Stoke bounced back from their midweek Capital One Cup defeat at the hands of Manchester United with a hard fought 2-1 win against Aston Villa.

In a game of few chances, the deadlock was broken after the half-time whistle, courtesy of Charlie Adam. The Scot – who started the game on the bench – needed just five minutes to announce his arrival as he swept home a fine effort. Peter Crouch kept the ball alive with a knockdown in the box, allowing Adam to turn Nathan Baker and the ball into the net.

Soon after it almost went from bad to worse for the visitors as Fabian Delph escaped a red card for a reckless lunge.

However, the game then turned, as the Villains levelled proceeding courtesy of Libor Kozak on 66 minutes. The burly striker pounced on some poor defending from Erik Pieters to slot the ball past Asmir Begovic and stun the Potters’ home support.

But it didn’t take long for Stoke to nudge the scoreline back in their favour, with Crouch netting against his former club in controversial fashion after 69 minutes. The lanky forward appeared to control a Cameron Jerome cross with his arm before finding the back of the net.

The result moves Stoke into the top half, narrowly ahead of Villa.

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