Forest 0-1 Hull
Nottingham Forest suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Hull City.
A first-half goal from Abel Hernandez, who had earlier seen a penalty saved by Dorus de Vries, was enough to earn his side the points despite a positive Forest display.
The Reds' second-half frustrations were compounded late on when Matt Mills was red-carded for a foul on former Forest loanee Chuba Akpom.
Dougie Freedman made two changes to the team that drew at Huddersfield last Thursday.
Mills completed his return from a hamstring injury, while Nelson Oliveira was selected on the left of a three-pronged alongside Chris O’Grady and Ryan Mendes. Kelvin Wilson and Jamie Ward dropped to the bench.
The game started as it meant to go on - in frantic fashion. With only two minutes on the clock Forest came close to taking the lead when Mills met Lansbury’s low corner. Under pressure, he couldn’t turn the ball goalwards and Curtis Davies was on hand to block Lansbury’s cross after he picked up the scraps.
Hull wing back Ahmed Elmohamady then showed his threat twice in as many minutes, producing crosses from the right for Mohammed Diame and Hernandez respectively. De Vries made comfortable saves from both headed efforts.
Oliveira told Forest Player HD of his keenness to get gametime in midweek, and he was certainly looking keen to impress in the early exchanges. He did brilliantly to take the ball in his stride following good work by Mendes and David Vaughan. Oliveira had the pace to get away from his man and into a long-range shooting position, but he could only blaze the ball high and wide.
The Portuguese international was involved again on 15 minutes, receiving the ball from Lansbury outside the area. Oliveira didn’t look like he had sufficient space but he curled the ball towards the bottom corner, drawing a full-stretch save from Tigers keeper Allan McGregor.
Lansbury’s subsequent corner was drilled fairly low once again, with Mancienne the recipient this time. The defensive midfielder didn’t catch it cleanly, however, sending the ball harmlessly wide.
On 19 minutes it was the away side’s turn to go close. Agonisingly close, in fact, as Diame sent the ball crashing off the post with a long-range thunderbolt.
Forest had a golden opportunity of their own shortly afterwards when Lichaj’s quick throw gave Mendes the chance to flick the ball over the top for O’Grady. Mendes continued his run to O’Grady’s left in an attempt to offer an angle for a square pass but O’Grady opted to go it alone. A Hull defender managed to divert the ball behind for a corner.
The tempo of the match suggested something would have to give eventually, and Hull had the perfect opportunity to break the deadlock on 29 minutes. Jake Livermore’s excellent through ball allowed Shaun Maloney to get goalside of Mills who, according to referee Nigel Miller, bundled the midfielder over in the area.
Hernandez stepped up with an unorthodox run up but was thwarted by de Vries, who made an excellent save with his feet.
It was an edgy affair at this stage and Hull defender Davies found himself in the book on 33 minutes for a foul on Henri Lansbury.
Davies’ side were showing no signs of letting the penalty miss get to them, however, as they pushed forward in search of the elusive opening goal. Marauding left back Moses Odubajo forced a slip from Lichaj near the byline and crossed the ball dangerously towards Hernandez. Hobbs was on hand to make an important headed clearance.
With half-time approaching, Livermore flashed the ball wide from 22 yards, before Vaughan’s through ball drifted slightly too far away from Mendes for him to strike the ball cleanly in the area.
Just as it appeared the game would, somehow, be level at the break, however, Hull took the lead in strange circumstances. Diame did well to win a corner, which was taken quickly by Moloney. Forest had barely reacted by the time Hernandez turned the ball into the net from close range and de Vries was booked for furious protestations with the linesman while Hernandez celebrated his goal.
The atmosphere was now even more tense and former Forest defender Michael Dawson found himself in the book for putting in a high foot on O’Grady.
Hull’s Sam Clucas brought the first-half action to a close with a curling effort from outside the area. De Vries and his defenders dealt with it and headed into the break 1-0 down.
The game showed no signs of slowing down after the two teams remerged unchanged for the second half. Livermore saw a shot blocked in the area before Oliveira's low effort was pushed wide by the keeper.
Freedman was forced into making his first change on 56 minutes when Michael Mancienne hobbled off the field with an injury. Kyle Ebecilio replaced him.
The Reds worked a good chance to equalise shortly before the hour when they broke following a spell of Hull pressure. Mendes' pace allowed him to carry the ball well into Hull's half before he slipped it to O'Grady to his left. The forward cut inside in the area but his shot was wild.
De Vries was then tested at the other end as he was forced into making a good save low down to his left after Dawson's controlled volley from a corner.
Two minutes later, Huddlestone's failed trick in the area presented O'Grady with the ball in a dangerous position. He tried to square it for Mendes in the middle but a Hull defender positioned himself well to clear the danger.
Goalscorer Hernandez was replaced by Akpom on 74 minutes, Hull's second substitution after Sone Aluko earlier came on for Diame.
Frustration was beginning to creep in for Forest as the game entered its final 15 minutes. The feeling was compounded when Oliveira flashed the ball just wide of the post after receiving the ball from Lansbury and turning quickly 20 yards out.
Another injury forced Freedman's hand shortly afterwards as Ebecilio, the substitute, was substituted. Ward was his replacement.
Ebecilio's last action was to win a free-kick for his side, one which Lansbury was unable to make count. He curled the ball low and a couple of yards wide.
It was all Forest at this stage and Ward provided fresh impetus with 12 minutes to go when he drove the ball through midfield before supplying Mendes to his right. The Cape verde international flashed the ball low across goal and wide of the far post.
And Ward caused more problems moments later when his 25-yarder swerved on its way towards goal, forcing a somewhat panicky save by McGregor.
Freedman's final throw of the dice saw Tyler Walker replace Mendes, but any hope the youngster had of making an immediate impact was curtailed by a brawl between the two teams after Lichaj opted to play on with Tigers substitute David Meyler lying injured in midfield. Hull had failed to put the ball out when earlier in possession and, after winning a corner, Lichaj was crowded out by a number of Hull players. The American was booked for his part in the altercation, as was Hull's Sam Clucas.
And the scrappy nature of the game's final stages claimed a victim in Mills who was sent off for a foul on Akpom with three minutes to go.
Still Forest pressed, however, and in the last minute of normal time they came so close to finding an equaliser. Daniel Pinillos' deep cross found Walker unmarked at the back post. The youngster volleyed the ball goalwards but Davies managed to turn it over the bar with his head.
Six minutes of added time were allocated at the end of the match but Forest were unable to break down the visitors, the match ending 1-0 to Steve Bruce's side.
Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mills, Hobbs, Pinillos, Mancienne (Ebecilio 56' (Ward 77')), Lansbury (c), Vaughan, Mendes (Walker 82'), O'Grady, Oliveira
Subs not used: Evtimov, Fox, Williams, C.Burke
Bookings: Mills 29', De Vries 41', Lichaj 85'
Sent off: Mills 87'
: McGregor, Odubajo, Davies, Dawson, Elmohamady, Clucas, Livermore, Huddlestone (HullMeyler 79'), Diame (Aluko 69'), Maloney, Hernandez (Akpom 74')
Subs not used: Jakupovic, Bruce, Maguire, Robertson
Goal: Hernandez 41'
Bookings: Davies 33', Dawson 42', Clucas 85'
Referee: Nigel Miller
Attendance: 20,985 (1,952 away)