Callum Robinson scored twice - including a last-minute winner - to give Villa the edge over neighbours West Brom in the Barclays U21 Premier League.
Robinson made a breakthrough on 71 minutes at Villa Park, showing exactly why Paul Lambert has called him into the first team squad for the last three top flight games.
The Baggies hit back late on through Alex Jones but there was still time for Robinson to find a winning strike - and take his goal tally for the season into double figures.
The first period hardly befitted a blood and thunder derby encounter, but Villa did muster a couple of chances through Graham Burke.
Burke forced Boaz Myhill to get down and save his curling 20-yard effort after some neat build-up play around the Baggies box.
Just before the half hour mark, the Irish forward was threaded through by Andras Stieber but miscued his shot, which Myhill comfortably claimed.
Jordan Graham remained a constant threat for the hosts and he almost teed up Robinson but his low cross into the six-yard box just evaded the England U19 striker.
On the stroke of half-time, Brad Lewis was forced to make a goalmouth clearance after West Brom's Cameron Gayle cut in from the left and fired towards goal.
The two sides upped the tempo after the restart, with opportunities coming at both ends.
Less than a minute into the second period, a slick passing move saw Burke and Stieber combine to send Graham clear in space but he side-footed his first-time effort wide of the far post.
Then moments later Brad Watkins acrobatically saved a long-range attempt from Liam O'Neil.
A corner from Keemar Roofe caused problems in the Villa box but substitute Khalid Abdo towered above everyone in a packed penalty area to make a brave headed clearance off the line.
The deadlock-breaker finally arrived on 71 minutes. Robinson made a clever run to latch on to Daniel Johnson's through ball, before slotting across Myhill from a tight angle.
The lead lasted just 11 minutes, though, as a quick counter-attack allowed Jones to power a low shot past Watkins for Albion's equaliser.
But there was still time for Robinson to settle the clash. With seconds remaining, Graham fizzed a cross into the six-yard box and his colleague was there to finish instinctively.
VILLA: Watkins, Webb, Wildin, Stieber, Donacien, Lewis, R Strain, Burke, Robinson, Johnson (c), Graham. Subs: Abdo [for R Strain 62], Hill, O'Brien, Leggett [for Lewis 75], Nehemie.
WEST BROM: Myhill, Gayle, Howkins, O'Neil, Daniels, C Jones, Roofe, Birch, A Jones, Nabi, Atkinson. Subs: Pace, Rose, Ward [for Gayle 71], Donnellan [for Howkins 90], Wright [for Birch 82].