Villa conceded only a minute later, to West Ham substitute Andriy Yarmolenko, but secured the draw that saw Dean Smith's team finish in fourth-to-last place and a point ahead of Bournemouth, a 3-1 winner at Everton on Sunday.
Villa spent most of the season in the bottom three — and only climbed out of it after a 1-0 win over Arsenal in midweek — but still stayed up and will play a second straight campaign in the Premier League.
“It feels better than getting promoted," said an emotional Smith, who lost his Villa-supporting father, Ron, to the coronavirus during the enforced break. "We had a big turnaround in the summer and to stay up from where we’ve come from is a great achievement.
“When Jack scores you think, ‘That’s it, we’re safe,’ but a deflection made it a little bit nervous. But we saw it out well. I’m immensely proud and I’ve said that in the dressing room. We now look like Premier League players."
Grealish’s long-term future remains unclear. “Will he stay? I’m certainly hopeful," Smith said. "He’s contracted for another two or three years. He’s a Villa fan. He’ll be immensely proud to have scored the goal today to keep us in the Premier League.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports