Perhaps the title is a little premature. Indeed, suggesting a draw brings to an end our cataclysmic form could be viewed at best optimistic, at worst deluded.
As the full time whistle blew, having conceded such a late equaliser, the draw momentarily felt like a huge defeat. Mental defeat certainly. A moments reflection on the previous three fixtures soon brought the true importance of the result into perspective.
It could easily have been another drubbing after-all. We started awfully; a word used with increasingly frequency. This was no vintage away point. It was as fortuitous as it was lucky, but then, it was telling we made our own luck.
From the outset Villa were mauled. In the opening exchanges you would be forgiven for thinking Swansea were the footballing equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters. And having been denied by Guzan in the early minutes, ex Villa squad player Routledge soon rounded the aforementioned to make it 1-0.
I mentioned fortune. Somehow Swansea contrived to miss, hit uprights or find the superb Guzan repeatedly. It was nothing short of a miracle once again that we weren’t subject to utter humiliation. The game didn’t have the makings to suggest Villa would get anything from it.
Another miracle occurred just moments before the break. Benteke released Wiemann with a piercing, angled through ball which the Austrian international duly buried. A fine goal struck low across the Swansea keeper, in stark contrast to all that had come before from Villa.
The second half summed up our season perfectly. There is something in a select few of these young Villa players that does stand out. What some lack in experience they make up for in pure industry and faultless effort. The quality is glaringly lacking however. We may blindly love the players as any Villa fan does, but there are faces that will just never cut it at the top level. Thats not to be mistaken for unfair criticism, rather the brutal honest truth of a modern game in one of the best world leagues.
However, for some of their peers it could well prove their making. Only time will tell in what stands to be a very arduous season.
So when Wiemann was bundled over and a penalty awarded it almost felt like Christmas again. The spot kick was comfortably dispatched by Benteke with but a few minutes on the clock. And then came the inevitable Hollywood capitulation. The agonising equaliser, volleyed in at the second attempt through legs, diving bodies and flailing Guzan.
Gut wrenching. Infuriating. The broken reactions of a fatigued and battered young team, the youngest in Villa’s history, told its own story.
But, if you had asked me after 8 minutes…either before or after kick off whether a point would be ok, your hand would have been snapped off.
Some may say its a reflection of how poor we are the moment. And Villa are poor. Others will point to how far we’ve fallen. We have nosedived not just in 30 years but massively so in 24 months. Stemming our haemorrhaging form is undoubtedly the priority.
A point to begin with will do, obvious flaws aside, we got it. And almost all three. That is a step in the right direction, just.
Up next are two cup fixtures against lower league opposition. First are Ipswich who were thumped 3-0 at home by Brighton in the Championship last time out. They have as poor a goal difference as Villa this season and are languishing towards the foot of the table. Now managed by former Wolves boss McCarthy it should make for an interesting encounter.
Then comes the fun of a first leg of the league cup semi finals at Valley Parade versus Bradford.
Optimism is key.