ball long. Baker does well to get a head to the ball for Villa. Shotton, now back on the right, is then unable to get past Bennett. Goal kick to Villa.
Weimann can't get the ball under his spell in midfield. Yet again Stoke look to go long far too quickly. Shotton, on the left now, fires down the flank and out of play. Jeers from the stands.
Etherington's delivery is glanced away by Bennett, but only as far as Huth. He nods back towards goal, where Guzan comes through the crowd to claim. Stoke soon back on the ball, but Cameron is caught in two minds and ends up conceding a free-kick.
Delph concedes a throw. Shotton opts against going long. He makes his way towards the corner flag, and wins a corner off Delph. Chance for Stoke to load the box.
Benteke goes down, but nothing given. Villa lose the ball in midfield, but Agbonlahor wins it back. He finds Benteke, who returns the favour. Agbonlahor sends a low left-footed effort from the edge of the box skidding inches past the post.
Stoke now looking to close the ball down much quicker. They need to start forcing the issue. It works as the ball breaks wide to Etherington. He is unable to make his way down the left wing. Begovic forced to hammer into the stands as Villa look to counter.
Poor ball this time by Villa, with Lowton going long down the right but all the way through to Begovic. Up at the other end, Vlaar can watch another hopeful punt forward roll out of play. Not a classic at the moment.
Walters at least trying to force the issue as Guzan gets the ball again. Villa play around the Stoke man, but soon get the ball back. They make nothing of it again as a pass drifts out for a throw. Whitehead looking for a free-kick which never arrived.
Guzan with as much time as he wants to fire long down field. He looks left and Benteke is able to glance on for Agbonlahor. He feeds the ball backwards, but Bennett is unable to combine with Delph.
Shotton wins a throw down the Stoke right. Glum faces in the stands as the Potters lose the ball again. They are let off as Benteke breaks in behind too soon and the flag goes up. Another sloppy long ball from Huth runs behind for a goal kick. Not good enough from the hosts.
Time for Huth to send the ball back to Begovic. He slices another clearance, this time out for a throw. Stoke looking nervous. The last thing they need is for this big crowd to turn against them. Bennett whips over a dangerous cross for Villa, which Shawcross can meet.
NZonzi with a terrible ball over the top which runs behind for a goal kick. Stoke all over the place. Pulis out bellowing instructions on the sidelines. He won't be happy with what he is seeing.
Westwood delivers long to the back post. Baker nods up into the air, and then down to Benteke. He shoots on the spin and forces Begovic into a smart stop. He pushes the ball into the air, before gathering at the second attempt.
Delph steps away from NZonzi and finds Agbonlahor. Patient build-up from Villa, who now look right. Lowton finds Agbonlahor on the edge of the box, and his ambitious effort flicks off Whitehead and behind for a corner.
Sloppy defending again from Stoke. Huth backed off Bowery to the edge of the box, inviting him to shoot. Villa look full of confidence now, the Potters look rattled. All of the football now being played by Villa.
Smart play from Westwood in midfielder as he holds the ball and plays the way he is facing. Villa can't keep possession, though. They can, however, force Begovic into a rushed clearance. The ball ends up back with Bowery and he crashes an 18-yard drive into the side-netting.
Ball back in the hands of Begovic. Villa fans making all of the noise now. They know how important today's game could be to their cause. On the field, Shotton sends over a long throw which Villa can clear.
Nightmare start for the hosts after dominating possession. They looked all over the place at the back, with Lowton able to drift into a dangerous position far too easily.
GOAL VILLA - AGBONLAHOR. The visitors break the deadlock. Lowton takes the throw, and combines with Bowery. He is allowed to break to the dead-ball line before picking out Agbonlahor. His first shot is blocked, the ball breaks back to him and he rolls home from close range.
Whitehead's delivery is met by Benteke, but the ball drops inside the box. Stoke go wide, before delivery again. Vlaar is able to clear for Villa. They look to counter, but Weimann settles for a throw - allowing others to join him.
Lambert already out, hands on hips. He sees Guzan just about manage to get a clearance away before Walters gets to him. Stoke get the ball back and Cameron sprints down their right. He wins a corner off Bennett.
