Leeds went ahead in the ninth minute through a terrific strike from James who was then denied a brilliant second in the 29th minute as his shot from the edge of the box smashed back off the crossbar.
But Villa levelled less than 60 seconds later after a fine finish from Philippe Coutinho who then produced more magic to set up Jacob Ramsey to fire Villa in front seven minutes before the break.
The same pair then combined five minutes later as Villa bagged their third, Ramsey smashing home a clinical finish into the top right corner after the Brazilian's through ball.
But Leeds pulled a goal back in the second minute of first-half stoppage time as James scrambled home a header from close range to double his tally and the Whites equalised in the 63rd minute as Diego Llorente converted from a corner.
Villa's Ezri Konsa was then sent off following a second booking after catching Meslier with his elbow with three minutes left and after eight minutes of added time a thrilling contest ended all square.
Graham Smyth, the YEP's chief football writer, hands out the scores.