Aston Villa 2-1 Nottm Forest - 23-Sep-2017 : Match Report
Aston Villa made a belated move up the Sky Bet Championship table with a nervous 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest.
It was far from a conclusive victory for Villa despite taking a first-half lead through Albert Adomah.
Daryl Murphy scored a deserved second-half equaliser only for Conor Hourihane to clinch three points with a 60th-minute winner from a free-kick.
Villa increased their unbeaten run to six league games and, in the process, recorded their 11th win in 12 home games against Forest.
Forest, who have now been beaten in five of their last six games in all competitions, played with some early confidence with Barrie McKay their chief creator.
Surprisingly Villa found themselves on the back-foot, unable to stamp any authority on proceedings to the growing annoyance of manager Steve Bruce.
Forest were caught out of position by a piece of sublime play in the 15th minute when Jonathan Kodjia cleverly slipped the ball inside Matt Mills to Adomah.
Jordan Smith had to dash from his line in an attempt to avert the danger but Adomah calmly side-stepped Forest's keeper to slide the ball into an empty net.
Forest's possession was good but they appeared unable to find a finishing shot which certainly played into the hands of Villa.
Kodjia was given a wonderful opportunity to increase Villa's lead only to fumble an accurate right-wing cross from Robert Snodgrass.
Tendayi Darikwa should have produced a better finish for Forest with an effort he fired into the side-netting as he caught Villa on the retreat.
A bad mistake by Mills allowed Keinan Davis to put Adomah clear just inside the penalty area but, on this occasion, Smith was able to smoother a 20-yard shot.
Forest finally found a goal in the 53rd minute. The ball bounced off a Villa player and Murphy was on hand to grab the equaliser with a low shot past Sam Johnstone.
The goal visibly upset Villa's defence, which went into panic mode as Forest suddenly realised they had a real chance of taking control.
Villa, however, bounced back to regain the lead with Hourihane scoring direct from a free-kick on the hour mark.
Kodjia went on a solo run only to be impeded by Ben Brereton, who was given a yellow card for his trouble.
Previously Snodgrass had taken Villa's free-kicks but, on this occasion, the Irishman stepped up to curl his effort wide of the wall and into the right corner.