It was the first time Lambert had come up against the Canaries since moving to the West Midlands in the summer but was denied all three points by a spirited second half display from Chris Hughton’s men.
Lambert deflected any pre-match talk over the meeting with his erstwhile employers by dropping Darren Bent to the bench in favour of summer signing Benteke, who had only scored once for the club since joining from Genk.
But the Belgian international justified his selection in the 27th minute, controlling Brett Holman’s fizzed cross inside the Norwich penalty area before cooly slotting past John Ruddy to break the deadlock.
The goal came just moments after the visitors had gone close to taking the lead through Wes Hoolahan with the Republic of Ireland international shooting straight at Brad Guzan from six-yards after being played in by Grant Holt.
In an unusually rare occurrence the second half kicked off with three players bearing the surname Bennett, although that number was reduced on just six minutes after the restart as Villa’s Joe Bennett was sent off for an innocuous foul on namesake Elliott.
Hoolahan was denied by Guzan again, seeing his half volley beaten away at the near post, following a neat interchange with Anthony Pilkington down the left, before the United States international saved brilliantly from Holt after he sprang clear of the Villa defence.
Norwich finally made their numerical advantage count as Turner headed home Robert Snodgrass’ cross to level for the away side but their efforts to find a winner were in vain.