Goals either side of the break from Josh Magennis and Jarrod Bowen were enough to secure the points for Grant McCann’s men, despite Matty Cash pulling a goal back for the hosts and Magennis’ 68th-minute dismissal.
The Tigers’ Head Coach made four changes to his starting eleven from the side the lost 3-2 to Queens Park Rangers on home soil at the weekend. Jordy de Wijs returned from injury to replace Ryan Tafazolli at the heart of the back four.
Two midfield switches saw Jon Toral and Leonardo Da Silva Lopes come into the side in place of Kevin Stewart and George Honeyman with the fourth and final change was Magennis replacing Tom Eaves up front.
Wearing the Club’s 2019/20 third kit for the first time, the Tigers carved out the first opening of the game – ironically – in the third minute. Toral led a quick counter from inside his own half before finding Bowen, who sent a low effort wide of the target after checking onto his left-foot.
Positive play from Kamil Grosicki down the left flank resulted in the Polish winger sending a low cross into the box on 13 minutes, but neither Magennis or Bowen were able to apply a finishing touch as Brice Samba mopped up the danger.
Referee Oliver Langford produced the first yellow card of the evening on the quarter-hour mark with Forest’s Tiago Silva booked for a rash challenge on Lopes midway inside the Tigers’ half.
Forest were unable to capitalise on two dangerous crosses from Sammy Ameobi and Carvalho before – at the other end – Jon Toral’s shot forced Samba into action, with the Forest keeper parrying the effort away from goal.
The Tigers’ best chance of the game so far came 29 minutes in following a fine run down the left from Grosicki. His low pass found Bowen in space inside the box, only for the winger to see his close-range effort superbly kept out by Samba.
The home side wasted a glorious opportunity themselves three minutes later. Joe Lolley’s delivery from a corner on the right was met by Lewis Grabban, but the Forest front-man couldn’t keep his header down when well-placed inside the six-yard box.
And Forest were made to pay for the miss when the Tigers took the lead seven minutes before the break. Callum Elder broke down the left and found Toral. The Spanish midfielder sent an effort towards goal which Bamba looked to have covered until it was diverted into the back of the net by Magennis from close-range.
Sabri Lamouchi’s side almost produced an instant response when Lolley’s shot was parried by Long, who showed fantastic reactions to get up and push the ball away from Grabban as the striker looked to pounce on the loose ball.
Jack Robinson was booked for a cynical foul on Grosicki as Tigers looked to break away before Forest saw two penalty appeals in quick succession waved away by Langford in what proved to be the final action of the first 45 minutes.
An action-packed start to the second half saw a Bowen volley parried away by Samba, but the 22-year-old was not to be denied a seventh goal of the season just three minutes after the restart. Grosicki’s pass released Toral, who sprang the offside trap, before squaring the ball for Bowen to finish into the bottom corner.
The two-goal lead didn’t last long though as Forest pulled one back on 53 minutes through Cash. The midfielder was allowed to work his way into the Tigers’ box far too easily before poking an effort past Long.
A first substitution came just after the hour mark as the hosts introduced Ryan Yates into the action in place of Carvalho, before Magennis dragged effort on the turn from 20 yards wide of the target.
McCann responded with a change of his own on 64 minutes, although this was an enforced switch as de Wijs hobbled off to be replaced by Tafazolli.
The home crowd – along with the Forest players and bench – were incensed when another penalty appeal was ignored by the officials. Ameobi went down under Lichaj’s challenge but once again play was allowed to continue.
The drama continued moments later when the Tigers were reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Magennis for a foul on Ben Watson. The Forest players surrounded the referee demanding he produced a red card and got their wish when Langford eventually gave the Northern Irishman his marching orders.
McCann responded with a double change on 72 minutes, with Norbert Balogh and George Honeyman brought on in place of Jon Toral and Kamil Grosicki, while Lamouchi made his second substitution of the evening when replacing Ameobi with Albert Adomah.
A third Forest change followed ten minutes from time as the hosts signalled their intentions with striker Rafa Mir replacing full-back Robinson. Long was on hand to push the Spaniard’s header from Silva’s free-kick behind and – from the resulting corner – Joe Worrall rose the highest inside the box, but could only guide his glancing header wide of the far post.
Bowen was booked for kicking the ball on 88 minutes and was quickly followed into the referee’s notebook by Long for time-wasting.
Reece Burke produced a vital block to divert Lolley’s curling effort from the edge of the box over the bar in what proved to be the only serious threat to either goal in five minutes of stoppage-time as the Tigers held on to record a hard-earned win at The City Ground.
Hull City: George Long, Eric Lichaj, Jordy de Wijs (Ryan Tafazolli 64), Reece Burke, Jon Toral (Norbert Balogh 72), Kamil Grosicki (George Honeyman 72), Jarrod Bowen, Callum Elder, Josh Magennis, Jackson Irvine, Leonardo Da Silva Lopes.
Subs Not Used: Matt Ingram, Kevin Stewart, Tom Eaves, Josh Bowler.
Nottingham Forest: Brice Samba, Matty Cash, Joe Worrall, Chema Rodriguez, Jack Robinson (Rafa Mir 80), Ben Watson, Tiago Silva, Joao Carvalho (Ryan Yates 61), Sammy Ameobi (Albert Adomah 72), Joe Lolley, Lewis Grabban.
Subs Not Used: Aro Muric, Yuri Riberio, Tobias Figueiredo, Brennan Johnson.
Att: 27,624 (690 Hull City fans)
Referee: Oliver Langford