The late flurry started when Calum Davenport was judged to have fouled Gabriel Agbonlahor in front of goal - it looked a clean challenge - with 18 minutes remaining. Calum Davenport received a straight red card but Villa were denied any extra imputus when Juan Pablo Angel fired the spot kick wide.
However, with Michael Dawson already substituted after taking another knock to the head, we were left without a recognised centre-back and 10 men.
Five minutes later and we were ahead in bizarre circumstances. Jermain Defoe took a corner from the right and didn't appear to get hold of his kick, but as it floated into the six-yard box, Angel headed into his own net.
Unfortunately, the lead only lasted five minutes as Gareth Barry curled home a fine equaliser and it was then backs to the wall to hold on for a point as Stiliyan Petrov shot wide from 12 yards and Paul Robinson - who else could it be after what happened in Croatia - saving superbly from Angel as time ran out.
There was a change of ends before kick-off and Robbo was predictably getting the bird from the Holte End. It was in sharp contrast to his traditional greeting from the Spurs thousands at the other end of the ground.
Davenport - the one change from the Portsmouth game nearly two weeks ago - was spilling blood for the cause in the opening minute after getting caught on the nose by Angel and restorative work was being frantically applied down on the touchline.
Villa were probably carrying a greater snap in their play until Danny Murphy located Defoe on 15 minutes, allowing the England striker to test Stuart Taylor for the first time. The boys were fairly comfortable in thwarting the home threat, while wary of the pace possessed by Milan Baros.
It was a sprint forward by the Czech that led to Robinson being called into action for the first time, a low cross being seized upon by Angel, who drilled in low with our man equal to the task of fielding the ball.
Somehow Dawson did not open his account for us on 22 minutes. A Murphy free-kick was flighted perfectly for Jermaine Jenas to help the ball on with a little flick and it landed perfectly on the forehead of the central defender three or four yards in front of goal. His connection was decent, Taylor was beaten, but the ball hit the post. It was head in hands time for a disbelieving Daws.
Ghaly was next to nearly profit from a Murphy set piece - from a very similar position. This time it was Davenport who managed to flick on and the midfielder was lurking at the back post dispatched his shot downwards and Taylor just about managed to prevent the ball sneaking past his left-hand upright.
Dimitar Berbatov and then Defoe had the chance to get the scoreboard moving before Dawson was - wrongly - adjudged to be offside when Pascal Chimbonda lifted the ball over the top leaving him clear in front of goal. As it goes, his first touch was not all it could have been and the flag was not heavily disputed.
In what, just before half-time, was becoming one-way traffic, a dipping strike from Jenas again saw Taylor's back to work. It was a half where a lead should really have been established.
Like the first, the second half started with one of our centre-halves requiring treatment after a coming together with Angel. This time it was Dawson and, after attempting to carry on, he had to leave the pitch and was replaced by Paul Stalteri - who got to make his first appearance of the season.
Fourteen minutes into the half and there was a second change - a certain speedy winger making his return after knee surgery. Young Mr Lennon was almost immediately checked by Gareth Barry, who must have realised his afternoon was about to become much less straightforward.
Robbo had to be alert to deny Agbonlahor and then a deflection of Chimbonda before, at the other end, Defoe was on the prowl but struck his effort high over the bar.
With 18 minutes left on the clock, Davenport was adjudged to have felled Agbonlahor inside the area and a penalty was awarded - worse still a red card. Replays showed the decision to be debatable, to say the least, but thankfully Angel flighted his spot-kick over the bar.
We were still left with ten men though.
Angel then made an impact at the other end when he planted his head onto a harmless looking corner from Defoe and knocked the ball past his own goalkeeper Taylor, leaving Villa Park in almost complete shock on 76 minutes. It seemed to take the Spurs fans a second or two to really comprehend what had happened too.
Edgar Davids entered the fray in place of Berbatov as Martin sought to keep hold of the gift lead, but Barry thought otherwise and cut inside from the left to dispatch a superb curling shot into the top corner that gave Robinson absolutely no chance with nine minutes left on the clock.
It nearly got worse but Robbo was there when it mattered to deny Angel and Petrov shot inches wide with his low drive but having done so well for the opening 70 minutes, the least we deserved was a point.
It all happened in the last 20 minutes at Villa Park as we went from the dominant force to 10 men hanging on for a deserved point in the 1-1 draw.