Bolton Wanderers 1 Aston Villa 1
If David O'Leary was still Juan Pablo Angel's next door neighbour, he'd have been able to lean over the garden fence yesterday morning and say 'muchas gracias'.
The Angels, though, have long since ascended to somewhere a bit plusher.
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Instead, the Aston Villa manager had to content himself with a few Sunday prayers of thanksgiving for the club's Colombian record signing rediscovering his goal touch just when it mattered. And he will have to wait until he returns to Villa's training ground this morning to fully share Angel's delight.
"I don't live next door to him any more," said O'Leary. "He moved on to a more expensive place after he got his new contract.
"But," he joked, "I don't think it's anything to do with the neighbours!"
O'Leary could well afford such a show of levity.
It might have looked scrappy, and Bolton Wanderers fans are entitled to forever wonder just what exactly home defender Bruno N'Gotty was doing, seemingly performing a passable impersonation of Tower Bridge, when Angel's shot went through him on the line. But there was a real poacher's quality about the way Villa got out of jail on their travels for the second Saturday running.
It was not cleanly hit, but Angel did well to dig Luke Moore's low cross out from slightly behind him to become the first opposition player to net at the Reebok in the Premiership since Everton's Marcus Bent in August.
It brought an end to a run of eight successive home wins, and it wiped the smile from Bolton boss Sam Allardyce's face.
"It was the manner of their goal that annoyed me," moaned Big Sam. "No one picked up Angel."
But the one statistic that mattered most was that Angel's salvation, just four minutes after leaving the bench, maintained his manager's unbeaten Premiership record against Bolton. Eight games now . . . and counting!
"You go from being a genius one week, to a waste of time the next," O'Leary grinned.
"Villa didn't offer much," countered Allardyce with customary lack of grace. "Although we only played at 80 per cent, and we knew our home run would come to an end at some stage, we did enough to win."
But a share of the points went Villa's way because they showed what Steve Bruce, across the Second City at St Andrew's, this week delicately referred to as "bollocks".
"I'm delighted with the way we stood up to the physical challenge," said O'Leary, "and how we reacted to going a goal down to get our just rewards.
"We knew we had to match them, but we also knew we didn't want to be getting into their game because we'd be hopeless at that. Our game's a passing game. I felt I had to come up with a different way and that was why we matched them like for like."
O'Leary's Villa have now had six Premiership contests with Bolton, of which five have ended all-square.
The one that wasn't was last season's at the Reebok when Tommy Hitzlsperger's last- minute screamer won Villa all the points. But there was never much danger that they'd claim all three on this season's visit.
As seems to befit the vast majority of Premiership matches these days (or is it just ones involving Midland sides?), the first half was particularly dire.
Villa lined up with a slightly more attacking formation than expected.
Eirik Bakke's extra height earned him a place alongside Gavin McCann to form an extra protective blanket in front of the back four, leaving the recalled James Milner, Lee Hendrie and Gareth Barry to operate as a more advanced trio behind lone striker Milan Baros.
But it was still a set-up that failed to trouble Bolton's goal for the first 45 minutes.
Kevin Davies - astonishingly without a goal since scoring in the 2-2 draw at Villa Park on this season's opening day - was twice denied in Bolton's first genuine goalmouth skirmish.
Halted at close quarters first by a brave block from Thomas Sorensen, Davies was also thwarted by an amazing clearance by Freddie Bouma.
The Premiership's most unsung centre-forward also had a goalbound shot deflected wide for a corner off Liam Ridgewell. And, when Kevin Nolan's shot was turned behind for a corner, Gary Speed's header had to be touched onto the post by Sorensen.
At the start of the second half, Davies then got the better of young Ridgewell to set up El Hadji Djouf, only for Aaron Hughes to pop up on the line.
But when Milner finally managed Villa's first shot on target, touched wide by home keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, five minutes after the restart that did at least encourage a little more Villa enterprise.
Bouma, McCann - trying to emulate last week's leveller at Newcastle - and Olof Mellberg were all just off target. And, when Bolton's Stelios planted a free nearpost header over the bar, a disappointing game looked set to end in disappointing stalemate.
But finally, after the first key introduction of Bolton substitute, Ricardo Vaz Te, there was a breakthrough.
Hughes got muscled out of it by Vaz Te, Djouf stole a yard on Bouma and steered his shot back beneath the Dutchman's outstretched leg into the helpless, wrong-footed Sorensen's right corner.
Vaz Te should then have wrapped it up before Villa equalised.
Mellberg crossed, Bakke's downward header caused confusion, Moore battled well to get it across and Angel turned inside a sticky six-yard box to fire home a left-foot shot with sufficient pace to bamboozle N'Gotty on the line.
Even then, the drama was not complete as Sorensen still had to make a smart save, diving low to his right to deny Vaz Te. But, in truth, nobody really deserved to win this one.