Birmingham - Aston Villa inched closer to Premier League survival after a 1-1 draw against Stoke on Monday.
McLeish's side were forced to settle for a point at Villa Park after
Robert Huth's second-half header cancelled out a first-half opener from
Austria striker Andreas Weimann.
But despite the frustration of
Huth's leveller, Villa are now seven points clear of the Premier League
relegation zone with only six games remaining.
McLeish had handed a
second league start to Weimann in place of former England international
Emile Heskey, who had started Villa's draw at Liverpool on Saturday.
Weimann was quickly into the action as he found Stephen Ireland in
space inside the Stoke penalty area, with Stoke defender Marc Wilson
alert enough to snuff out the danger.
Villa's first genuine
attempt on goal came from James Collins, who rose at the far post to
meet an inswinging Barry Bannan corner, but the defender couldn't find a
way past Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
McLeish's side were
missing seven senior players through illness or injury, but in the first
half Stoke rarely troubled goalkeeper Shay Given, who comfortably dealt
with a Rory Delap header from Matthew Etherington's cross.
took the lead in the 32nd minute when Weimann exchanged passes with
Ireland on the edge of the area before curling a fine long-range strike
past Begovic into the top corner.
Gabriel Agbonlahor had a good
chance to double Villa's lead after 55 minutes when he raced onto a pass
from Bannan, yet the England international shot wastefully across the
face of goal.
But, in front of Villa's lowest league crowd of the
season, the hosts gradually began to lose their grip on the match and
Stoke drew level with 19 minutes left.
Jermaine Pennant was
brought down by Craig Gardner and the Stoke winger curled over a teasing
delivery for Germany defender Huth to climb above Collins to head home.
youngster Chris Herd was stretchered off with a head injury after
lengthy treatment following a clash with Huth and replaced by Heskey.
was Stoke who went closest to winning when Ryan Shawcross fired home
after Huth headed a Pennant corner back across the box, only for referee
Mike Dean to rule it out for a foul.