Cardiff City 2-1 Nottingham Forest (EFL Championship) 30.01.22
It wasn’t to be for playoff pushing Nottingham Forest who were beaten in Wales by a team that had infamously the worse home record in the Championship. Cardiff on the day the better of the two sides and deserving victory against a team that looked to be deflated of zest, following a previously perfect winning run in January.
The Bluebirds gave debuts to new signings Jordan Hugill and Alfie Doughty whilst the Reds welcomed back Max Lowe who missed the midweek win over Barnsley, Lowe in for Keinan Davis who dropped down to the bench with a slight niggling injury after opening his Garibaldi goals account against the Tykes.
It was a sloppy performance and the Reds were behind early-doors when Scott McKenna gave the ball away and Jordan Hugill was sent through to run in on goal and slot past Brice Samba after just five minutes played.
Forest picked themselves up to dictate the play in the opening exchanges, comfortable in possession despite having a real threatening look in attack, the away side still looked dangerous down the right with Djed Spence getting forward well and he pulled back on 16 for Jack Colback to blaze over under pressure from a defender.
On 26 it was Brennan Johnson’s turn to pile on the burners as he raced past his marker down the wing to produce a zipping ball across goal which evaded everyone.
Cardiff might have made it two themselves when Hugill a real thorn all afternoon, again got a shot off after good work from Doyle, which was well held by Samba down low to his right, at the other end Garner tried his luck from range but well wide.
Forest started the second half well and just three minutes in Spence found Yates who put in a dangerous cross which was cleared by Morrison inside his own six yard box. James Garner then got the better of Drameh and fizzed a ball in across goal which was inches away from the sliding boot of Brennan Johnson.
Hugill then had a shot blocked by Cook and also flew a cross inches too high for his onrushing strike partner Davies before Ralls struck a curling effort onto the post from long range on 66, left footed, the ball hitting Samba off his back and bouncing kindly to Davies six yards out who had the easiest task of finishing into an empty net.
On 71 Reds sub Keinan Davis went down inside the area under a challenge by Morrison with the Referee unmoved, the ball eventually falling to Spence who smashed high into the crowd which summed up Forest’s day. In fact it was Cardiff who looked more like scoring again straight after, substitute James Collins heading over on 73 after good work by Ralls.
A late chance was spurned by Forest substitute Xande Silva before things worsened, after making all substitutions, Lewis Grabban limped off with injury, the Reds forced to play the remainder with ten men but deep into injury time, Davis gave a glimmer of hope, heading home a corner, but with just two minutes on the clock to run down, the home side came through with victory, a huge one for them, whilst for Forest, a disappointing way to end what was an otherwise fabulous month.
Next up attention draws to the cup and Leicester City a week today. BBC Cameras and all, the Reds will be hoping for improvement in that one.
Cardiff City: Smithies, Drameh, McGuinness, Morrison, Ng, Doughty, Doyle, Ralls (Vaulks 82), Wintle, Watters (Davies 57), Hugill (Collins 70).
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Spence, Cook (Cafu 80), McKenna, Lowe, Colback (Silva 68), Garner, Yates. Zinckernagel (Davis 59), Johnson, Grabban.
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
*Main image @NFFC Philip Zinckernagel in action for Forest.