Jonjo Shelvey’s wonder goal kept limp Villa in the relegation dogfight after defeat at Swansea.
The midfielder’s audacious 50-yard half volley embarrassed Brad Guzan to secure the Swans’ Premier League place and worsen Villa’s worries.
They are just four points above the drop zone with three games left after their fifth defeat in six games.
Shelvey’s brilliance came four minutes after Gabby Agbonlahor had scored his first goal since New Year’s Day – cancelling out Wilfried Bony’s equaliser.
Pablo Hernandez added a third and Bony grabbed a late penalty as the travelling fans again turned on their team and manager Paul Lambert.
They chanted “we want Lambert out” as the pressured increased on the Scot.
Hull’s fight back to draw 2-2 with Fulham was the only saving grace as relegation remains a reality.
Villa were unchanged following their 0-0 draw with Southampton.
Leandro Bacuna’s eighth-minute free kick slammed into the wall and Ville were behind a minute later.
Shelvey’s pass dissected the visitors’ defence and Bony raced through – although there was a hint of offside – to slide past Brad Guzan.
Villa responded well though and Marc Albrighton’s shot was deflected inches wide on 18 minutes.
And Albrighton – at the heart of Villa’s best play – conjured an equaliser on 22 minutes for Agbonlahor.
The winger, in talks with the club over a new contract, swapped passes with Karim El Ahmadi before whipping in a brilliant cross for Agbonlahor to turn in from three yards.
But it was only brief respite as Shelvey stole the Swansea spotlight with a fantastic second for minutes later.
Guzan knocked it short to Ron Vlaar and when he launched a long ball it fell to Shelvey in the centre-circle to arch a brilliant half volley into the top corner.
It lifted the Liberty and Swansea assumed a degree of composure, although were comfortable to let Villa have the ball.
Albrighton flashed a shot wide and Andi Weimann stung the palms of Michel Vorm yet Villa struggled to penetrate, despite Swansea’s fragility at the back as they rigidly stuck to their passing philosophy.
There was little killer instinct and while it remained 2-1 Villa still had a route back but they failed to test Vorm immediately after the break.
Instead Swansea came close to extending their lead when Guzan saved low from Shelvey on the hour and Jonathan De Guzman shot wide a minute later.
Swansea were going for the kill and bagged a third with 18 minutes left when Shelvey whipped a cross in for Hernandez at the far post and he cut inside to find the far corner.
It was the cue for Villa’s fans to turn – like they had at Crystal Palace – as the fight went out of the team.
Guzan denied Shelvey and Hernandez before Bony netted a fourth in stoppage time from the spot after Nathan Baker barged into Marvin Emnes.Subscribe to our Newsletter