Seven games and still no goals, Nottingham Forest will begin 2012 in the same place they left 2011 — the relegation zone. Shaun Wheatcroft reports from the City Ground.
Kenny Miller scored the only goal of the game on Saturday as Nottingham Forest suffered a familiar scenario – sinking to defeat despite being the better side for much of the game.
After a lively first period the Reds were applauded from the field at the break following a determined display which failed to end with them getting anything on the score sheet.
In the second half it was Cardiff who did what many other teams have against Forest in recent games – scoring against the run of play courtesy of former Rangers striker Miller. The home side did look to equalise, but for a seventh consecutive game were unable to find that elusive goal.
USA frontman Robbie Findley started the match for the hosts and looked sharp in the early moments. Jonathan Greening’s ball deflected into the striker’s path but Bluebirds’ keeper David Marshall rushed out to slide – earning himself a yellow card and Findley an injury.
Findley was replaced by Matt Derbyshire soon after but it was the away side who were next to show some attacking presence – Miller drove forward before finding strike-partner Joe Mason to head across goal for Rudy Gestede, whose shot was blocked well by Luke Chambers.
Yet it was Forest who looked the more dominant side – Derbyshire was denied a run in on goal by Cardiff full-back Ben Turner before Garath McCleary hit an effort straight at Marshall following some great work down the right from Chris Gunter.
McCleary then missed another chance as Guy Moussi broke forward before crossing to find the former Bromley winger on the edge of the area – but his shot was again tame and straight at the Cardiff keeper.
The Bluebirds then came close to breaking the deficit themselves – Peter Whittingham’s free-kick from the left swung into the box to find Turner who headed narrowly wide from 12-yards.
Forest shot-stopper Lee Camp then had his first real save of the game to make just before the interval. Former Derby County man Miller shooting from 25 yards, but Camp dived well to put the ball out for a corner.
The Reds began the second period just as well as they did the first, Greg Cunningham linked up well with Marcus Tudgay but the former Sheffield Wednesday striker was unable to get on the end of Cunningham’s second ball.
Tudgay was then close to connecting with an overhead kick as McCleary sent a low ball into the danger zone – but before his cross could fall to Tudgay it was well blocked by the Cardiff defence who cleared to safety.
Miller was then gifted a golden chance to score at the other end when the ball was flicked on to him and he was left with only Camp to beat – but under pressure he somehow fizzed the ball wide.
The Scotsman was not going to miss the target twice though, and minutes later Miller put his side ahead beating Camp with a looping header following a superb weighted cross from Bluebirds’ starlet Whittingham.
Forest looked to get the equaliser immediately and should have done better after midfielder Lewis McGugan hit a free-kick into the box which neither Derbyshire nor Tudgay managed to get on the end of.
And Greening looked to be in for an equaliser after Tudgay found the former Fulham man, but his effort was deflected out for a corner.
The hosts brought on homegrown striker Patrick Bamford, who lives in Norwell near Newark, late in the second half. Although the teenager did well in his first senior appearance nothing fell for him in the way of chances.
McGugan was last to go close for Forest – the ball fell to the Reds’ playmaker following a Andy Reid corner but his driven shot from 20-yards skewed just wide and the game ended in defeat for Forest.
The Reds are now just two points from the bottom of the Championship table, and are without a goal in seven games. Ipswich next…
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