The team and system looked a little better; Robert Tesche and Henri Lansbury occupied the pivotal central-midfield roles, and while this would give rise to it's own problems, it at least allowed Michael Mancienne to escape back into the back-four, alongside Jamaal Lascelles. Full-backs Danny Fox and Eric Lichaj appeared under orders to get forward as often as possible.
Matty Fryatt and Britt Assombalonga played up front for Forest, ahead of wingers Michael Antonio and Jamie Paterson, who should have been ideally placed to attack Birmingham's full-backs due to the system our opponents use.
The Blues utilise a 4-2-3-1 formation that we are familiar with having watched Forest's own versions under Pearce and previous manager Billy Davies. This is a fluid way of playing which has come to dominate world football, because it is essentially a 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 at the same time, but Birmingham play it with more emphasis on counter-attacking and are inclined to rely on defending the central areas rather than pulling back the wide midfielders as cautiously as you sometimes see.
The weakness in this system is the area around the full-backs, and with City's style of play, which their emphasis on defending the centre in order to be able to counter-attack with their wide-men, Forest should have been able to hurt them here.
Pearce spoke of this threat beforehand, so he obviously warned the players of this, making the neglect in this aspect of their play baffling - it was a total lack of organisation and teamwork.
Both full-backs were pushing up simultaneously, while the wingers did not appear to be under orders to cover their full-backs when advanced - I assume Pearce would have instructed Lansbury and Tesche to provide cover should their full-back need it, something they failed to do.
The (rough) diagram of the players' average positions for the game illustrates what was happening (see left, all diagrams on Forest Boffin can be enlarged if clicked), as Demarai Grey and David Cotterill were repeatedly able to run beyond Fox and Lichaj and cause problems.
This was exacerbated by what the Forest wingers were doing; instead of making runs out wide into the areas where Birmingham's system is vulnerable, they often drifted into the centre of the pitch, which was crowded with blue shirts.
By doing so, not only did they forfeit their chance to get on the ball and hurt our opponents, but they also freed up Grey and Cotterill to go on the rampage themselves, since their own full-backs did not need help as regularly.
It must be pointed out that Forest were playing some good football in the Birmingham half. I hesitate to say they were dominating, since their position was made so precarious by how open they were at the back, but the extra men in the middle were carving out chances, particularly when Lansbury got involved.
It was all down to who would concede first, and it was Forest - after some poor defending from a free-kick (given away when caught on the counter-attack). This stunned The Reds, and without anybody on the pitch geeing them up, they crumbled, conceded two more quick goals before half-time.
Once again the lack of leadership had ruined what was looking like a good performance. Forest continued to try and play the better football and carved out multiple chances, but when Birmingham sprang forward they created the better opportunities.
The defenders got a lot of stick, particularly Danny Fox. In defence of the left-back, he was Forest's 'go-to' man when coming forward, seemingly expected to create openings from deep. But he was often left with no options. Lansbury - supposedly one of the top midfielders in the league - was point-blank refusing to take the responsibility to get Forest moving forward himself, and spent most of the second half pointing at other, less gifted players. He simply does not want the ball at times, which is frustrating because he was excellent when on the attack.
Paterson was also disappointing; I would have thought a player presented with a rare opportunity would have been desperately trying to find space to get on the ball, but he offered little in the way of an outlet down the wing for Fox. The left-back was forced to play long, hopeful balls, only four of which found their target, or try more tricky threaded-through passes which were often intercepted.
The more experienced Forest midfielders were shown up when Ben Osborn came on; the youngster wanted the ball and was positive, getting Forest moving forward without as much reliance on direct-play from defenders. He made a big difference.
This was a game in which Forest created the more chances, and looked dominant for long periods, but they were at constant risk of being caught on the counter-attack.
The statistics tell a story too - only 2 of Forest's 26 attempts were on target as they tried again and again to force their way through the packed middle of the pitch, while Birmingham sat back, content to pick them off on the break and create meaningful openings. Because of the type of chances the two teams were creating, you would have to say the right team won.
It was an improvement however, from the last home game - despite the worse result. Pearce's men were having the better of things for long periods, missed some good chances and were only - as it happened - undone by the sloppy defending of two set-pieces, and a freak ricochet from a Karl Darlow save. Again the question is, can Pearce sort things out in time for a promotion push?
Thanks for reading, and keep the faith - Psycho deserves his current support.