Two goals in just over a minute set Nottingham Forest to victory over a subdued Cardiff City.

Andy Reid scored the Forest opener with a 20-yard free-kick and Daniel Ayala doubled the lead almost immediately from the restart with a bullet header.

Cardiff were again asleep from a kick-off as Billy Sharp pounced to score 75 seconds into the second half.

Heidar Helguson pulled a goal back and Forest survived Adlene Guedioura's late sending off for two yellow cards.

Cardiff, who drop form top spot to second place on goal difference, finally came to life in the closing stages, but their early lethargy gave them too much to do as they searched in vain for an unlikely comeback.

Forest took their limited chances well and only ever looked ruffled when the Bluebirds piled bodies forwards in desperation at the end.

It was a far cry from the first half when Forest ensured almost total dominance with two quickfire goals.

Reid scored the opener on 25 minutes when he floated a left-foot 20-yard free-kick delicately into the top corner, hitting the underside of the bar on its way in.

The old adage states that a team is at its most vulnerable just after scoring, but it was Cardiff who were caught napping as Forest scored an immediate second.

Greg Halford delivered a tempting cross into the penalty area, where Ayala rose unchallenged to power a header past a helpless David Marshall for his first goal of the season.

Cardiff were kept waiting for Forest to return to the pitch for the second half, and the visitors seemed to have lost all focus as Sharp scored within seconds of the restart.

The striker was faced with an acute angle as the ball fell to him in the box, but he slide the ball expertly underneath Marshall.

Cardiff, who were searching for a fourth successive victory, finally offered some attacking threat with the introduction of Craig Noone and Rudy Gestede - and Helguson's goal arrived 10 minutes later.

The lone striker had been shackled for most of the game by the commanding Forest centre-backs, but he used his strength to find some space in the six yard box to stab the ball past Camp.

The goal suddenly gave Cardiff belief, and they were denied a second when Tommy Smith hit the foot of the post.

Guedioura's sending off with six minutes remaining gave the visitors further encouragement, but Camp ensured Forest avoided a nervy end with a superb save from Gestede's header.

Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll:

"We scored good goals today. Andy Reid has been scoring goals like the one he did today throughout his career and it came at a good time.

"To get the second goal in a second phase with an excellent cross and header was very pleasing.

"It was a game of two halves really. To be leading 2-0 is a dangerous scoreline in the Championship, 3-0 was dangerous as well to be honest.

"Cardiff went more direct and were fighting for a lot of balls on the edge of our box but we dug in and won the game on the strength of what we did in the first half."

Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay:

"We lost goals at crucial times today and you can't concede the kind of goals we did today and expect to win games.

"We couldn't do much about Andy Reid's free-kick but the other two goals were basically defensive errors and something we have to look at.

"The second goal gave Forest breathing space and when they got the third it gave us a mountain to climb.

"To be fair to the players they had a go at it and had 13 attempts on their goal in the second half. Tommy Smith hit the post and we had a couple of efforts blocked on the line so on another day we might have got something from the game."

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Nott'm Forest

  • 01 Camp
  • 03 Harding
  • 05 Collins
  • 15 Halford
  • 26 Ayala
  • 04 Gillett
  • 07 Guedioura Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 08 Cohen
  • 11 Reid (Moussi - 74' )
  • 19 Cox Booked (Majewski - 46' )
  • 24 Sharp

Substitutes

  • 31 Evtimov
  • 18 Moloney
  • 06 Moussi
  • 10 McGugan
  • 21 Coppinger
  • 28 Majewski (Moloney - 88' )
  • 20 Tudgay

Cardiff

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton (Mason - 81' )
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson Booked
  • 12 Connolly Booked
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 11 Conway (Noone - 62' )
  • 17 Gunnarsson (Gestede - 65' )
  • 14 Smith
  • 22 Helguson

Substitutes

  • 32 Lewis
  • 06 Turner
  • 13 Kim Bo-Kyung
  • 16 Noone
  • 21 Ralls
  • 15 Gestede
  • 20 Mason
Ref: Drysdale
Att: 21,491

Match Stats

Shots

6 8

On target

6 2

Corners

3 9

Fouls

5 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:09 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +2:49

Unfair challenge on Dan Harding by Joe Mason results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Lee Camp.

90:00 +0:24

Tommy Smith produces a cross. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham, Lee Camp makes a save.

89:23

Indirect free kick taken by Danny Collins.

89:23 Booking

Booking The referee books Mark Hudson for unsporting behaviour.

89:11

Billy Sharp fouled by Mark Hudson, the ref awards a free kick.

87:49

Chris Cohen takes the free kick.

87:49 Substitution

Substitution (Nottm Forest) makes a substitution, with Brendan Moloney coming on for Radoslaw Majewski.

87:49

Foul by Rudy Gestede on Billy Sharp, free kick awarded.

86:19

Craig Noone takes a shot. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line, Lee Camp makes a save. Lee Camp makes a save.

83:16

Peter Whittingham takes the indirect free kick.

83:16 Dismissal

Dismissal Red card for Adlene Guedioura.

83:00

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrew Taylor by Adlene Guedioura.

