Match: Aston Villa v Preston North End
Date: 20th February, 2018
Venue: Villa Park
Weather: 7c, clear skies
Grabban (pen) 65
Second-half subs Lewis Grabban and Keinan Davis combined to salvage a hard-earned point for Villa in a niggling, ill-tempered contest.
New boy Grabban slotted home the equaliser from the penalty spot after Davis had been fouled to cancel out Tom Barkhuizen's first-half goal.
Villa struggled to find any rhythm throughout a low-key opening period, although Birkir Bjarnason's stinging 30-yarder was tipped away for a corner by keeper Declan Rudd, who also charged down Scott Hogan's angled drive and pushed aside Alan Hutton's fierce low shot.
Preston were ahead, though, when Sam Johnstone punched the ball away, only for Barkhuizen to hook it back towards goal.
The keeper desperately attempted to claw it away but could only push it into the net.
The visitors twice went close to increasing their lead at the start of the second half, Johnstone tipping Paul Huntington's header onto the bar and blocking a close-range effort from former Villa youngster Callum Robinson.
But Villa were level in the 66th minute, Grabban calmly sending Rudd the wrong way from the spot after Davis was adjudged to have been brought down.
Grabban, Hutton and Davies were all close to finding a winner in the closing stages, but Villa had to settle for a draw.
Fisher, Pearson, Rudd
VILLA: Johnstone; Tuanzebe (Elmohamady 85), Chester, Terry (c), Hutton; Jedinak, Hourihane (Grabban HT); Snodgrass (Davis HT), Onomah, Bjarnason; Hogan.Unused subs: Bunn, Taylor, Whelan, Lansbury.
PRESTON: Rudd; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Cunningham (c); Bodin (Harrop 90), Pearson, Browne, Moult (Horgan 83), Barkhuizen (Simpson 90); Robinson.Unused subs: Maxwell, Woods, Spurr, Earl
Referee: Darren England
Assistant Referee 1: Nick Greenhalgh
Assistant Referee 2: James Mainwaring
Fourth Official: Andy Woolmer