Cardiff City have emphatically picked up their first victory of the season with a thorough 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Kieffer Moore struck three minutes into the match and the former Wigan Athletic man added a second in the 40th minute to send the Bluebirds back to Wales with all three points.
Story of the game
It didn't take long for Cardiff to claim the lead as Marlon Pack sent in a cross that Moore met and he rifled in a header past Brice Samba to get off the mark for his new club. Joe Ralls then had a go, his shot bouncing off of Moore's heel which Junior Hoilett collected, but his shot was high and wide.
Luke Freeman set up Forest's first real chance of the contest in the 16th minute as the on-loan Sheffield United midfielder sent in a cross to the far post that Lewis Grabban met, but his volley went over the top from close range, a disappointing effort.
The hosts needed to be alert to more Cardiff danger as Hoilett played in Ralls, whose cross is blocked by Joe Worrall inside the box. Jack Colback then fed Moore, whose cross was easily dealt with, a rare let-off for the hosts. Sheyi Ojo saw his cross blocked in the 32nd minute, the visitors looking for a second.
Moore again was provider as dinked in a pass for Ralls, but his first touch lets him down and Samba gathered the ball at his feet. Ojo then tried to get in a shot at the near post, but the Forest goalkeeper denied him. Two minutes later, the visitors did double their lead.
A hopeful lob is nodded on by Sean Morrison and Moore anticipated beautifully to send the bouncing ball past an onrushing Samba to make it 2-0. They could have had a third before halftime as Ojo bends in an effort to the bottom corner that Samba handles.
Forest came out of the halftime break much improved as Luke Freeman sent in an inviting cross that Jordi Osei-Tutu headed to safety. In the 53rd minute, Carl Jenkinson fired in a cross that Ryan Yates met with his head, but Cardiff keeper Alex Smithies tipped it away.
Sammy Ameobi blasted a shot towards Smithies that the Huddersfield native was equal to and two minutes later Ojo played in Ralls after some neat hold-up play, but Worrall got in a timely block. Grabban then played in Freeman whose touch is punched away by Smithies.
In the 69th minute, Grabban collected a loose ball that he volleyed, but once again Smithies got in the way of the chance. Three minutes later, Lyle Taylor collected Freeman's cross and then slid in on Smithies, drawing some attention from the referee.
Forest had a shout for a penalty as Ralls contacted Colback, sending him to the ground, but the referee ignored their pleas. Two minutes from time, Alex Mighten fizzed in a cross among a sea of bodies, but again Smithies was up to the task.
Mighten again was presented a chance in stoppage time as Taylor played a long ball to him, but his shot was wide under pressure from Leandro Bacuna. The Cardiff defender lost track of the ball and Taylor picked it up only to lash it over the bar, summing up Forest's afternoon as they slump to a fifth consecutive defeat post-lockdown.
Man of the Match: Kieffer Moore
He showed a real eye for goal, heading in Cardiff's first and showing great anticipation to score the Bluebirds second. He netted with his head on both goals and set the tone for the visitors while also being involved in further chances. More performances like this will make this one of the more astute signings of the season.
Cardiff were dangerous from all areas of the pitch
It wasn't just Moore who showed a knack for goal, but also Ojo doing excellently in hold-up play, Ralls receiving terrific service and Hoilett proving to be a danger man, as well. Cardiff have a lot of options at their disposal and they showed off their versatility, which Neil Harris will be delighted with, especially the way his side played in attack.
Forest have a lot of work to do despite a strong second half
It was a terrific second 45 minutes for the hosts as they applied a ton of pressure to the Cardiff end of the field, but it was a case of too little, too late as they were already two goals behind. Grabban finally got more opportunities, Taylor was lively and if not for Smithies, perhaps Forest could have had a goal, but if they can't perform like this from the off going forward, they may find themselves in a battle at the wrong end of the table.