McGugan sinks nine-man Town
Nine-man Ipswich were left to rue a luckless night at the City Ground as substitute Lewis McGugan's late deflected winner gave revitalised Nottingham Forest a 1-0 win.
Town's Lee Martin had already been denied what he felt was a penalty, with referee David Webb deeming the contact outside the box, when he reacted angrily to a Henri Lansbury challenge by appearing to hit out at the Forest midfielder to warrant a first-half dismissal.
The visitors were proving a tough nut to crack but their task become gargantuan when Richard Stearman picked up a second yellow card with just over 20 minutes to go after he was harshly adjudged to have caught Andy Reid in the face.
Town dug deep, with Stephen Henderson saving superbly from Reid, but McGugan was to beat the the visiting goalkeeper six minutes from time with an effort which took a huge deflection as Forest made it 13 points from 15 since boss Billy Davies' return.
The hosts' pre-match anthem talks of 'mist rolling in from the Trent' and that was all-too prevalent at kick-off. However, the poor visibility did not stop Webb noticing Elliott Ward's scything challenge on Michael Chopra which earned the Forest centre-back an early caution.
The fog lifted slightly but the ugly scenes continued as Ipswich's Stearman joined Ward in the notebook for flattening Simon Cox from behind with a challenge which enraged the home side.
Neither goalkeeper had been troubled until Martin drove just over Karl Darlow's crossbar from distance. While, at the other end, Henderson was in the right spot for Cox's deflected effort.
Henderson made an even better stop moments later to deny Lansbury, who danced around a couple of defenders before drilling against the stopper's left arm.
Ipswich were then left perplexed when Martin was tripped around the edge of the area by a combination of two Forest players with Webb awarding a free-kick, despite the contact seeming to occur inside the box.
The set-piece came to nothing and Ipswich's night was about to take a turn for the worse as Martin received his marching orders five minutes from half-time.
The winger was chopped down by Lansbury and the pair tangled as they got to their feet. Martin turned around and aimed his arm into the midriff of the former Arsenal midfielder, who promptly hit the deck, right under Webb's nose and a red card duly followed.
The visitors could have gone into the break ahead, though, had Daryl Murphy brought down a long ball, while, for Forest, Cox's effort clipped the top of Henderson's net.
The Republic of Ireland international skewed a left-footed effort just wide at the start of the second period while former Forest skipper Luke Chambers reacted brilliantly to clear Cox's pull-back.
However, a difficult ask for Ipswich became nigh impossible when Webb gave Stearman a highly-questionable second caution in the 69th minute as he muscled Reid off the ball near the touchline.
Reid threatened to break their resistance when he teed himself up for a volley which Henderson tipped wide, and he was equal to McGugan's effort from the corner too.
Yet Forest were to be the benefactors of one more slice of luck.
McGugan's drive from distance struck an Ipswich player, sending it in to the bottom left-hand corner, with Henderson stranded, as Forest emerged from the thick fog with all three points.