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Nelson Oliveira goal earns Nottingham Forest a vital win over Derby

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Nottingham Forest's Nelson Oliveira celebrates scoring their first goal on Friday.

Nelson Oliveira's thumping early strike inspired embattled Nottingham Forest to a much-needed win against fierce rivals Derby.

Earlier in the year Stuart Pearce went into the east midlands derby knowing it was win or bust, and the Reds responded with a dramatic victory that saved his job, for a few weeks at least.

Successor Dougie Freedman was under similar pressure after eight winless Sky Bet Championship matches, but his players rallied and ran out 1-0 victors against Derby in a thoroughly entertaining clash.

This was Forest's first win at the City Ground since their home opener and one inspired by on-loan Oliveira's low strike, which flew in after five minutes via a slight deflection.

Jamie Ward would have made it worse for his former club was it not for an outstanding save from former England goalkeeper Scott Carson, while Jeff Hendrick's long-range effort clipped the crossbar for the visitors.

Paul Clement's men were unable to do any better and save their 10-match unbeaten run, tailing off as Forest secured a victory that Freedman said beforehand would be "worth more than three points".

It was a deserved outcome to a match which started with Jonathan Williams being booked for diving after 30 seconds -- a tumble that either underlined the Reds' desperation or attacking intent.

Things pointed towards the latter mindset in the fifth minute when Oliveira struck.

Called up by the Portugal national team earlier in the day, the on-loan Benfica striker regained control after his initial attempt was blocked and took aim from the edge of the box, firing into the bottom corner via a slight deflection off Richard Keogh.

It was a fine strike matched, if not bettered, in its quality by the Derby goalkeeper shortly afterwards.

Ward collected a one-two with Oliveira and found room to get away a curling shot -- an effort destined for the net until Carson's exceptional one-handed save.

It came against the run of play but Derby were struggling to create clear-cut chances, leading Hendrick to try his luck from distance with a curling strike that clipped the crossbar.

His next effort was far worse and came in-between Henri Lansbury strikes of differing quality, with both of the Forest midfielder's strikes whizzing wide.

This was now an breathless end-to-end affair, with Derby's Johnny Russell forcing Dorus de Vries into a save and Matt Mills having a goal ruled out for an incident in the build-up to his header.

Forest enjoyed more of the possession after the break and Oliveira fired wide early in the opening minutes.

Bradley Johnson's wayward strike was enjoyed by the Forest faithful, who were then cursing their luck as Stephen Warnock cleared Daniel Pinillos' cross before Ryan Mendes could sweep home a second.

Ben Osborn -- scorer of the last-gasp winner in January's fixture -- saw a dangerous cross cleared cut out, before Mendes was denied from close range by Carson.

Substitute Darren Bent saw a later header denied as the Rams failed to eke out a leveller.

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