Aston Villa FC

Anatomy of a goal: Matt Lowton's thunderous volley for Aston Villa in 2013

Mitchell Wilks
Apr 6, 2021, 2:20 PM GMT+1
Have it.
Have it. | Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Truthfully, it feels a bit strange to attribute one of the greatest goals scored in the history of the Premier League to Matt Lowton.

No disrespect to Lowton, who has carved out a career as a mainstay and reliable figure around the English top flight, but that's exactly it. No frosted tips, no exciting foreign-sounding name, and certainly no nonsense in his play, right?

April 2013 being the exception.

In a season where Paul Lambert's Aston Villa were flirting with relegation, they were in dire need of a moment of magic as the 2012/13 campaign was drawing to a close, in order to spark one last push away from the drop zone.

Paul Lambert
Lambert's Villans were scrapping for safety | Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

A turbulent start to 2013 had the Villans simply incapable of finding any streak of consistency, despite boasting a side that included a prime Ron Vlaar, Andreas Weimann and a Christian Benteke who quite literally was scoring for fun in his debut campaign for the club.

In a tense relegation battle involving a number of teams, the month of April was looking like do or die, and Villa couldn't afford to still be in the bottom three so late on in the season. A fixture away to fellow relegation strugglers Stoke on gameweek 32 was a must win, considering Lambert's side still had to play Manchester United and Chelsea before the season was over.

Gabriel Agbonlahor gave Villa the lead after just nine minutes, but when Michael Kightly equalised for Stoke with ten minutes to play, it was beginning to look like a big two points dropped for Lambert's men.

Ron Vlaar, Jonathan Walters
The game was heading for a draw | Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Villa picked up the pace heading into the closing stages and managed to snag a corner, but when a tame out-swinger was headed away and out of the box, the chance had gone.

Except it hadn't.

Matt Lowton had occupied the typical full-back-is-the-last-man spot from the corner, but had ventured forward to close down the loose clearance. And while recycling play was an option, the defender cushioned it down on his chest, before swiping through the ball with his right foot, looping it over a crowded 18-yard box and straight into the very top corner, beyond Asmir Begovic.

Absolute pandemonium. In what world does a largely unknown, run of the mill English right-back have the audacity to pull off an effort like that? Paul Scholes, move aside.

You can watch it back a thousand times and it doesn't get boring. From the touch, to the strike, to Lowton's run towards a rabid away end that could only ever be silenced by the unlikeliest of crowd-removing pandemics, every inch of the goal is absolute perfection.

Benteke consolidated the comeback and secured the three points shortly after, but it was Lowton's goal that stole the show, destined to be in 'streets won't forget' highlights reels for the ages and redefining Peter Kay's use of 'have it' after punting a ball aimlessly.

The goal was of monumental proportions, not just because it was an absolute peach, but because it was also key in Villa's survival. It handed them their third win in four games and lifted them out of the drop zone as Sunderland lost and Wigan drew on the same weekend - yes, they were both in the Premier League in 2013.

Matthew Lowton
There's one for the fireplace... | Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Better yet, Villa stayed up at the end of the season. But whatever, who even cares? Staying up or not, they were doing it in style after Lowton's goal, which obviously inspired James Rodriguez to re-enact it at the 2014 World Cup.

It also really should've been the catalyst for the FA to make it official that long-range volleys are worth two goals, as so often said in street football.