Will Grigg’s third and fourth goals of the season weren’t enough as Wigan Athletic suffered more stoppage-time heartache on the road.
The Northern Ireland striker had looked as though he’d earned Latics a point they undoubtedly deserved when he fired home his side’s third equaliser with five minutes to go.
But there was to be a late sting in the tale as Hildeberto Pereira fed Thomas Lam, whose finish sparked joyous scenes in three sides of the City Ground.
Britt Assombalomba and Michael Jacobs both netted inside the opening 11 minutes, and the only surprise at half-time was that there had been no further goals such was the open nature of the game.
Oliver Burke restored the Forest lead at the start of the second period, before Adam Bogdan saved a penalty from Apostolos Vellios to keep Latics in it.
Grigg again hauled Latics level with 25 minutes to go, and was on hand again in the closing stages to grab his second after Burke had put Forest 3-2 up against the run of play.
But with Latics pushing for a last-gasp winner, they were undone again in added time - just as they’d been on the opening day at Bristol City - to return home with nothing.
Latics had got off to the worst possible start, and they only had themselves to blame.
There was no problem whatsoever before Dan Burn played a woefully under-hit backpass that never had a hope of reaching Bogdan.
Assombalonga picked up on it, and beat the Latics goalkeeper with little fuss with only six minutes gone.
The goal came at a cost, however, with the big striker appearing to clutch his hamstring in the celebrations, which caused his substitution on the 15-minute mark.
By then, Latics were on level terms.
Yanic Wildschut had already fired narrowly wide, after a corner had been headed into his path by Burn.
But with 11 minutes on the clock, Latics did find an equaliser when Shaun MacDonald and Alex Gilbey fed Jacobs, who fired into the net past Stephen Henderson.
After losing Assombalonga, Forest actually raised their game and almost re-took the lead within a couple of minutes.
Matty Cash thought he’d scored only to see his shot come back off the post into the path of Pajtim Kasani, who was denied by Burn.
Latics then required a great save from Bogdan to keep out a first-time volley from Vellios, on for Assombalonga.
Bogdan was in action again when Burke raced through one-on-one, only for the goalkeeper to make himself look big and save.
Burke then fed Ben Osborn, who put it just wide from a great position.
The half-time whistle came at a good time for Latics, but the home side picked up where they left off and regained the lead within nine minutes of the restart.
A quickly-taken long free-kick from the back found Burke on the edge of the Latics box, and he controlled well before slotting past Bogdan.
It went from bad to worse for the visitors on the hour mark when Craig Morgan was adjudged to have fouled Chris Cohen inside the area, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Vellios’ spot-kick was decent enough, but Bogdan threw himself to his left to make a wonderful save - his third since joining Latics last month.
The prompted a double Latics change, with Wildschut and MacDonald making way for Luke Burke and Nick Powell.
And the switch brought about instant dividends, with Latics back on terms within a minute.
Luke Garbutt did all the damage down the left-hand side, with a lovely run and cross that found Grigg on the edge of the six-yard box.
The striker only had a small area to aim for at the near post, but sneaked his header past Henderson and inside the post.
Latics then dominated for a good 10 minutes, with Burke firing inches over the top from outside the box and Max Power shooting just wide.
But just as the visitors looked likely to take the lead for the first time, they were undone by a classic sucker punch, with Burke slipping the ball past an exposed Bogdan.
Latics threw on Craig Davies for the last 10 minutes in a desperate attempt to get something from the game.
And for the second time, a goal followed in quick succession.
Garbutt’s throw from the left was flicked on to Grigg, who fired home to the delight of the Latics fans behind the goal.
But with Latics looking to pinch a famous win, they were rocked on their heels again when Pereira supplied Lam, with Bogdan this time unable to interject.