ROBERT HUTH popped up with an injury-time winner to give Stoke City - and manager Tony Pulis in particular - a much-needed lift as they claimed their first Premier League win of the season in dramatic fashion at the Britannia Stadium.
In a thrilling climax to the live televised match against Aston Villa, City turned the game around as Kenwyne Jones headed home his first goal for the club before Huth glanced home the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.
The Potters had trailed to a first half goal from England winger Stewart Downing despite a bright start to the match, but they had to wait until the closing stages before they snatched three valuable points to end a run of three defeats.
It was a particularly emotional finish to the game for Pulis who had missed the start of the match after the death of his mother earlier in the day, but he was back in his normal pitchside position when the second half got underway.
Time seemed to be running out as they pressed for an equaliser, but record signing Jones equalised in the 79th minute before Huth's late, late winner.
The game had begun brightly enough for City, although their first attempt on goal was a rather tame one as Robert Huth saw his low shot comfortably saved by Friedel after some neat approach work involving Wilson and Matty Etherington.
Delap was operating down the right hand side and managed to escape the attention of England full back Stephen Warnock in a penetrating run, but although Jones climbed at the far post to and meet his cross, Villa managed to clear the danger.
Jones was then picked out bursting forward by an excellent through ball from Wilson but the big striker's low shot was well-saved by Friedel.
City sustained the pressure and from a right wing corner whipped in by Etherington, Jones rose to head over, much to the frustration of Abdoulaye Faye who was coming in behind him and appeared to have a more clearcut opportunity.
Friedel then had to react smartly to save a long range drive from Jones after the striker had chested down a long ball before unleashing a left foot volley.
It came as a shock to the Potters to fall behind in the 34th minute against the run of play as Gabriel Agbonlahor sent over a deep cross from the right which picked out Downing unmarked and he stooped to plant his header beyond Sorensen.
That gave Villa the encouragement to push forward with greater confidence and they could easily have stretched their lead before half time.
Ashley Young somehow steered a close range header wide of the target when it seemed easier to score after being picked out by Agbonlahor's cross and then Sorensen had to push out a close range shot from Downing at the far post.
Nevertheless, City felt they should have been awarded a penalty when James Collins appeared to handle the ball in a goalmouth scramble.
The second half was a far more subdued affair of few chances, although Jones went close with a header from an Etherington free kick shortly after the break, his close range effort forcing another good save out of the Villa 'keeper.
Although the Potters enjoyed plenty of possession, they struggled to create any real threat and it wasn't surprising that changes were eventually made as Fuller and Pennant were introduced at the expense of Walters and Wilson.
The ground erupted in the 79th minute when City got themselves back on level terms with new boys Pennant and Jones playing a prominent part in the goal.
It was Pennant who started the move and after Whitehead had been heavily involved, the play switched to left for Etherington to send over a cross from the left that picked out Jones who rose to firmly head past the helpless Friedel.
The question was then could City go on and win the match, and they succeeded in doing so thanks to a late strike from Huth.
The pressure was mounting once again when a flash of brilliance from Fuller saw him burst into the box before forcing a fine save out of Friedel.
But the 'keeper could do nothing to keep Huth's close range effort when he sidefooted home in the 93rd minute from an Etherington cross.
While Jones and Huth were the goalscoring heroes, it was Etherington who was the man of the match and he had a hand in both goals.