Match ends, Nottingham Forest 1, Cardiff City 2.
Cardiff City collected their first Championship away win of the season at Nottingham Forest to move into the top six.
Kenwyne Jones rose highest to meet Peter Whittingham's lofted ball and give Cardiff a first-half lead.
Joe Mason doubled the advantage shortly after the break by diverting Anthony Pilkington's shot with his head.
Michail Antonio scored from a long ball to set up a frantic finish but Cardiff held on to win.
It was an unnecessarily nervous ending to what had been a comfortable and controlled performance by the unbeaten visitors.
Forest were restricted to shots from distance that rarely troubled goalkeeper David Marshall, who remains a transfer target for West Brom.
The Bluebirds are also braced for potential bids for Jones before the end of the transfer window, and the striker again proved his worth with his second goal in as many games on 23 minutes that rewarded Cardiff's early dominance.
Mason, who had a first-half penalty claim ignored, continued his fine start to the season by doubling the lead four minutes into the second half. Pilkington's shot may well have beaten Dorus de Vries in the Forest goal, but Mason made sure by adding the final touch with his head.
But the game was transformed four minutes from time when a long, hopeful ball found Antonio behind the Cardiff defence and he stroked the ball past Marshall.
Antonio's goal gave Forest hope of salvaging an unlikely point, although Mason then wasted a glorious chance to give Cardiff a third by miss-controlling in Forest's six-yard box.
Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman: "The difference, in a nutshell, was that they had two very good strikers, who got them goals, and an excellent keeper who kept them in the match.
"I cannot be disappointed in the way we are playing or in our spirit because we gave it a go. We have a lot of young players and that was the difference today, when it came to our decision making in the opposition box.
"For most of the second half, we were knocking on the door. It was just their keeper who saved them a few times. Had we made better decisions in the final third, we might have got a better result.
"But we are working away with the younger players and don't feel sorry for me. This is where we are. We have three or four good strikers on the treatment table."
Cardiff City manager Russell Slade told BBC Wales Sport: "We dominated possession, we looked the better team and then just caused ourselves some problems towards the end when Forest got a goal back.
"We should've put the game to bed really. Mason won't get a better chance to wrap the game up in the later stages as Forest were trying to get the equaliser.
"But it was a really good performance. A couple of players who played 120 minutes on Tuesday night started to look a bit tired but full credit to them they stuck together, did their jobs and we got the reward."
- 1de Vries
- 27BurkeSubstituted forBlackstockat 59'minutes
- 14EbecilioSubstituted forOsbornat 45'minutes
- 34WalkerSubstituted forMcDonaghat 80'minutes
- 3da SilvaBooked at 33minsSubstituted forMaloneat 80'minutes
- 13PilkingtonBooked at 90minsSubstituted forNooneat 90+1'minutes
- 8RallsBooked at 20mins
- 9JonesSubstituted forAmeobiat 70'minutesBooked at 84mins
- 5Ecuele Manga
- Oliver Langford
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Nottingham Forest 1, Cardiff City 2.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Craig Noone replaces Anthony Pilkington because of an injury.
Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Dexter Blackstock (Nottingham Forest).
Lee Peltier (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Daniel Pinillos (Nottingham Forest).
Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Daniel Pinillos (Nottingham Forest).
Sammy Ameobi (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Goal! Nottingham Forest 1, Cardiff City 2. Michail Antonio (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Dexter Blackstock with a headed pass.
Offside, Cardiff City. Sammy Ameobi tries a through ball, but Joe Mason is caught offside.
Sammy Ameobi (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card.
Michael Mancienne (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Sammy Ameobi (Cardiff City).
Offside, Cardiff City. Lee Peltier tries a through ball, but Joe Mason is caught offside.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Scott Malone replaces Fabio.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Gerry McDonagh replaces Tyler Walker.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by David Marshall.
Attempt missed. Sammy Ameobi (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Anthony Pilkington.