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Page last updated at 20:40 GMT, Saturday, 12 March 2011

Swansea support Ashley Williams after own goal error

Ashley Williams shows his disappointment following his own goal
Swans defender Ashley Williams scored a bizarre own goal at Pride Park

Joe Allen has hailed team-mate Ashley Williams the "rock" of their club after his calamitous own goal helped Derby dent Swansea City's promotion hopes.

The Wales defender's early misplaced back-pass caught out Swans keeper Dorus De Vries to give the struggling hosts a morale-boosting lead at Pride Park.

Williams' error played a key part in the second-placed Swans extending their win-less run to three games at Derby.

But Allen said: "These things happen to defenders in football."

Williams has been one of Swansea's most consistent players in their Premier League promotion push this season.

The Welsh international was an integral part in Swansea's club record-breaking 24 clean sheets last season and the 2009 Welsh Player of the Year has helped the Swans to 17 shutouts already this campaign.

Williams has been a reliable ever-present in Swansea's usually mean defence but the 26-year-old, who has been tipped for a Premier League move, suffered an afternoon to forget as Swansea slumped 2-1 to relegation-threatened Derby County at Pride Park.

He missed a glorious early chance to give Swansea the lead, hit the crossbar with a close-range header and was punished with a yellow card - but his own goal will live long in the memory for all of the wrong reasons.

Williams, under pressure from Derby midfielder Paul Green, hit a strong misplaced ball back to De Vries and the Swans stopper could not prevent Williams' embarrassment.

Boss Brendan Rodgers insists Swansea 'presented Derby two goals'

But Swans and Wales colleague Allen insists that Williams does not have to apologise to his team-mates.

"He has been a rock for us all season," said the midfielder.

"And one of our star players."

Williams' manager Brendan Rodgers also leapt to the defence of his disappointed centre-back.

"We make 100 passes likes that in a game," Rodgers told BBC Sport.

"It was just something that was freak - but that put us on the back foot and gave them something to hold onto.

"Ash has been magnificent this season. He has played game after game but sometimes you have games likes that.

"And he was obviously disappointed with that header early on."

Rodgers bemoaned Swansea's lethargic performance as the Swans boss felt his team suffered from a "bit of tiredness" as Derby won their first home game for almost four months.

And Rodgers insisted there "were not many positives out of the performance" as Swansea suffered their first league defeat by Derby since 1986.

Swansea had won four successive league games but their current three-match winless run equals their worst sequence of results this season.

But Allen told his team-mates to remain positive, saying: "We were on a fantastic run before these last three games and we must go onto our next run now - and we are confident we can do that."

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see also
Derby 2-1 Swansea
12 Mar 11 |  Championship
Williams to equal Swansea record
29 Oct 10 |  Swansea
Williams takes top Welsh awards
11 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Williams signs new Swans contract
07 Oct 09 |  Swansea
Williams backed for Premier move
05 Aug 09 |  Swansea
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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