Forest leapt to the top of the table . . . but only after surviving a chilling finale.
They suffered two late scares after Kevin Campbell's eighth goal of the season in the 17th minute put them in charge.
First, Blues' Michael Johnson Michael Johnson or Mike Johnson may refer to:
But Birmingham celebrations were cut short when referee Paul Danson Paul S. Danson (born May 2 1958) is an English former football referee in the English Football League and Premier League. During his time on the List he was based in Leicester. ruled it out for a holding down offence by Paul Furlong Paul Furlong (born 1 October, 1968) is an English professional footballer. He currently plays for Luton Town after being released by Queens Park Rangers.
A much-travelled striker, Furlong's career has included stints with Coventry City, Watford, Chelsea, Birmingham City and .
Then evergreen Tony Cottee Anthony Richard "Tony" Cottee (born July 11 1965 in Plaistow, England) is an English former football player.
During his career Cottee played for a number of sides, including West Ham United, Everton and Leicester City. , on loan from Leicester, just failed to connect with a replica cross from Bass as Trevor Francis's side went all out for an equaliser. Forest boss Dave Bassett said: "It was a real battle - a very hard game for us.
"I thought Birmingham played well. They made it very difficult. They don't concede a lot of goals and it was a joy to see Kevin's go in.
"We've had a bad week with injuries and players going away, and it's a relief to get the win.
"There's very little to choose between the bottom eight in the Premier League and the top eight in our division. The good thing is that we are capable of playing better than this." Said Francis: "We deserved a draw. It's important we keep our spirits up and believe in what we are trying to do.
"We can't keep coming off after 90 minutes of full blooded effort like that and have nothing to show for it.
"Everyone goes away from a football match thinking about the result and not the performance, but we have to be happy with that performance."
Steve Bruce was once again missing from a Birmingham away line up and Francis said: "I decided because of an accumulation of games that I have to use Steve sparingly, but I felt that against the pace of Campbell, Darren Wassall was the right choice."
Only five wins in 18 games have put a question mark over Francis's future - but he said: "If there is any pressure on me then I am certainly not feeling it."
Scot Gemmill was a shining light in midfield for Forest, running the show with some excellent distribution and deftness of touch.
Steve Stone tended to run into pockets, but he was the provider as Campbell beat keeper Ian Bennett to the chase, stuck out a leg and watched gleefully glee·ful
Full of jubilant delight; joyful.
glee as the ball rolled in.
Ian Woan nearly wrapped it up for Forest before their late shocks when, with his first touch after coming on as substitute, he sent a rocket left- footer inches wide.
FOREST 1 BIRMINGHAM 0
FOREST.- Beasant 7; Lyttle 7, Rogers 6 (Armstrong 6), Cooper 7, Chettle 7, Hjelve 6, Stone 6, GEMMILL 8, Van Hooijdonk 6, Campbell 7, Bart-Williams 7 (Woan 6).
BIRMINGHAM.- Bennett 7; Bass 6, Grainger 6 (Johnson 6), Wassall 6, Ablett 7, Marsden 7, Devlin 6 (Cottee 6), Robinson 7, Furlong 6, McCarthy 7, O'Connor 6 (Hughes 6).