Nottingham Forest 1-0 West Ham: Taiwo Awoniyi goal earns victory as Declan Rice sees penalty saved

Taiwo Awoniyi’s goal earned Nottingham Forest a 1-0 win over West Ham as Premier League football returned to the City Ground after 23 years.

The Nigerian bundled home on his full debut to leave the home support delirious but Steve Cooper’s side needed Dean Henderson to save Declan Rice’s second-half penalty for them to hold on to the three points.

West Ham also hit the crossbar through Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma, the latter also having a goal disallowed in the first half, before Neco Williams cleared Kurt Zouma’s header off the line late on. David Moyes will not believe that his team are yet to score this season.

But perhaps it was just Forest’s day. Their first Premier League win and their first Premier League points of the century on a day that most of the supporters in the stadium will never forget. As the chant goes, Forest are back.

Player ratings

Nottingham Forest: Henderson (9), Worrall (7), Niakhate (8), McKenna (8), Williams (9), O’Brien (9), Mangala (8), Toffolo (8), Lingard (7), Johnson (7), Awoniyi (9).

Subs: Cook (6), Surridge (6), Cafu (n/a).

West Ham: Fabianski (7), Johnson (6), Cresswell (7), Zouma (7), Coufal (5), Rice (6), Soucek (6), Fornals (7), Antonio (6), Bowen (7), Benrahma (7).

Subs: Scamacca (6), Lanzini (6), Cornet (6).

Man of the match: Lewis O’Brien.

How Forest won this 1-0 thriller

The atmosphere was raucous long before kick-off as the home support worked themselves into a frenzy and that manifested itself in a high-tempo start despite the heat. Awoniyi went close with a header early on as Forest pumped crosses into the West Ham box.

After the initial burst, however, West Ham started passing the ball and Harry Toffolo had to clear off the line from Tomas Soucek after Henderson had parried Benrahma’s shot. The moment of controversy came later though when Benrahma did find the net.

His neat finish from Rice’s pass was ruled out because Michail Antonio was deemed to have barged Orel Mangala seconds earlier. The referee was sent to look at the monitor and disallowed the goal, much to the joy of the home supporters in the City Ground.

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Said Benrahma thought he had given West Ham the lead at Nottingham Forest, only for a VAR check to disallow the goal because of a foul by Michail Antonio in the build-up.

Buoyed by the decision, Forest had their big moment almost immediately. Forest’s first Premier League goal this century was anything but pretty but Awoniyi deserved it, the ball deflecting in off him after Ben Johnson blocked Jesse Lingard’s tame shot.

The former Union Berlin forward was such a handful that even Zouma struggled to cope with his physicality and, like his team, would have been glad of the half-time whistle. After the break, West Ham came out with intent in search of the equaliser.

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After Jesse Lingard mis-hits his effort, Taiwo Awoniyi makes the most of a slice of luck to put Nottingham Forest ahead against West Ham.

Fornals thought he had found it when his long-range effort struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced on the line. Soucek’s header from the follow-up was saved by Henderson. West Ham were on top but they almost fell two behind minutes later.

Brennan Johnson’s clever finish was not flagged for offside at the time, sparking wild celebrations in the stadium but he was just behind the last defender. It was a rare breakaway because West Ham were denied time after time thereafter.

Incredibly, it was Benrahma’s turn to strike the crossbar when his free-kick bounced down off the line much as Fornals had with Henderson beaten again. Then came the penalty, Scott McKenna blocking the ball with his arm only for Rice to see his spot-kick saved.

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After a handball by Scott McKenna in the box, Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Dean Henderson saves Declan Rice’s penalty for West Ham.

It was almost too much for the Forest fans to take as they willed their team to hold on, while Moyes stalked his technical area in barely concealed fury. He threw on substitutes and finally thought his team had their goal when Zouma’s header arrowed towards the corner.

Back came the retreating Williams to somehow divert the ball away. It was the story of the game – a game in which West Ham registered their highest ever expected goals figure without finding the net since they started recording such things.

Nobody in the home end much cared. This was a day for them to remember.

Fantasy Premier League points

Nottingham Forest vs West Ham FPL stats

Goals Awoniyi
Assists Lingard
Bonus points Henderson (3), Awoniyi (2), Toffolo (1), Williams (1), Worrall (1).
Missed penalty Rice

What’s next?

Nottingham Forest are back in action on Saturday as they visit Goodison Park to face an Everton side that is without a point from their first two games.

West Ham host Viborg in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off on Thursday before returning to Premier League action on Sunday with a home game against Brighton.

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