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Premier League

  • 31 December 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Liberty Stadium, Swansea
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 20393

Swansea City 1-1 Tottenham: Late Scott Sinclair strike denies Spurs victory after Rafael van der Vaart opener

Swansea City 1-1 Tottenham: Late Scott Sinclair strike denies Spurs victory after Rafael van der Vaart opener

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The away side looked to have taken all three points following the Dutchman's opener, but the Swans eventually got what they deserved with a late equaliser courtesy of the winger

Tottenham were denied their ninth win in 11 Premier League games following a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

A forgettable first half was dominated by the home side, yet their inability to break the deadlock cost them as Rafael van der Vaart struck home from close range on the stroke of half-time.

The home side pushed for much of the second half without success, but were finally handed the break they were looking for when Brad Friedel lost the ball from a cross to allow Scott Sinclair to tap in and restore parity.

Brendan Rodgers made six changes to the side that drew at home to QPR. Only one was forced, with Steven Caulker ineligible to play due to the loan agreement with his parent club Tottenham, so Gary Monk started alongside the ever-present Ashley Williams at centre-back.

Meanwhile, there were recalls for Luke Moore, Stephen Dobbie, Neil Taylor, Mark Gower and Nathan Dyer, while top scorer Danny Graham dropped to the bench.

Spurs kept the same starting XI that picked up all three points away at Norwich on Tuesday, with Ledley King not fit enough to make the starting line-up.

It was the home side who started the brighter of the two, with Dyer stinging the palms of Friedel early on with a well-struck effort from 20 yards, as both defences limited any threat on goal to long-range efforts.

Sinclair was inches away from adding to his tally of four for the season with a beautifully curled effort, and with Friedel scrambling across his line, the American breathed a sigh of relief to see the ball clip the side netting on its way wide.

Tottenham looked to have been gifted their first real opportunity of the game when Dyer sold Michel Vorm short with a poor back-pass, but the Dutch goalkeeper showed great awareness and technique to challenge Emmanuel Adebayor and deny the Togolese forward a sure goal.

Despite the lack of clear-cut chances Swansea had been the better side, and they were dealt a sucker punch on the stroke of half-time.

                  Welsh woes | Van der Vaart's first-half strike wasn't enough for Spurs

Following some good work on the left hand side from Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the Cameroon international drilled a low cross into the box. The ball took a ricochet before sitting up nicely for Van der Vaart, who adjusted his body to hammer home from 10 yards, the ball taking a slight deflection off Williams to leave Vorm helpless.

It was Spurs who started the second half the better, Younes Kaboul with an adventurous run forward before exchanging a lovely one two with Adebayor, only to see his low effort saved by Vorm at his front post.

Tottenham had another great chance to double their lead a few minutes later. With the Swansea back line exposed, Adebayor found Van der Vaart in acres of room. The Dutchman had time to take the ball in his stride and bear down on Vorm, but instead he chose to hit his shot first time, leaving the Swansea goalkeeper with a routine save.

Substitute Graham almost made an immediate impact on the game, anticipating Sinclair’s shot and trying to divert it goalwards, only to see his header flash over the crossbar with Friedel stranded.

The home side had another great chance to equalise with 10 minutes to go. Great footwork in the area from Dobbie opened up some space for the midfielder who toe-poked his effort towards the back post, where Kyle Walker recovered to deny Sinclair a tap in.

From the resulting corner Sinclair saw his low effort cleared off the line by Luka Modric as the home side piled on the pressure.

With five minutes to go the home side finally got the break they deserved. Angel Rangel whipped a low ball into the box which caused havoc amongst the Tottenham defence, and after Friedel fumbled the ball, Sinclair was left with a simple tap in to send the home crowd into raptures.

The draw leaves Spurs six points behind second-place Manchester United with a game in hand, while Swansea move onto 20 points for the season.

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