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2017/18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Junior Hoilett (24')
  • Daniel Ward (38')

Junior Hoilett and Danny Ward strike as Cardiff beat Nottingham Forest

Danny Ward scores for Cardiff against Nottingham Forest. Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Cardiff maintained their hoodoo over Nottingham Forest as Neil Warnock's side notched up a fourth consecutive victory at the City Ground.

Junior Hoilett's header and a screamer from Danny Ward secured a 2-0 win for the visitors, second in the Championship.

Forest have now lost seven of their last eight clashes with the Bluebirds since they last beat them in October 2012.

Mark Warburton's side had been in good form at home, winning their previous four outings at the City Ground. But there looked to be only one outcome from the moment Ward put the visitors 2-0 up with a stunning 20-yard strike into the top corner seven minutes before half-time.

That came moments after Forest thought they should have had a penalty when Bruno Manga handled in the box, which would have provided them with an opportunity to cancel out Hoilett's simple 24th-minute header.

Daryl Murphy failed to muster enough power in an early header to trouble Neil Etheridge while Kieran Dowell had a shot well blocked in a cagey start to the game.

Bluebirds skipper Sean Morrison was close to an own goal when dealing with a driven cross from Ben Osborn but the defender had a key role to play as the visitors took the lead. Morrison got on the end of a Joe Ralls free-kick to head the ball back into the danger zone, where Hoilett reacted quickest to send a header of his own beyond Jordan Smith.

Forest should have pulled level when a shot from Tyler Walker was deflected to Barrie McKay at the far post. He unselfishly cut the ball back for Murphy, but the big striker fired over uncharacteristically.

The Reds had a strong penalty claim when Manga seemed to clearly handle a cross from Armand Traore, but referee Peter Bankes did not point to the spot.

Salt was rubbed in the Forest wound when Cardiff almost immediately doubled their lead with a fantastic strike. There seemed to be little danger when Ward collected possession on the right but he had other ideas, cutting inside to drive towards the penalty area and let fly with an unstoppable shot from 20 yards.

With seven minutes to go until half-time, the Welsh side were in control despite the fact that Forest had perhaps created the better openings.

Cardiff had already been looking to slow the game down but they upped the ante further after the break, taking every opportunity to wind down the clock and edge ever closer to three points.

When Forest did manage to raise the tempo, they carved out a decent chance for Walker as McKay drove a low pass into the penalty area. But the forward tried to place the ball into the bottom corner and Etheridge saved well.

Sub Mustapha Carayol almost pulled a goal back for Forest immediately after coming on, but saw his driven shot bravely blocked by Morrison.

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English League Championship Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Sheffield United 12 +8 25
2 West Bromwich Albion 12 +14 24
3 Leeds United 12 +13 23
4 Middlesbrough 12 +8 22
5 Nottingham Forest 12 +4 19
6 Sheffield Wednesday 12 +1 19
7 Brentford 12 +6 18
8 Derby County 12 +2 18
9 Norwich City 12 0 18
10 Blackburn Rovers 12 -1 18
11 Swansea City 12 +3 17
12 Wigan Athletic 12 -2 17
13 Bristol City 12 +2 16
14 Stoke City 12 -1 16
15 Aston Villa 12 0 15
16 Bolton Wanderers 12 -5 15
17 Birmingham City 12 +1 14
18 Queens Park Rangers 12 -10 14
19 Rotherham United 12 -10 11
20 Millwall 12 -6 10
21 Reading 12 -5 9
22 Preston North End 12 -6 9
23 Ipswich Town 12 -7 9
24 Hull City 12 -9 8

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