Second-half goals from Barrie McKay and Eric Lichaj helped Nottingham Forest see off hard-working Burton and ease some of the pressure on Mark Warburton with a battling 2-0 win.
Nigel Clough looked set to enjoy his return to familiar territory, with his Burton side on top for the first 45 minutes.
But Forest, who had suffered four Championship defeats in their previous five outings, rolled up their sleeves to grind out a victory that left Burton still stranded in the bottom three.
Jason Cummings had a low cross-shot saved by Stephen Bywater as Forest began with a high tempo - but it was Burton's game plan that dominated the first half.
Clough's men were set up to frustrate and allow Forest no room to create opportunities - while finding their own threat on the break. And it was the former Forest man who won the tactical battle, in a first period that left the home fans frustrated.
Sean Scannell whipped in a dangerous cross that eluded more than one Burton player as it flew across the face of goal and Danny Fox had to produce a brilliant block challenge to deny Lucas Akins.
Burton lost John Brayford to injury after 14 minutes, with Tom Flanagan replacing him - and Forest had to make a change as well when Armand Traore limped off, with Joe Worrall coming on, nine minutes later.
It was Forest's momentum that was effected more, with Lichaj clearing off the line to deny Lloyd Dyer, when he seemed certain to score. While Jake Buxton should have scored when he slid in to attack a Jamie Allen free kick, but prodded his effort wide.
Liam Bridcutt came close to breaking the deadlock in the second half with a beautifully-struck curling shot, which Bywater did brilliantly to push around the upright. McKay saw a driven shot deflected wide.
It was not long before the goal came, with Burton's defences finally breached, after Bridcutt had delivered a teasing cross into the box. Cummings attacked the ball bravely as Bywater came out to punch, with the keeper only able to clear the ball a few yards, straight to McKay, who lifted an accurate finish high into the corner of the net in the 58th minute.
Two minutes later Forest almost doubled their lead when Osborn found space to fire in a shot from 20 yards, but saw Bywater make another impressive save.
Burton wanted a penalty when Smith charged out to challenge Lloyd Dyer, but the keeper did seem to get something on the ball.
And, with 12 minutes to go, Forest took a firm hold on the game, as they netted a lovely second goal. A flowing passing move ended with McKay flicking the ball into the path of rampaging right back Lichaj, who skipped through on goal before providing a neat finish with his left boot.
Dyer flashed a shot narrowly wide after Burton found themselves with space in the box, but Forest held on for a morale-boosting win.