Joe Jacobson crashed in a second-half penalty as League Two high-flyers Wycombe Wanderers forced an Emirates FA Cup third-round replay against Premier League strugglers Aston Villa.
There was little between the two sides throughout, but last year's Cup runners-up, still waiting for their first win under manager Remi Garde, edged ahead through captain Micah Richards midway through the first half.
Wycombe 1-1 Aston Villa
Emirates FA Cup
St James Park
Friday 8 January 2016
Winning sides receive £67,500 from The FA prize fund
But Jacobson levelled from 12 yards after Ashley Westwood was adjudged to have caught Matt Bloomfield with an elbow inside the box and the Chairboys will now head to Villa Park for the first time in their history for the replay.
Jacobson proved Wycombe’s greatest threat all afternoon and swung a fifth-minute corner to the back post, but Garry Thompson stabbed wide.
At the other end Scott Sinclair fizzed a low cross inside the six-yard box which evaded goalkeeper Alex Lynch, making only his fifth professional start, but Aaron Pierre cleared before Rudy Gestede could make his move.
Wycombe were next to go close, but Sam Wood’s half-volley deflected off defender Jores Okore and Mark Bunn gratefully held on.
Villa finally showed their Premier League class to take the lead midway through the first half. Carles Gil drifted in from the right flank and, after a series of stepovers, pulled the ball back for Richards who swept into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
Garde, who took charge of the seven-time FA Cup winners on 3 November 3 has scarcely seen his side ahead since, but celebrated with an understated fist pump.
Another Jacobson corner shortly before half-time fell perfectly for Pierre, running in from the edge of the box, but the defender’s header proved too powerful and flew harmlessly over the upright.
Four minutes into the second half Wycombe were gifted a way back into the game when Westwood caught Bloomfield when challenging for an aerial ball. Referee Michael Oliver had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and Jacobson sent keeper Bunn the wrong way.
There was nothing tame about the celebrations on the touchline this time as Garde’s opposite number Gareth Ainsworth leaped for joy.
Villa tried desperately to force the issue as Wycombe tired on a boggy pitch. A mazy run from Sinclair finished with a tame low shot, while Leandro Bacuna’s free-kick from the edge of the box bounced just in front of Lynch, who was able to gather at the second attempt.
With 10 minutes remaining substitute Jordan Ayew burst forwards, but dragged his shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Villa came closest to a winner as the clock continued to tick down, when a deflected pot shot from Gestede had Lynch beaten but bounced against the post.
Wycombe Wanderers (4-4-2): Alex Lynch; Jason McCarthy, Joe Jacobson, Anthony Stewart, Aaron Pierre; Michael Harriman, Luke O’Nien, Matt Bloomfield, Sam Wood; Garry Thompson, Aaron Amadi-Holloway.
Substitutes: Gozie Ugwu for Amadi-Holloway 70, Stephen McGinn for Bloomfield 81.
Substitutes not used: Barry Richardson, Sido Jombati, Max Kretzschmar, Danny Rowe, Chinaemerem Jermaine Udumaga.
Goals: Jacobson 49pen.
Aston Villa (4-4-1-1): Mark Bunn; Micah Richards, Jores Okore, Ciaran Clark, Kieran Richardson; Leandro Bacuna, Idrissa Gana, Ashley Westwood, Carles Gil, Scott Sinclair, Rudy Gestede
Substitutes: Jordan Ayew for Sinclair 71, Jordan Veretout for Gil 71, Jordan Lyden for Richards 84.
Substitutes not used: Brad Guzan, Joleon Lescott, Libor Kozak, Aly Cissokho
Goals: Richards 22.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Highlights: Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Aston Villa