On this day (April 29) in 1959, Aston Villa are held to a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion and fail to beat the drop. The Midlands outfit needed a win on the last day to avoid relegation from the First Division but concede a late equaliser to fall one point behind Manchester City in the table.
Villa finished the season in 21st place with 30 points from 42 games. Portsmouth were rock bottom on 21 points. Man City survived by the skin of their teeth thanks to their 3-1 win over Leicester City and West Brom’s late leveller from Ronnie Allen.
Joe Mercer started Nigel Sims, Stan Lynn, Doug Winton, Jimmy Dugdale, Vic Crowe, Pat Saward, Gerry Hitchens, Peter McParland, Johnny Dixon, Billy Myerscough and Ron Wylie at the Hawthorns, but it was Hitchens who broke the deadlock in front of more than 48,000 supporters.
Unfortunately, the Villans couldn’t hold on to the narrow lead and Allen broke their heart in the last minute to send them down. Villa bounced back instantly, however, after winning the Second Division title the following season – 1st with 59 points from 42 games while also reaching the semi-final of the FA Cup.