Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Forest
Nottingham Forest were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough this afternoon.
Fernando Forestieri's second-half strike was enough to beat a Forest side decimated by injury and suspension.
A knock to Dorus de Vries paved the way for Bulgarian goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov to make his first appearance of the season. Ryan Mendes was also absent, but Matt Mills returned to the side as captain following his suspension.
Mills was preferred to Eric Lichaj at right back, with Kelvin Wilson and Jack Hobbs forming The Reds' central defensive partnership. Dani Pinillos continued at left back.
Jamie Ward and Chris Burke provided width in a Forest midfield marshalled by Liam Trotter and David Vaughan, while Dexter Blackstock partnered Nelson Oliveira up front.
Former Red Jack Hunt started the match for Wednesday, although Lewis McGugan had to settle for a spot on the bench.
The visitors had the first glimpse of goal on ten minutes When Oliveira prepared to meet Ward's cross from the left. Owls skipper Glenn Loovens did well to flick the ball away.
It had been a quiet start from a Wednesday side who had beaten Arsenal 3-0 at Hillsborough on Tuesday, and the only real threat they could muster in the opening 15 minutes was a cross-cum-shot from Ross Wallace. The ball flew across goal and well wide.
Four minutes later, Ward had the chance to strike a free-kick goalwards after Oliveira was fouled 30 yards out. He curled the ball over the wall but straight at Kieren Westwood.
The match then entered a slight lull, broken on 26 minutes by an incisive Barry Bannan through ball which released Kieran Lee into the area. Wilson slid in well and, along with Evtimov, managed to block Lee's shot. The ball came back out for Pudil but Evtimov was equal to the former Watford man's effort.
David Vaughan became the first man to see yellow for a 30th-minute foul on Fernando Forestieri, but Wallace could only find the wall with his free-kick.
Both sides were struggling to carve out clear-cut chances but with eight minutes of the first half remaining The Reds came within inches of taking the lead. It all started with a superb turn by Oliveira in the centre circle, which allowed Forest to work the ball to Pinillos on half way. The Spaniard danced past a couple of challenges down the left, composed himself and swung a delightful cross into the middle. Ward arrived late to meet the ball but, agonisingly, his header clipped the post on its way wide.
Two minutes later Evtimov had to be on his toes to make a good save after Hunt spun and shot in the area, before Ward found himself in the book following an altercation with Jose Semedo.
It was transpiring to be a typically all-action display from Ward, who set up the final chance of the half when he did brilliantly to hook the ball into the middle from the left. Blackstock rose well to meet it but could only head the ball against his marker. Oliveira was just too far away to capitalise on the loose ball and the half ended goalless.
There were no changes for either side at the break and it was Wednesday who claimed the first chance of the second half. Bannan's deep cross picked out big forward Atdhe Nuhiu at the back post but he could only head the ball over.
Burke found himself in the book shortly afterwards, for unfairly halting a speedy Owls counter attack, and he was soon replaced by Ben Osborn.
But there was nothing the substitute could do to prevent his side from going behind on 68 minutes. Forestieri controlled the ball 30 yards out, worked space for a shot and, despite Osborn's attempted block, struck the ball goalwards. It bounced just before Evtimov on a skiddy surface, snuck underneath the Bulgarian's body and nestled in the net.
Forest had a half chance to respond almost immediately when a ball over the top gave Oliveira something to run on to. Wednesday's defence recovered sufficiently to prevent the Portuguese forward from pouncing, while Osborn's attempt on the follow up was also rebuffed.
Frustration was building for The Reds, something evidenced by Blackstock's booking following remonstrations with referee Jeremy Simpson.
And tensions boiled over shortly afterwards when Oliveira and Pudil clashed following a challenge near the dugouts. Both sets of players came together and Forestieri found himself in the book for his involvement.
Freedman's second substitution saw Jonny Williams replace Ward as the game entered its final stages.
Wednesday nearly made it 2-0 with ten minutes remaining when Jeremy Helan, on for Forestieri, laid the ball off for fellow substitute Joao. He could only fire the ball wide from eight yards.
Chris O'Grady was the next man on for Forest, replacing Hobbs as Freedman upped the ante in search of an equaliser.
But it was Wednesday who next went close, Joao showing superb feet on the edge of the area before firing the ball just over.
Four minutes were added on at the end of the match, during which Wednesday twice went close, but Forest were unable to find an equaliser.