Forest 1-0 Derby
Nelson Oliveira fired Nottingham Forest to victory in tonight's East Midlands derby at The City Ground.
The Reds beat the Rams 1-0 courtesy of the Portugal international's early strike.
Forest came close to a second goal on a number of occasions, while Derby never really threatened a response against Dougie Freedman's resolute Reds.
The manager recalled Henri Lansbury and David Vaughan to the centre of his midfield after both players completed suspensions by missing Tuesday night’s trip to Preston. Jonny Williams, who came off the bench at Deepdale, was handed a start.
Their inclusion meant Liam Trotter and Ben Osborn dropped to the bench, while Jorge Grant missed out on a place in the squad.
There was an electric atmosphere the start of the match and Forest got straight on to the front foot. Within 30 seconds they worked the ball to Williams in the area, but he was booked for alleged simulation after going to ground under a challenge.
The Reds weren't giving their rivals room to breathe in the opening stages and Oliveira had his first sight of goal on four minutes, latching on to a knock-down from Williams 25 yards out. He struck the ball on the bounce but could only send it bobbling wide.
That proved to be merely a sighter, however, as moments later the Portuguese forward gave The Reds the lead. He collected the ball on the edge of the area and struck it low towards goal. The ball appeared to take a deflection off a Derby defender on its way into the bottom corner of Scott Carson's net.
Forest refused to let up after taking the lead and came within inches of making it 2-0 on 12 minutes. Jamie Ward, facing his former club, embarked on a run down the right before playing a one-two with Oliveira on the edge of the Derby area. Ward curled the ball left-footed towards goal and Carson made a stunning save to divert it just wide with his fingertips.
Derby were up against a resolute-looking Forest defence, as evidenced by Jack Hobbs' vital intervention to prevent Stephen Warnock's cross reaching Chris Martin in the middle on 17 minutes.
And The Rams tried their luck again shortly afterwards, Jeff Hendrick's 20-yard curler seeing the ball skim off the top of the bar and behind.
Central midfielders Lansbury and Bradley Johnson were off-target with half-chances for their respective sides before the former came agonisingly close to marking his return to the Forest team with a goal.
Patient build-up involving Williams and Oliveira led to the ball reaching Lansbury just outside the area. He bought space for the shot before sending it whistling inches wide of the post.
A minute later, Forest tried their luck again. Oliveira was pivotal once more, holding the ball up well and laying it off for Mendes to scamper deep into Rams territory. The Cape Verde winger saw his shot deflect wide and, from the resultant corner, Matt Mills saw a goal chalked off after referee Simon Hooper spotted an infringement in the middle.
The final chances of the half fell to Derby. De Vries was properly tested for the first time on 29 minutes when he had to push Johnny Russell's curler to safety, before right back Cyrus Christie's strong foray forward resulted in him skewing his shot across goal and well wide of the far post.
Vaughan entered the referee's notebook with 12 minutes to play in the half for a foul on Russell down the right but The Reds saw out the rest of the opening period comfortably.
There were no changes for either side at the break and the opening 15 minutes of the second half saw the sides exchange shots well off-target, Oliveira and Mendes for Forest and Johnson for Derby, before Ward was replaced by Ben Osborn on the hour.
Paul Clement's first change came five minutes later when former Forest loanee Tom Ince replaced Hendrick.
But the Derby boss nearly saw his side fall further behind moments later after Forest's Daniel Pinillos brilliantly danced his way into the area, past a number of defenders and into a position which allowed him to roll the ball across goal. With Carson stranded, Mendes looked certain to tap the ball into an empty net at the back post but Warnock miraculously managed to nick the ball away and alleviate the danger.
Derby dangerman Martin wasted his side's best chance of the second half when he blazed the ball over the bar from a 25-yard free-kick. During the resultant stoppage, Trotter replaced Williams for The Reds.
Oliveira was the next Forest player into the book for a foul on Tom Ince and Jacob Butterfield was the next Derby player to be introduced, replacing Russell.
Forest were doing superbly to limit Derby's opportunities to equalise and so nearly wrapped the game up with six minutes to play following lovely interplay between Lansbury and Mendes on the edge of Derby's area. The latter was released one-on-one with Carson but the keeper was out quickly to block the winger's poked effort.
Carson's opposite number, de Vries, had to dive to his right to hold on to substitute Darren Bent's header shortly before four minutes of added time were indicated.
But that was to be of no help to The Rams, who were unable to break Forest down as The Reds recorded back-to-back derby wins.
Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mills, Hobbs, Pinillos, Mendes, Lansbury (c), Williams (Trotter 70'), Vaughan, Ward (Osborn 60'), Oliveira (Blackstock 89')
Subs not used: Evtimov, Wilson, C.Burke, Walker
Goal: Oliveira 5'
Bookings: Williams 1', Vaughan 33', Oliveira 73'
:Derby Carson, Christie, Keogh, Hendrick (Ince 65'), Martin (c), Russell (Butterfield 73'), Shackell, Johnson, Weimann (Bent 80'), Thorne, Warnock
Subs not used: Grant, Bryson, Baird, Pearce
Booking: Christie 85'
Referee: Simon Hooper