Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 1
If David O'Leary was grateful for the closure of the January transfer window he must have been delirious to have held on to young Luke Moore.
The 19-year-old Aston Villa striker emerged from the bench and turned a lack-lustre game on its head with a goal within two minutes of his arrival.
It meant he had done the double over Chelsea, having scored a goal on his first start of the season at Stamford Bridge last September.
Then it netted him £10,000 for his old school for the first goal scored this season against the mighty Londoners; last night's goal was even more valuable, giving Villa hope as they drift perilously close to the relegation places.
What might have been a predictable 1-0 victory for the Premier League champions instead became just desserts for a Villa side that never gave up the fight.
The gulf between the two sides remains as wide as ever but O'Leary, the Villa manager, will not concern himself with the top end of the table.
He will have to build on this performance. What Villa have is heart - in abundance. What they lack is creativity; quick wits to launch an attack. The contrast with Chelsea was all too apparent and their respective league positions merely underline the fact.
In the first half, Villa, always quick to harry their opponents on the ball, were pedestrian when they won possession, and often missed a chance to turn the Chelsea defenders and in the end they became too rushed.
By contrast, Chelsea sat back on the ball, content to build slowly from the back before exploding forward in a well-drilled charge.
Arjen Robben, demonstrating exactly why he is one of the most feared players in the world when running with the ball at his feet, carved a swathe through the Villa midfield to feed Joe Cole. But he took too long to tee up his shot and Jlloyd Samuel, who had earlier snuffed out a shot, blocked the effort.
Villa should have been leading on the quarter of an hour mark after two fine crosses from James Milner, the first of which was not cleared by keeper Petr Cech. The ball fell to Kevin Phillips who quickly fed it wide to James Milner but his deep second cross found the flailing feet of Gareth Barry who sent the ball high over the bar.
Then came the sucker punch. Chelsea had been largely subdued - or were they lulling their hosts into a sense of false security? - but suddenly they moved the ball swiftly to the other end. As the dumbstruck Villa defence stood idly, Robben proved the quickest thinker on the pitch by following a whipped low cross from William Gallas on the left and after Cole chested down in the area Robben fired a half volley past Thomas Sorensen.
A moment of controversy - those in Claret and Blue will rightfully moan about it for days - came after 34 minutes when John Terry's trailing arm clearly caught the ball but referee Rob Styles deemed it had struck him rather than the converse, bringing the furious Villa staff out of the dugout.
If Villa had taken a moment to examine the statistics over their half-time cup of tea they would have learned that of the 12 goals the Chelsea defence have conceded this season, only three of them came in the second half. No pressure then.
But how they rose to the challenge!
Gavin McCann blazed over the crossbar in the 54th minute as Villa's attack continued to look laboured.
Villa, sensing the need to raise the tempo, poured into the Chelsea area. Phillips was on hand in the 54th minute but was smothered by blue shirts as he tried to get away his shot in the six-yard box.
Chelsea, looking by far the more comfortable on the ball, were caught napping in the 77th minute when Villa equalised.
Mark Delaney, Villa's erst-while defender, dashed to the by-line and eased the ball into the goal mouth for Moore -
having been on for all of two minutes - to bundle the ball home. Now the chill Villa Park was on fire and it was the hosts, spurred on by the goal, who continued to spill deep into the visitors' area.
A Sorensen fumble caused a scare with just three minutes of stoppage time left but Olof Mellberg cleared his lines as Mr Styles awarded a free-kick against Damien Duff.
At the other end, Millner floated a cross over the panic-stricken Chelsea defence but no Villa player could get on the end of it.