A disappointing Midlands derby finished goalless after a game of few clear chances at Villa Park.
Wolves started brightly and Stephen Hunt forced a save from Shay Given, while Villa's Emile Heskey flicked just wide from the edge of the six-yard box.
Villa were the better side for much of the second half and Richard Dunne had a header cleared off the line.
Both teams had spells of pressure but were content to preserve their unbeaten starts to the campaign.
McLeish credits man-of-the-match Herd
There was a surprisingly subdued atmosphere for a derby involving two sides beginning the day in the coveted top four, with swathes of empty light blue seats across the 42,785-capacity Villa Park.
Former Birmingham boss
Alex McLeish's appointment in the summer
was met less than enthusiastically by the vast majority of the Villa fans and Blues defender Curtis Davies spoke recently of his preference for their current style under Chris Hughton.
An opening home win over Blackburn and a more favourable approach to the Carling Cup than other bosses may have begun to appease the Villa faithful, but despite the experience of Darren Bent and Heskey in attack plus the pace and trickery of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Charles N'Zogbia to supply the ammunition, McLeish's side failed to hit the target in the opening period.
Agbonlahor created their best opportunity of the first period when he broke free on the left flank and crossed for Heskey, who flicked inches wide of the post having moved in front of the defenders.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wolves and Villa drew 1-1 on the opening day of the inaugural Football League season in 1888
Wolves had looked the more assured in possession, with Jamie O'Hara neat and tidy as the midfield general and Stephen Ward and Hunt dangerous on the flanks.
Hunt went closest to breaking the deadlock when he ghosted in from the right to meet Ward's inviting deep cross but Given kept out his header.
However, Villa began the second half with far greater purpose and Wayne Hennessey saved at full stretch low to his left after a pacy burst into the area from Agbonlahor, while Dunne's header was nodded clear by Kevin Doyle.
Full-back Chris Herd, deputising for
Luke Young, who has joined QPR
, suffered a sickening injury when he headed post instead of ball but he recovered to have an impressive match, forcing Hennessey to tip a powerful header over the bar.
McCarthy satisfied with draw
Bent's first genuine attempt did not materialise until four minutes from time, when he headed on to the roof of the net having risen superbly to meet a looping cross from substitute Barry Bannan.
Wolves, seeking a third successive victory in the top flight for the first time since 1980, finished strongly, with Ward having penalty claims dismissed by referee Martin Atkinson after an aerial collision with Herd in the corner of the area, although their fans were at least able to sing "We are top of the league".
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish:
"I felt we were in control of the game and our second-half performance deserved a goal.
"We were getting into good positions but not getting service to the main man (Darren Bent) who is a little bit frustrated.
"Mick made some defensive changes and it took the sting out of the game. It stopped our momentum and it was a good tactic from Mick."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy:
"They were pumped up for 15 minutes in second half and had a really good spell, as much to do with us failing to keep the ball and not passing it to someone in a gold shirt.
"But we had a good barrier to block them. There were some good blocks and saves.
"Would I take a point at Villa with Bent, Heskey, N'Zogbia and Agbonlahor? Too right I would."
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