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16:30 8th November 2009

Pratley double sends Cardiff crashing

Darren Pratley struck twice either side of half-time to condemn Cardiff to a 3-2 derby day defeat at the Liberty Stadium.

Nathan Dyer opened the scoring with just 10 minutes on the clock while Pratley added a second six minutes later.

But Cardiff fought back to level before half-time when Jay Bothroyd and skipper Mark Hudson scored within two minutes of each other.

The Swans started the second-half strongly but Ross McCormack did crack the crossbar with a well taken free-kick.

Man of the Match Pratley, however, ensured that bragging rights would remain in south west Wales when his 61st minute effort put the hosts in the driving seat.

Mark Gower missed out for the Swans in the 102nd south Wales derby but was replaced out wide by Nathan Dyer.

The former Southampton speedster started for the first time in three games while Cedric van der Gun took up his position on the other flank.

But the home side were handed a massive blow when skipper Garry Monk pulled up with a calf injury during the warm-up - he had to be replaced by Fede Bessone with Albert Serran going on the bench.

David Cornell was on the bench after flying back from Spain where he was in action for Wales Under-19's this week.

Swans: Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Ashley Williams, Alan Tate(C), Fede Bessone; Leon Britton, Joe Allen (Andrea Orlandi, 78'), Darren Pratley, Cedric van der Gun, Nathan Dyer (Tom Butler, 83'); Craig Beattie (Gorka Pintado, 67').

Not Used:David Cornell (GK), Lee Trundle, Jordi Lopez, Albert Serran.

Cardiff: David Marshall, Adam Matthews, Tony Capaldi (Solomon Taiwo, 69'), Anthony Gerrard, Mark Hudson (C), Mark Kennedy, Joe Ledley, Gavin Rae, Chris Burke, Jay Bothroyd, Ross McCormack.

Not Used: Peter Enckelman (GK), Gabor Gyepes, Paul Quinn, Ricardo Scimeca, Warren Feeney, Miguel Comminges.

Attendance: 18,209 Away: 1,843

Referee: L Probert (Gloucestershire)

The atmosphere inside the Liberty Stadium was electric as the home side got this highly anticipated derby clash underway.

Cardiff found themselves in a dangerous position early on as Adam Matthews sent a long throw into the area but was dealt with by the safe hands of Dorus de Vries.

Two and a half minutes were on the clock when the Swans had their first effort, Darren Pratley neatly flicking into the path of Craig Beattie who forced David Marshall into saving low to his right.

And the hosts were denied again by the Scottish international two minutes later when Alan Tate's deflected effort from 20-yards was dealt with.

And their strong start was rewarded with a ninth minute goal which sent the home support into raptures.

Darren Pratley, on set-piece duty in Mark Gower's absence, sent a right-sided free-kick deep into the heart of the area which was half cleared only for the ball to come back into the area where Nathan Dyer was present to send a neat header into the net from close-range.

Cardiff attempted to offer a response but failed to trouble de Vries and his defence from back-to-back corners.

Craig Beattie was denied a penalty down at the other end but that didn't matter as the Swans extended their lead with just 16 minutes on the clock.

Joe Allen raced down towards the left-hand corner before sending stand-in defender Fede Bessone down the flank - the Argentinian's cross took a deflection before landing at the feet of Darren Pratley who, at the back post, converted to make it 2-0.

Swansea-born Matthews looked as the Bluebirds' main threat from free-kick's and throw-in's but he was still unable to trouble his hometown club - Ross McCormack, however, had the visitors' best chance midway through the half when he flicked over the top of de Vries' goal.

But this was Swansea's day, and just before the half-hour Joe Allen, who struck his first Swans goal against Cardiff last term, almost did it again, firing low at goal following fine work down the right and forcing Marshall into turning the ball around his post.

Cardiff found a way back into this clash, however, Jay Bothroyd latching onto the end of Gavin Rae's through ball, beating the offside trap before comfortably slotting past Dorus de Vries and into the bottom corner from 10-yards.

And within a few minutes they found themselves on level terms - McCormack sending a free-kick deep into the area where Mark Hudson met the ball with his head to squeeze it in from a tight angle.

The visitors now had the upper hand and were enjoying better possession as the game approached the break, and Bothroyd was inches away from adding his second of the afternoon only to see his cross-box effort sail just past the left-hand post.

Darren Pratley did win his side a stoppage time corner and from the midfielder's delivery skipper Alan Tate towered above the defence to send his header goalbound, only to be denied by the 'keeper.

Half-Time: Swans 2 Cardiff 2

The home side burst out of the blocks at the start of the second period and with 90 seconds of the restart Marshall was called into action again.

Nathan Dyer used his pace to take the ball past Mark Kennedy down the right-hand side and crossed into the path of Pratley, the ball got tangled between his feet but still managed to pull off an attempt on goal, his stopped on the line by the goalkeeper.

Pratley turned provider on 57 minutes as he picked out Craig Beattie with a low delivery from a corner but the Scottish striker, who has found the net in three of the last four games, blazed well over from just inside the area.

Leon Britton picked up the derby's first booking a minute later after bringing down Adam Matthews 25-yards from goal, Ross McCormack stepped-up to take it and clattered the crossbar, leaving Dorus de Vries stranded.

But just after the hour the game was turned back on its head with the Swans restoring their lead through Darren Pratley.

The midfielder was left unmarked six-yards from goal to convert past Marshall from Fede Bessone's pin point cross to score his second of the afternoon.

Paulo made his first change of the afternoon on 67 minutes when Gorka Pintado was brought on as a straight replacement for Craig Beattie in attack.

Nathan Dyer picked up the Swans' second yellow following a challenge on Wales international Joe Ledley, MacCormack delivered from 35-yards but sent the ball straight into the safe hands of de Vries.

McCormack was denied again moments later while the Scottish striker sent a free-kick straight into the 'keeper's hands just after Andrea Orlandi was introduced in place of Joe Allen, who went off to a rapturous applause.

And it wasn't long after that Paulo played his final hand in bringing on Tom Butler for Nathan Dyer, and within two minutes of his introduction sent a well timed pass ahead of fellow sub Gorka Pintado only for the ball to be cut out by Adam Matthews.

Pintado turned provider three minutes from the end when he beat the offside trap to chase the ball downfield, sent a teasing cross into the heart of the area where Cedric van der Gun connected but fired just over the top of goal.

The Fourth Official raised his board to indicate a minimum of four minutes of added time, the Swans had to keep it tight to see out the remainder of this clash.

Chris Burke saw his shot blocked while Bothroyd's header from Mark Kennedy's throw was stopped by de Vries.

But the Swans kept their nerve to hold on to their slender lead and make it 10 games unbeaten.

    Data provided by Press Association