A stunning volley from substitute Gorka Pintado earned Swansea City a point from the first league derby in South Wales for nine years.
Darren Pratley had given the host’s an early lead before Joe Ledley and a Ross McCormack penalty either side of half time gave Dave Jones’ men the lead.
Stephen McPhail was sent off for the second time at the Liberty Stadium for two yellow cards, whilst Swans midfielder Leon Britton also saw red late on.
Roberto Martinez’s men settled quicker in the early morning sun but the first chance fell to Michael Chopra who failed to work Dorus de Vries after McCormack’s pin point pass.
The home side grabbed the lead in the nineteenth minute after an offside Jason Scotland raced to the byline and pulled the ball back for Darren Pratley to fire home his fourth of the season.
The goal seemed to spark the Bluebird’s into life, and they showed why they have spent most of the season in the play – off positions by penning Swansea in their own half.
Ledley sent a warning to the Swans as he snatched at a volley after de Vries had flapped at a cross, but the Welsh international connected sweetly from the edge of the area to send the sides in level at the break.
The game was turned on its head three minutes into the second half after Chopra went down easily after minimal contact from Fede Bessone and referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot.
De Vries’ wait to save a penalty for the club goes on as McCormack cooly slotted home to send the 1600 away fans into raptures behind the goal.
Even at that early stage of the half a comeback looked difficult for Martinez’s men, but they were handed a lifeline by a moment of stupidity from the Cardiff skipper.
Booked in the first half for a lunge at Garry Monk, McPhail booted the ball away to stop Swansea taking a throw in, and he was taking his second early shower at the Liberty this season.
This sparked the team and the crowd into life but with no equaliser forthcoming El Gaffer introduced Pintado and local lad Shaun Macdonald. And the latters corner was met by a thumping volley from the Spaniard.
Dave Jones sacrificed Chopra and the ineffective Jay Bothroyd as he looked to settle for a point with half an hour remaining.
The tactics seemed to work, as despite dominating possession, the home side failed to create any clear cut chances. Mark Gower and Pintado forced decent saves from Peter Enckelman whilst Jason Scotland was off balance when volleying over from close range.
Britton, who passed a late fitness test to take his place in the starting line – up, was sent off for two debateable yellow cards in the last ten minutes to leave Martinez with more midfield worries in forthcoming games.
On the balance of play a draw was probably a fair result, but having played 40 minutes against 10 men it was certainly a case of two points dropped for the Jacks.
Dorus de Vries- 7
Got a hand to Ledley’s volley but hard to criticise him considering the power it was hit with. Will probably never save a penalty in a Swansea shirt, but took pressure off the defence at corners with some confident takes.
Angel Rangel- 7.5
Another impressive all round display from the Spaniard. Solid in defence and the customary roams up field caused the Cardiff defence problems.
Ashley Williams- 7
Strong in the air and dealt with a dangerous strike partnership efficiently.
Garry Monk- 8
The skipper rose to the occassion and was a strong contender for man of the match. Led by example and made some crucial tackles.
Fede Bessone- 5
Really struggled to deal with Routledge, which is no surprise given similar problems at Coventry in midweek. Probably would have seen red had he not been sacrificed for a more attacking formation. A new left back may be on the shopping list in January.
Tom Butler- 6
A quiet game for the little Irishman who was making his first start after a hamstring injury. Only lasted an hour.
Leon Britton- 7.5
Showed why it was so important that he played today with a quality display. The red card soured his day but on another day he may not have been given either caution.
Owain Tudur Jones- 5.5
Needs to get up to match sharpness sooner rather than later. Was too weak in the tackle at times and was caught dwelling on the ball far too often.
Darren Pratley- 8.5
Energetic as ever and took his goal well. In the absence of Bodde he seems to have taken the responsibility as the main man in the Swansea midfield.
Mark Gower- 7.5
Plenty of effort and caused the Cardiff defence some problems with his tricky work on the wing. Nearly grabbed a winner late on.
Jason Scotland- 7
Started the game brightly enough and was involved in the build up to the opening goal. Rather drifted out of the game after the first half an hour but was certainly more lively than normal.
Gorka Pitnado- 7.5
His status as something of a cult hero was enhanced by a cracking finish to grab an equaliser. Stung the palms of Enckleman with a fierce drive towards the end.
Shaun Macdonald- 6.5
Sent in the corner for the equaliser, but failed to impress with the ball at his feet overall. Needs more game time to show what he can do.