Cardiff City went into the international break unbeaten in the Sky Bet Championship following a superb 2-1 away victory over Nottingham Forest.
CITY EARN EARLY LEAD
The opening minutes saw both sides share possession at the City Ground as they sized up their opponents. The Bluebirds were the first to cause problems in the final third though, as Kenwyne Jones’ strong turn led to early opportunities for Joe Mason and Anthony Pilkington.
An outstanding through ball from Peter Whittingham fed Mason again soon after, the striker showing his turn of pace to breeze past the Forest back line, before firing straight at Dorus de Vries. City had certainly looked the more creative in the opening exchanges, and they didn’t have to wait long for their reward as Jones then rose high in the box to give them the lead.
The ball had fallen to Whittingham on the left and the midfielder sent in a pin-point, early cross for the Bluebirds’ number nine to time his run perfectly and meet the ball in full flight, heading into the bottom corner.
ON TOP AT THE CITY GROUND
As the match hit the half hour mark, City almost doubled their lead as Mason, who was starring in a fine performance from his side, dropped his shoulder and fired low at Forest’s former Swansea stopper from an acute angle.
The home side then had their first real chance of the match as Whittingham surrendered the ball to David Vaughan. The Welsh International found teenage striker Tyler Walker, who tested David Marshall from distance with a powerful shot. Jones was proving a thorn in Forest’s side at the other end though, as he also threatened to net a second before half time.
After the interval, the Bluebirds almost immediately gave themselves a superb platform to work from in the second half as they doubled their lead on 49 minutes. It came from a Whittingham corner, as Pilkington controlled the ball and turned, hitting a left-footed effort towards the top corner. It may well have been going in, but Mason was on hand to make sure – heading the ball home from close range.
UNBEATEN RUN CONTINUES
Dougie Freedman was evidently frustrated with his side’s performance as Joe Ralls was next to run directly at the home defence before seeing his shot deflected away. The Forest boss brought on Dexter Blackstock in an attempt to change the pattern of the game, as they came close with Michail Antonio’s dipping shot from distance.
Antonio then broke clear and looked set to pull one back for the home side, but the star winger's effort could only sting the palms of Marshall. The Bluebirds seemed to be holding firm at the City Ground though, whilst also continuing to have a goal threat though Mason and the newly introduced Sammy Ameobi.
Antonio did give Forest hope late on as he showed his electric pace once more, sprinting through the middle of the park before slotting under Marshall. However, while Mason had a gilt-edged chance to make it three thanks to Ameobi’s determined run, City sent their travelling band of supporters home happy as they maintained the 2-1 score-line – in doing so stretching their unbeaten League run at the start of this season to five matches.
FINAL SCORE: NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1-2 CARDIFF CITY
Scorers: Kenwyne Jones ’23, Joe Mason ’49 | Antonio ‘86
Attendance: 18,762 (660 Away)
Cardiff City: Marshall (C), Peltier, Connolly, Morrison, Fábio (Malone 80), Pilkington (Noone 90), Whittingham, Dikgacoi, Ralls, Mason, Jones (Ameobi 69).
Subs not used: Moore, Manga, O’Keefe, Revell.
Nottingham Forest: de Vries, Lichaj, Mills (C), Hobbs, Pinillos, Mancienne, C. Burke (Blackstock 59), Ebecilio (Osborn 45), Vaughan, Antonio, Walker (McDonagh 80).
Subs not used: Evtimov, Grant, O. Burke, Wilson.