Burnley 3 Forest 1
A first half masterclass saw Burnley blow Forest out of the water to extend their unbeaten run to 10 games and strengthen their grip on second spot.
Sean Dyche’s rampant side were three goals to the good within 35 minutes as Sam Vokes’ brace took his tally to 18 for the season, following Scott Arfield’s opener.
And despite Djamel Abdoun’s 79th minute header - after his second half penalty had been saved by Tom Heaton - Forest’s 14-game unbeaten league run came crashing to an end as the Clarets’ charge picked up yet more momentum.
Dyche fielded an unchanged team for the sixth successive game.
And opposite number Billy Davies saw his side swept aside following a sensational opening.
There was almost the perfect start within 90 seconds, in a clear sign of things to come.
Arfield’s persistence opened the door and when the unmarked Vokes swung a boot eight yards out, keeper Darlow got a crucial touch before the ball was hacked off the line.
Vokes’ time would soon arrive, but it was Arfield who lit the blue touchpaper for an explosive half with the opener in the 12th minute.
David Jones found the Scot with a terrific pass and after a sweet nutmeg, his fierce shot bounced straight through Darlow and into the roof of the net for his sixth goal of the season.
Michael Kightly was increasingly influential in the opening quarter, and as the Clarets looked to press home their early territorial advantage, the wide man curled a shot over the angle after cutting in from the left flank.
But the second goal arrived in the 25th minute following another moment of magic from Kieran Trippier.
The right back bamboozled ex-Claret Danny Fox with lightening footwork on the right by-line and drilled over a magnificent waist-high cross that Vokes stooped to head home yards from goal.
That was the right backs's 14th assist of the season - and now in full-swing, there was almost a third goal on the half hour for the hosts as Welshman Vokes took Dean Marney’s slide-rule pass in his stride and forced a top save from Darlow with a rising 25-yard volley.
It was one-way traffic, and when Burnley did have the ball in the net 17 minutes from the break, only an offside flag denied Michael Duff his first goal of the campaign as he met Jones free kick with a firm, downward far post header
But 10 minutes from half time, that mattered not as Kightly and Ben Mee raided the left flank and the full back cut the ball back perfectly for Vokes, whose first time shot looped up off a Forest boot and dropped over Darlow into the far corner.
Half time brought a standing ovation from three sides of Turf Moor, as shell-shocked Forest headed for the sanctuary of the dressing room.
Normal service was resumed straight from the restart as Ings sprinted clear down the right and crossed just beyond the in-rushing Vokes, who could easily have been celebrating a first half hat-trick.
But from Forest’s first threat of the game moments later, Abdoun’s corner found Jamaal Lascelles, whose point-blank header was brilliantly gloved onto the bar by Heaton.
Forest perhaps needed that to give them hope of an unlikely second half fightback.
The visitors were not about to give up the ghost though - and again came close on the hour when Trippier headed from underneath the crossbar after Lascelles again rose highest.
But the game should have been dead and buried in the 65th minute when the impressive Mee crossed, Vokes got a touch and strike partner Ings, completely unmarked 12 yards from goal, skied his volley with just Darlow to beat.
And as Burnley rode the early pressure and wrestled back the initiative, Duff touched a flick-on from Jones’ corner inches past the post and Jones soon fired into the side-netting.
Now Burnley were firmly back in control and Ings flashed another shot agonisingly wide of the far post as he looked to get among the scorers.
Two-goal Vokes, meanwhile, was soon replaced by Ashley Barnes to another standing ovation.
But soon after Forest had their consolation when substitute Simon Cox fell tamely under a challenge from Michael Duff and referee Andy D’Urso pointed to the spot.
Abdoun’s penalty brought another top save from Heaton, but the Algerian was first to the rebound to head home from point-blank range.
However, it was too little, far too late for the Reds, whose three-month unbeaten league run came to a shuddering halt at a team really on the rise.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Mee, Shackell, Duff, Marney, Jones, Kightly (Treacy 61), Arfield, Vokes (Barnes 76), Ings.
Subs: Cisak, Long, Wallace, Stanislas, Edgar.
Nottingham Forest: Darlow, Collins, Moussi (Greening 75), Mackie, Fox, Halford, Lascelles, Jara (Henderson 82), Djebbour (Cox 75), Paterson, Abdoun.
Subs: Lichaj, Harding, Derbyshire, De Vries.
Booked: Fox 47, Greening 90
Referee: A. D'urso.
Att: 14,928 (1,902)