FERNANDO FORESTIERI produced a trick to treat Sheffield Wednesday to three points and ensure it was a happy Halloween for the Yorkshire club.
The Italian displayed some fantastic football midway through the second half to create sufficient space to thunder a shot goalwards from 25 yards.
Dimitar Evtimov, in truth, should then have saved but he made a hash of things to allow the ball to find the corner of the net and end an already remarkable week on another high.
Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup victory over Arsenal meant there was a feel-good factor around Hillsborough ahead of kick-off.
However, it took Forestieri’s 68th minute strike to liven up what had, until then, been a dour contest.
It was enough to clinch all three points and extend Wednesday’s unbeaten run to ten games. And while the Owls were far from their best, the manner in which they remained patient bodes well for the challenges that lay ahead this term.
The first half had been something of a slow burner with chances at a premium. Of those that were created, Kieran Lee missed perhaps the best after being released by Barry Bannan.
Once in the area, Lee should have shot but, instead, he hesitated and that allowed Dimitar Evtimov to rush from his goal and block. The Forest debutant then kept out Daniel Pudil’s follow-up.
Jack Hunt also had a shot saved by the goalkeeper but, otherwise, the Owls had little to show for dominating possession during the opening 45 minutes.
For Forest, Jamie Ward was the standout player but he missed a gilt-edged opportunity to put the visitors ahead eight minutes before the interval.
Great skill out wide on the left by Daniel Pinillos created the opening but Ward, despite being unmarked and just eight yards from goal, headed wide.
The former Sheffield United man was made to pay for that miss in the second half when Forestieri opened the scoring.
Lucas Joao wasted a great chance to put the game beyond Forest before Daniel Pudil’s cross flashed just past the post.
Gary Hooper, the recent loan arrival from Norwich City, came on for the final five minutes to make his debut as the Owls could afford for Ross Wallace to waste a great late chance as they moved to within touching distance of the play-offs.
Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal was pleased with side’s improved second-half display and said: “I think we deserved the victory. We played not so well in the first half, but we improved in the second half.
“I am very happy, but all the time I am looking for us to improve. There are some things that we want to do better.
“When you lose, not everything is bad and when you win, not everything is good.
“My players are enjoying the game and I know what we can do. It is no surprise to me that we are playing so well.
“The way that Fernando (Forestieri) works is the most important thing about him, rather than the goals he scores.”
Forest manager Dougie Freedman said: “It was disappointing because we felt we shaded the first half and I thought we were comfortable throughout the match.
“I thought we competed well and I don’t think there was a lot in the game.
“Unfortunately there was an error from an inexperienced young goalkeeper, who we had to call on, which was a difficult one to swallow. Otherwise, I thought he did well.
“It was an unfortunate error but he’ll learn from that and we’ve got to move on.
“They had a spell for 10 or 15 minutes in the second half, but so did we in the first half.
“We haven’t taken our chances and that’s what it boils down to.
“We have a lot of injuries but I refuse to use that as an excuse for the result.
“I have been in this position before as a manager and as a player. You have to persevere with what you’re trying to do.
“We are trying very hard to put it right, on and off the field. Things can change very quickly in this division and I honestly think they will change.”