Bluebirds claim South Wales derby bragging rights at Liberty Stadium

Liberty Stadium after derby clash

Swansea City 0 - Cardiff City 1 

Cardiff City claimed the South Wales bragging rights and dealt Swansea’s automatic promotion hopes a hammer blow whilst doing so as Aden Flint’s early header proved enough for them to win at the Liberty Stadium, writes Fraser Watson.

Flint bravely nodded home after Swansea had failed to deal with one of Will Vaulks’ long throws, and it proved decisive despite a second half that yielded plenty of Swansea pressure. 

Andre Ayew headed against the post and Morgan Whittaker, on his first league start for the Swans, shot wide from point blank range. 

The result leaves Steve Cooper’s team six points off second placed Watford but for Mick McCarthy and co, hope of a play-off place remains after cutting the gap to sixth placed Reading to four points. 

Early boost for Bluebirds . . . and it might have been 2-0

The game was only eight minutes old when Vaulks slung in one of his customary bullet throws – and after Joe Ralls was denied by Freddie Woodman’s reflex save the ball looped up to centre back Flint who duly notched his first goal of the campaign. 

Swansea were disrupted further when Connor Hourihane limped off just 17 minutes in, and it was the visitors who then threatened again as Leandro Bacuna latched onto Vaulks’ lofted pass and volleyed an effort straight at Woodman. 

For the hosts Jay Fulton curled a 20 yard narrowly over but it should have been 2-0 before the break when Woodman mishit his clearance straight to Moore, but after rounding the keeper the striker made a hash of his left foot finish and Ryan Bennett got back to clear off the line. 

Swans attacking pins back old rivals

In the second half however, the narrative changed as Cardiff, ably led by skipper Sean Morrison, were pinned back for much of the 45 minutes. 

It was the lively Whittaker who twice went close with angled shots but with 20 minutes left it was Ayew who went closest, meeting Connor Roberts’ corner but seeing his flicked header come back off the post. 

Whittaker had a close range short bravely blocked by Morrison but then missed a guilt edged chance when a loose ball fell him to the area, placing the ball inches wide of both a diving Dillon Phillips and the post. 

The youngster also had a curling 20 yard effort palmed away by the keeper in the dying seconds as Cardiff held out. 

It meant back to back defeats for Swansea for the first time this season, and also ensured the statistic of no team ever completing a South Wales derby double in a league season remains. 

Steve Cooper:
“The way it’s happened makes it difficult for us to get our head around,” admitted Cooper.  
“We’ve conceded off a long throw which we knew was coming.  
“But then it’s been all us for the rest of the half and we’ve played some brilliant football and created chances. We’ve dominated every single stat we’d want to except for the important one and that’s the scoreline.  
“So it’s tough to take.”  
Swansea City: Woodman, Naughton (Lowe 76), Bennett, Guehi, Roberts, Grimes (C), Fulton (Dhanda 80), Hourihane (Smith 18), Bidwell (Manning 76), Whittaker, Ayew.  Subs: Hamer, Cabango, Latibeaudiere, Routledge, O Cooper, Lowe. 

Cardiff City: Phillips; Sang, Morrison, Flint, Brown, Ralls, Vaulks, Pack, Bacuna (Murphy 66), Wilson (Ojo 84), Moore.  Subs: Smithies, Bowen, Williams, Colwill, Hoilett, Watters, Harris.