Dominic Solanke completed a last-gasp hat-trick to earn Bournemouth a 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest and ruin Nuno Espirito Santo’s first game in charge at the City Ground.
Forest had looked like overcoming the controversial first-half red card of Willy Boly to earn a worthy point after Chris Wood had headed them level in the 74th minute.
But Solanke, who had earlier scored twice in seven minutes to overturn Anthony Elanga’s opener for Forest, broke their hearts when he headed home in the fifth minute of time added on.
Forest will have grave complaints about the 23rd-minute dismissal of Boly, who was sent off for two yellow cards, with referee Rob Jones brandishing the second despite the defender clearly winning the ball.
Nuno, who replaced the sacked Steve Cooper earlier in the week, will be enthused by what he saw from his side, but he has inherited a relegation battle and Forest could be in the bottom three if results do not go in their favour in the Boxing Day fixtures.
Life is much better for the Cherries, who won for the fifth time in six matches to climb into mid-table and Solanke took the matchball home for the first time in his career.
Nuno received warm applause before kick-off and, after Boly’s early first booking for a foul on Solanke, his side made a strong start.
Wood should have done better when he waltzed past Marcos Senesi in the area but shot straight at Cherries goalkeeper Neto before Elanga had a low effort well saved.
The match-defining moment came in the 23rd minute when Boly was awarded a second yellow card for a challenge on Adam Smith, despite clearly winning the ball.
VAR cannot check yellow card incidents so the Ivorian had no reprieve and had to walk.
Forest acquitted themselves well with 10 men and thought they should have been awarded a penalty on the half-hour mark.
Harry Toffolo’s cross hit Smith’s hand but VAR ruled, while his feet were in the penalty area, contact was outside.
Perhaps fuelled by a sense of injustice they made a dream start to the second half and went ahead less than two minutes after the restart.
Wood dispossessed Alex Scott in a dangerous area and played in Elanga, who provided a sublime finish into the bottom corner.
But the joy was short-lived as the Cherries levelled four minutes later as Solanke sent a looping header from Senesi’s cross over Matt Turner.
Solanke needed just another seven minutes to grab his second as he slid home a loose ball to put the visitors in control.
But Forest showed real character and Wood headed them level when his effort from Morgan Gibbs-White’s corner went in after taking a nick from Luis Sinisterra.
Bournemouth did threaten a third goal when David Brooks hit the post, but Solanke claimed his hat-trick and the three points when he headed home Smith’s cross at the death.