Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Nottingham Forest 3.
Dougie Freedman's reign as Nottingham Forest manager got off to a winning start with victory at Brighton.
Danny Holla's free-kick was glanced in by Lewis Dunk to put the hosts ahead, before a Danny Collins header went in off the post to level for Forest.
Henri Lansbury's low free-kick put the Reds ahead, while Joao Teixeira hit the post for Brighton in the second half.
Ben Osborn swept in Forest's third before Albion substitute Beram Kayal's header set up a tense finish.
Kayal came close to an injury-time equaliser but his effort was cleared off the line by Jamaal Lascelles.
|Collins back in contention|
|Danny Collins last played for Forest on the final day of last season when the Reds were beaten at home by Brighton.|
|The Seagulls beat Forest 2-1 that day as Leonardo Ulloa's injury-time winner secured Brighton a place in the play-offs.|
Freedman made five changes from the side which took to the field for Stuart Pearce's last game against Millwall.
Four of those came in the back five with Karl Darlow returning in goal, while Collins came in for his first game of the season and was joined by Danny Fox and Eric Lichaj.
An injury to Solly March inside 20 minutes saw him replaced by Kazenga LuaLua, who returned to action for the first time since a knee injury picked up at the end of November.
Brighton controlled the first half, with Holla hitting the angle of bar, and it was no surprise when the same man's set-piece allowed Dunk to score.
But Forest hit back within two minutes when Osborn's free-kick was met by Collins to level.
Teixeira was superbly denied by Darlow at the start of the second half and he also put a free header wide.
Another set-piece produced the game's third goal as Osborn tapped a free-kick to Lansbury, who drove in his sixth goal of the season for the Reds.
Teixeira's shot rebounded off the base of the post onto the back of Darlow and to safety as the hosts looked for an equaliser.
Chris Burke's low ball into the six-yard box was finished off by Osborn to put Forest 3-1 up, before Kayal closed the gap and nearly levelled in a thrilling end to the game.
Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman:
"We had to make sure we were compact, we had to make sure we were committed to each other.
"As the game went on we grew more in confidence in our attacking play, resulting in that third goal.
"I am really, really enjoying working with the players we have and I so proud to be the Forest manager."
- 22HollaSubstituted forKayalat 85'minutes
- 24InceBooked at 62mins
- 14CalderónSubstituted forBestat 66'minutes
- 17Vilaca Teixeira
- 27MarchSubstituted forLua Luaat 19'minutes
- 25Lua Lua
- 10LansburySubstituted forLascellesat 89'minutes
- 9AssombalongaSubstituted forFryattat 80'minutes
- 29de Vries
- Chris Sarginson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Nottingham Forest 3.
Offside, Nottingham Forest. Daniel Fox tries a through ball, but Matty Fryatt is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Kazenga Lua Lua following a corner.
Attempt missed. Leon Best (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by João Teixeira with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Danny Collins.
Attempt blocked. Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked.
Attempt missed. João Teixeira (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Beram Kayal.
Foul by Joe Bennett (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Chris Burke (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Nottingham Forest 3. Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Kazenga Lua Lua with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Jamaal Lascelles replaces Henri Lansbury.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Gary Gardner.
Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest).
Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Nottingham Forest 3. Ben Osborn (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Chris Burke.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Beram Kayal replaces Danny Holla.
Attempt blocked. Chris Burke (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Henri Lansbury.
Foul by Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion).