A one-sided East Midlands derby was decided in emphatic fashion by a rampant Derby County, who put five past their local rivals without reply to record an impressive and historic win.
Derby had not scored in their previous four outings, but goals from Jeff Hendrick, Johnny Russell, and a Craig Bryson hat-trick sealed a memorable victory and delighted the delirious home supporters.
This tie was not just about rivalries though, and both sides were desperate to cement a play-off place, but it was the Rams who prevailed leaving Forest just one point above seventh placed Reading who have a game in hand.
It was an afternoon that will live long in the memory of Rams’ fans and the biggest winning margin between the two sides since 1898.
The first-half was all one-way traffic with the home team making life a misery for the visitors, putting three past their bitter rivals without reply.
The Rams took an early lead through Bryson, who broke the deadlock after just five minutes with a close range effort following a goalmouth scramble.
Bryson added a second in the 35th minute from ten yards out, after a great square pass from Chris Martin, while Jeff Hendrick made it three only minutes later, with a cool finish having been sent clear by former Forest striker, Patrick Bamford.
In the second period, Derby again dominated the game, creating chance after chance and their pressure paid off within ten minutes; Johnny Russell unleashing a piledriver from the edge of the box which had Forest ‘keeper Karl Darlow beaten all ends up.
And Bryson completed the rout – and his hat-trick – with a penalty after Bamford had been brought down in the box by Darlow with 20 minutes remaining.
From then on, Derby were content to keep the visitors at arm’s length and see the game out, sending the Rams’ fans home happy and sealing one of the greatest results in the club’s recent history.
Derby got off to a flying start with Bryson netting from close range in fifth minute to break the deadlock after his initial header was blocked and Forest had failed to clear the loose ball.
Forest’s Jamie Mackie then went on an impressive run down the right wing, beating three Derby players, but his low drive across the area had too much on it and it rolled beyond the reach of Guy Moussi.
In the following 15 minutes, both sides battled well, possession trading hands frequently and chances being created at either end.
A chipped ball into the Forest area looked like it would find former Red, Bamford, but even at full stretch he could not quite make enough contact to steer it anywhere other than a Forest defender who cleared.
Moments later, at the other end, Forest had worked the ball into a good area, but when Danny Fox found space to cross; his effort was too deep and sailed into touch.
In the 26th minute, Craig Forsyth got forward and found the ball at his feet just inside the Forest area, and while his shot didn't lack power, his direction was off and the ball sailed over Darlow’s goal.
On the half hour mark, Lee Grant was called into action for the first time when Radoslaw Majewski tried his luck from just outside the area, but it was a simple save for Grant who dropped to his left and held the ball.
From the subsequent goal kick, Derby doubled their lead when a quick break found Martin in the box who squared the ball to Bryson who netted with a first time strike into the bottom left corner.
And only minutes later, Derby fans were in dreamland when Gonzalo Jara failed to control a Derby clearance and the loose ball was picked off by Bamford who played a clever ball through to Jeff Hendrick, the Irishman having space to run into before picking his spot and slotting the ball past Darlow to make it three.
Derby looked dangerous every time they came forward and Bamford had a great chance to make it four in the 40th minute, but his right-footed effort from 12 yards was blocked and looped up out of play.
Mackie attempted to reduce the deficit in first half stoppage time, but his effort was wide of Grant’s goal and the half finished with the Rams three goals to the good.
After the restart, Derby continued to look much the better side and the half was barely nine minutes old when some neat passing around Forest’s area found Russell on the edge of the box.
The Scottish international took a touch before lashing a thunderous effort past the despairing Darlow and into the far corner of his net for Derby’s fourth.
Forest then had a couple of great chances to pull one back. Jamie Patterson smacked a ball across Derby’s six yard box, but the ball sailed past everyone in a red shirt and out for a Derby throw.
Moments later, when Derby tried to clear a forest cross, the ball fell to substitute, Darius Henderson, 12 yards out, but he blazed his shot wide.
But the momentum then swung firmly back in Derby’s favour.
In the 65th minute, a Bryson corner found Chris Martin, but the forward’s clever backheel was beaten away by Darlow at his near post.
Two minutes later, Derby won a free 25-yards from goal and Bryson, looking for his second hat-trick of this campaign, bent the ball just wide of Darlow’s right post.
He wouldn’t have to wait long for his third though, as when a fantastic lofted pass found Bamford in the box, the on-loan forward was tripped when trying to round the Forest ‘keeper.
The Scotsman stepped up to take the spot kick and beat Darlow to his left to earn the matchball and notch his fifteenth of the season.
Derby continued to pour forward and were shooting whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Bamford had a speculative effort in the 77th minute which was always rising over, before Bryson tried his luck from range a couple of minutes later; his effort easily saved by Darlow.
The last ten minutes saw the Rams’ keep the ball, frustrating their opponents and reducing Forest to a couple of long range efforts that were never going to trouble the Derby goal.
The game finished 5-0 with a jubilant home crowd erupting at the final whistle, congratulating their team on a massive result.
Derby County: Grant (GK); Wisdom, Buxton, Keogh, Forsyth; Thorne, Hendrick, Bryson (Hughes 85'), Ward, Bamford, Martin (Sammon 82').
Substitutes not used: Legzdins (GK), Naylor, Russell, Whitbread, Bailey.
Nottingham Forest: Darlow (GK), Collins, Moussi (Henderson 45'), Mackie, Fox, Greening, Lascelles, Jara, Paterson (Halford 64'), Majewski, Cox (Derbyshire 79').
Substitutes not used: De Vries (GK), Harding, Gomis, Osborn.