Match ends, Nottingham Forest 1, Barnsley 0.
Championship: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Barnsley - Watson hits winner against Tykes
Ben Watson's first Nottingham Forest goal ensured Sabri Lamouchi's side extended their unbeaten run to nine games with victory over lowly Championship side Barnsley.
Watson's winner was the hosts' only shot on goal on a difficult afternoon against the second tier's most youthful side.
Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba kept it goalless at the break, making a fine one-handed save to deny Luke Thomas in first-half injury time, while the hosts' best chance was dragged wastefully wide by Lewis Grabban.
Barnsley started the second half brightly and went close to opening the scoring, Toby Sibbick sending a effort form 25 yards wide before Samba foiled Dani Pinillos.
It was against the run of play and on the break that Watson put Forest ahead, meeting a cut-back pass from Matty Cash with a fine first-time finish.
Samba made another crucial save from Thomas, Patrick Schmidt flicked a header wide and Michael Dawson made a vital block on Mallik Wilks in a nervy finish for Forest on a day that they remembered legendary former manager Brian Clough.
A packed out City Ground paid its respects to the two-time European Cup-winning manager, with supporters standing for a minute's applause in the 15th minute, as this week marked the 15th anniversary Clough's death.
Defeat leaves Barnsley without a win since their opening day triumph against Fulham, while Forest have not lost since starting their campaign with a home defeat against West Bromwich Albion.
Grabban, involved in five goals in his past six Championship games, had chances to add to his fine run of form in the first half but twice scuffed promising chances - the second being Forest's best, as the 31-year-old mis-hit his shot after Watson put him through on goal.
Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel has so far fielded the youngest average starting line-up in the Championship this season, and the Tykes are still looking for their first goal away from home this term.
Samba was the one to extend that wait with a string of fine saves, which included keeping Thomas out either side of the break.
A devastating counter attack that started with a fine pass from Joao Carvalho and ended with Watson's cool finish proved decisive as Forest survived immense late pressure to record back-to-back league wins under Lamouchi for the first time to move up to fifth in the table.
Nottingham Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi:
"We suffered a lot in the game, but I do not mind this when we come through the game with three points.
"The Championship is so, so tough. There are no weak opponents. We respected Barnsley today. We did not score in the first half, when we deserved to.
"It was not a fantastic performance, but it was a good result. We have a lot of experienced players and we cannot accept what happened in the final stages, when we did not control the game.
"We need to work. It was a good result. If we play like this and we win matches? I will sign up for that right now."
Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel:
"I cannot imagine that we can play much better than we did in the second half.
"It was a disappointing result but a very good performance.
"I am proud of this performance and of the attitude from my team. We created chances, we pressed in the second half and played some good passing football.
"We played well, but we needed to score to cap things off.
- 30SambaBooked at 90mins
- 11CashBooked at 24mins
- 23LolleySubstituted forSemedoat 81'minutes
- 28SilvaSubstituted forAdomahat 60'minutes
- 10CarvalhoSubstituted forAmeobiat 70'minutes
- 2WilliamsBooked at 29minsSubstituted forChaplinat 71'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 24HalmeBooked at 52minsSubstituted forMcGeehanat 77'minutes
- 9WoodrowSubstituted forSchmidtat 71'minutes
- Jarred Gillett
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Nottingham Forest 1, Barnsley 0.
Bradley Collins (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alfa Semedo (Nottingham Forest).
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Brice Samba.
Attempt blocked. Luke Thomas (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Conor Chaplin (Barnsley) is shown the yellow card.
Brice Samba (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Ben Watson.
Attempt blocked. Toby Sibbick (Barnsley) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Michael Dawson.
Attempt blocked. Mallik Wilks (Barnsley) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jacob Brown.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Daniel Pinillos.
Attempt missed. Alfa Semedo (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Albert Adomah.
Attempt blocked. Daniel Pinillos (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Conor Chaplin (Barnsley) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luke Thomas.
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Brice Samba.
Attempt saved. Luke Thomas (Barnsley) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Daniel Pinillos.
Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Barnsley).
Alfa Semedo (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Alfa Semedo replaces Joe Lolley.
Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sammy Ameobi (Nottingham Forest).
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Mads Andersen.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Alex Mowatt.
Substitution, Barnsley. Cameron McGeehan replaces Aapo Halme because of an injury.
Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Jacob Brown (Barnsley).
Substitution, Barnsley. Patrick Schmidt replaces Cauley Woodrow.
Substitution, Barnsley. Conor Chaplin replaces Jordan Williams.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Sammy Ameobi replaces João Carvalho.
Matthew Cash (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Luke Thomas (Barnsley).
Corner, Barnsley. Conceded by Albert Adomah.
Attempt missed. João Carvalho (Nottingham Forest) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Albert Adomah with a cross.
Yuri Ribeiro (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Mallik Wilks (Barnsley).
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Albert Adomah replaces Tiago Silva.
Foul by Ben Watson (Nottingham Forest).
Jacob Brown (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.