Cardiff City earned a vitally important, deserved 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on Saturday night thanks to goals from Sean Morrison and Aron Gunnarsson.
Neil Warnock made three changes to the side that defeated Norwich City last time out. Bruno Ecuele Manga and Kenneth Zohore started, with Joe Ralls also making a welcome return.
The hosts started on the front foot with an electric atmosphere at Cardiff City Stadium pushing them on. Craig Bryson found a pocket of space in the box with one minute played, but saw his dangerous low ball cleared by the visiting defence.
Forest responded to City’s early dominance and almost broke the deadlock seven minutes later. Following a wel-worked counter attack, Joe Lolley's finish flew just over the crossbar from 15 yards.
Aitor Karanka’s side continued to pressure the Bluebirds back-line and would’ve been ahead if not for excellent goalkeeping by Neil Etheridge. The Philippines international came off his line superbly to deny Liam Bridcutt from close range.
The Bluebirds were unlucky not to take the lead when Aron Gunnarsson diverted Joe Ralls' corner towards goal.
But soon later, City did find the opener as Ralls curled in another exquisite corner delivery to Morrison, who powered home a header at the far post. The skipper now takes his tally to five goals for the season so far.
The Reds showed signs of a response, as Jack Colback’s effort flew straight into the hands of Etheridge, to deny a swift reply.
Cardiff City started strongly after the interval and came agonisingly close to doubling their lead with 47 minutes gone. Zohore was played through on goal by Gunnarsson and his left-footed dink hit the far post and bounced along the goal-line before being cleared.
Against the run of play, Forest found an equaliser three minutes later. Bridcutt raced onto Osborn's delivery and found space in the box to divert home.
With 65 minutes gone, Zohore had a chance to put the hosts back in front. Joe Bennett’s finessed cross from the left met the head of the forward who was unable to direct the ball on target.
However, Cardiff City did retake the lead in dramatic circumstances, with just fifteen minutes left. City won a free-kick as Michael Mancienne brought down the rampaging Zohore. Hoilett swung the set-piece into the area and Sol Bamba nodded it down to Gunnarsson, who emphatically swept home.
It was almost 3-1, with ten minutes remaining of normal time. Substitute Yanic Wildschut volleyed just over the bar from 15 yards out following a promising attack from the home side.
But at full-time, another crucial three points were confirmed for the Bluebirds who reclaim second spot in the Sky Bet Championship league standings.
Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier (Bamba 46), Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Bennett, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Bryson (Paterson 86), Hoilett, Mendez-Laing (Wildschut 71), Zohore.
Subs not used: Murphy, Pilkington, Grujić, Madine.
Nottingham Forest: Kapino, Lichaj, Figueiredo (Mancienne 60), Bridcutt (Guedioura 71), Osborn, Fox, Cash, Brereton, Colback, Lolley (Vellios 80), Watson.
Subs not used: Smith, Dowell, Darikwa, Bouchalakis.