Wednesday media watch [02.01.13]: Swansea newspaper reaction
Guardian: Paul Lambert described Aston Villa's 2-2 draw against Swansea as "a huge point for the future of the football club", after three successive heavy defeats over the festive period had deepened relegation fears. Although Danny Graham scored a stoppage-time equaliser to deny Villa a much-needed win, Lambert refused to be despondent and praised his players for the mental strength they showed to find a way back into a game that looked to be beyond them for much of the first half. Swansea were rampant in the opening half hour, when they took the lead through Wayne Routledge and hit the woodwork twice, but Andreas Weimann's goal just before the interval gave a callow Villa team - the average age of 23 years and 120 days made it their youngest ever starting XI in the Premier League - renewed belief. Christian Benteke put Villa ahead six minutes from time, when the Belgium international converted from the penalty spot, before Graham earned Swansea a point that was the least they deserved.
Birmingham Mail: Scrappy New Year! It wasn't pretty, but it was gritty. Villa's resolution was clearly to show more resolve after the Christmas holiday from hell and even with the last-gasp, late, late heartbreak it was a rot-stopper. Only time will tell if it was a tide-turner for Paul Lambert's young team, who smashed their own record for being the club's youngest ever Premier XI with an average age of 23 years and 120 days. It's all about baby steps remarked one observer, cuttingly, as Villa, having conceded after three minutes in the previous match, held out until the tenth minute this time. But he was right, after conceding 15 goals in three defeats during the previous nine days, Lambert understandably hailed as a "building block" the point which keeps his team out of the bottom three.
Daily Express: Paul Lambert will have been glad to see in the New Year after three alarming defeats, but his festive woes continued as Danny Graham salvaged a point for Swansea with a last-gasp equaliser. But the defiant Aston Villa manager insisted his young side deserved high praise despite throwing away two points in injury-time. Strikes from frontmen Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke looked set to ease the tension surrounding Villa Park following those hefty defeats by Chelsea, Tottenham and Wigan and the loss of 15 goals without reply. Graham's leveller proved to be the latest blow. Yet Lambert was keen to focus on the positives and saluted his players after they had been receiving a torrent of criticism.
Daily Star: Paul Lambert insisted his young Lions had shown their courage - despite the heartbreak of Danny Graham's last-gasp goal. His Aston Villa side were three minutes and 57 seconds into injury-time, and clinging on to an unlikely lead, when Graham smashed home Swansea's equaliser. But at the end of his 'holiday from hell', with three defeats and 15 goals conceded, Lambert claimed even a draw could mark a significant turning point for his kids.
The Sun: Paul Lambert has a "massive job" rebuilding Aston Villa. The manager saw his side come within a minute of beating Swansea but Danny Graham's stoppage-time goal levelled. It did end a run of three defeats which saw Villa concede 15 goals. Lambert said: "We should have seen it through but it's a massive point. "It's a long-term job, a massive job and the football club will be better in the future. "You have to earn the right to go up the league but the future of the club will be really good. "I have great belief in what is happening."
Mirror: Paul Lambert's festive woes continued as Danny Graham rescued a point for Swansea with an injury-time equaliser. The under-fire Aston Villa manager looked set to witness his side secure a vital win in their battle against relegation courtesy of strikes by front pair Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke. But, on the back of three hefty defeats and 15 goals conceded without reply in the process, Danny Graham's 94th-minute leveller dealt Villa another hammer blow. Admittedly, Villa were fortunate to be ahead following a sizzling opening half-hour from Swansea which yielded Wayne Routledge's opener. Yet once Benteke calmly slotted a penalty past Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm with six minutes remaining after Nathan Dyer tripped Weimann, Villa should have held on.
South Wales Evening Post: Not often will a team equalise in stoppage time and still feel frustrated. But that was the strange sensation for Swansea City yesterday as they kicked off 2013 with a remarkable 2-2 draw against Aston Villa. Swansea should have won, but were seconds away from losing. It could have been better, but it might also have been worse. Sky Sports: Sky Sports understands Charlton midfielder Bradley Pritchard is being tracked by Aston Villa, Fulham and Reading. Ex-non-league ace Pritchard has been a revelation since joining the Addicks in the summer of 2011, establishing himself as a first-team regular.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.