Normal Service Resumed In South Wales Derby As Luke Williams’ Swansea Snuff Out Cardiff City “Hiders”

Luke Williams and his Swansea City players celebrate. Pic: Getty Images

Normal Service Resumed In South Wales Derby As Luke Williams’ Swansea Snuff Out Cardiff City “Hiders”

By Gareth James

Normal service was resumed in the South Wales derby as Liam Cullen and Jamal Lowe scored the goals that barely reflected the total dominance of Swansea City over rivals Cardiff in a 2-0 home win.

Despite arriving on the back of a four-match winning streak – a run that had prompted optimism around a late promotion surge – Cardiff were second best in every aspect.

“We won in a really positive way and I can’t argue with the way we went about it today,” said Swans head coach Luke Williams.

“I think the combination of intensity and aggression combined with calmness and clarity is something we’re all striving for.

“We were very dominant for the majority of the game, and the big chances in the game, we created all of them.”

Cardiff even had the extra incentive of a first-ever league double over their bitter rivals, having won 2-0 back in the capital in September.

But as in so many recent meetings, they were out-fought, out-thought and showed little composure in the heated moments of a reliably fiery contest.

The Swans have now won five of their last six battles against the Bluebirds and eight out of the last 11.

Swansea could even afford to miss a second-half penalty through Cullen, before Lowe scored deep into added time to give the scoreline a more reflective appearance after Cullen’s 34th minute volley.

Cullen had the chance to double the advantage early on in the second half, after Ronald was fouled by Perry Ng, but despite sending Bluebirds goalkeeper Ethan Horvath the wrong way, he dragged his shot wide of the left-hand post.

Harry Darling also headed against the bar in an utterly one-sided first-half.

Williams paid tribute to Cullen for the calm manner in which he took his goal as well as the way he shrugged off his penalty miss.

“The first thing to talk about is his overall performance, he ran relentlessly and contested every ball,” added Williams.

“The fact he guides the ball and makes it look comfortable, that’s not easy to do, there’s a lot to do. It’s a proper striker’s goal.

“He’s brave enough to take the penalty. Then he’s in the right place again. Ronnie (Ronald) makes an inswinging cross and he heads the ball.

“He’s unlucky not to score this one, but for me the most important thing for strikers is to be brave enough to be in the right position to miss. Face those consequences, and he’s brave enough to do that.”

Cardiff were also fortunate not to have striker Yakou Meite sent off for pressing his forehead into the face of Darling, a reaction that in the Premier League – with the benefit of VAR – would surely have meant a red card.

The victory should ease any lingering concerns over the Swans being dragged into a relegation scrap but has seriously undermined Cardiff’s push for the play-offs.

Cardiff manager Erol Bulut made no attempt to hide his dissatisfaction and accused his players of “hiding”.

Bulut sent on Wales captain Aaron Ramsey for his first game for a month after injury, but it made little difference.

They created one worthwhile chance in the whole game – when substitute Rubin Colwill blasted over – but an equaliser would have been undeserved.

Bulut said: “We were hiding too much in the midfield. If you are hiding then you can’t go out from the pressing.

“You have to ask for the ball. This was not there in the first-half. That’s what I made changes in the second half, bringing two players on and we managed it a little bit better.

“It’s disappointing we couldn’t do the double. This would have been great for the team and the club. But you cannot get everything.

“We have to see first-half, disappointing, second-half was much better and we can work.

“We will not put our heads down or make big trouble of this because we lost.

“When we see the last weeks, how we worked and how we came back from where we were, we will be back again.

“We still have eight games to play, we have the international break, we will rest well, train well and come back strong again.”

Bulut accused Darling of diving and dismissed suggestions Meite should have seen red for his head thrust.

“I think it was an artistic movement from the Swansea player,” he said.

“I would jump into my pool like this. It was definitely not a red card.”

Swansea move up to 15th, seven points clear of Huddersfield in 22nd, as a result.

Cardiff remain eight points off the pace for the play-offs in 11th, with eight games remaining.


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