Date: 27th November 2011 at 9:23pm
Written by:

Swansea City and Aston Villa mourned the shocking and tragic death of Gary Speed before today’s match at the Liberty Stadium.

News came through before the 1.30pm kick off that the Wales manager had committed suicide at his home.

Kevin Johns led the tributes, as the players gathered on the centre circle for a minute’s applause in respect of the 42 year-old. As fans showed their respect by chanting ‘There’s only one Gary Speed’.

Despite the tragic news, the match went ahead as planned, but it obviously shocked the players. Particularly the likes of welsh internationals Ashley Williams, Joe Allen and Neil Taylor. While Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given shed tears shortly before the game started.

It was such an emotional day in Swansea, that it was no surprise that the players couldn’t quite get over the news, and played out a rather dull 0-0 draw.

Villa resorted to bullying tactics against the Swans and it was a surprise that only four of their players were booked.

Angel Rangel was forced to leave the pitch after just 26 minutes, and was replaced by Jazz Richards, who made his first appearance of the season. Danny Graham also had to leave the pitch early in the second half due to injury.

The Swans made a promising start to the game, but the team who’ve blocked the most shots in the Premier League so far this season, continued to do what they’re good at, as Sinclair and Allen had shots blocked by opposition defenders.

Villa then struck back and put pressure on the hosts, with their main attacking threat coming via Agbonlahor and Bent. The visitors even had a penalty appeal turned down when Heskey’s header was thought to hit Ashley Wlliams’ arm.

McLeish’s side had a good spell early on in the second half as they took control, with the Swans struggling to create many clear chances in front of goal.

Thankfully, the home side stepped up their game and got back on top as substitute Leroy Lita had our two best chances in the latter stages of the game.

Gower sent Lita through on goal, he got the better of Dunne before sending his shot just wide of the target.

Lita beat Dunne again, this time he was put through by Sinclair, but his shot was well-saved by Given.

Sinclair had a chance himself. He went on one of his trademark runs, cutting inside from the left flank, beating Hutton but his shot was blocked by a defender.

In the end, both teams had to settle for a point which sees the Swans in 13th place, while Aston VIlla stay in 8th.

The Swans have now failed to get a win in the last three games, and they’ll look to pick up three points at struggling Blackburn Rovers next Saturday.

Swansea: 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