Rampant Swans punish Robinson red card


Swansea City struck up an unprecedented third consecutive league victory in the South Wales derby, sweeping aside a Cardiff City side who never recovered from an early red card for striker Callum Robinson.

A noisy away contingent gave their side a lusty welcome but home fans eagerly anticipated a historic derby victory. It was an overwhelming atmosphere in this tight, passionate arena.

Swansea Boss Russell Martin started with the promising Ollie Cooper in the side. Joël Piroe missed out having collected a red card away to Burnley recently. Evergreen Matt Grimes wore the skipper’s armband.

Visiting boss Mark Hudson chose former Baggie Callum Robinson up top as Joe Ralls led the Bluebirds out.

Proceedings began with emotion as the whole ground united in a minute’s applause to commemorate the anniversary of the Aberfan disaster on 21 October 1966. Great respect from all 19,814 fans.

Challenges thudded in during the early exchanges as both sides demonstrated the intensity of this local battle.

An exchange between Robinson and Wales defender Ben Cabango saw referee Darren Bond show the in-form Cardiff striker a red card after less than 10 minutes. Robinson had unwisely thrust the ball into the centre-back’s face and Bond was in no doubt whilst Cabango’s reaction may have made the decision easier.

The noisy home crowd excelled in this early boost, as the visitors switched to a 4-3-2 formation to compensate for the loss of their striker. At times Sheyi Ojo even operated as a lone forward.

The home side passed the ball around with patience as the visitors clung on. Cabango pushed forward. Harry Darling showed grit and composure in equal measure. Matty Sorinola threatened out wide.

Michael Obafemi should have put the Swans ahead on 22 minutes but fired wide.

The travelling Cardiff fans did their best to lift the spirits of their team, cheering any Swansea laps with glee. They roared loudly when Tom Sang curled a neat effort which keeper Steven Brenda pushed away for an unproductive corner.

Despite the one-man disadvantage, the Bluebirds were putting on a belligerent display in the white-hot atmosphere. The away fans behind Ryan Allsop’s goal gave a rousing rendition of their famous ‘Ayatollah’ salute as the 10 men stuck to their task.

Cédric Kipré was fortunate to escape punishment for a possible handball as the Bluebirds clung on. Home fans demanded a spot-kick.

Cardiff’s resistance couldn’t last though, as Cooper capitalised on defensive uncertainty to curl a lovely effort past Allsop on 40 minutes.

The red card on seven minutes had had an enormous impact on the game and Hudson may have been relieved to go in at the break with just a single goal deficit.

Not surprisingly, Hudson replaced Ojo with Mark Harris at the interval as Cardiff looked for fresh legs.

Callum O’Dowda and Darling both saw early yellow cards as they exchanged opinions following a strong challenge on the Irishman.

Obafemi brought a smart save from Allsop but in the main, the second half lacked the velocity of the first.

There was no let-up in the intensity of the game though as Swansea continued to attempt to pass the ball around the determined blue-shirted visitors. Harris put a header over after 63 minutes in a rare Cardiff strike at goal.

Obafemi grabbed a crucial second goal for the home side on 67 minutes and you sensed that this might prove a challenge too far for the 10 men now. All around the stadium, home fans sang joyously.

Allsop produced another splendid save to deny Cabango as the game became a procession for the dominant Swans.

A succession of goalmouth melees always threated a third goal for the rampant men in white.

Kion Etete joined the fray late in the day as Hudson shuffled his pack. His men tried hard to make a fight of it but that red card had proved so costly.

A surging run from Niels Nkounkou brought a late free kick in front of goal for the visitors but, like so often during the day, Cardiff’s effort came to nothing.

Swans simply played keep ball as the game ended in a convincing home victory.

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