Two goals from Glen Rea in both nets meant the points were shared between the Hatters and 10-man Nottingham Forest under the lights at Kenilworth Road.
Nicholas Ioannou was sent off for the visitors before half-time in-front of the Sky Sports cameras on Wednesday evening.
Manager Nathan Jones made two changes from the side that defeated Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday as James Collins, back for the first time since his positive coronavirus result, and Rea came into the starting line-up after recovering from a broken nose, replacing Danny Hylton and Joe Morrell.
The game had an even feel to the opening 15 minutes, Collins had appeals for handball in the penalty area waved away after his strike was blocked before Anthony Knockaert’s cross from the right was the best Forest chance in the opening stages.
Croatian international Simon Sluga came out to deny Lyle Taylor an open goal in the 20th minute before Rea opened the scoring, the midfielder’s low strike travelled across Brice Samba into the bottom corner for his first goal in the Championship and his first for the Hatters since October 2018 against Walsall.
Forest went down to 10-men just before half-time after Ioannou made a nasty challenge on Martin Cranie to make the visitors' task even harder after the interval.
The Hatters were soaking up the pressure at the start of the second half until they eventually conceded in the 64th minute when Cyrus Christie’s cross hit the back of Rea’s head as he was tracking Ryan Yates inside the six-yard box.
Rea almost had the ball in the net for the third time six minutes later as he met Kiernan Dewsbury-Hill’s corner, but saw his free header blocked by the Forest defence.
Jones rolled the dice in the final 15 minutes when he sent on Kazenga LuaLua and Jordan Clark to try and force a winner.
Dewsbury-Hall made a great interception to deny Joe Lolley’s pass which would have sent Knockaert in behind with a clear chance to test Sluga in the final few minutes.
Then Clark had a great chance to repay Jones’ faith in him and win it, before Samba got down low at his near-post to palm the ex-Accrington man’s effort away.
The Hatters remain in ninth position and are back in Championship action on Saturday afternoon when they face Brentford at Kenilworth Road.
Town: Sluga, Cranie, Pearson, Lockyer (Clark 77), Bradley (C), Norrington-Davies; Rea, Mpanzu, Dewsbury-Hall (Moncur 84), Lee (LuaLua 77), Collins.
Subs not used: Shea, Morrell, Tunnicliffe, Hylton.
Goals: Rea (22)
Yellows: Mpanzu (55), Cranie (71), Rea (73)
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Christie, McKenna, Figueiredo, Ioannou; Lolley, Colback (C), Yates, Knockaert, Ameobi (Jenkinson 45); Taylor.
Subs not used: Smith, Mbe Soh, Freeman, Mighten, Guerrero, Sow.
Goals: Rea (64 og)
Referee: Tim Robinson