Match report: Villa 0-0 Newcastle
Villa ended their Barclays Premier League home campaign with a hard-earned draw against a Newcastle side who still have the threat of relegation hanging over them.
The result meant that Eric Black's side avoided the ignominy of suffering an unwanted club record 12 consecutive defeats, and although there was never much prospect of them signing off with a win, they battled hard for their point.
That was acknowledged by the claret-and-blue faithful, who gave the players a rousing reception at the final whistle.
Although the outcome was of no consequence for Villa, its importance to the visitors was reflected by a nervy opening against the backdrop of an almost carnival atmosphere.
Brightly-coloured beach balls were in evidence all around the stadium as home supporters attempted to make the most of Villa Park's final top-flight match of the campaign.
Unfortunately there was little threat at either end for the first 20 minutes.
Ciaran Clark ventured forward early on to send a left-foot drive off target, while at the other end, no-one was on hand to convert Moussa Sissoko's inviting low centre across the face of goal.
In the 21st minute, though, it took a perfectly-timed sliding tackle by Paul Dummett to prevent Scott Sinclair from getting clear following a fine build-up involving Jordan Ayew and Ashley Westwood.
Then Westwood's crossfield pass enabled Alan Hutton to produce a deep cross which was held by keeper Keith Darlow.
After a lengthy spell of Villa possession, the visitors produced a rapid counter-attack which might easily have led to them taking a 36th-minute lead.
The move ended with Vurnon Anita delivering a right-wing cross which found Papiss Cisse unmarked in a good position.
But the striker drove his shot down into the ground and it looped harmlessly into Mark Bunn's arms.
Villa were in trouble immediately after half-time when a slick Newcastle move down the right ended with the ball breaking to Jack Colback in a good position.
Fortunately for the home side, the midfielder rushed his shot and sent the ball well over the bar.
On the hour mark, as the sunny skies gave way to squally showers, the Magpies really should have been in front.
Just when Villa seemed to have got the ball clear, Cheick Tiote hooked it back into the penalty area, leaving sub Aleksandar Mitrovic with only Bunn to beat.
From 10 yards out, however, the striker lifted his shot over both the keeper and the bar.
Mitrovic was also guilty of a misdirected header, a miss that came a few minutes after Bunn had made the first serious save of the match, the keeper charging away a powerful drive from Georginio Wijnnaldum.
As the game went into six minutes of stoppage time, Wijnaldum almost broke the deadlock with a fierce drive that was blocked by Clark.
And when Andros Townsend attempted a repeat of the free-kick which brought him a goal against Crystal Palace, Bunn was again equal to the task.
VILLA: Bunn; Hutton, Bacuna, Lescott, Clark, Toner; Sanchez, Westwood, Gana;Sinclair (Hepburn-Murphy 89), Ayew. Unused subs: Guzan, Richards, Adama, Gil, Lyden, Grealish.
NEWCASTLE: Darlow; Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett; Townsend, Sissokho, Tiote, Colback (De Jong 89), Wijnaldum;Cisse (Mitrovic 52). Unused subs: Woodman, Shelvey, Janmaat, Taylor.