BIRMINGHAM City continued to show that complacency is an attribute they possess and one that could cost them dearly this season, after another frustrating display at the City Ground.
For 25 minutes, Birmingham looked back to their all-conquering best and in particular Seb Larsson and James McFadden were playing with the confident swagger that has helped put them on Premier League teams’ shopping lists.
However, a familiar pattern started to emerge as manager Alex McLeish watched his side take their foot off the gas. Nottingham Forest not only equalised, they should have won this match.
The St Andrew’s club’s best start to a season seems to be a distant dream for McLeish, whose team have won only one point in three fixtures.
The six-point gap between them and Wolves at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship is fast becoming a chasm and the single point that Birmingham gained on Saturday may have been an unwanted one but that is exactly what keeps them marginally ahead of free-scoring Reading.
Buoyant Forest may have been confident after their turnaround in form but they had been forced to make six changes as injury, suspensions and illness - possibly the same bug that saw Franck Queudrue sent home for fear of infecting his team-mates - took their toll.
Birmingham had given on-loan Nigel Quashie a first start of the season while, as expected, Marcus Bent started for only the second time this campaign.
The visitors started positively, McFadden and Larsson showing the intelligent vision that should be carving open Championship defences every week.
It was no surprise when McFadden scored his first goal in eight games in the 13th minute with Bent the provider.
Quashie’s cross from the right was certainly not at the standard of Larsson’s early deliveries, yet Bent produced a clever flick into the Nottingham area.
The lively McFadden was lurking and, after taking a slight touch past goalkeeper Lee Camp, the Scotland international swivelled before sweeping home his effort from a tight angle.
The 3,152 Birmingham supporters must have thought that they were about to witness their side finally putting their campaign back on track after two 1-0 defeats. Yet the best from Birmingham had already been and gone as a largely inexperienced Forest team started to stamp their mark on the match.
In particular Paul Anderson, a 20-year-old winger on loan from Liverpool, hugely impressed with a tireless display along both flanks. In many ways, he is the type of player Birmingham require.
However, while Anderson and fellow winger Chris Cohen were bombardng their opponents’ penalty area with accurately-delivered crosses, it was still proving to be relatively comfortable for Birmingham’s central defensive partnership of Radhi Jaidi and Martin Taylor.
Cue a much-improved Nottingham side in the second half and the Jaidi that had easily hammered balls away with his head in the first half suddenly looked a different customer after the interval.
During the half-time team talk, Colin Calderwood, the Forest manager, had clearly urged his side to play through the middle and they listened. Striker Nathan Tyson, largely anonymous before the break, found a new lease of life that proved to be hard work for Martin Taylor and Jaidi.
Forest’s inevitable equaliser arrived in the 51st minute. Cohen floated in a 25-yard free-kick which was scrambled across goal by Luke Chambers into the path of James Perch’s diving header.
The ineffective Kemy Agustien was soon removed for Cameron Jerome while Quashie’s lack of match fitness started to catch up with him and he was substituted for Kevin Phillips.
The most baffling of McLeish’s tactics was the non-introduction of talented winger Quincy Owusu-Abeyie - exactly the type of player Birmingham were looking for to make an impact. It appeared the travelling fans agreed.
Goalkeeper Maik Taylor fast became the busiest player on the field for Birmingham and, along with Nicky Hunt, they were the only two positives from a defence that had Liam Ridgewell out of position at left-back. Had Tyson and Joe Garner made the most of late chances and Larsson not made a late last-ditch tackle to deny Lee Martin, Birmingham could have found themselves out of the automatic promotion spots
Scorers: McFadden (13) 0-1, Perch (51) 1-1.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (4-4-2): Camp, Chambers, Morgan, Wilson, Heath, Anderson (McCleary, 72), Thornhill, Perch, Cohen, Tyson, Garner (Martin, 82). Substitutes: Smith, Breckin, Davies.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Maik Taylor, Hunt, Jaidi, Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, Larsson, Carsley, Quashie (Phillips 75), Agustien (Jerome, 58), McFadden, Bent. Substitutes: Doyle, Nafti, Owusu-Abeyie.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
Bookings: Birmingham – Quashie, Jaidi (both fouls), Jerome (dissent); Nottingham Forest - Perch (foul).
Birmingham man of the match: Maik Taylor – stood up well in the face of repeated Forest forward thrusts.
n Gavin Mahon scored in Queens Park Rangers’ 1-0 win over Cardiff at Loftus Road where the visitors had Miguel Comminges and Darren Purse sent off. Cardiff manager Dave Jones, fuming at referee Lee Probert, said: “They talk about respect but how much respect for the game did the ref have? Purse was never a sending-off and Miguel talked to the linesman and got sent off for it.”