The home side went ahead after 53 minutes through Mustapha Carayol, but the visitors forced a late leveller when Darius Henderson scored in the 80th minute - the first goal Middlesbrough had conceded at home for 11 hours and 54 minutes.
Middlesbrough pressed in the opening minute as Emmanuel Ledesma got down the right to cross and Danny Graham glanced a header wide of the far post.
They went close to scoring 14 minutes in when an inswinging corner from Grant Leadbitter was missed by goalkeeper Karl Darlow and dipped to the far post for Carayol to head goalwards, but Jamaal Lascelles nodded off the line.
Forest threatened after 32 minutes when Djamel Abdoun crossed from the right for Simon Cox six yards out, but his downward header was well saved by Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Increasingly dangerous, Forest were looking menacing again after 37 minutes when Abdoun cracked in a stinging 25-yard effort that again brought a good diving save.
Soon afterwards, Radoslaw Majewski controlled well on the edge of the penalty area and sent a shot screaming just wide.
Middlesbrough broke out of their own half to threaten just before the break as Nathaniel Chalobah sent Carayol weaving forward to check inside a Forest defender and rifle a low shot just wide.
Almost immediately, at the other end, Forest went close as Majewski sent a low 25-yard effort skidding narrowly off target.
The breakthrough came when Albert Adomah broke down the right and squared across the edge of the box to pick out Carayol who curled a shot just inside the foot of the far post from 15 yards.
Forest had a good chance soon after as a good move took Cox into the box but Ben Gibson arrived with a good blocking tackle as he shaped to shoot, and Jamie Mackie screwed well wide from 10 yards.
The hosts almost netted a second goal similar to the opener after 69 minutes as Grant Leadbitter sent Carayol down the inside left channel and again he cut into the box curled a 15-yard shot, but this time it drifted a fraction wide.
Forest levelled out of the blue when substitute Andy Reid crossed from the left for unmarked Henderson to stab goalwards. Konstantopoulos blocked his first effort but Henderson bundled home the rebound with home fans appealing for the referee to give handball against the visiting forward.
There was almost a winner. Middlesbrough's Kei Kamara nodded on a George Friend free-kick and after a scramble the ball fell to striker Graham six yards out, but his stabbed effort cannoned off the post.
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