West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Aston Villa
Aston Villa picked up another point to help them towards Premier League safety, despite a passionless performance at The Hawthorns.
The miserable defending that has come close to completely undoing their season was on display in the early stages, as Richard Dunne allowed Shane Long to ghost past him into the box, before Carlos Cuellar almost handed an easy tap-in at the far post to Peter Odemwingie, whose lack of concentration let Villa off the hook. Minutes later, Jonas Olsson was left completely unmarked at the back post from a corner, and should have steered his header on target.
There were occasional signs of life from the sleeping giant that Villa have become in recent months, as Chris Herd forced a decent double save from Ben Foster, and Gabriel Agbonlahor sent an effort lacking in conviction straight into the arms of the West Brom goalkeeper.
A moment of controversy just before half time sparked the game into life momentarily, as the referee opted not to give a penalty for a blatant handball in the box from Chris Brunt, but the half fizzled out without any more action of real note.
The second half opened with another moment of controversy, and another nightmare from referee Mark Clattenburg. Liam Ridgewell's header from a corner seemed to be heading for the far corner until Alan Hutton intervened on the line with his hand, but the referee inexplicably waved play on.
Charles N'Zogbia, who had one of his worst games in a Villa shirt this afternoon, slammed the ball straight at Foster from just yards out after good work from Agbonlahor to top a miserable attacking afternoon for those occupying advanced positions for the away side, while Olsson sent another headed effort just over the bar as the game entered the final quarter of an hour.
Unfortunately for both sets of fans, they had to wait until the dying minutes before anything approaching entertaining football was on show, as confusion from Olsson and Foster in the box allowed Agbonlahor, and then Emile Heskey, to come close to scoring, just moments before Shay Given pulled off a remarkable save to prevent substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune grabbing the winner.
Villa remain outside the relegation zone, but with the level of passion and creativity on display today, they are by no means guaranteed Premier League safety as the season draws to a close.