Paul Lambert’s reaction said it all; head in hands he couldn’t believe Swansea had equalized in the fourth minute of added time to steal away what had moments before looked like an improbable Villa win.
Christian Benteke had calmly fired home Aston Villa’s first penalty attempt since last January in the 84th minute to put Villa ahead 2-1 in what had seemed an unlikely comeback from a 10th-minute goal by one-time Villan Wayne Routledge.
Villa were up against it from the off, Michu hitting the woodwork twice (with Guzan getting the slightest of touches on the second attempt) and Guzan also being forced into a fine save on a one-on-one.
It was all Swansea.
But Villa kept at it, and on the stroke of halftime Christian Benteke found Andreas Weimann, who stroked the ball across the goal and inside the far post to pull Villa level.
The second half was a distinctly different affair, with Villa getting in Swansea’s faces and disrupting their fluid passing game. There were few clear-cut chances and Guzan had much less to do. There wasn’t much love out there on the pitch.
Benteke and Weimann were showing more threat, though, and indeed, Villa’s penalty was awarded in the aftermath of Benteke’s headed attempt being cleared off the line as Weimann chased the ball and Dyer needlessly brought him down at the edge of the box.
But Villa couldn’t maintain the necessary composure to keep Swansea at bay, and a second-chance rebound fell kindly to Graham just inside the box, and he fired it cleanly through the bodies and past a despairing Guzan to claim a point Swansea would certainly feel they deserved.
All in all, it was a bit gutting…Villa had found their footing, frustrated Swansea, and got their noses in front for what would’ve been a vital three points. They kept working and didn’t let their heads hang.
But at least they stopped the slide and came back from a goal down to get a result on the road. For a team with no starting outfield player over 23 on the back of three defeats and 15 goals conceded, it has to be considered a decent result, even if a much better one was there for the taking.