Match ends, Nottingham Forest 0, Aston Villa 1.
Aitor Karanka's first match as Nottingham Forest manager ended in a Championship defeat by Aston Villa.
Six days after knocking holders Arsenal out of the FA Cup, mid-table Forest were beaten by Scott Hogan's first-half goal at the City Ground.
Hogan stooped to nod in a Robert Snodgrass cross after 18 minutes, while Villa captain John Terry headed against the crossbar before the interval.
Villa's third successive league victory lifted them up to fourth in the table.
Steve Bruce's side matched the results of Cardiff and Derby, who were both victorious earlier on Saturday, to stay five points behind the second-placed Rams.
The quality of Snodgrass' deliveries from wide positions was outstanding throughout, with his curling right-wing cross converted by Hogan for the striker's second goal in two league games.
Snodgrass also provided the centre for Terry's chance and tested Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith with a powerful free-kick just after half-time.
Karanka, who was appointed as Mark Warburton's successor on Monday, watched his team put in a spirited performance but Forest rarely threatened the Villa goal.
The defeat was their 15th in the league of the season - only 23rd-placed Birmingham have lost more Championship games this term.
Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"It's the first game and I knew there would be a lot of expectations, especially after the game against Arsenal, but today Villa were an experienced team and a very organised.
"We have a lot of potential up front but we are young and need to improve.
"We have to be more aggressive, more intense, more organised.
"We haven't had time to prepare for the game the way I like to prepare for games. Now we have an entire week to do everything and I'll keep encouraging them."
Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce told BBC WM:
"We looked a good side, we looked well-balanced and I thought defensively we were rock-solid against a Forest team that had thumped Arsenal last week and had a new manager in situ.
"It had all the ingredients of being a very difficult game, which we expected, which it was to a degree, but I honestly thought that we were comfortable.
"We were in my opinion by far the better team and we just needed the second goal and that didn't come.
"So long as it gets like that we were a little edgy, but overall I was very pleased with the performance."
- 2LichajBooked at 61mins
- 24VaughanSubstituted forBridcuttat 81'minutes
- 14CashBooked at 63minsSubstituted forWardat 81'minutes
- 16CloughSubstituted forMcKayat 64'minutes
- 27El MohamadyBooked at 71mins
- 26TerryBooked at 89mins
- 6WhelanSubstituted forBjarnasonat 45'minutes
- 37AdomahSubstituted forTaylorat 90+2'minutes
- 9HoganSubstituted forDavisat 83'minutes
- James Linington
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Nottingham Forest 0, Aston Villa 1.
Foul by Kieran Dowell (Nottingham Forest).
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Neil Taylor replaces Albert Adomah.
Armand Traore (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Keinan Davis (Aston Villa).
John Terry (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.
Ben Brereton (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by John Terry (Aston Villa).
Offside, Aston Villa. Jack Grealish tries a through ball, but Albert Adomah is caught offside.
Kieran Dowell (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa).
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Sam Johnstone.
Attempt saved. Kieran Dowell (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Liam Bridcutt.
Attempt missed. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Conor Hourihane.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Keinan Davis replaces Scott Hogan.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Liam Bridcutt replaces David Vaughan.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Jamie Ward replaces Matthew Cash.
Attempt saved. Barrie McKay (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ben Brereton.