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“When You Text Me Saying You'd Lost, I Thought You’d Be a Lot Worse Than You Are”

It would seem like there is nothing new for us Cardiff City fans to come away from a derby against Swansea and know that numb feeling of defeat, but for some reason, Saturday didn't feel the same.


Last season, the first time a double was done in the league, 110 years in the making, that hurt a lot. I was in a foul mood for days afterwards. It was tough to take.


Fast forward 12 months, and Ben Cabango slots away another at the CCS, the lad from Cardiff who went to Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr with his old school friends probably sat in the home end of the stadium. I'm raging, angry that it has happened again and seeing the substitutes, staff, and players celebrate like crazy. I tried not to look at the away end, but you couldn't. It drew you in. Everyone dreams of that late or last kick of the game-winner as an ideal scenario for those games. We had it with Michael Chopra at home in 2010 and similarly with Craig Bellemy in 2011, but to see it happen against us hurt.


Swansea caught us out with a quick throw for Joel Piroe's opener. Then a ball over the top from Ryan Manning saw Cardiff central defenders turn slower than the Titanic for Piroe to hit the post, and Liam Cullen followed up and put them 2-0 up within 33 minutes. The second came as we were looking to get back into the game, and as we've seen so many times this season under Steve Morison, Mark Hudson and Sabri Lamouchi, we just switched off for a split second. That's all some teams need.


At this point, I slumped into my grandstand seat and feared the worst. The memories of last year's 4-0 defeat came flooding back, and that couldn't happen again. The players also needed to know that, but apart from one or two, they looked like they weren't up to the fight again, the same old story with Cardiff.





Jaden Philogene-Bidace, the player Lamouchi called Michael Jackson, used all his skill and dancing feet to get us back in the game. In context, this was 1-11 on aggregate in the last four games. That's how lousy derby days had gone for us, and I was just happy we scored! The final goal was the winner from Aden Flint during the lockdown games and our only win since 2013, when Steven Caulker scored in the first top-flight meeting between the sides. I know I'm talking about the past, but these all count. I don't think anyone looks forward to these games.


2-1 at halftime, I was happily thinking we could get something out of it as we were creating chances, another theme of ours from this season; we weren't taking them.


After a nerve-settling beverage at half time, it was back out to hope that we could do something not done since that now infamous strike by Chopra in 2010, score twice against the enemy from down west.


Cardiff started pressing, something they had failed to do early in the first half. Romaine Sawyers coming on for Callum O'Dowda looked like it was down to an injury, as Lamouchi had mentioned that O'Dowda was carrying a slight knock pre-match and didn't even know if the Republic of Ireland international would even be making the starting lineup.


Swansea looked like a team that had let leads slip in the last. Would it be possible to get something out of the game? Whether the nerves started setting in, I don't know, but you got the feeling that we'd get that equaliser.


Piroe had a great chance to make it 3-1, only to misjudge his touch and not get it out from under his feet after going around Ryan Alsopp, a massive let-off for the Bluebirds.


The next part was something special. Rubin Colwill, plagued by injury for almost two seasons, came off the bench to send a hanging cross into the box, which Sory Kaba headed past Andy Fisher in the Swansea goal. I was grabbing people around me celebrating; as I was sitting in the grandstand, I had no idea who these people were, but we all just revelled in the moment. We'd done it, got back level and scored two against them.





Much of Colwill's injury problems had been due to growth spurts and growing pains; the Welsh international has the look of an NBA player, looking very different from when he made his debut under Mick McCarthy in 2021. Many of us Cardiff fans had wondered what had been going on, but hopefully, this is a sign of things coming from Colwill, and he gets a run in the team.


I don't know what happened next, but we returned to our shell, almost as if we thought the draw was enough. With the passing ability of Grimes in midfield, someone we had pressed until the equaliser, we couldn't afford to give him that space again, but we were, whatever gameplan we came out with to start the second half had now been torn up, and we had our backs against the wall.


Every challenge was being given as a freekick by Kevin Stroud, someone who had been given strange decisions both ways all game; we had some freekicks that just shouldn't have been, and likewise the other way, he bought every fall.


As soon as that freekick was given, I feared the worst, but it was so late into stoppage time; surely we wouldn't give it up now, would we? Yep, we could and did. Hitting the wall and post wasn't enough torture for the final part of the game.


I couldn't stay, like most others in the stadium; I headed straight for the exit; that initial gut-wrenching head in my hands moment it happened again was enough to make me leave.





The walk back to the car and then the drive home helped me focus on nothing; I was talking about work with my mate that was with me; we spoke about the game briefly but nothing at length, which was probably the best thing.


When I eventually made it home, the kids greeted me with a cwtch, and my wife was surprised I wasn't smoking like a volcano ready to erupt. "When You Text Me Saying You've Lost, I Thought You'd Be a Lot Worse Than You Are" was the first thing she said to me! And to be honest, it was a strange realisation that we had pulled it back from being almost down and out to throw it away. I wasn't ok, though; I was distant, and that's how football works; it takes a while to set in and then for you to know what's happened. The initial shock disappears to be taken over by the numbness of another 6/7 months before we get the chance to put things right, which will likely end the same way as a disappointment.




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