As Villa searched for the elusive breakthrough, their luminous shirts were the only thing to puncture the London gloom.
In the midst of a 375-minute goal drought, that they drew 0-0 with West Ham on Saturday was not as surprising at their kit.
But like their strip, there were still bright spots and while a dour draw was instantly forgettable, it still yielded a point.
A game which West Ham dominated saw Villa claim a positive result, extend an unbeaten away run to three and show, without several players, that they can fight. But a lack of goals is a concern, their last coming from Andi Weimann’s winner against Manchester City in September.
Christian Benteke virtually guarantees goals, but the bigger issue is: If he does not score, who will? Gabby Agbonlahor is yet to net, Weimann has two and Libor Kozak, despite his goal at Norwich, is still to settle.
Benteke was starved of service on Saturday but almost won it when his header crashed against the bar and he also forced Jussi Jaaskelainen into a last-minute save.
Other than that it was slim pickings and the sight of Weimann limping off with a hamstring injury only increased the fears.
Already without Agbonlahor, sidelined with an ankle problem, Villa need goals from other sources than Benteke.
And without a creative outlet in midfield, they were solid rather than spectacular in east London.
Now they have a run of games where their progress will be measured. The run up to Christmas will show their staying power.
Cardiff, Albion and Sunderland are faced by the end of the month and Stoke, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Fulham appear before the year is out.
Then Villa will be judged on the extent of their development.
Saturday was a game which Villa might easily have lost last season and underlined some of the strides they have made in the past 12 months.
Had West Ham not been utterly clueless in the final third, Villa may well have fallen – but as it was, they dealt with the Hammers’ wayward and meandering attacks with impressive diligence.
Clinical sides such as Tottenham and Everton have shown Villa are far from infallible. But Brad Guzan was never seriously tested until he beat out Joe Cole’s angled drive in injury time.
In a 3-5-2 formation the trio of Ron Vlaar, Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker ensured Guzan was protected.
One slip by Clark let in Matt Jarvis after 20 minutes, but the ex-Wolves winger could only shoot straight at the recovering Guzan. That aside, they held firm with the game emphasising the improvement of academy graduates Baker and Clark.
Last season their concentration would have waned, more mistakes would have crept in and West Ham, for all their failings, would have won.
And a third away clean sheet on the bounce is a serious feather in the cap.
The challenge now is to turn that away resilience into something tangible at Villa Park, starting against Cardiff on Saturday.
West Ham know Villa’s home pain, having failed to win at Upton Park since the opening day of the season and, without a recognised striker, showed why. The Hammers didn’t even pretend to have a false nine as they packed midfield and dominated possession but ambled aimlessly once they reached the Villa box.
That the hosts were there for the taking and were not dispatched will be a source of frustration, especially as Villa had the best chances. Weimann prodded straight at Jaaskelainen after getting goalside of James Tomkins.
But without the ill Fabian Delph and the pace of Agbonlahor, there was little cohesion between the midfield and attack.
Villa missed Delph’s driving runs and the central trio of Ashley Westwood, Karim El Ahmadi and Yacouba Sylla lacked the craft to trouble West Ham.
It could have been different had Ravel Morrison walked after Weimann fell under his challenge when racing through on 21 minutes, but Howard Webb ignored Villa’s claims.
The Upton Park starlet can consider himself fortunate to escape a red card after clearly pulling back the Austrian.
The only time Villa did inject some class, they almost won the game when a sweeping 71st-minute move saw Matt Lowton deliver a brilliant cross for Benteke to smack the bar.
In a game of few chances, it was golden – and Nolan almost made Villa pay when he shot wide at the other end.
As West Ham toiled, Benteke almost won it in stoppage time when Jaaskelainen turned his angled effort wide.
But a Villa victory would have distorted the game. A point gained, but it must be used as a platform for progress.