Hull’s weak promotion challenge continued, Steve Bruce’s side taking only a point at home for the fourth time in a row as Nottingham Forest, with former first-team coach Paul Williams in charge for the first time after the sacking of Dougie Freedman on Sunday, held them to a draw that sees them slip to fourth place in the Championship table.
Substitute Sone Aluko rescued them with a 73rd-minute equaliser after Gary Gardner had fired Forest in front from 35 yards in the first half but it was another frustrating night for Hull, who have won only one of their last six matches.
Hull arguably should have been ahead after 16 minutes when Abel Hernandez’s shot came back off the post after Forest defender Michael Mancienne’s failure to cut out a Robert Snodgrass through ball let him through on goal. The rebound ran straight to Mo Diamé, but he could not find a way past Dorus de Vries.
In the event it was the closest Hull were to a goal in the first half as their patchy run of results threatened to continue. To make matters worse, they fell behind to a stunning goal struck from all of 35 yards by Gardner.
Forest had threatened a couple of times through Federico Macheda, the former Manchester United striker who has joined them on loan from Cardiff, but there seemed no danger to the Hull goal when Ben Osborn and Ryan Mendes combined with Gardner in working the ball inside from the left.
But the 23-year-old midfielder, in his second spell with Forest on loan from Aston Villa, saw an opportunity and took aim, driving the ball hard and true into the top corner of the goal, giving Allan McGregor no chance.
It made for the perfect start for Williams, who was promoted from first-team coach after Forest dismissed Freedman following a run of five defeats in six matches.
Hull began the second half on the front foot, as they had the first, with De Vries quickly into the action, saving from Tom Huddlestone and Diamé. Forest looked solid at the back, however, prompting Bruce to give himself another attacking option by sending on Aluko in place of right-back Moses Odubajo, asking wing back Ahmed Elmohamady to provide cover at the back.
Forest went close through Oliver Burke, who had replaced a tiring Macheda, but Hull’s persistence in trying to break down a disciplined opponent paid off after 73 minutes, with an element of luck after a deflected shot by Huddlestone looped up kindly for Aluko, who was able to poke the ball past De Vries unopposed.
Hull City (4-4-1-1): McGregor; Odubajo (Aluko, 58), Dawson, Davies, Robertson (Akpom, 80); Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Clucas, Snodgrass; Diamé; Hernandez. Substitutes not used Jakupovic (gk), Bruce, Maguire, Hayden, Diomandé.
Nottingham Forest (4-1-4-1): De Vries; Lichaj, Mills, Mancienne, Jokic; Vaughan; Mendes (Blackstock, 85), Cohen (Tesche, 72), Gardner, Osborne; Macheda (Burke, 58).Substitutes not used Evtimov (gk), Wilson, Blackstock, Tesche, Walker, O Burke, Grant.
Referee A Davies (Hampshire).Reuse content