It did not take long for Cardiff to restore parity, however, with Aron Gunnarsson's deflected effort nestling in the bottom corner in the 13th minute of action.
The Welsh team perhaps should have been ahead just two minutes later when Noone set up Pilkington once again, but his header was straight at Dorus de Vries.
The better of the chances continued to fall for Cardiff as the match approached its midpoint, and Kenwyne Jones should have done better with a header in the 42nd minute, but the two teams entered the break on level terms.
Both sides had chances in the early stages of the second half, but Jonny Williams fired wide from close range, before Gunnarsson headed another Noone cross wide of the post.
Cardiff have dropped to 10th position in the Championship table, while Forest have risen into 14th and they are now just four points off the top 10.