Coach Andy Legg made seven changes to his Bluebirds’ development team against Nottingham Forest and they slumped to defeat.
Goalkeeper Brian Murphy, Tom Sang, Ben Margetson, Tavio Kouakou D’Ameida, Gary Madine, Jake Evans and trialist Liam Soule were called up for the match at Alfreton Town’s Impact Arena.
Soule, an 18-year-old striker who attracted interest from Borussia Dortmund last season, has linked up with City from West Bromwich Albion. He scored in every round of the FA Youth Cup for Albion last season when they reached the semi-finals.
Soule almost set up a goal when his drilled cross into the six yard box just missed Madine, who was in position for a tap-in.
Goals from Brennan Johnson (8 mins), Louis Walsh (33), Will Swan (73) and Yassine En-Neyah (90) led Forest to their third victory in four games and condemned Cardiff City to a third successive defeat.
Ben Margetson scored Cardiff’s goal from 12 yards after 71 minutes following Madine’s knockdown. At that stage, Forest led 2-1 and they doubled their tally by the end.
Forest started the brighter of the two sides and opened the scoring when Johnson’s sublime free-kick flew over the wall and in off the crossbar past helpless Cardiff ‘keeper Murphy.
The visitors grew into the contest and created a good opportunity to equalise five minutes later. James Waite’s delivery was met by Jack Bodenham, but his header was well kept out by goalie Mario Siampanis.
The Reds doubled their advantage in the 33rd minute. Johnson turned provider when his lofted pass was controlled and finished by Walsh from close range. Forest took their two-goal lead into the break.
The Bluebirds scored their goal and it seemed they were back in contention, but Swan slotted Forest’s third into the bottom corner from Johnson’s threaded pass. Then the home team were awarded a penalty in added time after Owen Gallagher was bought down by Murphy. En-Neyah converted the spot-kick to give Forest a fourth goal and a second home victory of the season.
The next under-23 fixture for the Bluebirds is against Bolton Wanderers at Cardiff International Sports Arena, Leckwith on Monday, September 9 (1pm).
Nottingham Forest: Siampanis, Rama (Spooner 46), Preston (capt), Fornah, Lawrence-Gabriel, Stewart, Walsh (Asare 49), Johnson, En-Neyah, Swan (Gallagher 80), Mighten. Subs not used: Shelvey, Sodeinde
Cardiff City u-23: Brian Murphy, Tom Sang, Laurence Wootton (Sam Bowen 81), Ben Margetson, Jack Bodenham (capt), Liam Soule (Sion Spence 75), James Waite, Tavio d’Almeida, Jake Evans (Trystan Jones 62), Shamar Moore, Gary Madine. Subs not used: Warren Burwood (gk), Danny Williams.