Leeds United’s unbeaten December run came to an end at the City Ground when a Matt Derbyshire goal six minutes from time condemned them to a 2-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest.
The winner came just a minute after Ross McCormack had equalised for United and meant the Whites found themselves slipping out of the play-off places down to seventh.
In a good start both teams saw action in the opposition box and United needed keeper Paddy Kenny to be alert after a Marius Zaliukas back pass fell short and almost let in Greg Halford.
Kenny was caught by the makeshift Forest striker and needed treatment, but carried on bravely even though he was struggling to kick the ball.
The best early Leeds chance fell to left wing-back Danny Pugh, but he saw his shot blocked.
It was Forest who took the lead on 23 minutes when Andy Reid’s free-kick was met by Halford at the back post and he headed the ball over Kenny into the net.
The hosts came close to another soon after as Reid made a break only to shoot over.
Tom Lees had a header deflected wide from a corner by Luke Murphy, back in the side after serving a one-match suspension. Matt Smith was also off target with a header and United were still behind at the break.
Both sides struggled to create opportunities early in the second half and United manager Brian McDermott made a change to try and liven things up with Gboly Ariyibi brought off the bench to make his debut in place of defensive midfielder Michael Brown.
But the Whites still found it hard to make headway and Kenny was called into action to save well from Djamal Abdoun.
After Sam Byram came on as a second Leeds sub, Ariyibi had his first sight of goal, but shot wildly wide.
Forest came close to adding to their lead when Reid hit the post with a well hit strike from outside the area.
But it was Leeds who did score seven minutes from time when Byram broke down the right and although his cross was blocked the ball fell to Ross McCormack who made no mistake in scoring his 18th goal of the season.
However, their joy was shortlived as the hosts were back in front seconds later thanks to a superb strike from Derbyshire.
Leeds boss McDermott threw on another striker in Dominic Poleon and he almost snatched a point for the side with a header, but sent the ball agonisingly wide.
Nottingham Forest 2
(Halford 23, Derbyshire 84)
Leeds United 1
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Sky Bet Championship
Forest: Darlow; Jara, Lascelles, Hobbs, Lichaj; Lansbury, Mackie (Cox 83), Majewski (Chalobah 72), Reid; Abdoun (Derbyshire 68), Halford.
Leeds: Kenny; Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce; Peltier (Byram 69), Brown (Ariyibi 60), Murphy, Austin, Pugh; Smith, McCormack (Poleon 86).
Referee: J Linington.