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Nottingham Forest close gap on Leeds with win over Cardiff

Nottingham Forest moved to within three points of the automatic promotion places as they ended a run of three games without a win with a 1-0 victory at Cardiff.

A goal from Tiago Silva three minutes into the second half was enough to allow Sabri Lamouchi’s men to maintain the pressure on second placed Leeds as they became the first side to beat Cardiff at home in the Championship since Neil Harris took over as manager in November.

Silva’s winner added insult to injury for the Cardiff fans, who were screaming for a penalty in the dying moments of the first-half when Josh Murphy went down in a challenge from Matty Cash.

Cardiff lost forward Lee Tomlin to a training ground knee injury and have now suffered back-to-back defeats to Stoke and Forest in the space of four days. They stay in 10th place six points off the play-off places.

With Brentford to come at home at the weekend this was a huge test of Cardiff’s top six credentials and, once again, they got off to a slow start. Forest bossed the opening exchanges and Joe Lolley got past debutant full back Dion Sanderson to create an early shooting chance for Silva.

His attempt took a deflection for a corner, while former Cardiff player Sammy Ameobi fired in the side-netting when he was given a free shot from the edge of the area. Cardiff were looking to hit their visitors on the break, but their early crosses were poor and did not cause Brice Samba any difficulties in the Forest goal.

Samba then faced three successive free kicks as the home side pressed forward, but he was not forced into any significant saves from Joe Bennett, Will Vaulks or Josh Murphy’s best endeavours.

Forest regained their earlier momentum when a poor headed clearance by Bennett allowed Lolley to pick up possession and set-up top scorer Lewis Grabban with the perfect opportunity to end his five match run without a goal. Unfortunately for him his flick went well past the left post.

Another great run and pass from Lolley 10 minutes later presented Yates with a similar opportunity off the penalty spot, but this time the chance went well over the top of Alex Smithies goal.

The half ended with Cardiff claiming they should have had a penalty when a challenge by Cash on Murphy brought the winger down inside the area after some intricate build-up play, but the referee waved play on.

Having ridden their luck at the end of the first-half, forest struck early in the second to take the lead in the 48th minute with a goal from Silva. Grabban received the ball wide out and his low ball across the box gave Silva the chance to turn it into the top corner.

Grabban almost turned provided again in the 77th minute when he played in Alfa Semedo, who saw his shot blocked by the lunging Bennett’s backside.