Fifteen minutes is enough time for a team’s play-off chances to be completely ruined as West Brom found out. One up all the way to the 75th minute after Dwight Gayle’s opener only for it all to fall apart and leave them without much hope or Gayle himself.
First came Conor Hourihane’s equaliser before Tammy Abraham converted a penalty - Jack Grealish playing his part in both: Gayle was then sent off for a second yellow card when he slid in on Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer.
Tuesday night at the Hawthorns promises more drama and excitement but now we have a much better idea as to who will make it to Wembley later this month.
Tammy Abraham completed Aston Villa's comeback as they beat West Brom in their Championship play-off semi-final first leg
The Chelsea loanee showed great composure to send Sam Johnstone the wrong way and put Villa ahead in the tie
Substitute Conor Hourihane struck a sensational effort from 25 yards after a lay-off from Jack Grealish to bring Villa level
Hourihane sprints away in celebration after seeing his effort fly into the corner of the goal and send the home fans wild
Dwight Gayle capitalised on a horrible error from Aston Villa's Glenn Whelan to give the Baggies the lead after 16 minutes
Gayle celebrates after scoring the first goal as the thousands of traveling West Brom fans went wild in the away end
Gayle went from hero to zero after he was later sent off for picking up a second yellow card for a foul on goalkeeper Jed Steer
Aston Villa: Steer, Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Mings, Taylor, Adomah (Green 67), Whelan (Hourihane 67), McGinn, Grealish, Abraham, El Ghazi (Kodjia 90).
Subs not used: Jedinak, Davis, Kalinic, Hause.
Goals: Hourihane 75, Abraham 79
Manager: Dean Smith
West Brom: Johnstone, Dawson (Mears 45), Bartley, Hegazi, Holgate, Brunt, Johansen (Morrison 84), Gibbs, Phillips (Murphy 66), Rodriguez, Gayle.
Subs not used: Townsend, Montero, Bond, Field.
Goals: Gayle 16
Bookings: Holgate, Gayle, Hegazi, Gibbs
Sent off: Gayle
Manager: Jimmy Shan
Referee: Graham Scott
Grealish (or super Jack Grealish) as he’s known round these parts has shown this season has developed into a creative midfielder capable of scoring and creating goals regularly.
Yes, it’s been done in the Championship but he has earned an opportunity to test himself in the Premier League. If Villa go up it will make everyone happy. Grealish will likely stay and Villa will be back in the big time. Don’t go up and then there are problems.
Villa would have to give Grealish their blessing to leave his boyhood club and they would lose a player who is now so integral to what they do. He so often starts attacks when he either collects the ball deep - as he did in the early stages of the game before being clipped by Stefan Johansen - or aims to provide gloss further up the pitch.
There is a reliance on Grealish and that is possibly why they sometimes appear so naive in attack. His team-mates and the supporters appeared to expect him to do everything here.
Indeed, he did eventually but there were periods where Villa needed a different outball or someone else to take responsibility. Similar responsibility to what Smith reminded them off before they went on a 10-game winning streak that got them to the play-offs.
There is a certain irony, though, in Villa preferring to attack with pace and thrust when Glenn Whelan, sitting deep in a midfield three, lacks both and can be exposed for it.
Both sets of players were greeted onto the pitch by an incredible atmosphere and stunning banner draped over one stand
Villa winger Albert Adomah challenges Kieran Gibbs for the ball during a feisty opening few minutes on Saturday afternoon
Whelan could only watch on as he failed to control a pass properly, allowing Gayle in to score the tie's opening goal
Gayle races onto the loose ball following Whelan's error before smashing the ball into the back of the net past Steer
Villa defenders Tyrone Mings and Axel Tuanzebe tried to close Gayle down