Nottingham Forest bounced back to winning ways at the City Ground – and ensured Bolton’s miserable away record continued – as Mark Warburton’s side claimed a nervy 3-2 victory.
Will Buckley’s header on the stroke of half-time had cancelled out Barrie McKay’s third-minute opener for the home side but the Reds looked to be in control as Joe Worrall blasted home to make it 2-1 and sub Ben Brereton bagged a third in the 89th minute.
An own goal from Worrall in the second minute of injury-time ensured a tense finish but Forest held on to make it five wins in their last six outings on the banks of the River Trent. Bolton suffered their fourth consecutive loss at the City Ground and are still to register an away win this season.
Forest had developed an unwanted habit of conceding early goals this season but for once they made a bright start, taking the lead in the third minute.
Tyler Walker rampaged into space down the right and whipped in a dangerous low cross, which left keeper Ben Alnwick stranded and defender Reece Burke sliding in desperately in an attempt to clear. It was Forest winger McKay who applied the final touch.
The Reds immediately pushed for a second, with Daryl Murphy seeing a header deflected wide and Eric Lichaj hitting the side netting with a crisp drive. Bolton mustered their first meaningful response in the 25th minute when Sammy Ameobi had a shot blocked in the box by Lichaj.
Walker carved out a chance with a lovely turn on the edge of the box, which allowed him to drive forward and force a smart save from Alnwick with a low shot. Ameobi was at the centre of things as Bolton equalised in the 45th minute, as he delivered a cross into the centre for an unmarked Buckley to head home from close range.
Forest had been the better side in the first half but it was Bolton who grew into the game after the break, with Josh Vela missing a golden headed chance to give them the lead.
The Reds regained control when a Bridcutt cross was only half cleared by Mark Little. Defender Worrall conjured up a striker’s finish to send a powerful, accurate strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Walker almost gave Forest a degree of comfort, after a thumping pair of challenges from Bridcutt allowed him to collect the ball on the right, but his shot flew narrowly over the bar.
The third Forest goal did come in the 89th minute when Bridcutt played a precise ball down the centre for sub Brereton, who held off two defenders before squeezing a shot beneath the body of the advancing keeper.
Still there was more drama as a 92nd-minute ball into the box from substitute Aaron Wilbraham was deflected over the line amid a melee of players by Worrall to ensure he had scored at both ends.