When your team is struggling at the bottom of the table, desperate for points, commentators, managers and pundits tend to say any goal will do. A deflected, scuffed shot from the edge of the box. A goalkeeping howler from the opposition. A 14-man goal-mouth scramble where the ball pings in off the arse of your left winger from two foot in front of the line. Any goal will do.
Well how about a 35-yard dipping volley, three minutes from time to win the game. From a defender. Take a bow Matt Lowton.
With Stoke looking like they’d held Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium, Lowton took the ball out of the sky on his chest and unleashed a stunning long-range dipping volley that gave Asmir Begovic no chance.
The right-back’s incredible goal set Villa up for a late 3-1 win and moved them three points clear of the relegation zone with eight games to play. Paul Lambert’s team are nowhere near guaranteed Premier League football next season but Lowton’s strike has been a highlight in an otherwise depressing year for the Midlands club.