Michael Dawson departed early in the second half after a bang on the head and we then lost Calum Davenport to a red card, leaving us without a recognised centre-half for the final 20 minutes or so.
Pascal Chimbonda, who stepped inside from right-back in place of Michael, was joined by midfielder Didier Zokora at the heart of defence and they soon had a lead to defend as Juan Pablo Angel headed Jermain Defoe's corner into his own net.
The pair stood firm alongside Paul Robinson and the rest of the back line and it took a moment of magic from Villa captain Gareth Barry to grab the home side a share of the spoils.
"We had Chimbonda who had never played in central defence before and Zokora - they were like lions and that's what we want," reflected Martin.
"Dawson had to go off, we had to re-organise and then we lost Davenport and we had to do it all over again.
"It's never easy to play with 10 men and Villa put us under pressure, so we could have lost, but we could have nicked it as well. I can live with a point and I think we deserved a point."
Assistant Chris Hughton added: "You always look for plusses from the game and one plus was that Pascal Chimbonda played most of the second half at centre-half and did ever so well.
"It's good for us to know he's a player who can drop in there and the same goes for Didier Zokora, who we felt could do a job for us in there as well in that situation. Certainly, we don't want to have to play a right-back and midfielder as our central defensive pairing and taking that into account, it was a great result."
Martin Jol praised the resilience of the lads against Villa's late surge as we hung on for a deserved point on Saturday.