By Gareth James
Erol Bulut has revealed he had heard a lot about Ollie Tanner – and most of it was bad.
A good job, then, that the Cardiff City manager decided his own eyes could provide the best evidence when sizing up the club’s 21-year-old winger.
“I heard that he wasn’t very professional and that other managers didn’t want to keep him,” said Bulut of the player who scored the opener and then won a penalty in their 2-0 derby day victory over Swansea City.
“But when I saw him in pre-season I gave him a chance to play and I didn’t want to lose him.
“I hope he continues like this in his career.”
Tanner – who was playing for Lewes United in Sussex in the fifth tier when former Cardiff manager Steve Morison took a punt last year – is now a Bluebirds folk hero for his role in defeating their biggest rivals.
Those are some celebrations at Cardiff v Swansea for Ollie Tanner’s goal yesterday. pic.twitter.com/zk6zpPGcq5
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) September 17, 2023
Bulut was delighted to have delivered to the fans what he had promised – an end to Swansea’s dominance in the south Wales derby.
Swansea came to the Welsh capital seeking a fifth win in a row in the series and the Bluebirds hadn’t won at home in the fixture for a decade.
When Bulut was out in the city centre having a meal in the build up to the match he was approached by a fan who said the supporters were ready for the weekend. He promised him his team would be as well.
“The fans made it clear to me how important this fixture is to them and so I made it clear to the players that I didn’t want the 10 year wait to continue – it was a must win match,” said Bulut.
“If you look at the table it was an important win for us. We didn’t want to give any more points away.”
“We’ll celebrate a little, but they are back in training on Sunday because we have a game against Coventry on Tuesday night.”
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) September 16, 2023
Swansea manager Michael Duff, however, is still awaiting his first win of the season and his team are in the relegation zone.
“I thought they had a go, they fought and they ran. It’s the lack of quality that cost us the game today,” said Duff.
“I don’t like getting beat. I’m not stupid, I’m sure there’ll be a vent at me today.
“This is where you see the true characters at the club. Lots of players and staff have left, but I’ll just stick to what I believe in, I won’t come off script to that.
“We want to change the way we play because last year was extreme. It’s about sticking to the task.
“We need to win a game because we look low on confidence. I’m not going to sit up here and try to pull the wool over people’s eyes, we’re not going to make excuses. We lost the game today through our lack of quality.
Erol Bulut praises the Cardiff City fans after beating Swansea 2-0 in the South Wales derby 👏 pic.twitter.com/14DLWF9Y0N
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 16, 2023
For 21-year-old Tanner it was a night he will never forget as he notched his first professional goal as he put an end to 70 minutes of tense and often turgid action by producing the first goal of the night.
Not only that, he then conjured up some more magic to win a penalty that allowed Aaron Ramsey to stroke home in the 86th minute.
A long cross field pass from Jamalu Collins from left to right was controlled superbly by Tanner on the right edge of the Swansea penalty area. His second touch took him inside passed the defender and his third rifled the ball into the back of the net.
Having been plucked out of non-league football at Bromley and Lewes, he spent most of last season on loan at York. This season he has been given his chance by Bulut and he repaid his faith in spades.
Swansea had won the last four meetings between the two arch-rivals and arrived at Cardiff City Stadium seeking five in a row, but also their first win of the season. This defeat in the teeming rain will have done nothing to help new boss Duff’s chances of convincing the fans he is the right man for the job.
Michael Duff knows what the south Wales derby means 🏴💥💪
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) September 14, 2023
While Tanner was the name on everyone’s lips, it was also a special night for Ramsey. In his first south Wales derby at home he picked up a win to go alongside the one he helped secure in his only other derby outing in Swansea in February 2011, which also ended 1-0.
He went racing away to celebrate with the home fans after simply stroking the ball past Rushworth in the Swansea goal in much the same way he had done earlier in the week for Wales in Latvia. This is what he came back to Cardiff to achieve and he loved it.
The first half was a game of cat and mouse, although it was Cardiff who dominated territory and possession. That was a big change from the last four clashes, all of which Swansea won.
There was only one shot on target in the first half and that didn’t come until the end when Yakou Meite forced Carl Rushworth into a full length diving save.
He did the same at the start of the second half, forcing him to make two big saves as it looked as though the game was going to end in a draw.
Then came the Tanner heroics and Ramsey’s penalty to wrap up a great night for Cardiff fans.
— Tom Coleman (@tomEcoleman) September 16, 2023