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14:59 13th February 2010

Late heartbreak as Swans are held

The Swans had to make do with just a point despite controlling the majority of this affair against Newcastle.

A dominant first-half failed to wield an opening for the home side but with just 11 minutes played of the second period David Cotterill sent the home support into raptures when he broke the deadlock.

Paulo's side did have further chances to add to their tally but were caught out right at the death when Andy Carroll rose to head home substitute Leon Best's right-sided cross.

Leon Britton was forced to sit out this game with a back injury but Angel Rangel returned after missing the last two games with a foot problem to take his place on the bench.

Sousa makes two changes to the side that won at Crystal Palace in midweek with Joe Allen back in the side to replace Britton while Cotterill also returned in place of Mark Gower.

Swans:Dorus de Vries; Alan Tate, Garry Monk(C), Ashley Williams, Fede Bessone (Angel Rangel, 7'); Joe Allen, Andrea Orlandi, Darren Pratley, Nathan Dyer (Tom Butler, 80'), David Cotterill; Shefki Kuqi (Gorka Pintado, 75').

Not Used:David Cornell (GK), Jazz Richards, Mark Gower, Lee Trundle.

Newcastle: Stephen Harper, Danny Simpson, Fitz Hall, Fabricio Coloccini, Patrick Van Aanholt, Wayne Routledge, Kevin Nolan, Danny Guthrie, Peter Lovenkrands (Leon Best, 66'), Alan Smith (C), Andy Carroll.

Not Used: Tim Krul (GK), Michael Williamson, Ryan Taylor, Fabrice Pancrate, Tamas Kadar, Nile Ranger.

Attendance: 15,188

Referee: K Woolmer (Northamptonshire)

The atmosphere was electric inside the Liberty Stadium for the start of this game which saw the home side put their visitors under immediate pressure.

A pin-point crossfield ball from Ashley Williams picked out Nathan Dyer on the right-hand side and the tricky winger was able to win his side a corner with just 60 seconds on the clock.

It was the first of three flag-kicks inside a 60 second period, all struck into the heart of the area but caused Newcastle 'keeper Stephen Harper and his defence no problems.

There was a slight delay with just four minutes played as Fede Bessone went down just inside the Newcastle half clutching his leg; it was to spell an end to his afternoon and after a few minutes playing with 10 men he was replaced by Angel Rangel, making his return after missing the last two matches.

Andrew Carroll fired the Magpies' first effort high and wide after eight minutes while David Cotterill's stinging strike from outside the area flew into the side netting five minutes later.

The Swans were seeing far more of the ball during the early stages and looked to frustrate their visitors by playing keep ball.

Midfielder Kevin Nolan was certainly getting frustrated and after being pulled up for a foul on Joe Allen the former Bolton man was penalised for bringing down Cotterill 25-yards from goal midway inside the half. Andrea Orlandi placed the ball and struck the set-piece left-footed which flew under the ball and just wide of the target.

Back fought the Magpies and just one minute shy of the half-hour mark and they came close to breaking the deadlock themselves - a Danny Guthrie free-kick was initiially cleared out to Coloccini's whose ball back into the box was met by the head of Nolan but, fortunately, his effort flew across goal and wide of the post.

Attentions quickly turned back to the other end of the pitch where Coloccini became the first player to be booked after the Argentinian international grounded Darren Pratley to the right of the area.

Orlandi took the free-kick which was struck straight at Harper while the former Barcelona youngster was handed another attempt at goal 60 seconds later, only again to be denied by the shot stopper.

The Swans had to endure some Newcastle pressure as the half drew to a close and were lucky to go in at half-time goalless as Chris Hughton's side came close to grabbing a stoppage-time opener, Dorus de Vries getting down well to his left to deny Andy Carroll's headed effort from a corner, while David Cotterill delivered a dangerous cross into the area on the stoke of half-time but Shefki Kuqi failed to connect.

Half-Time: Swans 0 Newcastle 0

Swansea made an explosive start to this second period and almost carved out an opportunity within the first two minutes.

After Garry Monk cleared Stephen Harper's free-kick Nathan Dyer went flying into the Newcastle half down the right-hand side, he had Rangel and Pratley in support and linking-up with the pair the ball found its way to Orlandi whose low cross into the area was narrowly missed by Dyer and Kuqi.

Dyer did have another effort moments later, a cleared corner found its way to Allen who in turn laid off Dyer and the winger let fly from 30-yards, beating the 'keeper but seeing his effort fall just the wrong side of the post.

In a dominant opening six minutes to this half Pratley volleyed across the face of goal while the same player and Dyer both attempted to connect with Ashley Williams' deep ball into the area only to collide with eachother, enabling Harper to collect.

But all of their pressure paid off as the hosts took the lead 11 minutes into the second period - Joe Allen picked out Pratley on the right, his low cross across the box was left by Dyer and found David Cotterill, he cut past Danny Simpson and hit a sweetly struck effort which flew past Harper and into the net.

They immediately went seeking a second and after Orlandi let fly over the top of goal Harper, who was by far the busiest of the two goalkeepers, had to save low to his right to deny Rangel from the edge of the box on 64 minutes.

Two minutes later and it was Ashley Williams' turn in front of goal, the defender towering above his marker inside the area to head Darren Pratley's flick-on from a corner over the bar from a matter of yards.

The pressure was starting to pile on the Swansea defence as the visitors delivered a series of free-kicks into the heart of the area which were dealt well with by the defence.

But the was the Swans that were creating the chances and after Pratley fired wide after latching on to Cotterill's through ball the latter had a chance of his own on 79 minutes, cutting inside of Simpson but shot straight at Harper.

Football can certainly be a cruel game and, with only three minutes left on the clock, Newcastle clawed their way back into this contest - substitute Leon Best crossing from the right to the back post where Andy Carroll was placed to fire a header past de Vries and into the net.

The fourth official raised his board to indicate a minimum of three minutes to be played but, as much as the Swans pressed to re-take the lead, a point is what both sides had to make do with at the end of this contest.

    Data provided by Press Association