Nottingham Forest 1-2 Hull City: Josh Magennis scores and gets sent off as Tigers climb the table
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Hull City held on to a crucial three points, despite Josh Magennis getting sent off after netting the opener for the visitors.

In a pulsating contest where the midfield of both sides were virtually non-existent, Nottingham Forest were once again made to pay for failing to take their chances.

String of changes for both sides

Both teams made a quartet of adjustments to their starting line-ups as they looked to respond to defeats at the weekend.

Top goalscorer Lewis Grabban came back into the fold for the home side but there was no place in the matchday squad for Michael Dawson against his former club, as Chema made just his third start of the campaign.

Former Forest favourite Eric Lichaj made his return to the City Ground at right-back for Hull, whilst Jordy de Wijs was a surprise inclusion after being rushed back from injury.

In an attacking selection by Grant McCann, industrious midfielder Kevin Stewart was dropped to the bench - the man that has made the most fouls of any Championship player this season.

Tight opening with emphasis on spreading the play

It was a nervy start in the Forest defence for Chema, up against a man who has registered the second most shots on target in the league thus far, Jarrod Bowen. The attacking talent eased past the central defender down Forest's left flank to almost unlock the home defence, before slicing an effort wide moments later after being granted far too much room in the channel.

Down the other end, Joao Carvalho was showcasing his silky footwork and curled a deflected effort just wide. Left-back Jack Robinson let rip from range after Hull failed to clear the resulting corner but his effort was always rising high and wide.

A scrappy opening for both sides underpinned the nerves surrounding a dip in form but the returning Josh Magennis almost hooked in when Kamil Grosicki burst forward from midfield, only to fall inches short of getting any real purchase on his stretched effort from close range.

Forest's emphasis was down the flanks but it was Hull who nearly broke the deadlock from a similar position, Jon Toral cutting inside before his curling strike was palmed away by Brice Samba.

Chances for the top scorers

The home side's first effort of note came with 20 minutes on the clock, a move that left McCann furious on the touchline. Joe Worrall steamed into a challenge, Hull failed to clear their lines, and Grabban turned and skewed his effort wide.

For Forest, the pace and skill of Sammy Ameobi was proving a real asset. Chasing down what seemed to be a lost cause, the winger burst away from the Hull defence and kept the ball in play with a delightful back-heel. The visitors were left scrambling before a resulting corner was flicked over by Chema.

But Hull should have opened the deadlock just seconds later. Grosicki jetted forward once again to release Bowen in space but a heavy first touch saw him fire his effort into the body of Samba. A golden opportunity for Hull's top scorer.

Chances were starting to become prevalent and Forest's top scorer had a great opportunity of his own - Joe Lolley's whipped corner beating everyone but Grabban could only head over on the stretch.

Magennis strikes for Hull

The game was stretched, almost being played without a central midfield, and it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 37 minutes. Left-back Callum Elder burst down the flank, played the ball back to Toral and his scuffed effort was turned home by Magennis.

Forest looked to respond immediately as George Long was really tested for the first time. A powerful effort from Lolley was palmed down before Long reacted quickly to put off Grabban who was sniffing a sixth of the campaign.

The home side ended the half with two penalty appeals waved away, as Carvalho and Grabban went down in similar positions, before the latter nodded wide from another dangerous Forest corner.

Hull fly out the blocks as Bowen doubles the advantage 

Within seconds of the restart, Hull almost doubled their lead. Once again, Grosicki found Bowen and his drive was matched by Samba.

But the home side failed to heed the warning and Bowen finally converted a third opportunity inside the right channel.

Grosicki was at the heart of the move oncemore, releasing Toral who unselfishly cut the ball back to Bowen, picking his spot and slotting Hull into a surprise two-goal advantage.

Cash hits back

Forest had to respond quickly and they did just that.

Matty Cash burst inside and between the lines from right-back, going virtually unchallenged before guiding a left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

Cash then almost turned provider as his teasing effort was guided just wide by Grabban.

As the game hit panic mode, synonymous of the final few minutes of the game rather than midway through the second half, Hull appeared to be shutting up shop as defender Ryan Tafazolli prepared to enter the action. But, instead of adding numbers in defence, he merely replaced one as de Wijs came off, underpinning his lack of fitness going into this game.

Magennis sent off as Hull lose control

Still looking to attack, Hull showcased a side that had dropped ten points from the seven games they had opened the scoring in.

Fortunate to escape another penalty appeal as Lichaj appeared to bundle Ameobi over, Magennis was shown a straight red card after a nasty lunge on Ben Watson. Carnage.

The visitors continued to come forward, Grosicki rolling an effort into the gloves of Samba. But Forest shot forward on the break, Thiago Silva heading over from the influential Cash's cross.

Finally, Hull opted to sit back with Norbert Balogh coming on for his debut, replacing Grosicki and Toral with the experienced George Honeyman. Meanwhile, Albert Adomah and Rafa Mir stepped in for the tiring Ameobi and Robinson.

Ten-men Hull hold on

Forest had their tails up going into the final ten minutes and Mir almost scored with his first touch. A whipped free-kick found the striker who was only kept out by a brilliant low save from Long. Worrall then headed just wide from the following corner.

Hull were on the back foot, virtually camped on the edge of their own penalty area. With spaces, for once, closed out, Thiago Silva tried to skid an effort off the surface from range but it cut across goal and past the far post.

As time started to run out, Lolley's curling effort from the edge of the box appeared to be bending into the top corner, only to be deflected over.

It was to be Forest's final chance as, once again, they could not test the opposing goalkeeper often enough.

Key takeaway from the game

Both sides lacking a spine

There was no doubting that both Sabri Lamouchi and Grant McCann had targeted maximum points from this contest.

McCann opted to deploy five naturally attacking midfielders in a 4-2-4, a bold move that raised eyebrows from the visiting fans, whilst Forest defensive midfielders Ben Watson and Thiago Silva were missing for much of the first half, leaving huge spaces in the middle of the park. 

Kamil Grosicki took full advantage to create both Hull goals from a counter-attacking position but Hull failed to plug those gaps when enjoying a comfortable position, allowing Matty Cash to ease inside, almost unchallenged.

Although the visitors improved defensively towards the end of the contest, their three points came about simply by being better at converting their chances - the hosts having just two shots on target from 16 efforts, a problem VAVEL UK previewed earlier in the day.