124 years to the day since the two midlands sides first met, Villa were on top from the off.
Benteke picked up the ball with his back to goal 25 yards out, cleverly turned Yacob then struck an unstoppable rising shot into the far corner with 12 minutes played to open the scoring in fine fashion.
The Baggies’ frustrations were added to by N’Zogbia, who was in superb form. Just after the half hour mark, Zoggy ripped down the right and released Agbonlahor, who wrong-footed Foster to calmly slot the ball into the corner of the net.
The Villa defence, fortified by the return of Vlaar, stood firm and forced the home side to resort to speculative long range efforts.
After the break, the Baggies came out firing on all cylinders and, four minutes in, Thomas crossed to Lukaku in the area who then laid the ball off to the onrushing Brunt. Brunt’s finish was clinical and claret and blue hearts sank.
The tempo increased: Odemwingie nicked past Guzan but shot over the bar, Foster had to deny Gabby his second then Dorrans shot wide from 20 yards at the other end.
Bannan did well to clear McAuley’s header off the line as Albion looked set to equalise.
Villa looked the more likely to score again, until the inevitable happened… With seven minutes left on the clock, Villa failed to clear Brunt’s corner, leaving Odemwingie to hook the ball home and earn the home team a share of the spoils.
Although the point moves Villa out of the relegation zone, Lambert’s frustration with his side’s failure to hold on to the lead was clear when he was seen kicking a water cooler during injury time. Like many fans, he seemed to view the result as two points lost rather than one gained.