NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1 CARDIFF CITY 2
‘ Not a classic but perfect game plans gets rewards ‘
By Carl Curtis
Not a classic football match by any stretch of the imagination but a classic performance on counter attack football, Neil Warnock ditched the 3-5-2 system City played under Trollope recognising the amount of goals we were conceding needed addressing immediately and he will be delighted with the three points but not being able to keep a clean sheet.
CITY TEAM : Amos, Connolly, Bamba, Bennett, Whittingham, Ralls, Gunnarsson, Hoilett, Lambert, Pilkington.
SUBS : Wilson, Richardson, O’Keefe, Harris, Immers, Noone, Chamakh.
Neil Warnock made two changes to the team that played on Wednesday, Matthew Connolly replaced the injured Lee Peltier and Anthony Pilkington came in for Craig Noone.
The game started quite slowly with neither side taking control in the first few minutes.
City got a break though but Joe Ralls missed sitter on five minutes after good chasing down by Rickie Lambert, Ralls really should have put City 1-0 up.
City had a free kick just after 10 minutes but Whittingham could only hit the wall.
The game was quite scrappy for the next 15 minutes or so, Forest tried to come at City but the way Warnock set us up, 4-5-1, we were disciplined and organised and Forest had to take shots from distance.
City’s plan was to stay tight and hit Forest on the counter attack also trying to make the most of set pieces and Gunnarsson’s long throw.
Twenty Eighth minute and a Whittingham corner gets rewarded with a Gunnarsson header putting City 1-0 up.
A long ball down the line nearly caught City out, Connolly was too far forward which allowed Forest to cross dangerously into our box but thankfully it came to nothing.
Cardiff City lost Rickie Lambert on thirty two minutes to injury after colliding with the keeper.
Craig Noone came on and went out wide with Pilkington taking the lead striker role.
Just a few minutes later and poor defending from Forest gave Noone a chance to cross and after a flick off Pilkington, the ball sat up perfectly for Joe Ralls to score our second goal, making up for his earlier miss.
City saw out the final few minutes of the half to take a 2-0 lead into the second half.
Forest fans booed their team off at half time.
Nottingham Forest had the lions share of possession in the first half, 68% – 32%, but City’s game plan worked to perfection in the first forty five minutes.
Half time 0-2.
The second half started very much like the first half did with neither side taking hold of the game in the first five minutes then Ben Amos was forced into making a good save from a long shot from Lansbury.
In the fifty fifth minute City were forced into another change, this time Junior Hoilett left the field injured and was replaced by Keiron Richardson who made his City debut.
Richardson’s first play was to knock a ball down the channel for Pilkington who raced clear and cut in from the left side but blazed his shot high and wide when a pass into the middle would have most certainly have got City their third goal.
Good news for City in the 58th minute when Forest had Thomas Lam sent off for pulling Pilkington back when he was through on goal.
Another long throw from Gunnarsson saw a Sean Morrison header well saved in the sixty first minute.
Poor defending again from the Forest defence and Ralls hit a powerful shot that the keeper pushed around for a corner.
Craig Noone showed a great piece of skill out wide and cut into the box and went past another defender but was tackled just as he was about to release his shot.
City’s game plan has been perfect up to the seventieth minute and playing against ten men is made it a whole lot easier.
Anthony Pilkington went round the keeper and saw his shot blocked on the line by Cohen but when the ball fell back to our makeshift striker he missed an open goal from five yards, a real poor miss in the seventy fifth minute.
On chances City really could have and should have put five on Forest in the first seventy five minutes and the home team could have had no complaints if we had.
City had approximately 350 at the City Ground to see Neil Warnock’s first away game and witness only our second away win of the season.
City conceded a ninetieth minute penalty to give Forest hope and Lansbury scored the spot kick.
Cue the onslaught from Forest, they attached City’s goal and got their crowd going for the final few minutes of injury time.
Warnock responded by bringing on Stuart O”Keefe on to slow down the play.
City held out for a well deserved 2-1 win and a very welcome three points on our travels.
Final score 2-1.
Man of the match Aron Gunnarsson.