With earlier results going against them, Villa found themselves second from bottom of the Premier League at kick off, and reacted swiftly, racing into a two goal lead before half time through Christian Benteke and Gabby Agbonlahor.
But the second half belonged to West Brom as they created a host of chances to breach the nervy Villa defence, and once Chris Brunt had halved the arrears, it was just a matter of time before the equaliser came, with Peter Odemwingie obliging with just seven minutes remaining.
It was little more than West Brom deserved, despite emerging second best from a first half that will give all at Villa Park hope of a better second half to the season.
Paul Lambert’s youngsters raced from the blocks showing little fear, in spite of the predicament they found themselves in at kick off, languishing 19th in the table after the afternoon’s games.
Charles N’Zogbia, Agbonlahor and Benteke provided a formidable attacking triangle, and West Brom had no answer to their movement that was relentless down both channels.
And it was little surprise that the opening was not long in arriving. A piece of individual brilliance from the Belgian Benteke saw him lose his marker with a drop of the shoulder and turn to power a right-footed shot into the far corner.
The pressure continued, and the home crowd were becoming increasingly frustrated by their side’s lack of shooting composure. Graham Dorrans and Brunt were both wayward with efforts on Brad Guzan’s goal, whilst Romelu Lukaku struggled to get the better of the returning Ron Vlaar.
So the second goal was richly deserved and predictably the opening was created by N’Zogbia. His drive down the right and pin-point ball inside to Agbonlahor saw the forward finish with aplomb to silence the home crowd still further.
Half time came at a bad time for Villa, and gave Steve Clarke the chance to regroup his troops, and West Brom did just that.
A far more positive West Brom outfit emerged for the second period, and immediately set about reducing the arrears.
Chris Brunt took just over four minutes to find his shooting boots, side-footing in from the edge of the box to start the nerves jangling in the Villa camp.
And after several missed chances, not least by Odemwingie, the Nigerian international finally got his reward, and broke Villa hearts, hooking in from a corner after Gareth McAuley had knocked the ball down.