Weimann combines with Agbonlahor, but Whitehead nicks the ball off his toe. Stoke prepared to be patient as they work the ball forward, and then all the way back to Begovic. They then press, but Jones fires a wayward volley high into the stands from a tight angle.
Etherington drills the corner short to Shawcross. He sends the ball back out wide to his winger. A second delivery does go high into the box, but his nodded tamely into the hands of Guzan. Villa move forward and win a throw in Stoke territory.
The more you see the handball incident, the more it looks like a penalty. Baker didn't move his hand to the ball, but he shouldn't have had his arms spread. Pulis not too happy with the officials, as you would imagine. His side are back on the ball with Etherington, who wins the first corner of the game off Lowton.
NZonzi drifts past Bowery and finds Wilson. His cross from the left isn't the best and Delph can nod clear on the edge of his own box. Bright start from the hosts. Villa yet to get going.
Cameron feeds the ball down the right flank, but Baker is there for Villa. Stoke come again and a loud handball shout goes up as Walters fires the ball into the box. The ball struck Baker on the hand, which he had left hanging. Slightly fortunate.
Villa earn an early free-kick. They look to play it short, eager to get as many touches of the ball in the opening exchanges as possible. When they do go long, the ball sails through to Begovic.
Pre-match rituals out of the way and we are just about ready for the off. Perfect conditions for football, so no excuses for either side not to put on a show and give their supporters something to cheer. Tony Pulis last out of the tunnel, but he is now on the bench.
Teams are in the tunnel so we will have to leave the feedback there for now. There will be further opportunities to have your say at half-time and at the final whistle. Let's now turn our attention to the game.
Andy Lunn is a Villan not too sure about their selection. He says: "Why is he playing Bowery ahead of Bent??? This just doesn't make sense. We need a goal threat from somewhere other than relying on Benteke. Bennett at left back is also a real concern for me. We look a bit feeble in the middle of the park too and I fear Stoke will bully us off the pitch."
Phil Humprhis hopes to see the hosts dominate. He says: "Must win game for both clubs, probably more for the Villa. Would love to see Stoke go all out for a win & score more than 1 goal in the process, too much at stake to sit on a 1 nil lead."
Players out in the sunshine being put through their paces. They should be relishing the occasion - big crowd and a big game for both sides.
Just under half an hour until kick-off. Keep your thoughts coming in to Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.
Joe Curtis isn't impressed by Stoke's starting XI. He says: "Looks like TP is going for ANOTHER draw today with his starting line up and 2 proven England goal scorers on the bench."
Stoke have gone with a big, powerful side and have plenty of attacking options on the bench should they need them. Villa stick with their tried and tested, meaning Bent and N'Zogbia have to settle for spots among the subs.
Aston Villa team: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Weimann, Bowery, Benteke. Subs: Given, N'Zogbia, Holman, Sylla, El Ahmadi, Bent, Lichaj.
Stoke team: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Shotton, Whitehead, Nzonzi, Etherington, Walters, Jones. Subs: Sorensen, Owen, Adam, Kightly, Crouch, Wilkinson, Jerome.
Matt Morse thinks we are in for a close encounter of the football kind. He says: "It's going to be a draw for me, either 1-1 or 2-2. Both great sides, but a leaky Villa defence and a a strong Villa attack will equal out!"
Ryan Ward is quickest out of the blocks with a pre-match musing. He says: "Villa will look to counter attack with the likes of Weimann, Agbonlahor, Benteke, so I can see Villa winning this game 2-0."
You can also bet in-play throughout the afternoon at Skybet.com. Stoke start as favourites on home soil at 23/20, with Villa 23/10 and the draw 12/5.
Can Stoke get their season back on track or will Villa take a sizeable step towards safety? Who will be the men to keep an eye on? Let me know your thoughts.
Feel free to offer your opinion on today's game by contacting me direct at Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.
Stoke have announced that they are expecting their biggest attendance of the season here today, which goes to show how important this contest is to both sides.
Villa find themselves inside the bottom three, but only goal difference has them sat 18th and they have claimed two wins from three to offer themselves hope.
The Potters head into the game having taken just five points from 11 fixtures in 2013 - a run which leaves them perched just four points above the relegation zone.