Nottingham Forest slipped to defeat for the second time in four days on Saturday as Steve Bruce’s Hull City left with all three points following a controversial second-half goal.
The game proved to be an uninspiring spectacle for both sides, and in a dull first period two penalties were awarded by referee Gavin Ward.
The first spot-kick fell to the visitors and Robert Koren converted well to give his side the lead after a tangle of legs between Tigers’ midfielder David Meyler and Simon Gillett.
But the Reds levelled things up soon after through Billy Sharp when they were awarded a penalty of their own after the striker was brought down by James Chester.
And following the interval, Paul McShane bundled home the winner amid claims from many Reds’ players that the defender handled the ball in the process.
However, the referee waved away the disputes and Hull held out for an important win.
The encounter between the two promotion-chasing sides began with neither side really grasping any control of possession and both unable to force any clear-cut chances.
The Yorkshire outfit were first to test nearly half an hour into the match when Reds’ defender Elliott Ward was forced into clearing off his line after former Manchester United man Corry Evans hit a shot goalwards.
And soon after the Tigers were ahead when they were awarded a penalty after Forest midfielder Gillett was adjudged to have brought down Meyler as he advanced into the box. Former West Brom star Koren stepping up to send Lee Camp the wrong way.
The Reds looked to have some energy injected into them after the opening goal and were awarded with a spot-kick after their next attack as Sharp was tripped by Hull centre back Chester.
The Southampton loanee finished clinically from 12-yards putting the ball into the top-right corner of the goal beyond Tigers’ keeper David Stockdale to level the scores.
Chris Cohen has been on fine form in his last few appearances for Forest and could have put Sean O’Driscoll’s men ahead on the stroke of half time. However, the midfielder fired over when an Andy Reid corner fell to him.
The hosts started the second half brightly and had chances to take the lead. A well worked move led to Reid finding fellow midfielder Adlene Guedioura who was unlucky not to score as his shot from close-range curled narrowly wide.
James Coppinger made a rare appearance for the Reds and did well to find space down the right as he looked to pick out Sharp and Reid who were both free in the centre. However, his ball was cleared well by Chester.
Yet, it was the away side that took a shock lead with a goal that was highly contested by the Forest players and a big majority of the home crowd.
Koren’s dangerous in-swinging corner went through to McShane in front of goal and the Republic of Ireland international converted as Camp led protests that the defender had used his hand to bundle the ball home.
The calls from Forest players fell on deaf ears as referee Gavin Ward waved away the appeals allowing the goal to stand, much to the frustration of the City Ground home crowd.
Lewis McGugan and striker Dexter Blackstock were introduced to the action with 15 minutes remaining and Forest went in search of a late equaliser.
The Reds came close to making it all square when Reid’s corner fell to Sharp after Stockdale failed to deal with the ball – but the forward could only prod his effort wide of the target.
And in stoppage-time Stockdale denied Sharp again with a reaching finger-tip save following a good header after Reid had again picked out the striker.
Sean O’Driscoll’s men now sit in 9th position in the Championship table and are four points adrift of the final play-off position. The Reds face Burnley next at home on Saturday 8th December. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins(c), Harding, Gillett (McGugan, 75), Cohen (Blackstock, 75), Guedioura, Coppinger, Reid, Sharp.
Hull City: Stockdale, Chester, Evans, McLean (Proshwitz, 67), Koren(c) (Rosenior, 90), McShane, Elmohamady, Bruce, Quinn, Brady (Faye, 88), Meyler.
Man of the match (Forest): Andy Reid
Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance: 19,472 (Away: 1,740)