A WORLD-class strike from Matt Lowton helped Aston Villa to a much-needed 3-1 win at Stoke, pushing Reading closer to the Barclays Premier League trapdoor after Nigel Adkins’ side lost 2-0 to his former club Southampton.
Villa moved three points clear of the drop zone and ten points clear of the bottom two, but they needed a moment of brilliance from Lowton after seeing Gabriel Agbonlahor’s early goal cancelled out ten minutes from time.
The visitors went ahead in the ninth minute when Lowton drove into the box from the right wing and picked out Agbonlahor with a low cross, and the striker turned his man to finish.
Stoke came to life after the introduction of Charlie Adam and he set up fellow substitute Michael Kightly to get one back, but the home fans were silenced when Lowton struck.
Southampton dented the survival hopes of their former manager Adkins and his Reading team when they beat them 2-0 in a lunchtime kick-off. Goals from Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana sealed the win and left Reading level with QPR on 23 points.
The day’s other match between Norwich City and Swansea ended in a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.