Nottingham Forest put in a superb rearguard display to ensure that they left Cardiff City with all three points in a 1-0 win.
James Garner scored the only goal of the game when Cyrus Christie’s low cross found him inside the box, with the Manchester United man firing home.
Cardiff came close to equalising when Aden Flint put a free header over the bar, but the Bluebirds barely tested Forest stopper Brice Samba.
In the aftermath of a huge win for the Reds in South Wales, here are four things we learnt…
Defensive shape proves rock solid
One thing that has been so frustrating for Forest fans is seeing the team defend so well, only for an individual error to undo all their hard work.
Thankfully for them, that didn’t happen against Cardiff and Chris Hughton’s side defended brilliantly throughout.
The entire back five were excellent – Brice Samba claimed everything, Scott McKenna and Joe Worrall looked rock solid as a pair, while Tyler Blackett and Cyrus Christie were both superb.
While the second half felt a bit backs against the wall at times, the way Forest refused to relinquish their lead was admirable.
Tyler Blackett takes his opportunity…
Out of the back five, it was interesting to see most how Blackett would fare and he did his job to a tee.
Blackett – on his birthday, no less – looked safe in possession, constantly harried the winger to prevent the cross and got stuck in several times.
The former Manchester United man had a questionable start to his life at Forest and many queried why he was still involved, but he’s answered his doubters very well.
He seems a cross between both Yuri Ribeiro and Gaetan Bong and with manager Chris Hughton rotating that left back slot, fans will be eager to see Blackett get more of a run.
…as does Ryan Yates
As always, much was made of the decision to start Yates – even though he does seem much better suited to playing the physical sides.
That proved to be the case again as Yates was excellent in midfield, constantly battling and doing his best to negate Cardiff’s aerial threat.
Impressively though – bar a few occasions anyway – Yates looked good on the ball, which is normally one of his key criticisms.
There are many Forest fans who would love nothing more than to see Yates succeed and at the rate he’s progressing under Hughton, they may well get their wish sooner rather than later.
Cyrus Christie makes a cross count
Christie has been winning over a lot of critics in recent weeks and today was no exception, with a brilliant goal saving challenge to his name during the match.
However, he also got the assist and did so in a somewhat different way to how he’s been approaching crossing this season.
One thing fans have picked Christie up on is that while he crosses the ball a lot, more often than not his aerial ball is mopped up by defenders.
On this occasion, he drilled it back and lo and behold, Garner was on hand to score.
It did help having more bodies in the box, but it’ll be interesting to see whether Christie starts driving it across the 18-yard box with more frequency.
Are Nottingham Forest now safe from relegation following their 1-0 win at Cardiff City?