by Tom Young
BEN Wilmot’s header proved the difference as Swansea City claimed the South Wales bragging rights with a 1-0 victory over fierce rivals Cardiff City.
The 19-year-old centre half peeled away from his marker to score his first career goal on his league debut.
The result sees Swansea move back into the playoff places in the Championship. Meanwhile Neil Warnock’s men remain in 14th place, seven points adrift of the Swans.
The first opportunity came after nine minutes, with the highly influential Andre Ayew latching onto a through ball but Peltier was on hand to clear it away.
As expected in a derby – the first in South Wales in five seasons – there was high intensity from both sides and whilst the Swans were controlling possession, chances were few and far between.
Many pointed to set pieces being a potential threat for the physical Cardiff City side, however, it was the hosts who took the lead from a set piece of their own in the 24th minute.
A short corner found its way to the feet of Wayne Routledge on the edge of the box, his in-swinging ball found the unmarked Wilmont who’s downward header left Neil Etheridge helpless.
Ayew was continuing to cause problems for the Cardiff back line and could have doubled Swansea’s lead five minutes later. Again some sloppy set piece defending saw Ayew unmarked from captain Matt Grimes’ corner, however he couldn’t direct his header on target.
Swansea had another big chance in the 37th minute. Ayew broke down the left hand side and whipped a teasing ball into the Cardiff box towards Routledge
Unfortunately for the Swans forward he slipped at the crucial moment but the home fans were up in arms as they believed that Joe Bennett handled the ball on the floor as City scrambled to avert the danger. Referee Robert Jones though waved away the appeals.
Etheridge was called into action early in the second half, pulling off a superb reaction stop to deny Ayew, although the flag had been raised for accidental handball.
On the hour mark it looked as though Bersant Celina was in on goal but some desperate last-gasp defending by Cardiff captain Sean Morrison saw the Bluebirds clear their lines.
The captain had a chance to draw the visitors level at the other end five minutes later. He rose highest to meet a Joe Ralls free-kick but his header was dealt with by Freddie Woodman.
There was another big opportunity for Cardiff moments later, again Ralls whipped a testing ball into the box, finding Gavin Whyte unmarked at the back post, however he struck his volley straight at Woodman.
Both sides made changes as the game entered its last 15 minutes, Steve Cooper bringing on Sam Surridge for fan favourite Nathan Dyer whilst Neil Warnock made a double change, with Josh Murphy and Callum Paterson for Nathanial Mendez-Laing and Whyte.
Tempers began to boil over as George Byers reacted angrily to a late challenge by Ralls on Grimes with the Cardiff man receiving a yellow card for his troubles.
There were half chances for both sides as the visitors threw men forward in search of an equaliser, but it was Swansea who held on to send the Jacks in the stands into delirium.