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16:58 12th February 2011

Swans stun Boro with great comeback

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The Swans staged a superb second-half comeback to win at Middlesbrough in the league for the first time in almost half a century.

Substitute Craig Beattie struck the decisive goal deep into injury-time after the visitors had been 3-1 down at one stage.

Despite former loanee Marvin Emnes breaking the deadlock early on, Nathan Dyer responded with a leveller on 14 minutes. But goals either side of half-time by Jonathan Grounds and Leroy Lita saw the hosts take a commanding lead despite the visitors' dominance in possession.

But the comeback was underway on the hour when Scott Sinclair pulled one back from the penalty spot, while Ashley Williams levelled following confusion in the Boro area.

Beattie was thrown on as a fresh attacking option and it was his goal that sent the near-300 travelling fans with a happy 300+ mile journey home.

Brendan Rodgers stuck with the same side that played Cardiff for this game against Middlesbrough.

Alan Tate skippered the side in his native North East, while youngster Jazz Richards continued at left-back with fellow defenders Garry Monk and Neil Taylor still out injured.

Luke Moore, who had a fine scoring record at the Riverside Stadium in the past, was hoping to pop up with his first in a white shirt.

Boro: Jason Steele; Jonathan Grounds, Seb Hines, Joe Bennett, Tony McMahon, Nicky Bailey, Barry Robson (C), Julio Arca (Richie Smallwood, 85'), Scott McDonald (Merouane Zemmama, 75'), Leroy Lita (Jonathan Franks, 76'), Marvin Emnes.

Not Used: Connor Ripley (GK), Maximillian Haas, Kris Boyd, Andy Halliday.

Swans:Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Alan Tate(C), Ashley Williams, Jazz Richards; Leon Britton (Joe Allen, 57'), Mark Gower, Darren Pratley (Stephen Dobbie, 57'); Nathan Dyer, Scott Sinclair, Luke Moore (Craig Beattie, 76').

Not Used:Yves Ma-Kalambay (GK), Albert Serran, Kemy Agustien, Cedric van der Gun.

Attendance: 14,825 Away: 267

Referee: R Madley (West Yorkshire)

A long time had passed since the Swans had tasted league success on Teesside and a positive response following the Cardiff loss six days earlier was certainly on mind.

And the visitors started this clash in positive fashion as they saw plenty of the ball and could have taken an early lead when Alan Tate was inches away from connecting with Mark Gower's free-kick at the back post.

But Middlesbrough responded, and after Leroy Lita saw a shot clatter against Ashley Williams the former Bristol City and Reading front-man turned provider on eight minutes, slipping in Marvin Emnes 10-yards from goal.

The former Swansea City loanee took a touch, turned his man and pulled his strike to Dorus de Vries' left and into the bottom corner.

It was just written in the stars that the Dutchman would come back to haunt the club he enjoyed playing for briefly before Christman, but Boro's joy quickly turned to despair as the visitors drew level.

Fourteen minutes were on the clock when Nathan Dyer cut out a cross-field pass, touching it on to Angel Rangel before running on to the return ball inside the box - via touches from Gower and Moore - taking a touch and coolly slotting it beyond Jason Steele.

This instilled some extra confidence in the side as they went seeking a second, passing their way from the back with Middlesbrough rarely getting sight of the ball.

And as the half approached the mid-way point a turn of pace took Scott Sinclair past Tony McMahon on the left to the byline, he had options in the area but as he crossed the ball was cut out by Seb Hines.

The best chance of getting that second came on the half-hour - Dyer was the provider for Luke Moore but his shot was stopped by Steele at the near post, denying him a first for the Swans. Dorus de Vries also had to be alert moments later when denying Lita after he'd charged 30-yards forward before striking.

But with 10 minutes left to play before half-time the Swans found themselves behind a second time, and it was harsh on the better of the two sides. Barry Robson's free-kick was flicked on by Jonathan Grounds inside the area and the defender saw the ball float into the top corner for his first ever Boro goal.

Lita and Emnes both had chances to make it three but, 40 seconds before the break, Luke Moore came close to levelling but he couldn't connect properly with Dyer's delivery from close-range. And Moore came to his side's rescue almost immediately afterwards when he used his head to stop a stoppage-time chance from Hines on the line.

Half-Time: Middlesbrough 2 Swans 1

Just like in the first-half the Swans were seeing plenty of the ball but it just wasn't being put to good use.

And within seven minutes of the re-start they found themselves further behind following yet another set-piece - Barry Robson's initial corner was cleared back to him, and from the second delivery he picked out Leroy Lita on the six-yard box to nod home to make it 3-1.

The visitors were in desperate need of a way back into this game and with 57 minutes played both Stephen Dobbie and Joe Allen were sent on to replace Darren Pratley and Leon Britton respectively in a bid to do so.

And the pair linked up straight away - Dobbie playing Allen into the area where he was grounded by Julio Arca. The referee pointed to the spot, Scott Sinclair placed it and fired past Jason Steele's right to score his 19th of the season.

It was game on again with half-an-hour left to play and Dobbie came close to scoring a third for Swansea only to see his shot from 20-yards saved by the 'keeper.

The third did come on 68 minutes and it started from a Mark Gower corner, that was cleared and Alan Tate, via touches from Rangel and Dyer, floated the ball above the 'keeper - he failed to retrieve it under pressure from Moore and Ashley Williams popped up to scramble home the equaliser at the back post.

Tate then had a chance himself which flew over the bar, while Sinclair played a one-two with Dobbie and burst into the box, but as he entered the six-yard box the shot was pulled across goal and wide.

But as time ticked on both sides fancied their chances of winning and Craig Beattie was thrown on as a fresh pair of legs in Swansea's attack.

Scott Sinclair had a great chance to win it two minutes from the end when he pounced on Steele after he parried a shot, while Dobbie forced the goalkeeper in touching the ball wide with a shot from distance.

But a superb left-footed strike from Craig Beattie deep into injury-time completed a superb comeback by the Swans who left the North East with maximum points.
    Data provided by Press Association