Loic Remy's injury-time winner was not quite worth the seven-and-half-hour wait since Newcastle United's last Premier League goal, but it was a crucial one all the same.
This was a triumph for persistence, determination and something Newcastle have been severely lacking since the start of the year: character.
Newcastle, as in the 4-0 defeat by Tottenham in their last game, were awful in the first half and were booed off at the interval, but they eventually got the breakthrough they needed.
The celebrations in the stands, on the pitch and in the dugout were an outpouring of relief. After five successive home defeats, Newcastle's manager, Alan Pardew, needed this.
So did the fans. It has been hard work supporting Newcastle in recent months. They had won just one game in nine before this and Pardew readily admitted he had been under pressure as a result. They were not great, but the win will repair some of the damage.
The only problem is the man who scored the crucial goal is unlikely to be at the club next season.
Remy had missed several easier chances than the one he took, taking control of Luuk De Jong's deflected shot, twisting one way and then the other to put Ron Vlaar on his backside, before thumping past Brad Guzan.
The France international, who is only on a season's loan from Queens Park Rangers, has refused to consider turning his temporary switch into a permanent one. He will attract interest from Champions League clubs in the summer and he deserves it.
"There was only one player on the pitch who was going to have the composure to score that goal in the 92nd minute," Pardew said. "He was the best player on the pitch. It was a fabulous goal in the circumstances.
"Somebody said to me that he made the game look slower. The game wasn't as frantic when he was on the ball and that's what quality players do. It's fairly obvious the better he does the harder it will be for us to keep him."
Newcastle deserved their win, although Villa did well enough to feel aggrieved at failing to hold on for a point. Paul Lambert's side were the better team in the first half and had enough chances to score at least once.
Karim El Ahmadi's cutback just evaded Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann before the Moroccan dragged a shot of his own wide. Gabriel Agbonlahor also went close, his first effort saved by Tim Krul, the second fizzing over the bar from 20 yards.
"I thought we should have taken something from the game," Lambert said. "I don't think either side was good enough to win, but we made an error with 30 seconds to go. Our situation hasn't changed from a few months ago. We're not panicking. I'd be more worried if we weren't playing well."
For all of their problems, Newcastle should have been in front in first-half stoppage time, Remy setting up Papiss Cisse, but his first-time shot went over.
Newcastle were better after the break. Yoan Gouffran pulled a shot wide and volleyed another into the Gallowgate End. Newcastle continued to probe, Remy denied by Guzan, referee Martin Atkinson turning down a penalty appeal after Fabricio Coloccini had kicked the ball against Leandro Bacuna's hand.
Villa were occasionally dangerous on the counter. Mike Williamson did well to cut out Benteke's pass to Agbonlahor while Weimann decided to shoot when he should have passed to Benteke.
Remy should have scored after De Jong stole the ball from Vlaar but the striker's shot hit the post. He did not make the same mistake again. (© Daily Telegraph, London)