Lewis McGugan comes off bench to fire Nottingham Forest to sixth straight victory
SUPER-sub Lewis McGugan again came off the bench to score – and fire Nottingham Forest to a sixth straight win.
It looked as though the Reds were on course for a point at the KC Stadium, after Darius Henderson had scored to cancel out an opening goal from former Forest man George Boyd.
But, just as he had done against Ipswich and Wolves in recent weeks, McGugan scored after coming on, driving home a powerful shot, to secure all three points for Forest with a 82nd minute winner.
Forest had to produce two goal-line clearances to hold on in the final stages, which also saw Gedo spurn a golden opportunity to level in injury time.
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But the win strengthened Forest's position in the top six, lifting them above East Midlands rivals Leicester City into fifth place.
And it also took them close to equalling the club record of seven straight wins, which they will do if they manage to beat Brighton at the City Ground, when they return after the international break.
Forest made only one change to their starting line-up, with Darius Henderson drafted in to play alongside Simon Cox in the Reds attack.
Dexter Blackstock did pass a fitness test on the hamstring problem that forced him to go off during the win over Wolves last weekend – but he was only included on a very strong looking bench.
Many of the crowd at the KC Stadium thought Hull had taken the lead in the first minute. A harsh looking free kick was given against Adlene Guedioura and, from 25 yards David Meyler bent a shot around the two-men defensive wall and into the side netting of the goal.
With the net ruffling, many of the home fans were celebrating, unaware that the ball had flown the wrong side of the post.
Hull's starting line-up included one familiar face, in the form of former loan signing George Boyd – who saw a second move to the City Ground collapse on deadline day.
The attacking midfielder or forward has since made a big impact since joining the Tigers on loan from Peterborough, ahead of a permanent move in the summer.
But Forest instigated a quick break when Chris Cohen robbed Boyd of possession, with firstly Darius Henderson and then Simon Cox denied by important challenges as they attempted to ghost into the box.
When Andy Reid fed Cohen in space down, the full back delivered a great cross from the left, with Cox forcing an adept save from David Stockdale with a header.
Reid then kick started an attack, winning possession in the centre before carrying the ball to within 20 yards of goal but, with Cox and Henderson both having made runs in front of him, the midfielder sent a curling shot high and wide of the target.
Then, after battling through two challenges, Cox let fly with a low shot, from outside the box, that was not far wide of the post.
Karl Darlow had to be at his best to keep out a driven, crisp shot from Boyd, with Henri Lansbury conceding a free kick on the edge of the box as he challenged Robbie Brady for the loose ball.
The Forest keeper this time had to plunge low to his left to push away Robert Koren's precise, bending shot from the free-kick.
Stockdale was also a busy figure at the opposite end of the pitch, however. When Forest broke quickly again, with Guedioura connecting powerfully, in trademark fashion, from 18 yards. When the keeper pushed the ball away, Cox might have done better with the rebound, but his shot flew high over the bar.
It was developing into an entertaining, end-to-end affair, with Darlow then forced to acrobatically punch a Jack Hobbs header over, as it threatened to loop under the bar.
While the Forest keeper produced an even better save to deny Gedo, after the Egyptian had risen to connect with a header of his own at the far post.
Hull had to make a change when Paul McShane, who had scored the winning goal at the City Ground – with the aid of his hand – was replaced by Alex Bruce, with less than half an hour gone.
Radi Majewski almost scored an outstanding solo goal when he cut in from the left, danced through two defenders and fired a shot towards the near post, where Stockdale got down well to save.
Jara might have felt slightly unlucky to have been booked for a block, but it was Forest who were fortunate when, after being sent clear down the middle, Gedo prodded his shot wide of goal as Darlow made himself big.
Some clever work between Cohen and Reid gave the Irishman the chance to cross and, when the Hull defence only half cleared, Cox controlled the ball brilliantly on his chest, cut sharply onto his left foot and then fired a wild shot into the stand.
Gedo, perhaps still frustrated from his earlier miss, then slid in with a late, clumsy challenge on Elliott Ward, to earn himself a yellow card.
A driving run down the left from Reid earned Forest a corner as half time approached, but a set-piece routine between Majewski and Reid proved to be a little too intricate, allowing the Tigers to clear.
But a predictable tale unfolded in first half injury time as, when Forest failed to clear a corner from Brady, with Henderson taking two touches, Boyd produced a great finish to net against his former club.
Boyd instinctively lifted a clever shot over his shoulder, which floated over Darlow and into the back of the net, before indulging in a goal celebration that involved making the shape of glasses around his eyes – in reference to the collapse of his move to Forest, which was allegedly caused by a failed eye test.
The second half began with Hull on the attack again, as Gedo out-paced Collins and beat Darlow to an angled ball down the middle, but, after cutting the ball back to Boyd, Collins made a good block, throwing his body in the way of Boyd's instant shot.
But Forest launched an attack of their own and Cox was unlucky not to end his recent run without a goal when he saw a powerful, rising shot take a deflection that steered it narrowly over.
The Reds did draw themselves level, although Cox endured more back luck in the build-up, as he flicked a Majewski cross onto the bar. But, as the striker lamented his misfortune, Henderson was following up to cleverly flick the ball into the back of the net.
It was an intelligent finish from Henderson, who slotted the ball home through a group of players with a clever flick.
Within moments, Forest were making a change, with Billy Sharp brought on to replace Reid, who did not look happy to be taken off.
Brady was not too far away with a free kick that, struck from 25 yards, curled just a few feet high of goal.
But Forest came close to taking the lead themselves, with Sharp close to connecting with a header from Henderson, which had steered the ball dangerously across the face of goal.
Darlow made another outstanding save to keep Koren at bay, after the Hull man had let fly with a real poacher's effort ten yards from goal, after finding half a yard of space.
Henderson, Lansbury and Cohen were all booked within the space of four minutes for fouls. While Forest also brought on McGugan, in place of Majewski, doubtless hoping that he would continue his habit of scoring after coming off the bench.
And he did exactly that, with the help of the other Reds substitutes, Dexter Blackstock and Sharp. When Collins fired a high ball into the box, with Blackstock heading the ball down, Sharp squared the ball across goal and McGugan, arriving in space, drove a powerful low shot into the back of the net.
Forest had to survive a dangerous moment when Brady drove a shot against the bar, with Cohen then doing brilliantly to clear off the line when Simpson attempted to power home the rebound.
Lansbury then had to repeat the heroics, acrobatically clearing off the line after Hobbs had driven a header goalwards. While Gedo somehow managed to fire wide of an empty net, after Darlow had made a smart save.
Hull: Stockdale, Chester, Hobbs, Koren (Proschwitz 90), McShane (Bruce 28), Gedo, Elmohamady, Quinn (Simpson 78), Brady, Meyler, Boyd. Subs: Jakupovic, Evans, Cairney, Faye, Bruce.
Forest: Darlow, Jara, Ward, Collins, Cohen, Guedioura, Lansbury, Majewski (McGugan 72), Reid (Sharp 55), Cox, Henderson (Blackstock 83). Subs: Evtimov, Hutchinson, Moussi, Halford.
Attendance: 19,848 (3,238)