80:26 Substitution

Substitution Kevin McNaughton leaves the field to be replaced by Joe Mason.

80:08

Billy Sharp takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.

79:46

Chris Cohen takes a shot. David Marshall makes a save.

78:10

Effort from inside the area by Tommy Smith strikes the post. Inswinging corner taken by Don Cowie, save made by Lee Camp.

76:38

Free kick awarded for a foul by Guy Moussi on Rudy Gestede. Indirect free kick taken by Peter Whittingham.

75:59

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Peter Whittingham, clearance made by Danny Collins.

73:52

The assist for the goal came from Rudy Gestede.

73:52 Goal scored

Goal! - Heidar Helguson - Nott'm For 3 - 1 Cardiff Heidar Helguson fires in a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Nottm Forest 3-1 Cardiff.

73:25 Substitution

Substitution Guy Moussi is brought on as a substitute for Andy Reid.

71:26

Cross/shot by Andrew Taylor.

70:27

The referee blows for offside. Peter Whittingham takes the indirect free kick.

67:28

Don Cowie is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Lee Camp takes the free kick.

64:35 Substitution

Substitution Aron Gunnarsson leaves the field to be replaced by Rudy Gestede.

64:35

Centre by Craig Noone, Heidar Helguson produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.

61:14 Substitution

Substitution Craig Conway goes off and Craig Noone comes on.

57:13 Booking

Booking Caution for Adlene Guedioura.

52:48

Peter Whittingham challenges Radoslaw Majewski unfairly and gives away a free kick. Daniel Ayala takes the indirect free kick.

51:16

Inswinging corner taken by Craig Conway, Mark Hudson produces a headed effort from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

50:24

Greg Halford gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Taylor. Peter Whittingham takes the indirect free kick.

49:45

The ball is delivered by Andy Reid.

48:09

Shot from just outside the box by Kevin McNaughton misses to the right of the target.

46:15

The assist for the goal came from Radoslaw Majewski.

46:15 Goal scored

Goal! - Billy Sharp - Nott'm For 3 - 0 Cardiff Billy Sharp scores a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Nottm Forest 3-0 Cardiff.

45:44

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Simon Gillett by Aron Gunnarsson. Lee Camp takes the free kick.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Simon Cox goes off and Radoslaw Majewski comes on.

45:00 +2:08 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

45:00 +1:12 Booking

Booking Simon Cox is given a yellow card.

45:00 +0:27

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Chris Cohen.

45:00 +0:04

Corner taken left-footed by Andy Reid from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Peter Whittingham.

44:13

The free kick is swung in left-footed by Chris Cohen, clearance made by Matthew Connolly.

44:13 Booking

Booking The referee shows Matthew Connolly a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

44:03

Unfair challenge on Billy Sharp by Matthew Connolly results in a free kick.

41:03

Corner taken by Peter Whittingham played to the near post, Lee Camp makes a save.

36:04

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line, Matthew Connolly concedes a free kick for a foul on Danny Collins. Lee Camp takes the indirect free kick.

34:52

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Cohen by Craig Conway. Indirect free kick taken by Danny Collins.

32:06

Aron Gunnarsson challenges Simon Gillett unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Adlene Guedioura.

30:55

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Craig Conway by Adlene Guedioura. Peter Whittingham restarts play with the free kick.

30:12

Unfair challenge on Peter Whittingham by Danny Collins results in a free kick. Mark Hudson takes the free kick.

29:50

A cross is delivered by Andy Reid, Heidar Helguson makes a clearance.

29:05

Effort on goal by Heidar Helguson from just outside the area goes harmlessly over the target.

28:49

The ball is delivered by Craig Conway, Danny Collins manages to make a clearance.

26:34

The assist for the goal came from Greg Halford.

26:34 Goal scored

Goal! - Daniel Ayala - Nott'm For 2 - 0 Cardiff Daniel Ayala finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the penalty box. Nottm Forest 2-0 Cardiff.

24:45 Goal scored

Goal! - Andy Reid - Nott'm For 1 - 0 Cardiff Andy Reid scores a goal direct from the free kick from just outside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Nottm Forest 1-0 Cardiff.

23:30

Foul by Kevin McNaughton on Andy Reid, free kick awarded.

20:14

The ball is sent over by Tommy Smith, clearance made by Daniel Ayala.

19:38

Andy Reid produces a cross, Danny Collins takes a shot. David Marshall makes a save.

18:48

Peter Whittingham challenges Simon Cox unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Andy Reid.

14:31

A cross is delivered by Craig Conway.

10:29

Chris Cohen is adjudged to have handled the ball. Andrew Taylor restarts play with the free kick.

8:18

Handball decision goes against Adlene Guedioura. David Marshall takes the indirect free kick.

6:41

Corner taken by Andy Reid from the right by-line played to the near post, save made by David Marshall.

5:17

Peter Whittingham takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Billy Sharp manages to make a clearance.

4:32

Billy Sharp is caught offside. David Marshall takes the free kick.

4:12

Aron Gunnarsson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Simon Gillett. Indirect free kick taken by Simon Gillett.

3:22

Kevin McNaughton crosses the ball, Daniel Ayala manages to make a clearance.

0:00

The referee gets the match started.

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