The Clarets’ coaching staff made an unhappy return to the City Ground as their former club got the better of their current one thanks to second-half goals from Dexter Blackstock and Billy Sharp.
Forest are nothing like the side where Sean Dyche and Ian Woan started their professional careers more than 20 years ago but did enough to get their latest attempt to climb back to the top flight back on track after successive defeats.
The Clarets, meanwhile, slipped a couple of places back down the Championship this season with a first defeat in four games as they lost away from Turf Moor for the seventh time this season.
On a day when neither side hit any great heights, the first goal was always likely to be vital and after passing up a couple of decent first-half chances Burnley paid the penalty when they went behind to Blackstock after an hour.
Sharp then stuck the knife in with the killer second and with the Clarets lacking the composure or the cutting edge to threaten a fightback, Dyche was left with food for thought before another reunion with Watford at Turf Moor next Saturday.
While Burnley had raised hopes of a top-ten push with a late leveller against Blackburn a week previously, Forest’s fans were apparently less than impressed with their performance in losing at home to Hull and the Clarets had a chance to cause further disquiet inside the opening 90 seconds.
When Elliott Ward failed to deal with a ball forward by Martin Paterson, top scorer Charlie Austin was left in the clear with an angled run towards goal.
But for once his finish lacked conviction with a left-footed shot which never threatened the target as the home side was given a reprieve.
Lewis McGugan tried to make the most of it with a typical effort from long range which flew over the top.
And while Forest caused their moments of concern for the Clarets’ back four, goalkeeper Lee Grant didn’t need to make a save before the break.
A McGugan free-kick deflected just wide and a header from Blackstock that slid past a post were the nearest Forest came to breaking the deadlock.
And although the possession stats would have been in the hosts’ favour, Burnley could claim to have had the better of the chances in a scrappy opening 45 minutes.
Despite not passing the ball consistently well enough to make the most of all of their opportunities on the counter-attack, a deep cross from Kieran Trippier allowed Paterson to steer a low volley against the outside of a post.
Chris McCann then shot wide from the best opportunity of the half as he burst forward onto a Brian Stock pass before Paterson tested Lee Camp with a measured shot from a Ross Wallace cross which was almost deflected past the Forest keeper.
Doubtless both managers asked for an improvement at the break and while the standard showed no visible improvement, Forest pounced to go in front with an hour gone.
There appeared to be no obvious danger when Andy Reid delivered a ball into the Burnley penalty area but with Blackstock climbing highest, with the help of a little debatable leverage, the striker was able to direct a fine header into the top corner to give him his sixth goal of the season.
That goal at least stung the Clarets into life and within two minutes Austin was unlucky not to equalise.
The striker’s touch had deserted him a couple of times in general play but inside the penalty area he comes alive and after excellent work by Danny Lafferty – who did a decent job in deputising for the injured Ben Mee – he made space for a low shot which was only kept out by a combination of Camp and the legs of a defender.
Dyche quickly added to his attacking options with the introduction of Sam Vokes and the hero of the derby-day draw almost made an immediate impact as he nodded just wide from an Austin cross.
But with just over a quarter of an hour to go the prospect of a comeback disappeared as Forest doubled their lead on the break as Sharp gave Burnley’s back line the slip to coolly steer a left-footed finish past Grant.
This time there was little response from the Clarets as they couldn’t work an opening to put any doubt into Forest minds and in the dying moments Dean Marney became the third Burnley player to be booked – joining McCann and Michael Duff who will both now miss the visit of Watford through suspension.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Lafferty, Duff, Shackell, Stock (Vokes 65), McCann, Marney, Austin, Paterson (Stanislas 73), Wallace (Ings 82). Subs: Edgar, Bartley, Mills, Jensen.
Booked: McCann 42, Duff 65, Marney 88
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Harding, Hutton, Ward, Collins, Gillett (Moussi 66), McGugan (Guedioura 74), Reid, Lansbury (Cohen 59), Blackstock, Sharp. Subs: Darlow, Ayala, Majewski, Coppinger.
Booked: Sharp 79, Cohen 90
Referee: Mark Heywood
Attendance: 19,672 (Burnley 926)