Sheffield Wednesday's dominance made for such a one-sided contest that a sparse Hillsborough crowd might have seen a raw night warmed by a feast of goals.
In the event, the home contingent were more than content to see David Pleat's latest overseas imports, the elegant Dutch midfielder Orlando Trustfull and the slippery Italian winger Benito Carbone, make their mark for the first time to leave bottom-of-the-table Forest wearing the haunted look of relegation fodder.
The Sheffield side had to look back to 2 September for their last win, raising fears for their own future, but the gap between themselves and Forest last night looked enormous. They should have led long before Trustfull broke the deadlock with more than an hour gone and had to wait until the last five minutes before Carbone, the pounds 3m club record signing from Internazionale, to make victory secure with a spectacular strike from 20 yards.
Not that Forest had offered any worthwhile response at any stage. They have been on the slide since the opening day of the season, when they misled themselves as much as anyone by beating Coventry 3-0 away from home. A subsequent run of 12 matches without another win has drained them of all confidence and unless one of the bidders lined up to take over the club can inject substantial funds and a change of mood, it is difficult to foresee an escape from their present predicament.
After a 10-match absence through injury, Forest welcomed back Kevin Campbell, scorer of all three goals at Coventry, but with negligible service from a midfield lacking a creative force his presence was inconsequential. Wednesday set off on a wave of attacks in the opening minutes and only their own poor finishing combined with the defiance of Forest goalkeeper Mark Crossley deprived them of a scoreline to reflect their superiority.
In the first 13 minutes, Crossley's bulky presence denied Mark Pembridge and Andy Booth and a fine save thwarted Jon Newsome's header. Graham Hyde dragged an inviting chance wide and Crossley saved Forest again before half-time by pushing Regi Blinker's fiercely struck drive away for a corner, with the help of his right-hand post.
The pattern of the first half repeated itself in the second. But just as the home side seemed to have forgotten how to score, Trustfull, Pleat's September signing from Feyenoord, stabbed the ball home from close range after Newsome had headed Carbone's deep corner back into the six-yard box.
Even then, Wednesday seemed reluctant to properly impose themselves until at last, through Carbone, whose quiet performance had been overshadowed by that of Trustfull, they gained late breathing space. The Italian celebrated with a Klinsmann-style dive across the frosty turf as Forest contemplated a bitter winter ahead of them.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-5-1): Pressman; Atherton, Newsome, Walker, Nolan; Carbone, Hyde (Stefanovic, 88), Trustfull (Oakes, 80), Pembridge, Blinker; Booth (Humphries, 88). Substitutes not used: Whittingham, Clarke (gk).
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle, Blatherwick, Cooper, Pearce; Phillips, Jerkan (Gemmill, 80), Haaland, Woan (Allen, 71); Saunders, Campbell. Substitutes not used: Lee, Roy, Fettis (gk).
Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).Reuse content