Match report: Late Danny Graham goal saves a point for Swansea City against struggling Aston Villa

Swansea City 2 Aston Villa 2

Liberty Stadium

Luck continues to elude Paul Lambert as Danny Graham’s injury-time strike denied Aston Villa a desperately needed win. Christian Benteke’s 84th-minute penalty looked to have ended Villa’s nightmare before, during and after Christmas by setting up an unlikely 2-1 victory at the Liberty Stadium.

But seconds from with the final whistle, Nathan Dyer’s cross caused panic in the home defence and, after Ki Sung-yeung slipped, Graham smashed home the equaliser.

There was some consolation for Villa in stopping the rot of three damaging defeats despite naming the youngest team in their history, with an average age of just 23. But the the game had come close to being yet another rout of Paul Lambert’s side. After Wayne Routledge struck early for Swansea, they  to squandered five clear-cut chances in the opening half hour alone, including two from Michu who struck the post twice, so proving that City still have much to learn.

How Swansea did not wrap up the game in that first half an hour is anyone’s guess, though that will matter little to Lambert, who said: “We should have seen the game through with 30 seconds to go but it’s still a huge point for the future of the football club. I’ve got to turn it around because we have been beaten heavily the last three games. That’s when you learn a lot from people and today showed me that mentally these young players are really strong and we still have that belief.”

The Swansea manager, Michael Laudrup, said: “The first-half performance was great and we could have been four-nil up after 12 minutes. If we had scored a second or third, we could be sitting here talking about a 5-0 win.

“But when you don’t score your chances, it only takes one mistake and the game is level. We gave Aston Villa the belief that they could come back in the game and get something out of it.”

From the moment Routledge slipped through one-on-one with Brad Guzan as early as the third minute, the first half was one-way traffic, but Guzan denied Routledge while Pablo Hernandez and Graham fired wide.

Andreas Weimann sparked Villa’s recovery with their first goal in almost six hours. It came against the run of play, but ended a sequence of 17 goals conceded without reply and could yet prove the most important in Villa’s season.

Belief returned, fuelled when Joe Bennett escaped conceding a penalty when he handled on the edge of the box in the 59th minute, a decision Laudrup was quick to challenge afterwards. “Both feet were on the line and the hand was inside,” he said. “It was a clear penalty that could have changed the game.”

Instead, Villa were awarded a late spot kick when Nathan Dyer cleared off the line only to clip Weimann in chasing the rebound, and Benteke fired in his ninth goal of the season before Graham’s late, late effort rescued a point for Swansea.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions