Nottingham Forest came from behind to defeat nine-man Newcastle United at The City Ground this evening.
A close-range finish from Nicklas Bendtner and an own goal from former Forest man Jamaal Lascelles were enough to hand The Reds a third win on the bounce despite former Red Karl Darlow saving two first-half penalties from Bendtner and Henri Lansbury.
Philippe Montanier made three changes to the side that beat Barnsley seven days ago as Eric Lichaj, Bendtner and Matty Cash came in to replace Danny Fox, Apostolos Vellios and Joe Worrall. Britt Assombalonga was fit enough to take a place on the bench.
Newcastle had enjoyed the majority of the possession in the game's early stages but it was Forest who carved out the first goalscoring opportunity. Eric Lichaj's superb cross-field ball picked out Matty Cash inside the Newcastle penalty area and his first-time shot had to be pushed by former Reds goalkeeper Darlow.
The visitors responded well and were inches away from taking the lead through Ritchie. The Scotland international received the ball just outside the area from Shelvey's pass but his curling effort whistled narrowly wide of the post.
It had been a quiet opening half-hour to the contest but the game sparked into life on 33 minutes with Shelvey's sending-off. Newcastle cleared the ball from their penalty area but Lansbury had been left grounded by a kick from the former Liverpool man.
Referee Stephen Martin called Shelvey over, showed him a straight red card and awarded a penalty to the hosts. Bendtner stepped up and struck the spot-kick but Darlow made a strong save to push the ball away and keep the scores level.
Ciaran Clark had the ball in the net soon after for Newcastle but his goal was disallowed for a push on a Forest defender but Rafael Benitez's side would get the advantage in first-half stoppage time through Ritchie.
Vladimir Stojkovic bowled the ball out to Cash in midfield, he was robbed of possession and that allowed Newcastle to break forward at speed. The ball fell kindly to Ritchie on the edge of the box and he lashed a shot past Stojkovic and into the corner of the net.
Unbelievably, the first-half drama wasn't over as Newcastle were brought down to nine men and Forest were awarded another penalty. Dummett brought down Lansbury inside the box as he went one-on-one with Darlow and the defender was given his marching order. Lansbury took the penalty but Darlow made another terrific save to ensure the visitors would stay ahead at the break.
Montanier replaced Michael Mancienne with Assombalonga at half-time and it took Forest only seven second-half minutes to get level. Darlow made a terrific save at point-blank range to deny Bendtner but the Danish striker was able to tap home the rebound to equalise.
Mustapha Carayol then came on midway through the second half to replace Thomas Lam and made a positive impact. The former Middlesbrough winger cut inside from the left-hand channel and shot towards goal but Darlow got down low to make the save.
Forest had been pushing for that all-important second goal throughout the second half and they finally made their pressure pay with four minutes to go. Lansbury's corner caused mayhem inside the Newcastle penalty area and the ball was diverted past Darlow by the unfortunate Lascelles.
There were four minutes of added time at the end of the game but Newcastle couldn't find a late leveller and Forest took all three points to ensure they will go into the East Midlands derby on the back of three consecutive victories.
Forest: Stojkovic, Cash, Mancienne (Assombalonga 46'), Mills, Perquis, Lichaj, Lam (Carayol 65'), Kasami, Lansbury (c), Osborn, Bendtner (Vellios 79')
Subs not used: Henderson, Vaughan, Hobbs, Grant
Goals: Bendtner 52', Lascelles (o.g.) 86'
Bookings: Mancienne 44', Lansbury 71'
Newcastle: Darlow, Clark, Dummett, Lascelles (c), Yedlin, Shelvey, Hayden, Perez (Anita 46'), Gouffran (Diame 76'), Gayle (Mitrovic 87')
Subs not used: Sels, Mbemba, Tiote, Atsu
Goal: Ritchie 45'
Bookings: Darlow 45', Gouffran 53'
Red cards: Shelvey 33', Dummett 45'
Referee: Stephen Martin
Attendance: 21,317 (1,866 away)