Snap-shot: Cardiff City ended Nottingham Forest’s long unbeaten run in Russell Slade’s first game as manager, thanks to first half goals from Federico Macheda and Peter Whittingham at Cardiff City Stadium. Britt Assombalonga pulled one back as Forest rallied late on, but City held on to claim all three points.
Team News:With the Sky cameras in town, the new boss included both Federico Macheda and Adam le Fondre as a strike pairing up front, with Kenwyne Jones on the bench after playing three games for his native Trinidad and Tobago during the international break. Bruno Ecuele Manga lined up alongside Sean Morrison at the back after returning from his international duty with Gabon, while Joe Ralls was named at left-back after Fábio was a late withdrawal with illness. Ravel Morrison sat this one out after picking up a knock.
Stuart Pearce’s Nottingham Forest arrived in Wales in second place in the Sky Bet Championship, on course to their best start to a second-division campaign in seventeen years. Former Bluebird Chris Burke started for the visitors, with Wales international David Vaughan on the bench after overcoming a hamstring injury.
Chronological Report:It was Anthony Pilkington who had the first effort after five minutes when he brought a save Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow with a stinging drive from the edge of the box, but David Marshall pulled off an even better save from Matty Fryatt at the other end moments later, as the former Leicester City and Hull City striker unleashed a curling effort with the goalkeeper short-sighted by a defender’s body.
Adam le Fondre teed-up a breaking John Brayford for an effort which rolled wide of Darlow’s right-hand post on ten minutes. Bruno Manga pulled off a couple of important last-ditch interceptions, before Craig Noone made a crucial clearance off the line.
And Noone’s clearance proved to be even more important for his side than it initially appeared, as Federico Macheda gave the Bluebirds the lead a minute later. Aron Gunnarsson’s pass fell just behind Adam le Fondre, but his strike partner Macheda picked the ball up, drove forward and side-footed it beyond Darlow for his first league goal and his first in front of the home fans at Cardiff City Stadium, having previously opened his account with a brace at Port Vale in the Capital One Cup.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 NOTTINGHAM FOREST (Federico Macheda 22’)
With Craig Noone proving impossible to dispossess along City’s right flank, the Liverpudlian winger found Peter Whittingham on the edge of the box, and from there Whitts did what he wanted, which was to double Cardiff City’s advantage by smashing the ball low beyond Darlow.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2-0 NOTTINGHAM FOREST (Peter Whittingham 26’)
With the Bluebirds in full attacking flow, John Brayford, Aron Gunnarsson and Peter Whittingham all drove at Darlow in quick succession, the visitors looking shell-shocked after conceding two quick-fire goals.
Forest centre-back Kelvin Wilson was booked for a scything challenge on Macheda just inside the Bluebirds’ half, before Craig Noone was cautioned just before half-time.
HALF-TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2-0 NOTTINGHAM FOREST
Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce replaced former Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj with Dan Harding for the second half. It was a little under ten minutes into the second period when Henri Lansbury joined teammate Kelvin Wilson in referee Michael Jones’s notebook, Lansbury going in for a tackle-from-behind on Aron Gunnarsson.
Karl Darlow made a wonderful save to deny Sean Morrison’s header after a Whittingham free-kick evaded everyone in the penalty area. David Vaughan replaced Lansbury on fifty-six minutes, and the former Blackpool player quickly got involved, blasting over from the edge of the box.
Kenwyne Jones came on for Fede Macheda in Russell Slade’s first switch. Britt Assombalonga then thought he had pulled one back on sixty-three minutes when he converted the loose ball after Marshall had saved from Michail Antonio, only to be denied by assistant referee Andy Halliday’s flag.
Tom Adeyemi came on for Aron Gunnarsson a minute later, but the former Birmingham City player lasted just a minute before needing to be replaced himself, after coming off worse for wear in a heavy tackle. Mats Møller Dæhli replaced him, before Jack Hunt was replaced by Dutchman Lars Veldwijk as Stuart Pearce rolled the dice one final time.
The Assombalonga/Antonio connection finally showed its best with two minutes of the original ninety left to play. Antonio delivered an inch-perfect cross hard from the right wing, with former Swindon man Assombalonga, who scored twice against Russell Slade’s Leyton Orient last season, converting for his ninth Championship goal of the season. Antonio might have grabbed a leveller moments later, but David Marshall wasn’t tested enough by the former Reading player. Assombalonga was booked following a clash with Manga.
The Bluebirds held on to hand Forest their first defeat of the season, sending Russell Slade’s side up to eleventh ahead of the day’s three o’clock kick-offs. It was a fourth win in five games against Forest for Cardiff, with the result meaning Forest have now only won once on their last eight visits to the Welsh capital.
Next up is another important game on Tuesday night against Ipswich Town. We hope to see you with us.
FULL-TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 NOTTINGHAM FOREST
Attendance:21,263 (1,141 away)
Cardiff City:Marshall ©, Brayford, Manga, Whittingham, le Fondre, Noone, Macheda (Jones 62), Gunnarsson (Adeyemi 66, Dæhli 68), Pilkington, Ralls, S. Morrison.
Subs not used:Moore, John, Maynard, Gabbidon.
Goals:Macheda 22’, Whittingham 26’
Nottingham Forest:Darlow, Lichaj (Harding 46), Mancienne ©, Wilson, Fryatt, Assombalonga, Lansbury (Vaughan 57), Hunt (Veldwijk 77), Antonio, Burke, Tesche.
Subs not used:de Vries, Veldwijk, Lascelles, Blackstock, Osborn.
Referee:Mr. Michael Jones