After Kei Kamara and George Friend had given Boro a two-goal cushion, Davies sent on Matt Derbyshire and Darius Henderson and they both earned ‘super-sub’ status to score a goal apiece as Forest came back from the dead to deny Tony Mowbray’s men an unlikely victory.
Forest gave a first League start to Algerian winger Djamel Abdoun, while Kamara and Marvin Ermnes came in for Boro, and it was the hosts who threatened first when Jamie Mackie had a shot blocked by Rhys Williams, before the ball spun to Henri Lansbury who blazed over.
Crowd favourite Abdoun set up the next Forest attack, and after he had a shot charged down, the ball bobbled around the Boro box like a pinball, but no Reds player could get a decisive touch.
Just 11 minutes in and Forest were forced into a change when centre-back Kelvin Wilson hobbled off to be replaced by Greg Halford.
Forest had serious claims for a penalty turned down, when Majewski’s shot seemed to hit a lunging Jonathan Woodgate on the arm, but Boro launched a decisive counter-attack through Adomah, who flew down the wing, before delivering the perfect cross for Kamara to fire home and give the visitors the lead after 18 minutes.
Forest were handed a golden chance to level after 35 minutes, when Majewski was crudely upended by Williams in the area as he tried to latch on to Abdoun’s cross, but Andy Reid’s penalty was brilliantly saved by Jason Steele, who tipped the ball past his left-hand post.
The second-half was only a few minutes old when Steele again performed heroics in the Boro goal as he superbly got down low to his right to keep out Mackie’s header from Eric Lichaj’s cross.
Forest were made to pay for their failure to get on level terms as Boro increased their lead after 55 minutes. Grant Leadbitter and Ermnes combined to set up left-back George Friend, who crashed a magnificent shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
Reds boss Davies had seen enough and he made a double substitution, with Henderson and Derbyshire replacing Majewski and Cox.
Forest finally managed to get a toe-hold on the match, when Reid’s cross was headed in by sub Derbyshire after 69 minutes to spark the home side back into life.
And just two minutes later, Forest thought they had another penalty when Henderson tumbled over Steele’s challenge, only for Dowd to whistle for a free-kick to Boro and book the Reds frontman for diving.
With 10 minutes to go, Forest were back on level terms. After Lansbury’s wicked shot was punched clear by a diving Steele, the ball was delivered back into the Boro box where Henderson nodded home.
In injury-time, Boro sub Emanuel Ledesma was sent off for a going through the back of Lansbury. And from the resultant free-kick, Steele had to be alert to tip over Reid’s wicked effort.