Nottingham Forest were defeated for only the second time on the road this season as strugglers Ipswich Town made the most of some lapses in concentration on Tuesday evening.
Senegalese midfielder Guirane N’Daw put the Tractor Boys ahead when he pounced on a loose ball to finish into an open net after a failed clearance from Reds’ keeper Lee Camp.
But, after the break Dexter Blackstock got Forest straight back on terms when he squeezed in a near post effort just before the hour mark.
However, the lead was swiped away almost immediately as referee Andy D’Urso awarded the home side a contentious penalty, adjudging Danny Collins to have brought down striker DJ Campbell.
The spot-kick was netted at the second time of asking as Camp saved well from Campbell before the ball parried out finding youngster Luke Hyam to slot home.
And at the death Ipswich made it look comfortable by adding a third goal when substitute Daryl Murphy caught the Reds out in defence before beating the on rushing Camp.
The game started with little in the way of chances but did provide an early scare for Forest fans as Blackstock went down injured under a challenge from former Reds’ defender Luke Chambers. Yet, following treatment on his shoulder the striker was back on his feet.
The home side were the first to test as former Forest loanee Lee Martin provided some neat work down the left before finding Town striker Tommy Smith in the box who could only head straight at Camp.
The away keeper then provided a heart-in-mouth moment when he rushed out of his area before appearing to bring down Campbell. However, much to the frustration of the home fans referee D’Urso only branded a yellow card.
The Reds’ first real opportunity came after some good work by Henri Lansbury to gain possession and find Blackstock. The Antigua and Barbuda international could have picked out an unmarked Billy Sharp but went for goal himself forcing a save from Ipswich shot-stopper Stephen Henderson.
Yet, it was the hosts that opened the scoring following a mix-up at the back from Forest as Collins and Camp both failed to clear a loose ball allowing midfielder N’Daw to nick in and fire into an empty net.
The visitors immediately went in search of an equaliser and came close through Adlene Guedioura’s powerful driven free-kick – the effort was shielded away well by Henderson before falling to Elliott Ward who worked the keeper more with a well-struck volley.
And just before the break Henderson was called upon again to make a wonderful save, denying Sharp’s menacing strike with great reach to push the ball onto the bar after Alan Hutton had picked out the forward.
Ipswich were out of the blocks quickly in the second period and ex-Blackburn man Bradley Orr nearly doubled their advantage when his dangerous shot from the edge of the area dipped just wide of the goal.
But soon after it was Forest who levelled following a neatly worked goal - Chris Cohen threaded a pass through to Sharp down the left and the Southampton loanee looked up to find Blackstock at the near post who reacted first to tap in from close-range.
The equaliser was surpassed only minutes later as Ipswich again took the lead. Referee D’Urso ruled Collins to have brought down Campbell in the area, although the frontman appeared to have slipped.
Camp guessed well, punching the spot-kick away low to his left but Hyam followed up to score his first senior goal, giving Ipswich the lead.
And a minute from time the home side scored again - it was Andy Reid’s turn to have a lapse in concentration as the midfielder gave the ball away clumsily to fellow Irishman Murphy. The Celtic loanee did the rest, dispatching the ball past an advancing Camp.
The defeat sees the Reds drop to ninth in the Championship table and three points adrift of the play-offs. Forest are back at the City Ground on Saturday 1st December as they take on fellow play-off hopefuls Hull City. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Ipswich Town: Henderson, Cresswell, Chambers, Campbell (Chopra 88), Edwards, N’Daw, Martin, Hyam (Drury 85), Smith, Orr, Barnett (Murphy 57).
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins, Harding (McGugan 78), Gillett (Reid 45), Cohen, Guedioura, Lansbury (Coppinger 45), Sharp, Blackstock.
Referee: Andy D’Urso.
Man of the match (Forest): Chris Cohen.