CAULKER GRABS DERBY WINCardiff City recorded a historic win in the first Premier League South Wales Derby thanks to Steven Caulker's second-half header against his former club.
After starting comfortably, the Swans looked dangerous, finding opportunities to shoot throughout the first half without really testing Marshall. Cardiff's intensity however wore down the visiting team, and by the end of the first half the tide seemed to be turning.
A strong second half start and incredible work rate gave Mackay's men the upper hand as Swansea increasingly looked long, allowing Cardiff to dominate possession. Theophile-Catherine was stand-out, and it was his blistering pace that exposed the Swansea defence and won the pivotal corner. Bellamy delivered a surprising outswinging corner that Caulker met at the near post, cushioning the ball past Vorm and sending the home support into the rafters.
Swansea 'keeper Vorm received a red card in stoppage time after bringing down Campbell as the last man, to reduce the visitors to ten men late on.
Swansea started proceedings, moving the ball around characteristically before Cardiff earned possession. An early Medel free kick was flicked on by Mutch but gathered gratefully by Vorm, the Dutchman releasing the Swans down the right. Prolific striker Michu turned on the eighteen yard line but volleyed directly over after some tight control, much to the joy of a packed Canton stand.
Dyer managed to burst into the Cardiff box after receiving a long Ashley Williams pass but again the Swansea attack failed to come close to the target, the nippy winger skewing his shot wide after being forced right by Taylor.
Michu did find the target with his second sight at goal, blasting a shot right down Marshall's throat from eighteen yards that the Cardiff stopper palmed away calmly.
Cardiff were enjoying as much of the ball as the Swans in the first twenty, Whittingham helping shift play from side to side in a return to a central midfield role, with Bellamy and Cowie dilligently tracking the flanks.
A Whittingham free kick from deep to the back post was flicked across goal by Caulker but Cowie couldn't direct it goalwards as the momentum started to turn Cardiff's way. Ben Turner expertly dispossessed Shelvey much to the joy of the home support and Cardiff moved the ball directly, Cowie crossing to Odemwingie forcing the Swans' defence to concede a corner. Theophile-Catherine then looked certain to score with a free header from Whittingham's resultant delivery but Mike Dean blew his whistle, signalling for a free kick.
JonJo Selvey was given an extended warning but no card following a high footed challenge against Mutch, Whittingham and Bellamy standing over set piece. This time it was the Welshman's effort, taking a wicked deflection with Vorm seemingly rooted to the spot but the ball dropped agonisingly over the bar.
Cardiff were in a dominant mood approaching the half-hour mark and it was a credit to Cardiff's tenacity that left Swansea reduced to conceding possession with long balls, after looking comfortable on the ball for much of the first quarter. Odemwingie's movement was stretching the away defence but finding a clear opportunity was difficult. Taylor's driving run opened up space for Bellamy on the right, but the wingers wrong-footed cross was deflected to safety.
Leon Britton asserted his influence on the game on the fortieth, working the ball into the final third with a succession of short, sharp passes before finding Michu. The striker's effort was deflected with the final five minutes playing out as a slow, tense affair. Mike Dean brought heart rates back down for the interval, neither team managing to break the deadlock.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0 – 0 SWANSEA CITY
Cardiff started the second much as they performed for the majority of the first, relentlessly closing down Swansea and forcing them to play long. Good combination football nearly unlocked the Swans' defence, with the final ball from Theophile-Catherine just behind Craig Bellamy. The winger still managed to set up Whittingham but the chance fell to his wrong foot, Cardiff's number seven firing wide.
Michu then sat down just inside the Swansea half, indicating he needed to leave field just as Cardiff's best chance of the game stemmed from a Theophile-Catherine cross. Bellamy nodded the ball across to the en-rushing Don Cowie, but the Swansea defence scrambled to deal with the danger, Ashley Williams clearing. The Spaniard returned to the pitch after treatment.
The home side were looking threatening as Theophile-Catherine again powered down the right, storming into the box to win a corner. Bellamy this time took the right-sided corner duty, delivering an unorthodox outswinging ball to the near post that ex-Swansea loanee Steven Caulker buried. The Cardiff City Stadium erupted.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 SWANSEA CITY (Caulker, 62 mins)
Cardiff had moved to control the game in second period much like the raised performance in the latter half versus Newcastle and were enjoying much of the ball. Laudrup moved to take off Michu, who looked to still be carrying his earlier injury, as the Swans searched for a goal.
Wilfried Bony found himself with a half-chance minutes after coming on when Jonathan De Guzman put the ball across Marshall's six-yard box; the pacey forward couldn't connect cleanly and put the ball the wrong side of the post. De Guzman and Taylor both sliced long-range efforts, as an increasingly frustrated Swansea team looked to drag themselves back into the game.
An offside flag stopped Swansea's clearest opportunity of the day when the ball, flicked on by De Guzman, fell to Bony unmarked. Marshall however still dealt with the shot, parrying to safety, the home crowd reacting with deafening jeers.
Medel, who put in a near-faultless performance breaking up attacks and keeping the ball on the floor as Cardiff built from deep, had to be removed by Mackay after signalling to the bench, Kim replacing the Chilean.
De Guzman curled a direct free kick that Marshall struggled to deal with, the shot bouncing just before contact. The Scottish international managed to push the ball wide, and as the fourth official indicated five minutes of stoppage time, an unlikely turn of events relieved pressure for the home side. De Guzman managed to squeeze a shot through multiple bodies forcing Marshall into a fantastic save, before releasing Campbell. The Bluebirds' frontman's pace left the Swansea back line for dead with Vorm caught in no-man's land. The Dutchman brought down the Cardiff number ten, leaving Mike Dean with no other option than to show a red card.
Angel Rangel pulled on the jersey with Swansea attempting to salvage something from the game, but the damage had been done. Whittingham put an effort on target from thirty-plus yards that the right back managed to palm over, and the few remaining minutes petered out to give Cardiff City three points and an historic win in the first South Wales derby of the year.
FULL-TIME: Cardiff City 1-0 Swansea City
Teams - Cardiff City: Marshall, Théophile-Catherine, Taylor, Medel (Kim, 88), Caulker, Turner, Cowie, Mutch (Gunnarsson, 54), Odemwingie (Campbell, 75), Whittingham, Bellamy. Subs not used: Lewis, Hudson, Noone, Maynard, Lewis.
GOAL: Caulker (62)
Swansea City: Vorm, Rangel, Taylor, Shelvey, Chico, Williams, Dyer, Britton (Pozuelo 71), Michu (Bony 65), De Guzman, Routledge (Alvaro 81). Subs not used: Amat, Tiendalli, Canas, Tremmel.
Attendance: 27,463 (Cardiff City Stadium)