A late strike from Mads Roerslev condemned Steven Gerrard to defeat on his return to the touchline at Brentford.
Gerrard was back in the Aston Villa dug-out following a Covid lay-off as his side attempted to bounce back from the Boxing Day defeat at Chelsea.
They led through an early Danny Ings strike, but Yoane Wissa hit a spectacular equaliser for the Bees before Danish defender Roerslev proved the unlikely hero with his first professional goal to seal a 2-1 victory.
The visitors were without their former Brentford frontman Ollie Watkins but Ings made light of his strike partner’s absence when he opened the scoring after 15 minutes.
Emi Buendia spun away from Christian Norgaard in the middle of the pitch and slipped a perfect ball through to Ings.
The former England striker fired across Bees goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez into the far corner for his first goal since October.
Brentford could have levelled on the half-hour mark but Mathias Jensen slashed a cross from Norgaard wildly over the top.
They had to wait until shortly before half-time to finally get a shot on target, and what a shot it was from Wissa.
Roerslev was the architect, outpacing Jacob Ramsey down the Villa right before playing the ball inside.
Wissa took a single touch on the edge of the box to leave Kortney Hause stranded before curling a superb left-footed effort round Ezri Konsa and inside Emiliano Martinez’s far post.
It was the Congo forward’s sixth goal of the season and he celebrated with his now familiar sit-down ‘zen’ pose.
Buendia continued to pose Brentford problems after the interval and whipped a fierce drive narrowly wide from 20 yards.
The Bees, who were without 11 players for the defeat by Manchester City in midweek, suffered more misfortune when they lost Sergi Canos and Mathias Jensen to injuries early in the second half.
But it was the hosts who were looking likeliest to find a winner, first when Frank Onyeka burst through the Villa backline only to see Martinez touch his low drive onto a post.
It came with seven minutes left with Roerslev overlapping down the Villa right. Martinez beat away his first shot but the 22-year-old Dane snapped up the rebound.
Villa could have snatched an equaliser but Fernandez made a fine save to deny Ings and preserve the points for Brentford.