Ollie Tanner scored his first professional goal and made Cardiff’s second as they ended a run of four South Wales derby defeats with a 2-0 win over lowly Swansea.
A dour game in the Welsh capital was lit up by the introduction of the 21-year-old, who was playing in non-League for York last season and took only 41 seconds to blast the Bluebirds ahead from a tight angle.
His sensational cameo continued against a toothless Swansea when racing past Kristian Pedersen late on. The Denmark defender hauled him down on the edge of the area and after referee Samuel Barrott judged the contact continued into the box, Aaron Ramsey stepped up to seal victory from 12 yards.
Swansea had won all of the previous four South Wales derbies but after coming up short in Cardiff remain one of only three teams in the Championship yet to have tasted victory this season. Their hosts rise to 15th, five points above the drop.
How Cardiff finally put South Wales heartache behind them
A first half low on quality was barely remembered by the time the two sides returned to the dressing room at the interval.
Cardiff had showed the greater endeavour throughout, but were never at risk of beating Carl Rushworth but for Yakou Meite’s well-struck effort which had him scrambling moments before the interval.
They displayed their greater intent from the off after the restart, as Meite took matters into his own hands again to test the goalkeeper with a powerful, curling drive from 25 yards moments into the half.
He later stung the Brighton loanee’s gloves again from a tight angle while Swansea continued to toil in their efforts to make anything of the rare half-chances they could muster.
There were still few signs of a breakthrough at either end until the introduction of Tanner, whose direct running and bravery on the ball took only seconds to pay off.
Racing inside Josh Tymon off the flank, he spotted the unguarded far corner and bent in a stunning opener to leave Rushworth helpless and seal his first professional goal in emphatic style.
Swansea’s search for an equaliser was barely noticeable while their defence never learned how with the lively young winger, and were made to pay again 15 minutes later.
Kristensen’s grapple on the 21-year-old would have been better suited to the ongoing Rugby World Cup, with the only question mark whether his foul had continued into the Swansea area.
Without the help of VAR, Barrott relied on instinct and pointed straight to the spot, where Ramsey showed his class to sit Rushworth down before passing the ball into the other corner to seal victory.
The cruelest irony on Swansea’s fans was that because of the constraints of the bubble fixture, they were forced to remain to a man to see Cardiff celebrate victory.
They were left to ponder their own failings, with Michael Duff still searching for his first win since joining the club this summer.
Cardiff’s Erol Bulut:
“The fans were great. From the first minute to the end of the game, they were supporting the team perfectly. I said to the team, ‘we have to be ready, the fans are ready’. Today [Saturday] we were ready.
“We showed our fighting spirit, before this game we created more chances and couldn’t score – [on Saturday] we created less and scored twice and kept a clean sheet.
“Ollie Tanner is a good player. He will make mistakes, but I count on him. If he comes from the bench, he gives a better performance than if he starts in the first XI, we have a joke about it.
“I had already seen what he showed today [to keep him around]. One-v-one he is good, coming inside he has a good shot, he can dribble inside, but he’s also good on his right foot and we train with him on it every week.”
Swansea’s Michael Duff:
“Their sub’s come on and changed the game for them, it’s a really good goal. The first goal was always going to be important for two teams struggling for confidence.
“There’s a lack of quality really, which is not unlike us. Every time we passed the ball forwards in the second half, we gave it away. We turned it over far too many times, couldn’t build any momentum. Their subs changed the game, ours haven’t.
“We never really looked like scoring in the second half. It’s a concern, we’ve not won a game, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist.
“One thing we should have – the players who are here are good footballers. The surprising thing is that it’s the lack of quality with the ball that let us down.”
Cardiff host Coventry on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm, before travelling to Sunderland next Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Swansea visit QPR on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm, and host bottom side Sheffield Wednesday next Saturday, kick-off 3pm.