Swansea turn tables to end Spurs' winning run
Published 01/01/2012 | 05:00
With Manchester United and Chelsea slipping up on home soil and Manchester City out of action until today, Tottenham wasted their best chance yet to confirm their title credentials.
A goal from Scott Sinclair, seven minutes from time at the Liberty Stadium, not only gave rise to a celebration that would have been heard at the opposite end of the M4, but cost Harry Redknapp's side the perfect end to 2011.
It was no more than last season's Championship play-off winners deserved, if only for their gung-ho approach during a second half that saw Spurs struggle to reproduce the form that had brought eight wins in their previous 10 games.
However, despite the obvious disappointment of relinquishing an interval lead, there were no complaints from Redknapp, who poured lavish praise on Swansea and their unique approach. "It was a tight game, they are a good side and the manager has done a fantastic job," he said.
"I'm disappointed because we were 1-0 up and have been on a great run. But they came on strong and deserved their goal. It was a bit of a sloppy goal. One or two switched off and we didn't pick up Sinclair. That should have been dealt with, but it was a catalogue off errors."
"I thought it was the least we deserved against a team that is probably the in-form side in the country. We were unlucky to go behind, but after that we were brilliant," said Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers.
If the midweek hype had centred on Spurs, it had certainly not filtered through to a Swansea side showing six changes from the team that drew with Queens Park Rangers five days earlier. Within a matter of minutes, Nathan Dyer forced a decent save from Brad Friedel and Stephen Dobbie, enjoying a rare start in midfield, escaped the clutches of Kyle Walker before forcing a corner.
Spurs were strangely subdued. Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were well shackled, with Modric providing the one moment of promise for the visitors, with a snapshot that drifted harmlessly wide of Michel Vorm's far post.
Bale was totally ineffectual. Still, the threat is always present and Jazz Richards wasted little time in letting Bale know that his return to the land of his father would be uncomfortable, if nothing else. His rash tackle deserved the game's first yellow card.
After Bale had been booked for a dive on the edge of the Swansea box, Spurs took the lead, barely a minute before the interval. The industrious Joe Allen, who had barely put a foot wrong, failed to clear Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cross and when the ball popped up for Rafael Van der Vaart, the Dutchman made no mistake.
Spurs began the second half as they had finished the first with chances for Emmanuel Adebayor and Modric. Vorm smothered a Younes Kaboul shot at his near post and Garry Monk, back in the side for the first time in four weeks, snuffed out a neat turn from Adebayor.
However, Swansea have never thrown in the towel in this their first season of Premier League football and back-to-back chances for Luke Moore and Angel Rangel suggested the game was far from a done deal. Danny Graham's first contribution, after replacing Moore, was to divert Neil Taylor's cross over the Spurs' bar and after Modric cleared off his own line, from Sinclair, the goal finally arrived. Rangel's deflected centre somehow found its way to the far post and Sinclair arrived, unmarked, to hammer home.
Sunday Indo Sport