Nottingham Forest secured their place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.The up-and-coming Reds beat Championship rivals Cardiff City 2-1 in sub-zero conditions at The City Ground.
Skipper Kieran Fenton led by example as he set Forest on their way with the opener just before the half-hour mark.
And Gary Brazil’s men strengthened their grip on the contest when Derrick Otim added a second shortly before half-time.
Cardiff pulled a goal back late-on through Gethyn Hill but it proved to be a satisfying night’s work for the youngsters, who were watched by Sean O’Driscoll and his entire coaching staff.
Morgan Ferrier had an early opportunity to draw first blood after being sent clear by Jack Blake’s through ball but Cardiff ‘keeper Liam Matthews blocked with his legs.
Blake tried his luck from long range before Fenton gave Forest a deserved lead 16 minutes before half-time.
Blake sent over an in-swinging corner from the left and Fenton rose at the back post to plant a header beyond the reach of Matthews.
Fenton played a key role in Forest’s second after 40 minutes as he capped a driving run from midfield with an exquisite through ball and Otim provided a cool finish.
Blake squandered an opportunity to bag a third when he side-footed over the bar from an unmarked position on the edge of the Cardiff area.
Marshall made a finger-tip save to deny Wilfried Gnahore after the livewire winger created an opening for himself on the edge of the area.
Cardiff bagged what proved to be a consolation goal nine minutes from time when Hill showed the Forest back four a clean pair of heels before firing beyond Jordan Smith.
And the Forest No.1 made a smart save to keep out Declan John’s free-kick as Cardiff piled on the pressure in pursuit of an equaliser.
Forest: Smith, Sebastiao, Ackroyd, Blake, Gorman, Fenton, Gnahore, Hollingsworth, Otim, Ferrier, Thomas.
Subs: Kamaneno, Durrant, Palmer-Samuels, Mulraney, Elliott.
Cardiff: Matthews, Whickham, John, B. Watkins, C. Watkins, Owen, Bowen, Wharton, Hill, O’Sullivan, Bell.
Subs: Baker, Massaro, Williams, Noor, Enzam.
Highlights and reaction will be available on Forest Player tomorrow.