West Bromwich might wonder why they employed snowploughs and gritters in a Herculean effort to ensure this match beat the freeze only for it to result in an emphatic victory for the away side, who moved ahead of Albion into the top two in the Championship as a consequence.
Impressive Forest, who extended their unbeaten run to 18 matches in all competitions, had the measure of Roberto di Matteo's side for all but the final 25 minutes, when they had to withstand concerted pressure. By then goals by Dexter Blackstock, Radoslav Majewski and Chris Cohen had put them in complete control.
Forest's resilience is unblemished since Blackpool won at the City Ground in mid-September and they have not lost away from home in 16 matches but Di Matteo's contention that manager Billy Davies would set his side up for a negative approach was blown aside, even though he started with only one recognised striker in Dexter Blackstock.
The work-rate of the Forest midfield, with wingers Paul Anderson and Cohen and the nimble Majewski readily presenting the home side with four attacking threats, enabled Davies to reflect on the victory with a wry dig at his opposite number. "We came here to justify our position in the league by the quality of our performance and for the first hour we did that with some great football and wonderful goals," he said. "I don't think that could be called defensive in any sense of the word."
Indeed, though an early mistake by Chris Gunter almost proved costly before Wes Morgan charged down a Jerome Thomas shot, it was Forest who went ahead in the 18th minute as Blackstock, on a diagonal run to the near post, outmuscled Gabriel Tamas, making his debut on loan from Auxerre, to stab home Majewski's left-wing corner, the ball going in off the foot of the upright.
Albion countered immediately, Thomas beating Lee Camp with a curling effort from the left that only narrowly drifted wide. Camp then had to save bravely at the feet of Simox Cox after Luke Moore had put his co-striker in on goal, but this was a limp performance from Albion, who face another huge test at Newcastle on Monday week.
At half-time, Di Matteo replaced Moore with the physical stronger Roman Bednar in an attempt to unsettle the visiting defence but Forest countered by taking their game up a level and two goals in the space of three minutes effectively killed the game.
The impressive Majeswki delivered the first, volleying in spectacularly from a narrow angle on the left to convert Chris Gunter's cross, before a brilliant interplay involving Majeswki, Gunter and Guy Moussi was finished superbly by Chris Cohen, scoring his first goal of the season.
Only now did Albion respond, pulling one back when a raking pass by Dorrans found Bednar on a run that finally left Forest stretched, the Czech striker taking his chance decisively as Forest conceded for the first time in 10 and a half hours of football. "It was a bad defeat, our worst display of the season," di Matteo said. "We just did not play."
West Bromwich Albion(4-4-2): Carson; Zuiverloon, Tamas, Olsson, Mattock (Koren, 65); Brunt, Jara, Dorrans, Thomas; Cox (Miller, 77), Moore (Bednar, h-t). Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Cech, Mulumbu, Martis.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-1-1): Camp; Gunter, Morgan, Wilson, Shorey; Cohen, McKenna, Moussi (Tyson, 60), Anderson; Majewski (Perch, 78); Blackstock (Adebola, 75). Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Chambers, McGugan, McGoldrick.
Referee: L Probert (Wiltshire).
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