Russell Martin savours special feeling of dramatic derby win
Swansea City head coach Russell Martin savoured sharing emotions of a dramatic south Wales derby victory with players, staff and supporters after Ben Cabango’s 99th-minute winner gave the visitors the bragging rights at Cardiff City Stadium.
The Swans had surged into a two-goal lead through Joel Piroe and Liam Cullen, only to be quickly pegged back by a fine solo goal from Jaden Philogene before Sory Kaba levelled late on.
But Swansea rallied to press for a late winner, and got it when Jay Fulton’s strike cannoned off a post and Cabango slid home at the far post to spark delirious celebrations.
It ensured Swansea made more derby history, becoming the first team to win the fixture four times in a row, and winning three away games at Cardiff in a row for the first time ever.
And Martin could not hide the pride and elation of a quite remarkable afternoon.
“I think it is the most memorable (derby win) yet,” said Martin, who also revealed how kit man Michael Eames had addressed the players in the dressing room before kick-off.
“We played really well in the first half, we came away from home and we had the best moments.
“If we don’t concede a really poor goal just after scoring, then I think it is a very different game.
“But to show the courage and character we did after it went to 2-2, I am really grateful to the players, and to the supporters who made so much noise for our team after they scored.
“I would not want that every week for the heart rate, but the emotion at the end was incredible.
“I am so proud of the players, they were so brave. I know I talk about courage a lot, but the way we ask them to play and how they have come through this period, I don’t think it can be understated.
“You could see how together everyone is, with the substitutes, squad players and staff all together on the pitch.
“It means a lot, I am really grateful to share that special moment with this group of people at this football club, which we love working for.”
For Cabango it was a second goal in an away derby in consecutive years, with the defender having also been on the scoresheet in last season’s 4-0 victory.
The goal came after Cedric Kipre had fouled Jamie Paterson on the edge of the area. Fulton’s initial free-kick was blocked, but his follow up effort struck the woodwork before finding its way to Cabango.
“Ben again!” smiled Martin.
“I told Jay to hit it, I know Ryan Manning and Pato were around it too and I love them, but Jay and Piroe strike it the best.
“Just before he took it I said to (assistant head coach) Matt Gill that it would be a brilliant way to win the game if we scored.
“You could see what it means to everyone with the celebrations at the end. It’s a really nice feeling and I am glad to have shared it with these guys.
“It’s an incredible feeling.”