Nottingham Forest scored three goals in seven frantic second-half minutes as they came from behind to beat 10-man Leeds United and ease the pressure on manager Aitor Karanka.

A captivating match saw the Reds take an early lead when Jack Colback chased a lost cause and capitalised on a dreadful Adam Forshaw backpass.

Things got worse for the Championship leaders when Kalvin Phillips was dismissed for a terrible lunging tackle on Adlene Guedioura.

A stunning response saw substitute Jack Clarke sidefoot the leveller and Ezgjan Alioski smash Leeds ahead.

But Colback drew Forest level with a tidy low finish from 16 yards and Daryl Murphy’s header put Karanka’s men in front.

Ben Osborn’s stunning finish then wrapped up the victory to end a five-game winless run and take Forest to within four points of the play-off places.

Forest hit four after Karanka headlines

A stirring Forest performance will have done wonders for Karanka’s chances of staying in a job amid relentless speculation the Spaniard is to be sacked.

Another six-goal thriller saw the rumours initially gather pace as the Reds surrendered a 3-0 lead against Norwich on Boxing Day.

But Forest responded magnificently to the subsequent loss against Millwall to stun Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, who are still a point clear at the top of the table following Norwich’s draw with Brentford.

Forest showed the tenacity and spirit to suggest they are playing for their manager, coupled with more than a little quality against a stylish side who played a full part in a magnificent match, despite playing with a man down for the entire second half.

Referee Darren England sends off Calvin Phillips of Leeds United

But the hosts had to defend for much of the first half after Colback’s composed early finish.

Mat Klich and Pablo Hernandez impressed in midfield allowing the visitors to dominate possession, while the pace and trickery of on-loan Manchester City winger Jack Harrison provided a constant threat.

Kemar Roofe had a fierce shot well saved and was denied a tap-in by Joe Lolley from a corner, while Alioski headed just over and Barry Douglas sent a free-kick a fraction wide.

The visitors will point to a controversial moment when Reds defender Jack Robinson was only cautioned for bringing down Luke Ayling on the edge of the box as the Leeds man raced towards goal.

But Forest stood firm and their high-tempo approach could have brought a second goal by the interval.

Claudio Yacob headed wide and, after Phillips was dismissed, Lolley wasted a glorious one-on-one opportunity.

Leeds riskily piled men forward after the break.

Jack Colback (right) celebrates his first-half goal against Leeds

Hernandez had a shot beaten away by Costel Pantilimon, but the visitors were soon level, Clarke’s first-time effort going under the giant Reds keeper after neat interplay saw Roofe and Klich combine to tee up the chance.

Roofe was then just off target with a tough looping chance from the right-hand side of the box that drifted just wide.

But seven astonishing minutes saw Colback level and Murphy get the better of marker Pontus Jansson to power the hosts ahead from a corner.

The big Forest striker then turned provider with a smart pass to Osborn, who skipped into the area before crashing in the game-clinching goal.

Leeds continued to create opportunities, with Roofe going close and Robinson almost scoring an own goal, but Karanka’s men saw out the win to jump from 10th place to seventh in the table.

Line-ups

Nottm Forest

  • 1Pantilimon
  • 27DarikwaBooked at 81mins
  • 44HefeleSubstituted forGuédiouraat 5′minutes
  • 4Fox
  • 18RobinsonBooked at 14mins
  • 24Yacob
  • 6Colback
  • 14Cash
  • 10Antunes Carvalho
  • 23LolleySubstituted forOsbornat 65′minutes
  • 9MurphySubstituted forAppiahat 90+4′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Guédioura
  • 11Osborn
  • 15Steele
  • 21Janko
  • 22Yates
  • 31Bastião Dias
  • 43Appiah

Leeds

  • 1Peacock-Farrell
  • 2Ayling
  • 18Jansson
  • 23PhillipsBooked at 42mins
  • 3DouglasSubstituted forRobertsat 78′minutes
  • 4Forshaw
  • 22HarrisonSubstituted forClarkeat 45′minutes
  • 19Hernández
  • 43Klich
  • 10Alioski
  • 7Roofe

Substitutes

  • 11Roberts
  • 13Huffer
  • 34Baker
  • 40Davis
  • 46Shackleton
  • 47Clarke
  • 52Halme
Referee:
Darren England
Attendance:
29,530

Match Stats

Home TeamNottm ForestAway TeamLeeds
Possession
Home37%
Away63%
Shots
Home13
Away13
Shots on Target
Home6
Away7
Corners
Home6
Away8
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Nottingham Forest 4, Leeds United 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Nottingham Forest 4, Leeds United 2.

Offside, Leeds United. Pablo Hernández tries a through ball, but Tyler Roberts is caught offside.

Mateusz Klich (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Nottingham Forest).

Substitution

Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Arvin Appiah replaces Daryl Murphy.

Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by João Carvalho (Nottingham Forest).

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Claudio Yacob.

Attempt missed. Kemar Roofe (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ezgjan Alioski with a cross.

Attempt saved. Claudio Yacob (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Osborn with a cross.

Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Pontus Jansson.

Attempt blocked. Daniel Fox (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Osborn.

Hand ball by Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest).

Attempt missed. João Carvalho (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Daryl Murphy.

Attempt missed. Pontus Jansson (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ezgjan Alioski with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Jack Robinson.

Booking

Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Tyler Roberts (Leeds United).

Daniel Fox (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Kemar Roofe (Leeds United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Adam Forshaw with a through ball.

Substitution

Substitution, Leeds United. Tyler Roberts replaces Barry Douglas.

Goal!

Goal! Nottingham Forest 4, Leeds United 2. Ben Osborn (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Daryl Murphy.

Jack Clarke (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jack Robinson (Nottingham Forest).

Foul by Jack Clarke (Leeds United).

Jack Colback (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jack Clarke (Leeds United).

Ben Osborn (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Nottingham Forest 3, Leeds United 2. Daryl Murphy (Nottingham Forest) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ben Osborn with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Pontus Jansson.

Foul by Barry Douglas (Leeds United).

Matthew Cash (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Jack Clarke (Leeds United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Mateusz Klich.

Goal!

Goal! Nottingham Forest 2, Leeds United 2. Jack Colback (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jack Robinson with a headed pass following a corner.

Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Jack Clarke.

Foul by Jack Clarke (Leeds United).

Jack Robinson (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Ben Osborn replaces Joe Lolley.

Goal!

Goal! Nottingham Forest 1, Leeds United 2. Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United) left footed shot from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Pontus Jansson with a headed pass following a corner.