Colin Todd's men had come to the City Ground with a fine away record but provided little evidence to suggest how they had lost only once previously on their travels.
Gary Megson's side had been desperate for a win following a 3-0 defeat at Yeovil last weekend which prompted the manager to hammer his side and demand they started earning the £6million wage bill the club shells out.
And they responded with a win that extended their fine record at the City Ground.
Dean Windass almost snatched a point for Bradford in the dying stages with a curling free-kick that forced a fine save from Paul Gerrard but that was literally their only meaningful effort on goal as Forest dominated.
The decisive goal came off the boot of David Johnson who provided a neat finish after being sent clear by James Perch in the 24th minute.
But Forest should have extended their advantage with Jack Lester and Eugen Bopp both failing to score from gilt-edged opportunities.
In the end, a single goal was enough to earn Forest three points and go some way to answering their critics.
Johnson could have broken the deadlock early on after he had turned dangerously in the box but Donovan Ricketts saved superbly at his near post.
Forest did make the breakthrough their dominance deserved in the 24th minute when a good move down the left culminated with Perch finding Johnson who lifted a shot over the advancing keeper and into the back of the net.
Bradford's aging front line of Windass and Steve Claridge had netted 10 goals between them this season but they provided little threat at the City Ground.
The visitors' best chance had come when Steven Schumacher's pass saw Claridge break the offside trap only for the ball to bounce off the striker's back as he tried to let it drop over his shoulder.
After the break Johnson did manage to find the back of the net with a header but was judged to have been offside while Jack Lester was thwarted as he broke clear of the Bradford defence only to see Ricketts make another good save.
Bradford were reduced to 10 men in the final six minutes after Darren Holloway brought down Lester when the striker had broken clear of the defence.