Forest’s Everton loanee Kieran Dowell opened the scoring with a 30-yard screamer just before the half-hour mark and increased his side’s lead in the second half with a neat finish from Barrie McKay’s cut-back.
Jarrod Bowen’s eighth goal of the season – a brilliant curling finish that found the top corner of Jordan Smith’s goal reduced the deficit but within minutes Forest had restored their two-goal cushion, Dowell completing his hat-trick after David Meyler felled substitute Tyler Walker in the box.
Michael Hector gave all of a black and amber persuasion fresh hope when he smashed home his first goal for the Club two minutes from time after a goalmouth scramble, but the visitors held on to claim all three points.
GOAL: The Tigers 0 Nottingham Forest 1 (Kieran Dowell)?
Hull had the better of the opening exchanges, dominating possession without threatening the Forest goal, and were made to pay for their lack of enterprise on 29 minutes when Dowell drove forward from midfield and unleashed an unstoppable strike which beat Alan McGregor low to his left.
CHANCE: Meyler Denied By Smith
David Meyler came close to an equaliser moments after the restart when the ball dropped to him inside the box from a corner, but Jordan Smith produced a superb reaction save to deny the Republic of Ireland international from close-range.
CHANCES: Opportunities At Both Ends
Kamil Grosicki saw an effort blocked after latching onto Jarrod Bowen’s pull-back as the half entered added time, with Forest then going close to doubling their lead when Ben Osborn’s superbly-struck volley came back off the crossbar.
GOAL: The Tigers 0 Nottingham Forest 2 (Kieran Dowell)
A well-crafted Forest move involving substitute Tyler Walker and Barrie McKay ended with Dowell sweeping home his second goal of the night with the help of the far post.
GOAL: The Tigers 1 (Jarrod Bowen) Nottingham Forest 2
Bowen breathed new life into the game when halved the Tigers’ deficit with a truly sublime strike. Picking up possession and turning inside onto his left foot, the Tigers’ top scorer curled a beautiful shot into the top corner from 18 yards.
GOAL: The Tigers 1 Nottingham Forest 3 (Kieran Dowell)
Forest responded well to conceding and restored their two-goal lead shortly after the restart. Seb Larsson gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Walker to burst into the box where he was brought down by Meyler. Dowell accepted the chance to complete a first career hat-trick and did so by slotting a cool spot-kick past McGregor.
GOAL: The Tigers 2 (Michael Hector) Nottingham Forest 3
Hopes of a comeback flickered again two minutes from time when Michael Hector fired home from close range after Forest failed to deal with a ball into their box, but despite throwing men forward during five minutes of added time there was to be no equaliser.
“We had a plan and I think our plan worked because we controlled the second ball zone and we had a lot of chances. We made some mistakes with our last pass, but when we conceded the first goal we needed to continue to play actively and our plan continued to work with chances created. If we could have made it 1-1 it would have become a new game. We tried to come back from 2-0 and 3-1 and I don’t have a problem with the character of the players or the team spirit. We made some mistakes and this is my first problem. We missed chances, but we had a lot of chances. Nottingham Forest took their chances, we didn’t.” Leonid Slutsky
“I think we were very good tonight for long spells of the game. Hull are a very talented team and this is a tough place to come but we defended our goal with a real passion and played some really good football. I’m delighted the players got their rewards at a venue like this. All over the park we put our bodies on the line for the team and that was terrific to see.” Mark Warburton
Hull City: Allan McGregor, Ola Aina, Michael Dawson, Michael Hector, Max Clark, David Meyler, Sebastian Larsson, Jarrod Bowen, Markus Henriksen (Jon Toral 46) (Nouha Dicko 53), Kamil Grosicki (Jackson Irvine 46), Fraizer Campbell.
Subs Not Used: David Marshall, Adama Diomande, Fikayo Tomori, Kevin Stewart.
Nottingham Forest: Jordan Smith, Eric Lichaj, Michael Mancienne, Liam Bridcutt, Barrie McKay (Jamie Ward 79), Ben Osborn, Kieran Dowell, David Vaughan (Andreas Bouchalakis 70), Tendayi Darikwa, Jason Cummings (Tyler Walker 70), Joe Worrall.
Subs Not Used: Stephen Henderson, Matt Mills, Zach Clough, Ben Brereton.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Assistant Referee 1: Nick Hopton
Assistant Referee 2: Nigel Lugg
Fourth Official: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 15,780 (1,279 Nottingham Forest fans)