Middlesbrough U21 0-0 Villa U21: Hard-fought draw at Riverside
The boys in claret and blue headed to the North East in determined mood as they looked to bounce back from last week's 2-0 defeat to Fulham.
Coach Gordon Cowans got the desired response as his team carved out some decent opportunities, although they were unable to find the decisive winning goal.
Villa - who were able to call upon Courtney Cameron following his loan spell at Rotherham - started brightly and forced Boro keeper Connor Ripley into two smart saves.
Firstly, Ripley tipped a fierce 25-yard shot from Andras Stieber around the post.
Then he was on hand to smother Jack Grealish's curling low effort.
After the break, Derrick Williams and Graham Burke both went close, while Daniel Johnson made a piercing run through the centre before forcing Ripley into another decent save at his near post.
The hosts created chances too with Bradley Fewster heading against the bar before seeing another attempt held by Brad Watkins in the Villa goal.
Watkins then saved to deny substitute Jordan Jones.
But the two sides had to settle for a point each from an entertaining contest.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Ripley, Bennett, Weldon, Rhoden, Jackson, Burgess, Zemmama, Morris, Williams, Fewster, Reach. Subs: Water, Montgomery, Brobbel, Kneeshaw, Jones.
VILLA: Watkins, Barton, Kinsella, Stieber, Devine, Donacien, Grealish, Carruthers, Burke, Johnson, Cameron. Subs: Lyden, Crooks, Calder, Sellars.