Ivan Toney scored on his return from an eight-month ban as Brentford snapped a seven-game winless run to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 on Saturday.
Toney was suspended for 232 breaches of betting rules in May, but showed little sign of rust as he took just 19 minutes to make his mark with a clever free-kick and played the full game.
However, it was Neal Maupay who scored the winner with a brilliant touch and volley 22 minutes from time that eased the Bees’ fears of being dragged into the relegation battle.
Victory lifts Brentford above Forest into 14th, six points clear of the drop zone.
Defeat compounded a difficult week for Forest after they admitted to breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR) last season.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are now looking nervously over their shoulder as they sit just four points above the relegation zone and could be hit with a points deduction.
Everton have already been hit by a 10-point sanction this season for breaching PSR at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Back-to-back Premier League wins over Newcastle and Manchester United had boosted Forest’s survival hopes.
But they were without six players who are at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), while key man Morgan Gibbs-White also missed out through injury.
The visitors still got off to a perfect start when Danilo’s stunning strike from outside the box found the bottom corner after only three minutes.
Toney’s absence has been felt even more keenly in recent weeks by Brentford with Bryan Mbuemo sidelined by injury and Yoane Wissa away with DR Congo at AFCON.
The 27-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal or Chelsea, showed what his side have been missing all season when his free-kick curled around the Forest wall to find the bottom corner.
Keane Lewis-Potter failed to show the same composure as the young Brentford winger missed a host of chances either side of half-time to put his side in front.
Thomas Frank’s men did finally get in front when Ben Mee powered in Mathias Jensen’s corner.
The lead lasted only seven minutes as Chris Wood headed in from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross.
Orel Mangala was then inches away from giving Forest the lead against the run of play.
Seconds later, Brentford were back in front when Maupay did brilliantly to control Mads Roerslav’s cross before spinning and firing low into the corner for his third goal in as many games.
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