A match which comprised a first meeting in the Barclays Premier League between Cardiff City and Swansea City had assumed national significance, while being given all the hype of an international incident. Yet the celebrations would feel very local.
The roar which erupted with the goal was made with a thick Welsh accent, since Cardiff supporters rose to acclaim Steven Caulker - whose header after 62 minutes was enough to give the home side the win - and Swansea were left to bemoan the actions of a player once regarded as one of their own. That Caulker has played for both Welsh teams was one of the subplots of this derby, albeit more contentious themes would find prominence afterwards.
One of them was the question of Malky Mackay's future; the Cardiff manager delivering a proud win over a rival despite being unsure of how much he is still valued at the Cardiff City Stadium. The Scot approached the derby with caution after Iain Moody, his head of recruitment and trusted confidante, was removed by owner Vincent Tan. The Malaysian businessman would be seen posing for pictures with fans after the final whistle but his motives have not been so easy to capture. Mackay acknowledged that he found little relief in getting one over on Swansea.
"There's pressure on me every week, every Saturday. It's a tough uncompromising league, but it's the only place to be," said the Cardiff manager. "It's a good day all round, a hugely important day locally and also as far as we're concerned. Tactically we played very well. I thought to a man we were excellent in that regard and exposed them as well."
Swansea would be left looking for something to cover their modesty when Caulker leapt above Chico Flores to head in, the Cardiff defender connecting with a cross from Craig Bellamy. The Welshman's earlier free-kick also unnerved the visitors as Leon Britton swept it towards his own goal, while Don Cowie might have converted another cross into the penalty area.
The home side raised the noise when they were able to lift balls into the box, then, although Swansea could be a constrictive force too. The visitors had looked to control possession in the opening exchanges and they carved out a great opportunity in just the fifth minute - Michu controlling Jonjo Shelvey's cross with superb poise, only to send a volley well over the bar. The Spaniard then warmed David Marshall's hands from distance as Swansea stated their intent.
Angel Rangel would make it quite clear later in the first half when the Swansea player exchanged heated words with Bellamy and there was further acrimony when Ben Turner went in roughly on Shelvey. The Swansea was left prone, and his side up in arms. "It was really intense," added Caulker. I thought the boys did well and stuck together."
Swansea would be made to close their ranks during the second half when Michu signalled that he was carrying an injury. Ashley Williams appeared to let the bench know in no uncertain terms a replacement should have been readied but his side effectively played with a passenger. His replacement, Wilfried Bony, almost made an immediate impact when he arrived on the end of Jonathan De Guzman's header to tap a shot towards goal. Caulker got in the way to thump it clear, though.
Swansea were pushing - with Alvaro Vazquez also forcing Marshall to make a sharp save - but they would be left reeling when Cardiff shoved them back. Substitute Fraizer Campbell had been introduced after 75 minutes and felt close to a second goal when he was sent scampering in behind the Swansea defence. Michel Vorm, the Swansea goalkeeper, left him disabused of that notion, or any thought for that matter, when he raced out of his goal to clatter into the Cardiff striker.
His boot had been high and the goalkeeper had been the last man, with referee Mike Dean duly showing him a red card. Vorm would offer an indignant wave of his hand but it was left to Rangel to swat away the last of Cardiff's efforts, since Swansea had used all of their substitutes. The defender played the part well enough - pushing one free-kick over the crossbar - but it was Cardiff who held a firm grip of their win.
"It was a very tight game, we knew it would be," said Michael Laudrup, the Swansea manager. "They threatened from set-pieces; one set-piece, a corner, and they scored a goal. That was more or less all the chances they had in the whole game. It hurts to lose a derby, but that's how it is.
"We only had a couple of chances, but we kept them away from any chances. My thought was during the second half to bring in one or two more offensive players and then they scored."