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09:59 28th November 2011

PREMIER LEAGUE: Swans 0 Aston Villa 0

The Swans were held by Aston Villa at the Liberty in a game completely overshadowed by the shock and untimely death of Wales boss Gary Speed.

The game went ahead though, and both teams did what they could in an attempt to lift spirits during a difficult time not just for Welsh football, but the game in general.

The Swans found Villa a well-organised team, and their only chances came in the latter stages with substitute Leroy Lita going close on two occasions.

Lita had replaced Danny Graham, who picked up an injury, in the second half while the Swans also saw Angel Rangel limp off in the first period with a foot injury.

Villa looked dangerous on the counter attack with Gabriel Agbonlahor looking threatening in the latter third.

But ultimately both teams were made to share the spoils in front of a record Liberty crowd of 20,404 for the Swans.

The Swans made just one change to the starting XI from the previous week as Joe Allen returned in place of Wayne Routledge.

Villa included Wales defender James Collins in their starting XI, while Darren Bent and Agbonlahor had already scored ten goals between them this term.

Swans: Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel (Jazz Richards, 26), Garry Monk (capt), Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Mark Gower, Joe Allen, Nathan Dyer (Wayne Routledge, 82), Scott Sinclair, Danny Graham (Leroy Lita, 53).
Subs: Gerhard Tremmel, Vangelis Moras, Stephen Dobbie, Luke Moore.

Aston Villa: Shay Given, Alan Hutton, Stephen Warnock, Richard Dunne (capt), James Collins, Darren Bent, Charles N'Zogbia, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph (Barry Bannan, 79), Emile Heskey (Jermaine Jenas, 69), Chris Herd.
Subs: Marc Albrighton, Nathan Delfouneso, Ciaran Clark, Brad Guzan, Carlos Cuellar.

Referee: N. Swarbrick

Attendance: 20,404


Before kick-off the Liberty held a minute's silence - which then turned into applause - in memory of Speed, who had sadly passed away hours before kick-off.

Both sets of supporters united, respecting the silence before singing Speed's name in honour of the former Leeds, Newcastle and Everton midfielder as the applause broke out.

Despite the tragic circumstances, both teams looked to make a bright start.

But withing 13 minutes, referee Neil Swarbrick had shown three yellow cards.

The first went to Fabian Delph, whose late challenge from behind on Leon Britton arrived after only a few minutes.

Scott Sinclair joined him in the book as his attempted block on Chris Herd was too late before Alan Hutton clattered Neil Taylor and was booked for his late challenge.

The first real threat on goal came from the visitors as Gabriel Agbonlahor cut inside and fired straight at Michel Vorm, with Ashley Williams clearing the loose ball.

Villa went closer after 20 minutes, Richard Dunne rising highest to meet a flick-on from a corner, but the skipper nodded over from six yards.

Another chance came Villa's way as Agbonlahor intercepted Leon Britton's pass but his shot was deflected wide for a corner.

The Swans were forced into a change after 25 minutes as Angel Rangel was replaced by Jazz Richards after picking a foot injury.

Richards was soon in the book too, along with Dunne, as referee Neil Swarbrick made his fifth booking before the break.

As the game entered the final minute of the half, Villa saw a penalty appeal turned down as they claimed Charles N'Zogbia's cross was handled by Ashley Williams.

Half-time: Swans 0 Aston Villa 0


The Swans looked to get going in the second half, having failed to create any chances of note in the opening period.

It was Villa, though, who had the first effort on goal as Alan Hutton blazed his volley over the crossbar in a quick counter attack.

Brendan was then forced into another change seven minutes into the half, with Danny Graham having sustained a foot injury. That saw Leroy Lita come on in his place.

Villa kept plugging away and they went close to opening the scoring as N'Zogbia almost capitalised on hesitancy between Vorm and Garry Monk, but the former Wigan man's first touch was too heavy.

Then, a minute later, Agbonlahor's powerful strike was just tipped over by Vorm, who made a fine reflex save.

The Swans hit back with Joe Allen charging forward but seeing his effort go wide of the target before Lita had a great chance to open the scoring. Gower's pass found him in the box, and Lita turned Dunne but drove his effort the wrong side of the post.

The Swans had another chance, Gower switching play to Sinclair, who outpaced Hutton and charged into the box. The winger opted to shoot rather than tee up the marked Lita, and James Collins made a superb block to deny Sinclair.

Lita and Sinclair then linked up to carve open the Villa defence as Gower's pass reached Lita, who was in on goal after a one-two with the winger. But the onrushing Shay given was quickly off his line to deny him.

Brendan made his final change with Wayne Routledge coming on for Dyer in a straight swap on the right wing.

Villa then went close with Herd heading just wide from substitute Barry Bannan's corner.

That was the end of the action as the Swans added another point to their tally, in what proved a difficult afternoon off the pitch following the shocking death of Wales boss Speed.


    Data provided by Press Association