A late goal from Marcus Tudgay saw Forest come from behind to beat Town, despite a brace from defender Danny Collins.
Collins had earlier headed Town into the lead on two separate occasions, before the hosts responded through first Robbie Findley and then Joel Lynch.
Paul Jewell made four changes to the side that lost to Doncaster, with Carlos Edwards, Josh Carson, Lee Bowyer and Jason Scotland all returning to the starting line-up.
Town started the game very brightly, with Scotland coming close to opening the scoring with less than 60 seconds on the clock.
The striker picked the ball up 30 yards from goal after Grant Leadbitter was tackled, before seeing his shot from the edge of the area flash just wide of the goal with Forest 'keeper Lee Camp scrambling across.
It wasn't until the 16th minute until the home side fashioned their first opening of the game, with midfielder Guy Moussi testing David Stockdale from range after a neat passing move, however the Town stopper was equal to the Frenchman's drive.
A minute later and Collins had to be alert as Findley broke free, but the on loan defender recovered well with a great tackle.
Forest were beginning to edge the possession and went close through Lewis McGugan after 23 minutes, but the midfielders shot from range was always going over and wasn't troubling Stockdale.
Town made Steve Cotterill's side pay for those missed chances as Collins headed Blues in front after 25 minutes.
A great delivery from Aaron Cresswell on the right hand-side was met by Collins who planted his header into the far corner with Camp well beaten. The goal was the Welshman's first strike since January 2009.
Findley was looking lively for Forest up front and he equalised for the home side three minutes before the break.A McGugan free-kick wasn't dealt with by Town and the American striker was on hand to scramble the ball home from close range.
Forest almost went in front on the stroke of half-time, but McGugan's drive from a free-kick 25 yards from goal was well held by Stockdale.
The second-half started at a fast tempo with Carson forcing a good save out of Camp, just two minutes after the restart, while at the other end a downward header from Forest skipper Luke Chambers looked destined for the bottom corner but for a goal-line clearance from Cresswell.
A goal was not far away and it eventually came in the 62nd minute thanks to a second from Collins. A Jimmy Bullard corner was met by the diving Collins whose header flew past Camp and into the net to put Town in front for the second time.
Forest responded to going behind almost immediately, with Tudgay testing Stockdale from range with the England 'keeper saving at the second attempt.
Second-half substitute Andy Reid also went close for Forest with 10 minutes remaining, although the midfielders long range drive flashed just wide of the goal.
But the home side were soon level and Reid played a huge part in the goal. After Cunningham won a corner, Reid crossed for Lynch who headed past Stockdale with six minutes remaining for his first ever Forest goal.
Forest almost grabbed a third soon after but McGugan fired straight at Stockdale from the edge of the box after being fed by David McGoldrick.
But unfortunately for Blues the continued Forest pressure saw the home side take the lead for the first time in the game, in the first added minute of injury time. A Cunningham cross was flicked on by Grant Leadbitter past Stockdale and Tudgay was on hand at the back post to bundle the ball over the line and hand Forest the three points.
Town are next in action on Saturday when Reading visit Portman Road.
Forest: Camp, Chambers, Morgan, Lynch, Cunningham, Gunter (Anderson 75), Moussi, Greening (Reid 75), McGugan, Findley (McGoldrick 81), Tudgay. Subs not used: Smith, Majewski.
Town: Stockdale, Edwards, Ingimarsson, Collins, Cresswell, Bullard, Leadbitter, Carson, Bowyer (Emmanuel-Thomas 69), Chopra (Martin 82), Scotland (Ellington 79).Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Wabara.