AIDEN O’Brien came off the bench to rescue a point for Millwall after former Lions striker Lewis Grabban had threatened to ruin Friday night under the lights at The Den.
Shaun Williams scored his second goal in two games when he headed home Jed Wallace’s corner to give the Lions a 14th-minute lead.
Forest levelled through Grabban, who scored with his first touch seconds after coming off the bench in the 64th minute.
He scored again in the 88th minute when he finished Sammy Ameobi’s low cross, before O’Brien tapped home in injury-time.
Millwall impress but then lose their way
It was a game of two wildly contrasting halves. In the opening 45 minutes Forest’s 5-3-2 formation allowed Wallace and Jiri Skalak the initiative to keep the full-backs pressed back, giving Mahlon Romeo and Murray Wallace the space to move down the flanks outside Forest’s narrow midfield. Wallace attacked Forest from all angles and they couldn’t handle him, only being let off the hook by too many poor final balls.
Forest were appalling in the first half. Millwall’s goal summed up just how useless they were. Williams strolled into the centre of the box and made a decent connection with his head, but inexplicably Ben Watson moved out of the way of the ball, a Matrix-like manoeuvre that Neo would have been proud of.
It was completely different after the break as it was Forest’s full-backs Matty Cash and Jack Robinson who pushed on and gave their side width. The visitors snapped the ball around far quicker, Tiago Silva becoming a dictating influence and Ameobi a proper threat. Ameobi was also more effective without the ball as he dropped into midfield on to Williams to stop Millwall switching the play.
Forest looked like they had done enough to win it after creating a trove of second-half chances with Grabban the ace up the sleeve.
But Millwall had their own poacher as O’Brien sniffed out a late chance to score his first league goal of the season.
It won’t paper over the cracks and Millwall will be wondering how they could have so much control to being in a position of needing a late equaliser.
They need to find more consistency in games to have a chance of gate-crashing the top six this season.
Millwall concede again from set-piece
Lions fans had barely finished booing Grabban when the forward was wheeling away in front of the North Stand after heading into an empty net.
It was the second game in a row Millwall had conceded from a set-piece, an area they should be so strong.
Williams likes a Forest walk
Williams has scored 22 goals for the Lions and, remarkably, four of them (22 per cent) have been against Forest.
Williams scored on his 250th Millwall appearance and Wallace got another assist, his 10th goal involvement in 10 games.
Millwall dominated possession in the first half and Mahlon Romeo tested Brice Samba with a left-footed shot to the near post that the goalkeeper batted away.
Forest were absent as an attacking force in the first period. They were reduced to long hopeful balls forward from Michael Dawson but Alex Pearce and Jake Cooper held the offside line well.
The Lions picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and Wallace played a pass inside to Romeo but the right-back could only find the near side-netting.
Forest created their first chance in the 50th minute. Robinson lofted a ball to the back post that Cash nodded down to Ameobi whose shot forced a near-post save from Bart Biakowski.
Alfa Semedo then sent a cross-shot from the left just wide of the far post before Romeo gathered a loose ball but dragged his left-footed effort wide.
In the 60th minute Semedo found Ameobi who turned and shot but Bialkowski was behind it.
Four minutes later Tiago Silva sent a free-kick from the left to the back post where Joe Worrall headed back across goal and Grabban pounced.
The Lions had a superb chance to go back in front in the 69th minute when Ben Thompson hooked a cross into the box but Cooper headed straight at Samba from six yards.
Cooper then headed Wallace’s corner back across goal towards the far post but Ameobi headed away from close to his own line. Millwall also thought they could have had a penalty when Ameobi shoved over Tom Bradshaw.
Grabban appeared to have won it for Forest, before O’Brien finished after Samba could only parry Williams’ shot to him.
Millwall were unchanged from the team that started in the 1-1 draw at Birmingham on Saturday.
Shaun Hutchinson returned to the bench for Billy Mitchell, while Ryan Sandford was on the bench in place of Luke Steele.
Millwall: 4-4-1-1: Bialkowski; Romeo, Pearce, Cooper, M Wallace; J Wallace, Molumby, Williams, Skalak (O’Brien, 79); Thompson (Mahoney, 83); Smith (Bradshaw, 61).
Subs: Sandford, Brown, Hutchinson, Bodvarsson.
Image: Millwall FC