Stoke City 3 Aston Villa 2
Mamady Sidibe netted in injury time as Stoke claimed a dramatic victory over Aston Villa to record their first victory in the Premier League.
Tony Pulis' side's direct style proved to be effective against Villa and his side took a deserved victory after a pulsating match at the Britannia Stadium. Liam Lawrence's 30th-minute penalty was cancelled out by John Carew's neat finish in the 62nd minute before the Potters took the lead again through Ricardo Fuller in the 80th minute.
Villa skipper Martin Laursen looked like he had rescued a point for the visitors three minutes later but Sidibe's header from Rory Delap's throw gave Pulis' battling Potters the points.
Pulis handed a debut to Abdoulaye Faye after the Senegal defender received his international clearance in time to play.
Faye, who joined from Newcastle for £2.25million, partnered Leon Cort at the heart of the Potters' defence.
Lawrence and Fuller were restored to the starting line-up in place of Glenn Whelan and Mamady Sidibe, left-back Carl Dickinson was included ahead of Andy Wilkinson while Amdy Faye started in midfield in place of Richard Cresswell.
Villa boss Martin O'Neill named the starting line-up that began the season with an emphatic 4-2 win over Manchester City.
A high-tempo start saw Gabriel Agbonlahor put through in the second minute, but Abdoulaye Faye slid to intercept the ball, which City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen cleared to safety.
Stoke, backed by a vociferous home crowd who were taking in their first game in the English top-flight for 23 years, had their first real chance five minutes later after Stiliyan Petrov fouled Dickinson on the left edge of the penalty area.
Lawrence whipped the resulting free-kick into the box but Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel ignored the physical presence of Fuller and claimed well.
Lawrence was Stoke's best attacking outlet and he found space down the right flank in the 18th minute before delivering a high cross into the penalty area - but Fuller was unable to make contact.
Villa launched a counter-attack in the 24th minute but Ashley Young was unable to pick out Carew and Stoke cleared the danger.
The visitors had a decent shout for a penalty turned down in the 27th minute when Agbonlahor went down among a crowd of bodies, but referee Mark Halsey waved away the protests of the Villa players.
Stoke were then awarded a penalty of their own three minutes later after Laursen brought down Delap.
The Villa captain was lucky to escape after he seemed to catch Fuller following neat build-up play by Stoke inside the penalty area.
Villa tried to scramble the ball clear but Laursen then fouled Delap and this time Halsey pointed to spot.
Lawrence took the spot-kick and drilled the ball low into the bottom-left corner past the despairing dive of Friedel.
The home side continued to press and could have been 2-0 up in the 37th minute when Fuller was picked out by a long ball on the edge of the area - but the Jamaica international screwed his shot wide.
Stoke went close again in first-half added time after Delap's long throw-in was headed wide by the unmarked Fuller.
Pulis withdrew Amdy Faye for former Liverpool midfielder Salif Diao in the 72nd minute while Villa took off Nicky Shorey for Wayne Routledge.
Diao was immediately into the play and lashed a wild shot into the stands from long range after Fuller had laid the ball off.
Dave Kitson was replaced by Sidibe in the 76th minute as Stoke adopted a direct style for the remainder of the game.
The Potters continued to press and their pressure was rewarded in the 80th minute with a superb finish from Fuller.
Lawrence released the striker with a perfectly-weighted through-ball and Fuller smashed a low shot from a narrow angle past Friedel.
But Stoke were again unable to hold on to the lead as Laursen finished from close range three minutes later.
Ashley Young fired a low shot at goal after his initial free-kick was cleared and the ball hit several players before it fell perfectly at the feet of the Denmark international, who swept home from six yards.
The match looked to be heading for a draw but a long throw from Delap in injury-time found Sidibe - and he rose highest to head home from close range.
O'Neill admitted a lapse in concentration cost his side a point after they twice fought back from a goal down. The Villa boss also hinted that defence rather than attack will be the areas which he will seek to improve on the training ground.
"I am still very positive because the fact is we have been beaten today in the last minute of the game," O'Neill said. "Over the whole period I thought we should have got at least something from the game after we scored two very good goals.
"It is too early to start cutting up players as it were, we have played two games in the Premier League and we've scored six goals. So scoring doesn't seem to be our problem at the moment. We scored a lot of goals last season and conceded quite a number.
"If we could cut down the number we conceded we'd have a better chance of getting more points so that's something we'll work on."
O'Neill also felt that his new-look defence - which included recent signings Nicky Shorey from Reading and Luke Young from Middlesbrough - will require a period of adjustment.
He added: "I think that it will take a bit a little bit of time for some players to get to know each other. We have three new players and also a centre-back in Martin Laursen who has not played for the last few months.
"But that's not to say we should not have defended the late throw-in better than we did so obviously I am disappointed with that and it has cost us a point today."
Stoke: Sorensen, Griffin, Cort, Abdoulaye Faye, Dickinson, Lawrence, Olofinjana, Delap, Amdy Faye (Diao 72), Kitson (Sidibe 76), Fuller (Cresswell 87). Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Shawcross, Wilkinson, Whelan.
Goals: Lawrence 30 pen, Fuller 80, Sidibe 90.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Laursen, Davies, Shorey (Routledge 73), Petrov, Reo-Coker, Barry, Ashley Young, Carew, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Knight, Osbourne, Gardner, Salifou, Harewood.
Goals: Carew 63, Laursen 84.
Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).