Match ends, Preston North End 1, Aston Villa 1.
An own goal by Ahmed Elmohamady gave Preston a deserved first point of the festive period as they drew with play-off hopefuls Aston Villa.
Jordan Storey struck the crossbar early on for North End, but they fell behind just before half-time as Tammy Abraham headed his 14th goal of the season from Glenn Whelan's corner.
Lukas Nmecha forced Orjan Nyland to save with his legs as Preston looked for an early response, and the striker's presence meant Elmohamady could only turn a cross into his own net soon after.
Both sides had opportunities as the game opened up, but Tom Barkhuizen went closest to a winner for Preston when he hit the post after rounding keeper Nyland.
The draw left Villa in ninth place, five points outside the play-off places, with Preston - who lost their two previous games - remaining 17th.
Dean Smith named an unchanged side as Villa looked to continue a run which had seen them lose only once in their previous nine games, while Preston had to manage without injured Ben Davies and Alan Browne.
Abraham's goal provided an upbeat finish to a first half in which both sides struggled to create clear openings following Storey's early effort, though Graham Burke's volley was saved at point-blank range by Nyland.
North End were initially the stronger side after the break, with Barkhuizen also having a header cleared off the line, but Declan Rudd was the busier keeper after they had equalised, doing well to keep out efforts by Anwar El Ghazi and Birkir Bjarnason.
Preston manager Alex Neil:
"Since I've been here, we've put in a lot of important performances in big games but for this one, against a side that has expectations of being in the Premier League, everything came together.
"When you look at our starting line-up and the young players involved, this is probably as proud as I've been since I came here.
"The effort, the quality we showed and our approach to the game were all excellent. The only disappointing thing is that we didn't win the game, as I thought we deserved to win.
"The players rolled up their sleeves and showed what they can do, particularly in the second half, and I am really pleased with that."
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith:
"We did not deserve to win based on the amount of big chances that we gave away. I thought that defensively we weren't great, and on the ball also.
"We played well in the first half in certain elements but every time we got forward, the ball was turned over and they created a chance.
"They created numerous chances with simple balls over the top and we didn't deal with that. I know we have issues with defenders out injured and we had three right-backs playing, but we have to deal with this type of play better.
"They've had big chances but so have we, in the late stages. We had a great chance right at the end with Bjarnason, for example."
- 5ClarkeSubstituted forFisherat 85'minutes
- 11JohnsonBooked at 52mins
- 19BurkeSubstituted forO'Reillyat 90'minutes
- 12GallagherBooked at 59minsSubstituted forWalkerat 90+2'minutes
- 27El Mohamady
- 21HuttonBooked at 70mins
- 6WhelanSubstituted forBjarnasonat 75'minutes
- 22El Ghazi
- 11BolasieSubstituted forAdomahat 68'minutes
- 18AbrahamBooked at 59mins
- Geoff Eltringham
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Preston North End 1, Aston Villa 1.
Foul by Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa).
Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Preston North End. Ethan Walker replaces Paul Gallagher.
Attempt saved. Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Conor Hourihane.
Foul by John McGinn (Aston Villa).
Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Preston North End. Adam O'Reilly replaces Graham Burke.
Attempt missed. Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is just a bit too high.
Substitution, Preston North End. Darnell Fisher replaces Tom Clarke.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Jordan Storey.
Attempt blocked. Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Alan Hutton.
Attempt blocked. Graham Burke (Preston North End) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Alan Hutton.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Andrew Hughes.
Attempt blocked. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Albert Adomah with a cross.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Declan Rudd.
Attempt saved. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alan Hutton.
Attempt blocked. Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Johnson.