The Reds ended a run of five straight games with a share of the spoils to pile the pressure on Steven Gerrard.
Villa spent big in the summer but they didn’t really lay a glove on Forest, despite Ashley Young equalising Dennis’ header.
It was a welcome improvement in performance level by Forest and Steve Cooper will have welcomed the character of his team.
Now, they must build on this and start to become competitive as a Premier League club in the coming weeks.
Dennis was handed a first start by Cooper in the Premier League.
It took the 24-year-old just 15 minutes to open his account for the club; heading home a set piece by Morgan Gibbs-White.
The lead only lasted seven minutes but it was a vastly improved showing from the Reds.
Hodge was doing co-commentary on the game and in trademark fashion, he leapt out of his seat when Dennis scored.
Afterwards, he summed it up nicely and had praise for the Reds talisman.
He told BBC Radio Nottingham: “It’s a great ball and a beautiful header. He deserves that, he’s started really well.”
Dennis signed for Forest from Watford for £20 million during the summer transfer window.
He was one of 22 new arrivals at the City Ground and the challenge for Steve Cooper is to get him into the team.
Hodge pleased for Dennis
The striker staked his claim for a place with a steady performance.
He hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts to life in the Premier League with Forest and recently picked up a shoulder problem.
Dennis will now hope to get a run of games in the team.
He has showcased already that he can score goals in the Premier League; scoring 10 times for Watford during 2021/22.
Now, he has another top-flight opportunity at Forest and he will be keen to grasp it.