Derby Day defeat as Cardiff away day woes continue
Cardiff's 3-0 defeat at The Liberty Stadium against Swansea is hard to take, but it doesn't spell then end to City's season. Losing on the road in the Premier League happens on a regular basis, that's something Cardiff fans have gotten used to with the last six matches away from Cardiff City Stadium ending in defeat. In fact, Cardiff have won just once on their travels in the league this season. It's home form that will give Cardiff a chance of staying up and after beating Norwich last week and now facing back to back home league games against Aston Villa and Hull City there's a chance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side to win the points that will give them a fighting chance of staying in this division.
A week ago, Solskjaer made a match changing substitution when Wilfried Zaha made his home debut from the bench to help Cardiff take three points off Norwich. At the Liberty Stadium, new Swansea head coach Garry Monk introduced Pablo Hernandez at half time and it proved to be the inspiration that lead Swansea to an emphatic victory. The first half was tight, with chances few and far between; Peter Whittingham's sweetly struck volley was saved by Michel Vorm and David Marshall made a perfectly judged save to deny Wayne Routledge. It would have cost a penalty if he had mistimed his dive. The half time introduction of Hernandez had an immediate impact. Eighty seconds into the second half his pass caught out Fabio Da Silva and former Cardiff player Wayne Routledge skipped through to finish past Marshall. Cardiff tried to rally. Zaha won possession on the left and when he stumbled Craig Bellamy took over and rattled a shot against the bar. It was the nearest Cardiff came to a goal all game. The new signings of Kenwyne Jones, Fabio and Zaha that impressed a week ago were all substituted as Cardiff struggled to just go through the motions. Bellamy might find himself in trouble as he was caught by the TV replays catching Jonathan De Guzman with a sneaky raised arm to the back of his head. As the incident was missed by the referee a special panel made up of three formers referees could decide that Bellamy should be banned for three games for violent conduct. As the game entered the later stages, a ball into the box fell between Steven Caulker and Declan John to allow the smallest player on the pitch, Nathan Dyer, to head past Marshall. And then Hernandez took a free kick that was met by Wilfried Bony and he out jumped Ben Turner to make it 3-0. That was enough to send the home crowd delirious and to ask a lot of questions of the visitors. After sacking Michael Laudrup, Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins took the brave decision to put Monk in charge and the gamble paid off. The match meant so much more for Swansea and Monk, who has played in previous derby day fixtures, won the battle on the day. As a Cardiff supporter I find is disappointing that the spirit evident in November, when Caulker's header beat Swansea at Cardiff City Stadium, has disappeared. I was critical of Malky Mackay's approach to games that his first thought was not to lose rather than to try to win but I wonder if a Malky Mackay side would have been beaten so comprehensively in such a big game. Cardiff City are a club in self-inflicted crisis. After years of struggle and hardship a wealthy benefactor came over the horizon and gave the club the funding to make it to the top level of English football. This should be some of the best moments in the club's history. Instead, Cardiff have a divided fan base, are a club playing in alien colours to try and woo a foreign audience that have no idea about the Bluebirds' history and tradition. Vincent Tan will get away with his indecent proposal if he sees success on the pitch, but the struggle facing the club at the bottom of the Premier League sees the fans fighting with each other rather than pulling together. What I find most hurtful is seeing friends of mine that stood shoulder to shoulder in mutual love of the club actually celebrating bitter rivals Swansea winning against Cardiff City. The situation is not terminal, but it's getting more desperate as the games go by. Vincent Tan could start a revival of this football club if he reverted the club colours to blue and got everyone back on side. There's a tribalism in football that sees fans stick together to back their club. That spirit seeps into the pores of the club and inspires the players to feel part of the Cardiff City family. At the moment that family is divided. With 5,000 new seats being installed and season tickets now on sale I think the club should make positive moves to encourage fans to invest their time and money into Cardiff City. While some fans continue to tolerate the alien identity, many more will disappear when relegation hits home. These are the best of times. These are the worst of times. That sums it up.