Jermain Defoe's ninth goal of the season ensured that new boss Alan Pardew made an unbeaten, if unspectacular, start to his managerial role at Upton Park.
A whole 34 days after his departure from Reading, Pardew was finally able to start his role as Hammers boss.
He had wasted no time during the day securing Hayden Mullins on loan with a view to a permanent Â£600,000 move, but there was to be no early debut delight for either man.
Indeed, within five minutes West Ham found themselves trailing after Andy Reid spectacularly took advantage of the former Crystal Palace defender's ill -timed slip as he climaxed his run from halfway with an unstoppable 25-yard shot that flew under the helpless David James' left-hand angle.
Having secured their early lead, Forest were in no mood to let go of it, as referee Bates' patience was tested to the limit.
Midway through the first half, Michael Carrick glanced Defoe's free-kick inches wide while Rob Lee's stinging 20-yard effort was held by Darren Ward.
Certainly, with 11-goal Marlon Harewood looking lively with every visiting counter-attack, West Ham could have been in even deeper trouble.
But, having been booed off at the interval, a rejuvenated Hammers side emerged for the re-start.
Within ten minutes those jeers had turned to cheers as Defoe met Matthew Etherington's pinpoint centre with a firm six-yard header that gave Ward absolutely no chance.
On the hour, Lee's low cross only needed a touch from David Connolly, before Christian Dailly sent his diving header a whisker wide.
In reply, Harewood embarrassed Tomas Repka before forcing James to parry his angled shot and when Repka picked up his seventh booking of the season for dissent, the advancing of the subsequent wall by ten yards put Reid within striking range and his free-kick crashed back off the bar.
Having started strongly, Forest were finishing well too.
Much to the relief of West Ham, Reid's shooting boots deserted him as he wastefully blazed a match-wining chance wide from just ten yards, while Forest had an equally lucky escape when Defoe's stoppage-time shot crashed off the base of Ward's right-hand post.