Daniel Pinillos powered in a header from a corner deep into injury time to salvage a point for the Reds – a crucial goal that kept Mark Warburton’s new side out of the Sky Bet Championship’s relegation zone.
That came after the Rams had fought back from Zach Clough’s early opener to lead 2-1, with Matěj Vydra and Nugent scoring in a devastating five-minute spell at the beginning of the second half.
Summing up the emotions in the aftermath of Forest’s late equaliser, Nugent told RamsTV
: “We’re gutted. As a team, we were all in the dressing room devastated that we conceded a last-minute goal.
“These set plays seem to be our Achilles heel at the moment. We have got to take it on the chin, though. We have got a point, but it feels like a defeat at the end of it.”
The Rams’ significant improvement came after a couple of tactical tweaks at half time from Rowett.
As well as moving Johnny Russell out on the left, which in turn saw Vydra switch to a more central role behind the leading striker, the Derby boss also asked his players to step further up the pitch and apply a stronger press out of possession.
Nugent, the man leading the line, felt the Rams were a ‘miles better team’ off the back of it.
The 31-year-old explained: “We started very well in the first five minutes and pressed really well but once they scored, the confidence seemed to go out of us a little bit.
“We resorted more to long balls and that’s tough to deal with as a forward. We had a word with ourselves at the break and stepped up further up the pitch.
“We battered them in the first 20 minutes of the second half and we should have scored a lot more.
“When the team is 10-yards further up the pitch, it is so much easier for the strikers because you know the midfield is behind you.
“Once we did that, we were miles better as a team. We saw more of the ball and we created more chances. As a striker, it is always great to score in a local derby. I wish it had been the winner.”
It wasn’t to be for Derby, though. They had further chances to extend their advantage – notably through Tom Ince and Alex Pearce – as Forest rallied in the dying embers of the contest to steal a point.
Nugent felt the Rams failed to heed the hosts’ warning signs and were made to pay as they dropped to try and defend their one-goal advantage.
He added: “Once we scored the second goal, we seemed to drop back as a team.
“It’s hard to press when the team is so deep because you know that nobody is behind you and so it’s a natural cycle – the defence drops, the midfield drops and the strikes then drop.
“We were on the halfway line and the defenders were in the 18-yard box, but as a team that’s something you have to learn from.
“We need to kill teams off. At 2-1, we had the chances to score more goals, but in the end, the signs were there.
“They hit the post and they had a corner in the last-minute, which they scored from. We have to stop conceding silly goals from set plays.”