Football League Daily – Forest defeat promotion rivals Cardiff

A battling performance from Nottingham Forest saw them overcome rivals Cardiff 2-1 in a tense encounter at the City Ground. Wes Morgan opened the scoring with a header, before Peter Whittingham’s dubious penalty levelled the score. Forest fans only had to wait until the 67th minute to see their side restore the lead – a smart finish from Robert Earnshaw delighting manager Billy Davies: “We played some wonderful football, created a lot of chances and thoroughly deserved to take three points. The game was a great advert for Championship football and, in my opinion, Cardiff are a little bit ahead of us in terms of their development but there were so many good things about us today.” Having been surprisingly beaten by Scunthorpe in their last outing, this victory was vital for the East Midlanders; it ensures that their bid for automatic promotion remains in their own hands.

Disappointed as he undoubtedly would have been, Dave Jones gave a somewhat stoic post-match interview, in which he predicted that: “There will be a lot of twists and turns in this division before the season is over – there are probably 10 teams up there with not a lot between us. I will be surprised if the top two that are there will be the top two at the end.” Next up for Cardiff are the in-form trio of Leicester, Hull and Ipswich. If the Bluebirds harbour realistic aspirations of automatic promotion, it is essential that they return to their early-season winning ways in these fixtures.

A thumping Darren Ambrose volley consigned Sheffield United to yet another defeat, firing Crystal Palace five points above their relegation rivals. The Blades have yet to taste victory under new manager Micky Adams and are firmly entrenched in the drop zone – despite them having been considered as an outside bet for promotion in pre-season. While Adams is struggling to keep his team afloat, new Palace boss Dougie Freedman is enjoying the adulation of the Selhurst Park faithful; his side have been beaten just twice since his arrival and are finally beginning to turn draws into victories. This win is their second in as many weeks against the division’s relegation threatened teams – a James Vaughan strike downed Middlesbrough two weeks ago.

Middlesbrough themselves secured a vital victory on Saturday as they came back from a goal down to defeat play-off chasing Millwall 3-1. Relegation has seemed a real possibility for the pre-season favourites in recent weeks, but Tony Mowbray will now be hoping that his side can fire themselves into mid-table and bid a speedy goodbye to a poor season in Teeside.

League two leaders Chesterfield returned to winning ways at the weekend, winning 2-0 at Lincoln. Craig Davies’ 15th goal of the season came as a result of a mistake by Lincoln ‘keeper Trevor Carson and set the stuttering visitors on their way to their first win in six. An 84th minute header from Dean Holden settled the affair, ensuring that Chesterfield will travel to Bradford with greater impetus and momentum than that which has been displayed during their recent winless run.

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