Strike duo Dexter Blackstock and Billy Sharp spearheaded Nottingham Forest’s first win in three Championship outings.They both bagged second half goals as The Reds overcame the challenge of Burnley in their final game at The City Ground before Christmas.
Blackstock set them on their way with a 59th minute header that settled the nerves of the majority of the crowd of 19,672 after successive defeats at the hands of Ipswich and Hull.
And Sharp sealed Forest’s fifth home win of the campaign with a clinical strike 14 minutes from time.
Reds boss Sean O’Driscoll made three changes to the side that had started against Hull a week earlier.
Lewis McGugan was handed his first start in more than two months, while Blackstock and Henri Lansbury also returned to the starting line-up.
Adlene Guedioura, Chris Cohen and James Coppinger were relegated to the bench.
Radoslaw Majewski was also named among the substitutes after a six-match lay-off with an ankle ligament problem.
The first half-chance of the game fell to Burnley and their in-form striker Charlie Austin but he squandered the opportunity to bag his 22nd goal of the season by firing wide from an unmarked position after Elliott Ward had mistimed a header.
Martin Paterson fired into the side-netting from Kieran Trippier’s right-wing cross as Burnley looked to capitalise on more slack defensive work by Forest.
At the other end a long-range free-kick from McGugan was deflected narrowly wide, while a glancing header by Blackstock from Alan Hutton’s cross from the right failed to test Burnley ‘keeper Lee Grant.
A slide-rule pass by Andy Reid sent Sharp away down the left-hand side but when he supplied a cross Blackstock could only direct his header straight at Grant.
Burnley counter-attacked swiftly and a superb ball from Dean Marney sprang Forest’s offside trap and sent Chris McCann clear but, fortunately for Forest, he fired wide of the target.
They survived another scare on the stroke of half-time when Camp spilled a shot from Paterson but his blushes were spared as The Reds cleared.
McGugan volleyed over from 12 yards out after a Blackstock header from Reid’s cross from the left had been only partially cleared as Forest started the second half in a positive fashion.
Forest made a change just before the hour mark as Cohen replaced Lansbury and within seconds they were ahead.
Reid sent over a cross from the left and Blackstock climbed above his marker to send a looping beyond the reach of Grant.
The celebrations in the stands were still in full swing when Camp made an outstanding save to thwart Austin and keep Forest’s lead intact.
Daniel Lafferty pulled the ball back from the by-line and Austin cut inside onto his right-foot before testing Camp’s reflexes with a powerful shot.
Burnley introduced a second striker in Sam Vokes, who headed wide from close range just two minutes after joining the action, while O’Driscoll made another midfield change by replacing Gillett with Guy Moussi.
But Sharp effectively killed off the challenge of Burnley with a trademark cool finish past Grant after Reid had sent him clear with a stunning through ball.
Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins (c), Harding, Gillett (Moussi 66'), Lansbury (Cohen 59'), Reid, McGugan (Guedioura 75'), Blackstock, Sharp.
Subs not used: Darlow, Ayala, Majewski, Coppinger.
Scorers: Blackstock 59', Sharp 76'
Bookings: Sharp 78', Cohen 90'
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Paterson (Stanislas 73'), Duff, Wallace (Ings 81'), Austin, Shackell (c), Marney, Lafferty, Stock (Vokes 65'), McCann.
Subs not used: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Bartley.
Bookings: McCann 41', Duff 64', Marney 89'
Referee: Mark Heywood
Attendance: 19,672 (Away: 926)