Aston Villa 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Juan Pablo Angel had never endured 90 seconds quite like it. He missed a penalty in the 74th minute then, almost immediately, scored an own goal.

Afterwards, however, when the dust was starting to settle on this fine match, he was first o ut to offer a detailed appraisal.

"I've never had a more bizarre minute," Angel said. "Never. It was crazy."

Only a superlative goal by Gareth Barry in the 81st minute spared Angel greater embarrassment as Villa maintained their unbeaten start to the Premiership campaign. Indeed, with Everton losing 2-1 away to Middlesbrough, Villa are now the only unbeaten team in the Premiership.

But, yet again, this was an example of Villa playing a game of brinkmanship. They could have won, they could have lost ... anything could have happened.

"I'm not sure if we've just snatched a draw or let three points slip," Martin O'Neill, the capricious Villa manager, said. And that kind of summed it all up.

"To be fair, I thought Tottenham played really well in the first half and we struggled to get into our game. It was possibly the worst we've played under me, but credit to the players because they have responded to going a goal down fantastically and got a deserved point."

Tottenham were the better team for an hour and, coincidentally or otherwise, it was only when O'Neill made changes in the final 25 minutes that the home team looked capable of snatching victory.

Didier Agathe replaced Milan Baros, ineffectual and off the pace, in the 65th minute and the configuration of the match changed. Gabriel Agbonlahor was moved from the right of midfield to centre forward, partnering Angel, and Agathe was pushed to the right of midfield.

Suddenly, Villa had pace everywhere and it was Agbonlahor who seemed liberated, even if he was perhaps fortunate to gain a penalty when he tumbled inside the penalty area. Calum Davenport was sent off for the "foul" but Angel, increasingly erratic from the penalty spot, struck the ball high and wide of Paul Robinson's left-hand post.

"I'm not so sure it was a penalty to be honest, but I can't complain because he has gone and missed it," Martin Jol, the frustrated Tottenham manager, said. "We had the chances to win the game, especially in the first half. But, with the problems we had defensively and the fact that we had to reshuffle twice during the game, sometimes you have to be satisfied with a point."

No sooner had Angel cast his eyes towards the heavens in mental agony than he was at the other end of the pitch, putting Villa under pressure with an own goal. Jermaine Jenas clipped the ball towards the near post from a corner and Angel, not sure what to do, glanced the ball home from close range.

"Stuart Taylor [Villa's goalkeeper] shouted 'leave the ball'," Angel said. "But in that split second I got a touch."

But no man should be forced to suffer like that. It was left to Barry, Villa's best player on the day, to secure the point that maintains the momentum at Villa Park.

Barry controlled the ball on the left flank, cut inside two defenders with his left foot, and curled the ball into the goal with his right foot from 18 yards out. Villa Park was turned into a cauldron of noise but, really, we should not have been surprised. Barry has been playing this well all season and his failure to make the England squad says more about Steve McClaren than it does about the Villa left back. "Barry's goal was just fantastic," O'Neill said. "We had more chances in the final 15 minutes, then the rest of the time. I am delighted because we could have packed in for the game and my abiding memory is Barry's fantastic goal and us getting a bit more belief. It was relentless towards the end."

Relentless but, ultimately, fruitless. Villa dropped points at home for the first time this season, even if the consensus suggested that the draw was acceptable to all concerned. Certainly, among the Villa players, there were few glum looks.

The feeling remains, however, that Villa will have to improve on their performance here because, against a better team, or even a luckier team, they would have lost.

But this is a results business and Villa's results have been way ahead of expectations at this point of the campaign.

It makes one wonder why the Football Association appointed McClaren, instead of O'Neill as England head coach. They must be regretting that now.