Nottingham Forest dropped to sixth place in the Championship promotion race after struggling Sheffield United got their first win in 2011.
There were few chances for either side in the first half, but Forest produced the better football and competed well although their goal, just before half time, was their only shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
Sheffield were the better side in the second half, looking stronger as the game went on and were rewarded with two goals. A late flurry of pressure by Forest was not enough for them to get an equalizer.
Forest had an early chance after a good run forward by Paul Anderson who fed it through to David McGoldrick and from 25 yards out he crashed the ball towards the top corner and was only just wide.
And there was one for United when Sam Vokes laid the ball on for Daniel Bogdanovic whose shot from near the penalty spot forced a save from Lee Camp.
Forest missed a good opportunity after Dele Adebola won the ball in midfield and laid it on for McGoldrick who sent his shot wide of the target from the edge of the penalty area.
Good build-up play down the left by United almost caught Forest out when Matthew Lowton got away and crossed the ball to Vokes whose shot from 12 yards was pounced on quickly by Camp.
Marcus Tudgay should have done better when he chested the ball down but didn't control it well and missed the target from 20 yards.
The ball spent far too much time in the air for either side to created any sort of fluid football and there were ironic cheers from the home crowd when United finally got a shot on target, which Camp easily saved.
Forest broke the deadlock just before half time after Paul McKenna made a run down the right and passed to Anderson. He crossed to Adebola who was facing away from goal but turned and shot from 6 yards out, sending the ball under Steve Simonsen's body.
Sheffield nearly scored an own goal early in the second half when Chris Cohen drilled over a cross and Neill Collins dived in with his leg outstretched to block the ball but it only just went wide of the post.
Forest won a free kick after a foul on Tudgay and, after the Forest player had received treatment, Cohen's effort from the right was comfortably caught by Simonsen.
There were a couple of chances for Sheffield when Nick Montgomery's effort was blocked by Wes Morgan and from the corner Matthew Lowton was only able to head over the bar.
And they could have been back on level terms after they were awarded a penalty when Bogdanovic was brought down by Chris Gunter but Camp made the save, diving low to his left to deny Bogdanivic.
And Forest created a chance when they broke quickly and Cohen slipped the ball to McGoldrick but the United defence got back and Collins dived in front of his shot to block it.
Forest's new loan player Kris Boyd made his debut when he came on with 20 minutes to go, replacing goalscorer Adebola.
Sheffield were back on level terms with 17 minutes to go when Camp came out to block Vokes as he ran in at a tight angle to get on the end of the cross from Lowton, but from six yards out Vokes sent the ball through the Forest keeper's legs.
There was a chance for a quick goal back for Forest from a good ball in by Garath McCleary, who had only just come on for McGoldrick, but his effort was blocked by Montgomery.
But United were in front with ten minutes to go from a corner when Quinn's ball came in to find an unmarked Lowton who headed into the top corner from six yards out.
Forest put the pressure on with a good break and the ball was chipped in from the left by McKenna to Boyd and Simonsen did well to parry his shot away.
Forest continued to threaten as the game went into five minutes stoppage time but their efforts failed to produce an equalizer.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Gunter, Morgan, Chambers, Konchesky, Cohen, McKenna(C), Anderson, Tudgay(Earnshaw 78min), McGoldrick(McCleary 75min), Adebola(Boyd 72min)
Subs not used: Darlow(GK), Bennett, McGugan, Majewski,
Bookings: Tudgay 40min, Morgan 45min
Goalscorer: Adebola 42min
Sheffield United: Simonsen, Nosworthy(Mattock, 56min), Montgomery(C), Doyle, Bogdanovic(Williamson 90min), Cresswell(Yeates 56min), Vokes, Lowry, Collins, Quinn, Lowton
Subs not used: Long(GK), Ertl, Kozluk, Bent
Scorers: Vokes 74min, Lowton 80min
Booking: Mattock 60min
Referee: A Bates