Aston Villa and Crystal Palace played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, likely condemning both sides to bottom-half finishes this season.
A competitive start to proceedings saw some hearty challenges and quite an edge develop to the game. Despite both teams causing slight panic in each other's 18-yard boxes, however, a lack of cutting edge in the final third kept us waiting for a breakthrough.
Danny Ings threatened to make Jack Butland work for the hosts while Nathaniel Clyne forced Emiliano Martinez into a good save with the opening half's best effort for the visitors.
It would take until the second period for the ball to be put into the back of the net, when Ollie Watkins finally notched the opener in the 69th minute.
After a spell of pressure in which Wilfried Zaha passed up a gilt-edged chance by zig-zagging his way into confusion rather than creating space for a shot, the Villans found the deadlock-breaker against the run of play.
It stemmed from a stunning Lucas Digne delivery from which Watkins maybe got lucky under the close attention Marc Guehi, seeing the ball get through a muddle of legs and bounce off his boot to roll past a rooted Butland.
Determined to get their just rewards, Palace levelled the score with just under ten minutes remaining when a grateful Jeffrey Schlupp was on hand to tap in from fellow substitute Odsonne Edouard's knock-down.
Both sides subsequently enjoyed short spells of pressure, although it should have been Villa to snatch a winner in the final stages.
Digne and John McGinn forced Butland into action from range, while Watkins passed up the chance to seal a brace as he dragged his shot wide of the far post after being put through on goal.
The referee's final whistle drew an end to the game with the teams taking home a share of the spoils - a just result after a hotly-contested affair. Here's how the players rated...
1. Aston Villa (4-3-2-1)
GK: Emiliano Martinez - 6/10 - Called into action a few times, standing firm when forced to, but couldn't do anything about the visitors' goal.
RB: Matty Cash - 6/10 - Didn't get into the game as much as we've come to expect, being stifled in those wide areas for the most part.
CB: Ezri Konsa - 7/10 - Read play very well, cutting out the danger and making vital interventions on several occasions before unfortunately being forced off with a knock soon after the break.
CB: Tyrone Mings - 6/10 - Didn't do anything of note and didn't do anything wrong - a standard middle of the road performance.
LB: Lucas Digne - 7/10 - Struggled to show his quality on the ball because of Palace's well-drilled system, but produced the goods when given an opportunity - that was enough.
CM: Douglas Luiz - 6/10 - Really physical display, covering a lot of ground and working tenaciously throughout without producing anything decisive.
CM: Marvelous Nakamba - 5/10 - Diligent performer but was fairly anonymous for the majority.
CM: John McGinn - 7/10 - Livened the game up with some crunching challenges, putting in a fantastic defensive shift with six tackles and numerous interventions.
AM: Philippe Coutinho - 5/10 - Picked up pockets of space nicely but ended up dropping too deep and couldn't influence things in forward areas enough.
ST: Danny Ings - 4/10 - Wasteful in front of goal.
ST: Ollie Watkins - 8/10 - A tireless worker and did some unselfish work up top, deservedly getting his goal.
SUB: Calum Chambers (49' for Konsa) - 5/10 - Villa lost defensive stability after his introduction.
SUB: Aaron Ramsey (66' for Nakamba) - 6/10 - Injected some drive and energy into the middle of the park.
SUB: Emi Buendia (71' for Ings) - 6/10 - Got himself in amongst the action but wasn't clinical enough with possession.
2. Crystal Palace (3-5-2)
GK: Jack Butland - 6/10 - Made some good saves late on but could do nothing as he watched the ball roll into his bottom corner.
CB: Cheikhou Kouyate - 7/10 - Pushed back into defence to brilliant effect, putting in a very strong performance in which he helped stifle Villa's creativity and potency - for the most part, anyway.
CB: Joachim Andersen - 7/10 - Typically cool with the ball, distributing possession out from the back with composure, and made one notable block to deny a certain goal late one - crucial point-saver.
CB: Marc Guehi - 6/10 - Unlucky to come out the loser in the battle with Watkins that led to the goal, but was otherwise characteristically smooth and unfazed.
RWB: Nathaniel Clyne - 6/10 - Looked a danger up the right flank at times, notably working Martinez well with an effort in the first half, but was caught lacking as he allowed Digne's fatal delivery into the box.
CM: Conor Gallagher - 6/10 - Demonstrated his class on occasions, carrying the ball and spreading play so well at times, but those moments came too sporadically.
CM: Luka Milivojevic - 7/10 - Dangerous with his dead-ball delivery, managing three key passes, and did a solid job on the back foot, plugging gaps in between defence and midfield.
CM: Ebere Eze - 6/10 - It's clearly taking time for him to recapture the yard of pace that makes him a quality player but he still produced some lovely moments and worked hard, making five ball recoveries.
LWB: Tyrick Mitchell - 6/10 - Another solid defensive display from the young full-back but clearly lacks the offensive capabilities to make him a dangerous wing-back.
ST: Jean-Philippe Mateta - 5/10 - Some nice bits of link-up play but struggled to truly impose himself and get into the game.
ST: Wilfried Zaha - 6/10 - Glided past his opposition with ease at times and proved his side's brightest spark, but wasted a glorious chance before Villa grabbed the opener.
SUB: Odsonne Edouard (71' for Mateta) - 7/10 - Didn't really get into things after coming on but got the crucial assist for the equalising strike.
SUB: Christian Benteke (78' for Milivojevic) - 5/10 - Put himself about against his former employers but didn't see a lot of the ball.
SUB: Jeffrey Schlupp (78' for Eze) - 7/10 - Fantastic impact, of course getting the equaliser with his fourth touch of the game.