The Championship leaders Leicester went ahead, fell behind and had a man sent off on Wednesday night, yet still managed to pick up a point from a pulsating East Midlands derby to stretch their unbeaten run to 12 matches.
Two goals in four minutes late in the first half gave Forest the edge in their quest to finish in the top two, one that was strengthened when Paul Konchesky was shown a straight red card for a foul with 30 minutes to go.
But Leicester grabbed a late equaliser through substitute Riyad Manrez from a follow-up move after a Kevin Phillips penalty had been saved, leaving Forest still five points behind second-placed Burnley, whom they meet on Saturday.
Forest set the early pace, with Kasper Schmeichel saving from Jamie Paterson’s shot and a Danny Collins header. So it was against the balance of chances, if not quite the run of play, that Leicester went ahead in the 29th minute. Forest keeper Karl Darlow, impeded by team-mate Jamaal Lascelles, punched the ball off the head of David Nugent but sent it directly to Jamie Vardy, who took a touch before slotting the ball into the net.
Advantage in the game swung back to Forest with two goals in four minutes. The first was a header from almost the edge of the penalty area by Paterson after Andy Reid’s corner had been only half-cleared, the second a penalty scored by Reid after Wes Morgan, the former Forest defender, was caught in possession by Jamie Mackie and then brought him down.
Leicester mounted a strong response, and Nugent dragged wide when presented with a clear chance to equalise. But they might have gone further behind when Collins drove the ball narrowly wide. Then came the leveller from the Algerian winger Mahrez, scoring his first goal for Leicester.
Goals. Nottingham Forest 2: Paterson 39, Reid pen 43. Leicester City: Vardy 29, Mahrez 82
Nottingham Forest (4-2-3-1): Darlow; Halford, Lascelles, Collins, Fox (Harding, 78); Jara, Reid (Djebbour, 86); Mackie, Majewski, Paterson; Cox (Henderson, 62).
Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Wasilewski, Morgan, Konchesky; Knockaert (Mahrez, 70), James, Drinkwater, Dyer (Moore, 64); Vardy, Nugent (Phillips, 71).
Referee A Taylor (Greater Manchester).