Nottingham Forest slipped to a controversial home defeat at the hands of Hull City.The Reds were convinced Paul McShane used his arm to bundle home the match-winner 21 minutes from the end at The City Ground.
Goalkeeper Lee Camp was particularly incensed but Forest’s protests fell on deaf ears as they tumbled to their second defeat in the space of five days.
It was a bitter pill for Sean O’Driscoll’s men to swallow after Billy Sharp had hauled them level from the penalty spot in the first half after Robert Koren had given Hull the lead with a spot-kick.
Boss O’Driscoll responded to the midweek defeat at Ipswich by making two changes to his starting line-up.
Andy Reid and James Coppinger were handed starts, while Henri Lansbury and Dexter Blackstock were relegated to the bench.
Former Forest skipper Paul McKenna was named among the Hull substitutes but there was no place in Steve Bruce’s 18 for another ex-Red Andrew Dawson.
It took almost half an hour for an insipid first half to come to life – and Hull came close to taking the lead with their first meaningful foray into the Forest area, Elliott Ward clearing off the line from Corry Evans before David Meyler blasted the follow-up into the side-netting.
But the 1,740 visiting fans had something to celebrate 11 minutes before the break as their team took the lead from the penalty spot.
Simon Gillett was adjudged to have brought down Meyler and Hull skipper Robert Koren stepped-up to send Camp the wrong way from the spot.
But Forest levelled two minutes before the break as referee Gavin Ward pointed to the penalty spot for the second time.
Sharp gratefully accepted the opportunity to bag his fifth Forest goal of the campaign after he had been tripped in the area by James Chester.
Chris Cohen squandered an opportunity to fire Forest in front on the stroke of half-time as he blazed wildly over the bar after an Andy Reid corner had dropped kindly for him.
Forest showed glimpses of rediscovering their invention at the start of the second half as a flowing move resulted in Reid laying-off the ball for Guedioura in the area who curled a shot narrowly wide of the target.
The Reds failed to capitalise on a mistake by McShane after 56 minutes. The Hull defender conceded possession to Sharp on the half-way line but with three Forest players bearing down on the other two members of the visitors’ back-line, Chester spared his colleague’s blushes by blocking Coppinger’s cross.
But Hull went back in front after 69 minutes as McShane bundled home from close range from Koren’s in-swinging corner, amid appeals for handball.
Camp led the protests, running towards the linesman on the Main Stand side of the pitch to make his point, but the referee ignored Forest’s claims.
O’Driscoll responded by making a double substitution, introducing Lewis McGugan and Blackstock to the action with 15 minutes remaining at the expense of Gillett and Cohen.
Sharp poked wide from close range in the dying minutes after Stockdale had failed to deal with an in-swinging Reid corner.
And in the fourth minute of added time Stockdale made a finger-tip save to keep out a Sharp header from Reid’s left-wing cross.
Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins(c), Harding, Gillett (McGugan 75'), Cohen (Blackstock 75'), Guedioura, Coppinger, Reid, Sharp.
Subs not used: Darlow, Moussi, Findley, Moloney, Lansbury.
Scorer: Sharp (pen) 43'
Hull: Stockdale, Chester, Evans, McLean (Proshwitz 67'), Koren(c) (Rosenior 90'), McShane, Elmohamady, Bruce, Quinn, Brady (Faye 88'), Meyler.
Subs not used: Jakupovic (GK), McKenna, Simpson, Olofinjana.
Scorers: Koren (pen) 34', McShane 69'
Bookings: Brady 86', Stockdale 87', Meylor 89', Rosenior 90'
Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance: 19,472 (Away: 1,740)