Marcus Tudgay's first-minute goal was enough for Forest to overcome Watford at the City Ground.
And that was sufficient to lift them into the automatic promotion spots on goal difference after Norwich went down 2-1 at Burnley.
Dean Marney lashed home Chris Eagles' pass from outside the penalty area to give Burnley a 33rd-minute lead and, though Grant Holt equalised (65), Jay Rodriguez turned home the winner nine minutes from time from Daniel Fox's free-kick.
Hull strikeforce Matty Fryatt and Aaron Mclean ran riot as the Tigers enjoyed a thumping 5-1 derby win over Scunthorpe at Glanford Park. Fryatt's injury-time goal completed his hat-trick while Mclean grabbed his first two goals for the club, with Joe Garner scoring Scunthorpe's reply.
Leicester beat Barnsley 4-1 to maintain their steady climb up the table. Paul Gallagher's 30-yard screamer and Andy King's 43rd-minute effort gave the Foxes a 2-0 lead but Barnsley pulled one back on the stroke of half-time through new Chelsea loanee Jacob Mellis.
King struck again and Kyle Naughton grabbed a late fourth for the Foxes.
Bristol City were equally prolific as they added to Preston's woes. North End have failed to win any of their four games under new manager Phil Brown and went behind to a fifth-minute Andy Keogh goal before crumbling in the second half.
David Clarkson scored twice before substitute Brett Pitman completed the scoring late on.