Phew! Relief for Lambert after ending three game losing streak with 'huge point' at Swansea despite conceding late equaliser
Andrew Gwilym, Press Association
20:26 GMT, 1 January 2013
00:39 GMT, 2 January 2013
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert described his side's 2-2 draw at Swansea as a huge point, despite seeing them denied all three by Danny Graham's injury-time equaliser.
The Villans had conceded 15 and scored none in their previous three games and Wayne Routledge added to their woes as he fired the hosts ahead in the ninth minute.
But relegation-threatened Villa had looked set to take the points when Andreas Weimann levelled just before the interval and Christian Benteke scored from the spot when Nathan Dyer conceded an 84th-minute penalty for a foul on Weimann.
Under pressure: Lambert's side are just one point off the relegation zone after Swansea's stoppage time goal
However, Graham fired home a rebound in a late goalmouth scramble, to leave Lambert with his head in his hands.
A point at least ends Villa's miserable run of defeats and, despite the crushing disappointment, Lambert feels he can take great heart from a gutsy effort by a side with an average age of just 23 years and 119 days – making it the youngest the club had ever fielded in a Premier League fixture.
Gutted: Villa players were left dejected after conceding in the 94th minute
He said: 'It is a huge point although we should have seen it through. But it's a massive point and we were very good and threatening in the second half.
'In the first half they were coming at us from all angles and we had to weather that storm and we needed a couple of good saves from Brad and they also hit the woodwork.
'But to get the goal before half-time certainly helped us and it had a galvanising effect, it gives you something to get going and in the second half we were very good.
'We have been beaten heavily in the last three games so this is a huge point for the future of the club.
'The young lads in the side have been excellent and when you get beaten heavily you learn a lot about people and today showed they are mentally strong.'
Looking up: Christian Benteke celebrates after scoring the second goal for Villa from the penalty spot
Injury-hit Villa, already without the likes of Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Charles N'Zogbia, Ron Vlaar, Nathan Baker and Richard Dunne, also lost Ashley Westwood to an ankle problem after he was felled from behind by Michu's clumsy tackle.
And Lambert will wait before assessing how severe the problem is.
He said: 'He is hobbling at the minute but we will see how he feels. We think it is his ankle.'
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, was left scratching his head as to how his side had not won a game in which they had almost 70 per cent possession and had threatened to run away with during an opening half-hour when Villa were all at sea.
Michu, Graham and Routledge were among those to miss gilt-edged chances, and the Dane said: 'We did not win because we only scored one goal from seven chances with that first-half performance.
All Smiles: Graham wheels away after scoring the last minute goal
'It was a great performance – it could have been 4-0 after 12 minutes – but we know how it is when you don't take chances.
'It means one mistake, one free-kick, one corner or whatever it is and the game is back level, and that is what happened at the end of the first half.
'They had only been near our goal two or three times in the first 45 minutes and we gave Villa belief they could come from behind and get something out of the game.
'If we had got a second or third we would maybe be sitting here talking about a 5-0 win.'
Laudrup was also disappointed his side were not awarded a penalty just before the hour mark.
Joe Bennett was penalised for handball on the left-side of his own area as he blocked Angel Rangel.
But referee Mark Halsey only awarded Swansea a free-kick on the edge of the box when the ball had appeared to strike Bennett just inside.
When asked if he thought it was a penalty, Laudrup said: 'Yeah of course, both of his feet are on the line and the hand is inside, I think the line is still part of the box so there was no doubt about it.
'It was a clear penalty but it was not given and that's that, we have to go on.'