Norwich began strongly, with their long passing causing a sleepy Villa problems. Pilkington delivered a cross from the left that struck Lowton’s arm in the penalty area but referee Kevin Friend was unyielding.
The home side continued to contain Villa and the injury to the ever-present Lowton that forced his withdrawal caused some concern but neither side had many defined chances in the first half. Just before the break, there was a chance at each end: Garrido crossed for Holt, who headed over, while, at the other end of the pitch, Agbonlahor’s cross was deflected off a Norwich player and struck the bar.
An unusually quiet Benteke had the chance to put the visitors ahead two minutes after the break but his shot was weak and Bunn was able to save it comfortably.
Seven minutes later, Agbonlahor collected the ball close to the halfway line and raced through Norwich’s patchy midfield, evading Howson’s desperate attempt to catch him, then fired a 20-yard strike that soared beyond Bunn’s reach.
Suddenly, the Canaries’ fans were more nervous than noisy.
Just after the hour mark, Weimann had the chance to add to his side’s lead but Agbonlahor’s fine cross was wasted in the end as the young Austrian show the ball, which he should have headed, over the bar from three yards out.
Benteke and Agbonlahor enjoyed some clever interplay and Agbonlahor might have scored a second himself five minutes later but dragged shot wide from eight yards.
Tempers began to fray and Benteke escaped with a yellow card after grabbing Bassong by the throat.
It was clear that Holt needed help but Hughton’s decision to replace Hoolahan with Kamara led the home fans to slate their current manager, meaning they forgot to berate the former one who’s now Birmingham-based.
However, the slated substitution seemed to spark something within the Canaries and two minutes later Norwich were level from the penalty spot as Holt sent Guzan the wrong way after Bennett foolishly fouled Snodgrass.
With two minutes of normal time remaining, Holt the hero became the villain as he lost possession in midfield, allowing Westwood to pass through to Agbonlahor, who managed a tight finish from 16 yards to bag all three points.
As the four minutes of injury time ticked away and Villa leap-frogged to 13th place in the table, the travelling fans sang, “We are staying up, we are staying up!” Having seen the craziness of today’s Championship finale, we should be mindful that anything really can happen whilst being grateful that we’ve done all we can for today.