Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier was given something to cheer from his hospital bed as Darren Bent's goal salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to FA Cup finalists Stoke on Saturday.
Stoke had lost their last seven away games in the English Premier League. They had not won on their travels in the league this year, their last victory on the road coming in a 2-0 win at Blackburn on December 26.
But buoyed up by their 5-0 thrashing of Bolton in last Sunday's FA Cup semi-final, setting up a final against Manchester City, the Staffordshire side ended their miserable away run with a creditable draw.
The result left Villa 11th in the Premier League table on 41 points, two points ahead of Stoke in 14th place. The Potters are five points clear of the relegation zone.
Indeed the Potters had six corners in three minutes but the Villa defence held out under pressure.
However, they were soon undone by the familiar danger of a Rory Delap long throw.
Bent and his strike partner Emile Heskey were having little luck and the half-hour mark had gone before Villa fashioned their first proper goalscoring chance, with a Heskey header that he put over and wide.
Bent thought he had won a penalty under pressure from Huth but his claims were dismissed by referee Chris Foy.
However, the Premier League's top English goalscorer levelled the scores with his seventh goal in 12 games for the Birmingham side.
Villa dominated possession in the second half but rarely looked like troubling the Stoke defence.
Stewart Downing tried hard to find the winner but was regularly crowded out on the edge of the Stoke penalty area.
The England winger has a shot deflected wide with Begovic wrong-footed and Heskey then slid in at the near post but his effort also went off-target.
The Potters thought they had the winner when substitute Ricardo Fuller had the ball in the net but had strayed offside.
Begovic was booked for time-wasting in the closing stages as the visitors ended the match with 10 men after Fuller was stretchered off with a leg injury.
Source: AFP Global Edition