Goodison Park's jungle telegraph inspired an Everton win, but the FA Cup holders were ultimately doomed to miss the chance of another season in Europe after 90 minutes of ifs and buts on and off the pitch.
With Villa already in the Uefa Cup and Everton hoping for the right permutation of results to clinch the third place, it was a muddled finale for the fans.
Six bookings, countless misdirected passes and some less than solid defending with only the bumpy pitch as a scapegoat, the cocktail turned out to be especially disappointing for Everton. Their fans knew all the implications thanks to their transistors and the Everton players got the message loud and clear in the second half.
A splendid goal by Joe Parkinson in the 78th minute to round off his solid display in midfield was no less than Everton deserved for their response to their fans in a crowd of 40,127.
A cross by Anders Limpar had the quality but Paul Rideout's attempt at an overhead kick saw the ball fly towards Parkinson some 20 yards out. His shot was low to the right of Mark Bosnich and Parkinson almost scored another equally spectacular goal some two minutes later.
It was not until the 48th minute that either goalkeeper had to make a save. Andy Hinchcliffe and Tony Grant set up the chance for Parkinson that sent Bosnich sprawling to make his save while Neville Southall, making his 699th and possibly last appearance for Everton, hardly had to break sweat, so inept was Villa's attack.
Even Barry Horne and Mark Draper, who battled energetically in midfield, became victims of the occasion and were unable to sustain the kind of passes their attacks needed.
Everton improved with the appearance of Limpar as a 55th minute substitute for Grant, but they still lacked a player capable of directing operations with consistency and authority.
Goal: Parkinson (78)
Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Hottiger, Unsworth, Watson, Hinchliffe; Kanchelskis, Horne, Parkinson, Grant (Limpar, 50); Stuart, Amokachi (Rideout, 70). Substitute not used: Short.
Aston Villa (5-3-2): Bosnich; Murray, Ehiogu, Southgate, Browne, Wright; Hendrie, Draper, Townsend; Yorke (Joachim, 57), Milosevic. Substitutes not used: Oakes, Farrelly.
Referee: R. Hart (Darlington).
Bookings: Everton: Parkinson, Kanchelskis, Unsworth. Aston Villa: Wright, Townsend, Browne.
Man of the match: Parkinson.
Attendance: 40,127.Reuse content