Jordan Hugill on target as Cardiff beat Forest for first win in seven

Cardiff City v Nottingham Forest – Sky Bet Championship – Cardiff City Stadium
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Jordan Hugill had a dream debut to remember as Cardiff won 2-1 to dent Nottingham Forest’s Sky Bet Championship play-off push and ease their own relegation worries.

Norwich striker Hugill spent the first half of the season on loan at West Brom and his arrival in the Welsh capital was announced only a few hours before kick-off.

Loan signing Hugill set the Bluebirds on their way to an impressive victory inside six minutes, and Isaak Davies doubled the lead before Keinan Davies grabbed a stoppage-time consolation for the visitors.

Forest were a pale shadow of the side that have relentlessly climbed the standings since Steve Cooper’s appointment on September 21.

Bottom of the table when Cooper took over, victory would have catapulted Forest to fifth and into the play-off places for the first time this season.

Hugill and Alfie Doughty went straight into the Cardiff team after completing temporary moves over the weekend.

With fellow loan additions Cody Drameh and Tommy Doyle also involved, as well as Max Watters and Ryan Wintle – recalled from spells at MK Dons and Blackpool – Cardiff had six players in the starting line-up that were not at the club at the beginning of the month.

Forest understandably had a more settled look about them after four successive January wins, which also included a memorable FA Cup victory over Arsenal.

Cardiff welcomed fans back for the first time since December 4 following Covid-19 restrictions put in place by the Welsh Government, and the returning supporters were celebrating almost immediately.

Scott McKenna’s careless pass was picked off by Perry Ng and Hugill raced through to open his Bluebirds account.

It was not the cleanest of connections, but the ball made its way past Brice Samba for his second goal of the season, and his first since scoring for West Brom on October 23.

Forest were out of rhythm, but Brennan Johnson showed Doughty a clean pair of heels after 26 minutes to provide a moment of real danger.

Goalkeeper Alex Smithies got the faintest of touches on Johnson’s cut-back and Cardiff were fortunate to survive the ensuing goalmouth skirmish.

Cardiff remained the better team and Joe Ralls volleyed over, with the McKenna and Steve Cook partnership at the heart of the Forest defence hesitant again.

Hugill soon went close to adding another when he turned Doyle’s cross goalwards and forced a save low down from Samba.

Cardiff claimed a penalty after the restart when McKenna and Sean Morrison grappled in the box before the sliding Johnson was inches away from converting James Garner’s cross.

The Bluebirds went further ahead after 65 minutes when Ralls let rip from 25 yards and struck the Forest post.

The ball hit the diving Samba on the way out to allow substitute Isaak Davies the simplest of tap-ins for his first league goal.

Forest were given hope deep into stoppage time when Keinan Davies headed home from a corner, but Cardiff held on to move six points clear of the relegation zone.

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