Nottingham Forest's play-off hopes were dealt a blow this evening after they were beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa at The City Ground.
Jack Colback's fourth minute opener got The Reds off to a great start but two strikes from Villa's John McGinn before Kortney Hause's goal sealed the three points for the visitors.
Martin O'Neill made two changes to the side that beat Hull City at the weekend with Karim Ansarifard and Joao Carvalho coming into the side to replace Daryl Murphy and Leo Bonatini who dropped to the bench.
The Reds got off to the perfect start after just four minutes when Colback put his side into the lead. A superb run from Joe Lolley brought Forest forward before he played the ball out wide to the midfielder. Colback saw Jed Steer off his line and lobbed the ball over his head. But like the previous fixture between the two teams, there was quickly a second goal.
A long ball forward was latched onto by John McGinn who beat Colback in a race before cutting inside in the penalty area and lashing the ball past Costel Pantilimon to put Villa level. The visitors could have taken the lead soon after when a corner found the head of Tammy Abraham who was free, but he headed it wide of the target.
The Villans were in the ascendancy and they thought they had scored when a Jack Grealish free-kick found the head of Anwar El Ghazi at the back post who headed home, but he was offside. McGinn then had his and Villa's second of the night on 15 minutes when he drilled in a low effort which hit the post and bounced in.
Pele had a glorious chance to draw his side level on 24 minutes when a Lolley free-kick went all the way through to the midfielder at the back post who hit it first time, seeing his strike go narrowly over the target.
Karim Ansarifard was unlucky when he intercepted a loose pass, allowing him to go through on goal, before Kortney Hause hauled him down. The defender was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean. Ansarifard was then shown a yellow card himself for simulation on the edge of the Villa box.
An action-packed first half continued as Tammy Abraham twisted in the box before unleashing a low shot which Pantilimon did well to push away for a corner. The Reds heaped on the pressure before the break but couldn't break down a resolute Villa defence who went into the break a goal up.
Just two minutes into the second half and Forest had a goal disallowed through Yohan Benalouane who headed in from a corner, but he was ruled to have pushed the Villa defender. A tidy piece of play from The Reds allowed Lolley the chance to shoot who took on a volleyed effort from outside the area, which sailed wide of the target. Alex Milosevic was then shown a yellow card for bringing down Grealish who looked to break forward.
From the resultant free-kick, the ball was bundled home by Hause who put the away side 3-1 up, leaving Forest with it all to do for the remainder of the game. Forest then made their first substitution with Daryl Murphy replacing Ansarifard. Full-back Neil Taylor was also shown a yellow card for time wasting.
Adlene Guedioura was the next man to come on for The Reds in place of Pele, before Diogo Goncalves replaced Ryan Yates with 15 minutes remaining. There was then a change in officials as the fourth official took the place of the linesman.
Forest were inches away from grabbing a goal back when a teasing Lolley cross just needed a touch from Murphy, but the substitute failed to connect with it properly allowing 'keeper Jed Steer to claim it. The Reds began to get frustrated and Colback was next to be shown a yellow card.
Villa then hit the post on the break as McGinn raced into the area and drilled a low effort against the far before Lolley shot wide of the target at the other end as Forest's four-match unbeaten run came to an end.
Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Milosevic, Benalouane, Osborn, Colback, Pele (Guedioura 71'), Yates (Goncalves 76'), Carvalho, Lolley, Ansarifard (Murphy 62')
Subs not used: Steele, Watson, Wague, Bonatini
Goal: Colback 3'
Bookings: Ansarifard 29', Milosevic 61', Colback 86'
Aston Villa: Steer, Taylor, Mings, Hause, Elmohamady, McGinn, Grealish (Whelan 87'), Hourihane, El Ghazi (Adomah 64'), Abraham (Kodjia 72'), Green
Subs not used: Kalinic, Carroll, Jedinak, Bjarnason
Goals: McGinn 7', 15', Hause 61'
Bookings: Hause 27', Taylor 65', Kodjia 90'
Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 29,224 (2,002 away)