SWANS TREBLE IS THE ANSWER TO OLE'S DREAM OF A DERBY DOUBLE.
SWANSEA CITY ......... 3 Routledge 47, Dyer 79, Bony 85 CARDIFF CITY ........... 0 HISTORY was always ready to be written at the Liberty Stadium.
In the end, it was not by means of a Cardiff City double but a Swansea City treble. One that gave not only Garry Monk the perfect managerial start, but his club the biggest South Wales derby victory in almost 20 years.
Not since Swansea hit the Bluebirds for four in a 4-1 Vetch win in 1995 has the local pride been gained by such a margin.
Yet that was in the days of the third tier when it was all about pride. Here, Cardiff's hurt and Swansea's euphoria beamed across the globe. It mattered perhaps just as much in the Premier League table, where defeat kept Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side in the bottom three. Victory pushed Swansea into the top-half.
Yet you doubt such realities were dawning on fans inside the Liberty last night as Andre Marriner signalled the end of this compelling clash.
All that would be going through the minds of the Bluebirds fans bussed down the M4, not even being able to leave as the 'oles' rang around the stadium and the passes fizzed beyond their defeated players, was how this day was never supposed to have ended like this.
The talk from Solskjaer had been about the first derby double, to build on November success at Cardiff City Stadium and, in turn, to build a solid footing for survival.
Yet this latest instalment of a 102-year rivalry belonged to Swansea as Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony took the opportunity to write their own history.
The three second-half goals were deserved, a reward for the performance of a far sharper and unified Swans outfit than has been seen in recent weeks and months. Monk certainly has been busy in his first few days as head coach.
But the Swansea dominance after an arguably equal first 45 minutes also showed the work Solskjaer still has to do with his side who, having chased and harried and initially countered with threat, faded into insignificance.
If not for the superb work and positioning of Gary Medel, Cardiff may have been exploited well before Routledge's 47th minute opener, added to by Dyer 11 minutes from time and capped off by Bony's header with six minutes to go.
Perhaps fate had decided history would be written this way. Swansea have often looked something of a fairytale on their rise and it would be difficult to call this anything other than a fairytale start for Monk.
Certainly, he has achieved his first goal, that of ending suggestions the hosts are in disarray. They looked anything but. Huw Jenkins' programme notes claimed one of the concerns that led to Laudrup's axeing was a slow eroding of the club's principles.
Monk's view on what such principles entailed were, first and foremost, hard work underpinning their hallmarked style.
Didn't they deliver; Leon Britton and Ashley Williams leading by example while the precision triangles sliced Cardiff apart.
And while Williams' own prematch assertion gave words of support to Monk, that he had the backing of every single Swan, now and in the future, the sight of the skipper celebrating Routledge's opener spoke in far greater depth.
Craig Bellamy would have appreciated such steel and style even on the losing side. The Bluebirds' talisman delivered it in spades himself but found the crossbar equal to his big chance and not enough of his teammates joined him in giving what was needed.
While Solksjaer's decision to drop Jordon Mutch and Craig Noone will be debated, the displays of those on the pitch was clear cut.
Wilfried Zaha couldn't quite make the impact he made last weekend as Angel Rangel contained him, Kenwyne Jones found himself bettered by Williams and a defence creaked under Ben Turner's and Fabio's failings.
It was the latter who saw Routledge skip past him to eat up yards and devour the chance from Pablo Hernandez's delightful pass, Hernandez introduction for Emnes a first insight into Monk's tactical potential.
And it was the former who allowed Routledge - whose suspicion of off-side summed up Cardiff's day - to float across over his head as Declan John dithered enough to allow Dyer to slam a header home.
By the time Turner was beaten to an Hernandez free-kick by Bony, history had been written. SEE PHOTOS For lots pictures see our www.
The future is still to be scripted and while Swansea www.
must hope this was more than a new-boss bounce, Cardiff can hope they can rise above such a devastating blow.
MORE ONLINE To cling to positives, as tough as it may seem at such a time, Cardiff played better passing football than they have done for some time and may have found their opportunities in the first-half and will play poorer more action from the game gallery at walesonline/gallery walesonline Turner SEE MORE PHOTOS ONLINE For lots more action pictures from the game see our photo gallery at www.walesonline/gallery www.walesonline
Wayne Routledge steers his shot beyond David Marshall and Fabio to open the scoring at the Liberty Stadium
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|Publication:||Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Feb 9, 2014|
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