Nottingham Forest claimed their first win in seven matches after an impressive display was enough to beat Birmingham City 3-1 this evening.
Goals from Eric Lichaj, Apostolos Vellios and a wonderful finish from Hildeberto Pereira saw The Reds become only the second team to beat Gary Rowett's side in the league this season.
Head coach Philippe Montanier made four changes from the side beaten 2-1 at Bristol City before the international break. Armand Traore, David Vaughan, Mustapha Carayol and Nicklas Bendtner replaced Hildeberto Pereira, Pajtim Kasami, Nicolao Dumitru-Cardoso and Apostolos Vellios in the starting line-up. Montanier took his place in the stands as he served the first of a two-match touchline ban.
The home side started brightly with both Ben Osborn and Henri Lansbury trying their luck from distance within the opening five minutes only to see Adam Legzdins in the Birmingham goal equal to the task.
Four minutes later it looked as though Forest had taken the lead through Lansbury but his effort was ruled out. After a foul on Osborn on the edge of the penalty area on the left-hand side, Lansbury's free-kick evaded both sets of players in the box and went straight in, only to see the linesman flag for offside and chalk his goal off.
The Reds continued to press forward and on 21 minutes Bendtner saw his header drift wide of the far post. The Dane out-jumped the Birmingham defence and directed a Lansbury free-kick just inches wide of Legzdins' goal.
The striker was involved again on 33 minutes when he turned provider to set up Lichaj for his first goal of the season. After patient build-up play around The Blues' penalty area, Bendtner picked out the American and his wonderful, chested control enabled him to fizz a right-foot half-volley into the far corner to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Birmingham started the second half in a more controlled manner retaining possession well without really testing Stojkovic. The home side however continued to look dangerous on the break with Carayol in particular proving to be a constant threat with his pace.
Another threat to The Blues was the delivery from Lansbury and it was the former Arsenal man whose inch-perfect cross set up Forest's second goal. After replacing the injured Bendtner, it was Vellios who slid in on 63 minutes to turn Lansbury's cross past Legzdins in the Birmingham goal. It was the Greek international's fifth goal of the season.
The Reds looked in control of the match and there was little real threat coming from the visitors, however that all changed on 71 minutes when Lukas Jutkiewicz pulled one back after he nodded home from a high delivery to the back post.
A nervy ten minutes followed for the home side but after Pereira came on as a substitute for Carayol that would all change
On 83 minutes the Portuguese defender picked up the ball inside the Forest half and never looked back. After carrying the ball for 40 yards, Pereira found Osborn on the left and his cross was met by the defender, who had continued his run, and he side-footed home to restore the hosts' two-goal advantage.
That was to prove to be the knockout blow for Forest who secured a fantastic victory after returning from the international break. Re-energised and refreshed, they now turn their attentions to the game at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night.
Forest: Stojkovic, Lichaj, Mills, Perquis, Traore (Pereira 76'), Carayol (Lam 82'), Cohen, Vaughan, Lansbury, Osborn, Bendtner (Vellios 56')
Subs not used: Henderson, Dumitru-Cardoso, Kasami, Grant
Goals: Lichaj 33', Vellios 63', Pereira 83'
Bookings: Mills 66', Pereira 90'
: Legzdins, Grounds, Shotton, Morrison (c), Robinson, Maghoma (BirminghamDonaldson 70'), Davis (Brown 87'), Gleeson, Cotterill, Adams (Fabbrini 64'), Jutkiewicz
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Kieftenbeld, Wiggins, Stewart
Goal: Jutkiewicz 72'
Bookings: Grounds 20', Robinson 78', Davis 86'
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Attendance: 19,208 (1,957 away)