Forest led 2-0 before Jarrod Bowen’s eighth goal of the season gave the home side hope. However, Kieran Dowell completed a hat-trick to again take the visitors two goals clear meaning Michael Hector’s late strike proved to be in vain.
Leonid Slutsky made two changes to his starting eleven as David Meyler returned from suspension to take the place of Kevin Stewart in midfield, while Fraizer Campbell replaced Nouha Dicko in attack.
A minute’s applause was held in memory of former Hull City striker Les Mutrie ahead of kick-off and ‘Sir Les’ would no doubt have been impressed with the bright start the Tigers made to the game. Jarrod Bowen’s run down the right and into the box saw him just fail to pick out a man inside the six-yard area while Kamil Grosicki poked an effort wide inside the opening five minutes.
Forest’s first threat came through Ben Osborn who saw a shot deflected wide by Ola Aina before David Vaughan was booked for chopping down Meyler.
Forest took the lead with 29 minutes on the clock. Dowell picked up possession and advanced towards the Tigers’ box before sending a powerful low drive into the corner of the net.
The home side responded with Grosicki sending a shot in the hands of Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith, with the stopper then making a fine stop to keep out Meyler’s close-range effort.
Grosicki saw an effort blocked as the half entered added time, with Forest then going close to doubling their lead when Osborn’s beautiful volley came back off the crossbar.
The Tigers made a double change at half time with Jon Toral and Jackson Irvine replacing Markus Henriksen and Grosicki.
However, Toral’s evening lasted just eight minutes before he pulled up injured and had to be replaced by Dicko.
Bowen saw a dangerous cross to the near post cut out by Smith with the goalkeeper then just about managing to keep out Campbell’s shot from just inside the box.
Seb Larsson picked up a booking when pulling at a red shirt to deny the visitors a dangerous counter-attack and as the hour mark arrived it was Forest who were controlling large parts of the game.
Campbell saw a header cleared off the line from Bowen’s deep corner as it began increasingly to look like being ‘one of those nights’ for the Tigers, with Irvine going into the book for a foul on Barrie McKay.
Michael Dawson was the next man into the book for his attempted trip on Dowell, and it was Dowell who doubled Forest’s lead 19 minutes from time when he fired in off the post after a nice set-up from McKay.
Max Clark was booked for a mistimed challenge on Tyler Walker before the Tigers pulled a goal back through a sublime strike from Jarrod Bowen in the 76th minute. Picking up possession and turning inside onto his left foot, the Tigers’ top scorer curled a beautiful shot into the far corner from 18 yards.
However, hopes of a comeback were soon ended as Forest were awarded a penalty when Walker went down inside the box under Meyler’s challenge. Dowell stepped up to the spot and completed his hat-trick by sending Allan McGregor the wrong way.
Those hopes of a comeback flickered again two minutes from time when 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.
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: Mr J. Simpson.
Attendance: 15,780 (1,279 Visiting Supporters).