Forest had the first effort of the game, Matty Cash hitting a right footed volley from 20 yards, but it sailed harmlessly past Scott Loach's left hand post.
Notts responded though and Izale McLeod almost had them ahead in the sixth minute, firing narrowly over the angle of post and crossbar as the ball broke in the box.
Oliver Burke had the best chance of the first half for Forest, five minutes before half time. The midfielder found space in the box and angled a shot past Loach, but he got his shot wrong and it flew well wide of the far post.
Genaro Snijders and McLeod almost linked up in the final moments of the half, Snijders' cross just being claimed by Dorus De Vries before McLeod could capitalise.
The biggest cheer of the game came in the 45th minute as Mike Edwards, who was being rewarded for his service to the club with this testimonial, was replaced by Carl Dickinson.
John Sheridan made seven changes at the break, with just Haydn Hollis, Alan Smith and Elliot Hewitt remaining from those who had started the game.
It was the visitors who had the first real chance of the second half in the 53rd minute. Stanley Aborah lost the ball in the middle, Chris Cohen setting Ben Osborn free down the left, but he shot wide of Adam Collin's goal.
New front pairing Jon Stead and Jonathan Forte almost created the opener for Notts, the move ending with Stead firing inches wide on the volley from the edge of the box.
The opener came in the 57th minute and it went the way of the visitors. Osborn found space 25 yards out, hitting a shoot which took a wicked deflection and looped over Collin into the net.
Wes Atkinson replaced Alan Smith in the 63rd minute as Notts made their ninth change of the game.
The game had been an even affair, and Notts got the equaliser in the 64th minute. Aborah showed his strength to battle through a challenge on halfway, he drove forward and found Alex Rodman who shot low with his left foot into the far corner to bring the teams level.
Nottingham Forest almost re-took the lead just minutes afterwards, but Osborn guided his header well over Collin's crossbar.
Rodman, who had impressed after coming on, had his shot beaten away at the near post by Evtimov, the resulting corner just being claimed ahead of Carl Dickinson who was rushing in.
However, it was Forest who took netted the winner in the 78th minute. Jamie Paterson drove the ball from just outside the area, his shot deflecting off a defender before nestling inside the far post.
Jordan Richards replaced Elliott Hewitt for the final ten minutes, as the hosts made their tenth change of the match.
However, Notts couldn't find an equaliser, coming closest with from a corner in the 91st minute which Forest eventually were able to clear.
Att: 9,007 (Away: 4970)