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Scott Hogan bagged his second goal in as many Championship games to keep Aston Villa in the promotion mix.

The striker hit the match-winner in the 18th-minute and Villa were largely untroubled after that.

Aitor Karanka tried to rally his Nottingham Forest side on his first game in charge but it was all in vain.

In truth the winning margin could have been even greater.

John Terry rattled the crossbar in the first-half, Jack Grealish curled inches wide after the break and man-of-the-match Robert Snodgrass was also denied by goalkeeper Jordan Smith.

There was a late scare in the dying moments when Sam Johnstone saved well from Kieran Dowell but the win was never in danger.

Bruce on Villa - and Derby

We looked very confident today and we were very confident at Middlesbrough a couple of weeks ago.

But, you know, I’ve been in it long enough with the Championship.

It rears its ugly head if you think you’ve mastered it.

We’ll not get carried away, we’ve done well tonight. We’re in the thick of it, that’s the most importna thing with 19 games to go.

We’ve got a couple of home games now, so can we capitalise on that?

Derby have had an incredible run. It’s incredible what Gary’s done there.

They’re on a really good run at the moment but as I’ve said many times, it’s where you are when the daffodils and the tulips come up that really matters.

When the tickly bit starts. There’s still a bit to go before then, but we’ve given ourselves a chance.

Full-time

Forest 0-1 Villa - FULL TIME.

Hogan the match-winner.

A well-earned win.

Player ratings on the way shortly.

Taylor on

Taylor comes on for the last few minutes in place of Adomah.

Villa still holding tight.

Two minutes left.

Stoppage time

Four minutes added on.

This is going to be nervy...

Offside

Villa thought they’d grabbed a second goal as Grealish slips in Davis who converts.

But the linesman quickly flags and the celebrations are muted.

Big crowd

Confirmed attendance tonight: 25,433

Villa fans sing: ‘You’ve only come to see the Villa’

Great save

First real save Johnstone has had to make as he tips Dowell’s effort over the bar.

Now that was close.

Davis comes on

The man who could end up being the match-winner departs.

Hogan off for Davis.

Expect the big man will be asked to hold the ball up and keep possession for these closing stages.

Can Ward do it again?

Ward is a Villa fan and scored for Burton against the claret and blues last term.

Let’s hope, for Villa’s sake, he hasn’t got another goal in him tonight.

Double change for Forest

Bridcutt and Ward come on for Forest, replacing Cash and Vaughan.

That’s all three substitutes used for the hosts.

Final throw of the dice for Karanka it seems.

Over the bar

Cash heads Dowell’s free-kick over the bar.

But that chance has lifted the home fans who are doing their utmost to get behind their team.

You sense they’ll get a chance at some point, it’s just whether they can take it.

Huge cheers!

Elmohamady jumps and is adjudged to have handled Traore’s cross into the box.

And finally Forest have something to cheer about - a free-kick from outside the box!

Foul after foul

The locals are enraged as referee James Linnington continues to blow up for fouls on Villa players.

Some of them look a little soft, but it’s also very experienced play from Villa’s old heads.

They know how to win fouls in tight situations.

Rare slip from Chester

It’s very rare you’ll see this, but Chester inexcusably passes to McKay under no pressure at all.

The forward sees an opportunity to shoot but it’s straight at Johnstone.

That’s the first save the keeper has had to make. He must be getting cold out there.

Change for Forest

McKay comes on to replace Clough.

Elmohamady has kept him very quiet today.

Sliced clear

Mancienne slices the ball over the bar to keep his side in the game.

A great move from Grealish saw Adomah cross for Hogan but the defender managed to get there first.

The visitors are riding their luck.

Aye-aye Hogan

A bursting run from Hogan sees him play a one-two with Hourihane before shooting first time.

Easy for Smith, but much better from the striker.

Villa pressure

All Villa in this second half as they push and press.

They’re going all-out for another goal here it seems.

Adomah and Grealish seeing a lot of the ball.

Can they make it count?

Inches wide

So close for Villa again.

This time Grealish tries to bend one into the top corner but it flies inches wide of the post.

Great save

Snodgrass sends a free-kick towards the top corner but Smith bats it away.

Villa almost doubled their lead.

One change

Bjarnason comes on for Whelan at the break.

A big chance for the midfielder today then.

He’s not playing in his favoured position but he’s played central midfield before.

For the record, I thought Whelan had been doing very well.

Second half underway

Forest get us underway in this second half.

It’s Villa straight on the attack but Hogan is thwarted by Mills at the final hurdle.

Half-time

Forest 0-1 Villa - Hogan’s goal separates the two sides at the break.

Inches wide

Dowell tries a curling effort around the wall but it flies inches wide.

We’re now into first-half stoppage time.

Dangerous free-kick

Whelan trips Cash as he sneaks past him and this will be a dangerous free-kick for Villa to defend.

Dowell over it.

Well played Whelan

Two important interceptions from Whelan to deny Cash.

First he tackled the midfielder but as the ball fell back into his path he was there to block his rebound shot.

Excellent defending from the Irishman.

Wayward passes

Okay so Villa are ahead and there’s not too much to complain about.

But some of their passing today has been so bad.

Hutton, Adomah, and now Snodgrass all guilty of sending easy passes astray.

It’s a good job Forest haven’t been good enough to punish them.

Better from Elmo

First time in the game that Elmohamady has got forward and tried to create.

He skipped past Clough and crossed into the box it was low and off-target.

Forest easily clear their lines.

A good omen

I hope I haven’t jinxed this, but Villa haven’t lost after taking the lead this season.

Free-kick at the other end

Grealish fouls Brereton on the edge of the Forest box and the hosts are awarded a dangerous free-kick.

They can’t take advantage, though, and the set-piece is wasted.