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Pre-Season Friendly: Swindon 1 Tottenham 1

A stunning goal from Gareth Bale was not enough to give Tottenham a win as they were held to a 1-1 pre-season draw at Swindon on Tuesday.

The Welsh winger picked up where he left off last season to give the Premier League outfit the lead at the County Ground, but Andy Williams’ deflected 75th-minute effort levelled things up.

Andre Villas-Boas named a strong squad as Tottenham got their preparations for the new campaign under way, with reported Real Madrid target Bale in the starting line-up along with England duo Jermain Defoe and Kyle Walker.

It did not take long for Tottenham to assert their superiority over their League One hosts, as Swindon goalkeeper Wes Foderingham was forced to tip a Defoe header onto the crossbar after just two minutes.

Foderingham, however, had no chance after 14 minutes when Bale deftly collected a pass from Gylfi Sigurdsson and rifled the ball into the top corner from just inside the area to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.

After 31 goals for club and country in all competitions last season, it was a signal that the reigning PFA Player of the Year will once again be a threat to opposing defences come the new season – and yet more evidence of why Real are believed to be keen to take him to La Liga in a blockbuster deal.

Swindon battled back well and had a good chance to equalise nine minutes before the break, but Louis Thompson was foiled by France international goalkeeper Hugo Lloris when clean through on goal.

Much to home side’s relief, Bale was taken off at half-time, but Villas-Boas threw on a number of other first-team squad members, including Jan Vertoghen and Aaron Lennon.

Swindon were far from overawed and Lloris’ replacement, Brad Friedel, had to dive at full stretch to deny Massimo Luongo when the midfielder – on loan from White Hart Lane – let fly from 30 yards shortly after the interval.

And the home side were eventually rewarded for their positive approach 15 minutes from time when Williams’ shot deflected off Steven Caulker and looped over Friedel to earn them a draw.

Tue 16 July, 2013
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