Nottingham Forest 0-2 Cardiff City: Bluebirds close the gap on Championship leaders

Cardiff City's win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday brings them closer to league-leaders Wolves. Goals from Junior Hoilett and Danny Ward secured the three points at the City Ground.

Nottingham Forest 0-2 Cardiff City: Bluebirds close the gap on Championship leaders
Junior Hoilett celebrates his goal with his Cardiff City teammates. Source | Getty Images.

Cardiff City closed the gap on leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers with a convincing 3-1 victory away to Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon.

The Bluebirds are now four points behind Wolves at the summit of the EFL Championship and are now three clear of Sheffield United in the second automatic promotion place.

Junior Hoilett opened the scoring for the visitors with a close-range header before Danny Ward doubled the visitors’ advantage.

Neil Warnock’s side took charge of proceedings in the second half and ensured the three points would go back to Wales.

Cardiff go two up in first-half:

The embryonic stages proved cagey at the City Ground as the two sides - both winners of their midweek fixtures - looked reluctant to attack one another.

This was the case throughout the first 20 minutes as second took on ninth. Callum Paterson and Everton loanee Kieran Dowell both jabbed at the opposition but neither could deliver a knockout blow.

That responsibility fell to Junior Hoilett in the 24th minute and the Canadian winger duly obliged as he headed the visitors in front.

Forest - who were chasing a fourth consecutive clean sheet at home - failed to clear from a set-piece that eventually found captain Sean Morrison, whose flick-on made it easy for Hoilett to beat goalkeeper Jordan Smith.

Mark Warburton's side would have an opportunity to level soon when David Vaughan expertly picked out Daryl Murphy in the penalty area but the Irishman blasted over from eight-yards out.

The home side had a claim for a penalty rebuked by referee Peter Bankes after Amard Traore’s cross struck the arm of Bruno Ecuele Manga.

Any chance of an equalizer in the first 45 was extinguished for Forest as Cardiff doubled their lead before the break. Danny Ward got on the end of a header by Callum Paterson and unleashed a superb, curling effort into the top corner.

Danny Ward's strike from 25-yards out was the highlight of a damp day at the City Ground. Source | Getty Images.
Danny Ward's strike from 25-yards out was the highlight of a damp day at the City Ground. Source | Getty Images.

Forest fail to break through:

Forest were two down at the break and, as the rain poured down at the start of the second half, it became increasingly difficult to play out from the back. 

The Nottinghamshire outfit's home record - four wins from four - kept alive any hope of a comeback for the Reds. 

Tyler Walker did have an opportunity to reduce the deficit after Vaughan took a quick free-kick, but the winger's side-footed effort was easy for Neil Etheridge to save. 

The introduction of Mustapha Carayol, who was later joined by Matty Cash and Ben Brereton, sparked further life into the hosts as they attempted to draw level. 

Michael Mancienne takes on goalscorer Danny Ward. Source | Getty Images.
Michael Mancienne takes on goalscorer Danny Ward. Source | Getty Images.

Cardiff made it difficult for the opposition to break through their defence and Kieran Dowell's sliced shot following a corner was the best Forest could muster as the game drew to a limp close. 

The majority of the 25,000 fans inside of the City Ground left unhappy as the hosts missed the opportunity to finish the weekend just outside the play-off positions in seventh. 

The small portion of supporters in the Bridgford Stand make the trip home knowing that the Wolves are within touching distance.