The biggest news from Bruce’s first team selection, close to a traditional 4-4-2, was a recall for Richards.
Beginning the game in the bottom three and under the new manager’s watchful gaze, the Villans were nervy and gave away far too many free-kicks inside their own half, committing four fouls within the first ten minutes.
When Grealish had his heels clipped by Iorfa, Adomah put in a dangerous corner that was eventually cleared.
Minutes later, as Grealish weaved his way into the penalty area, Iorfa appeared to tug on the midfielder’s shirt. As the midfielder went down, referee David Coote pointed to the spot.
Kodjia stepped up and converted in the fifteenth minute, firing low into the bottom corner and beyond the reach of the outstretched Ikeme.
Five minutes later, Kodjia was booked for a sliding tackle on Costa.
The penalty seemed to galvanise the Villans and Grealish found space in the box, exchanging a quick one-two with McCormack, only for Edwards to make the crucial interception.
Costa looked particularly lively for the visitors but his team-mates were not at the races.
A deliberate handball by Cissokho, who had been riding his luck, in a bid to block Costa’s shot on goal led to the game’s second penalty after thirty-three minutes.
Costa struck high into the top corner, beating Gollini, to level the score, much to the delight of the travelling fans, who threw flares onto the pitch.
Kodjia’s dipping volley seemed destined for the back of the net but he was denied by a fingertip save from Ikeme after thirty-six minutes and the ensuing corner was headed clear.
Grealish won a free-kick out wide on the edge of the box a minute later but Adomah proved wasteful, shooting straight at Ikeme.
Grealish was then lucky to escape punishment after kicking out at Coady. The pair scrapped, with virtually everyone joining in. The referee broke up the scuffle, booking Coady and McCormack.
Kodjia proved selfish, shooting on the turn when he should have played McCormack in. Ikeme saved and a great chance to regain the lead was squandered just before the break.
There were no changes for the second half, in which the visitors made much the better start. Bodvarsson broke down the right but found his low cross blocked. Scrappy defending from the Villans was just about enough to stop Costa heading home from the resulting corner.
After three minutes, Chester brought down Coady and gave away a free-kick in a promising position on the edge of the box.
Lightning quick, Costa continued to threaten and found the side netting after breaking from midfield to set up a shot inside the Villa box.
The game continued in scrappy derby fashion with Richards fortunate not to concede a penalty after fifty-three minutes for a challenge on Bodvarsson. The referee waved away penalty appeals as Bodvarsson tumbled.
Not to be put off, the visitors kept the pressure up, with Costa proving too hot to handle and shooting narrowly wide from fifteen yards out.
Westwood then replaced Jedinak.
It was all Wolves as the vistors hunted for the lead. A great ball from Costa gave Oniangue the chance to put his side ahead but his shot across goal went wide.
Things got a little heated on the touchline as the referee made some dubious decisions that infuriated Zenga.
On the pitch, Zenga’s men were very much in control. Edwards, sent clear by a brilliant Bodvarsson flick-on, pulled his shot well wide, letting the hosts off the hook once more.
Having received treatment on the pitch, Richards went off and was replaced by Hutton.
Cavaleiro replaced Costa after seventy-two minutes and looked to pick up where his team-mate had left off, getting into the thick of things immediately. His cross from the left was met by Elphick, who left Villa fans with their hearts in their mouths as the captain narrowly avoided scoring an own goal.
Adomah then turned defender, taking the ball off Bodvarsson’s toes at the back post to stop the visitors taking the lead.
Elphick received treatment, meaning Bruce had to make his second enforced substitution of the evening, bringing on Baker.
Dicko had a chance as Wolves pushed for the points but snatched at the half volley and put the ball over the bar.
A superb point-blank save from Gollini denied the industrious Cavaleiro with nine minutes left on the clock.
Pressing and pressurising, Wolves could not find their winner and the game ended 1-1.
Having started the match twenty-second in the Championship, the draw lifted the Villans to twentieth.
Speaking post-match, Steve Bruce said:
“There’s a lot of work to be done. The hardest part in management is always getting over a relegation. We’ve now won only four games in fifty-five, which is an alarming statistic, but it’s my job to find a formula to win.
We did well with all the late blocks and saves we made but we tired badly, which was alarming.
It would have been nice to bring big Rudy Gestede on or Jordan Ayew and make an attacking substitution but we had two struggling with calf injuries, Micah Richards and Tommy Elphick. They’ve now got no chance of making it on Tuesday night.”