Match ends, Birmingham City 2, Nottingham Forest 0.
A late Che Adams penalty put the seal on a Birmingham City victory which saw them leapfrog Nottingham Forest in the table.
Jota opened the scoring in the 13th minute when he latched on to Lukas Jutkiewicz's flick, before taking a touch and firing low into the bottom corner.
Forest piled on the pressure in the second half as they went in search of an equaliser but the home defence stood firm.
Birmingham City top scorer Adams secured the win with a 93rd-minute penalty after Forest's Yohan Benalouane was shown a straight red card for handball on the line.
Forest started well and had an early chance to take the lead through Joe Lolley, who struck the post, before Jota opened the scoring with his first goal of 2019.
The midfielder then missed a chance to double his tally in the 39th minute when he shot over the bar, and referee David Webb waved away a Birmingham penalty claim just before half-time when Adams went down under pressure from Forest new boy Alexander Milosevic.
As the visitors sought a way back into the game in the second half, manager Martin O'Neill made a double substitution on the hour mark, introducing top scorer Lewis Grabban and on loan Wolves striker Leo Bonatini.
The latter was involved immediately, playing in Lolley, who could only shoot straight at Lee Camp.
Martin O'Neill's side kept the pressure on and it was Bonatini again who shot acrobatically towards goal with four minutes remaining, only to see his shot deflected wide.
There was still time for late drama as Benalouane was adjudged to have handled the ball on the line, giving Adams the opportunity to slot his 16th goal of the season from the spot.
Forest had been looking to win back-to-back Championship games for the first time since September but defeat saw them drop to 12th, while Birmingham climbed to eight, just four points outside the play-off places.
Birmingham City manager Garry Monk told BBC WM 95.6:
"I thought it was a fantastic response to make sure we got back to winning ways. I'm delighted for the players and the fans.
"We knew we were coming up against a quality side - it's built for promotion, that Forest team - but I thought it was a thoroughly deserved win.
"For the majority of the game we were dominant and in control, although I'd have liked to have got the second goal a little sooner. But we were a threat going forward and solid defensively.
"We thought we'd be able to affect them by going on the front foot. In training it went well, but you need to deliver it in a game situation. The lads followed the plan excellently."
Nottingham Forest boss Martin O'Neill told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"Obviously I'm disappointed. I thought the second half belonged to us, we just failed to capitalise.
"I thought we've had good possession and a couple of shots that looked as if they were going to go into the net. I'm disappointed to lose a game that I don't think we should have lost.
"Sometimes the final ball was not good enough, that's something we really need to work on and we had nobody to finish those chances off.
"We're just getting to know each other. We don't want to drop out of the race, there's lots of teams and lots of points still to play for."
- 28MorrisonBooked at 90mins
- 19MaghomaSubstituted forMrabtiat 81'minutes
- 6KieftenbeldBooked at 79mins
- 23JotaSubstituted forGardnerat 85'minutes
- 10JutkiewiczSubstituted forVassellat 78'minutes
- 29BenalouaneBooked at 90mins
- 17MilosevicSubstituted forGrabbanat 60'minutes
- 5GuédiouraSubstituted forCarvalhoat 72'minutes
- 23LolleyBooked at 22mins
- 9MurphySubstituted forBonatiniat 60'minutes
- 19Cupido Goncalves
- 28Tuncará Gomes
- David Webb
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Birmingham City 2, Nottingham Forest 0.
Attempt missed. Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right from a direct free kick.
Michael Morrison (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card.
Lewis Grabban (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Harlee Dean (Birmingham City).
Goal! Birmingham City 2, Nottingham Forest 0. Che Adams (Birmingham City) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Yohan Benalouane (Nottingham Forest) is shown the red card.
Penalty conceded by Yohan Benalouane (Nottingham Forest) with a hand ball in the penalty area.
Attempt blocked. Che Adams (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Isaac Vassell.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Ben Watson.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Gary Gardner.
Attempt blocked. Léo Bonatini (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis Grabban.
Substitution, Birmingham City. Craig Gardner replaces Jota.
Foul by Kerim Mrabti (Birmingham City).
Saidy Janko (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Birmingham City. Kerim Mrabti replaces Jacques Maghoma.
Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City).