Forest Are Back With Premier Win

Nottingham Forest 1-0 West Ham United (Premier League) 14.08.22

After 23 years of waiting, Nottingham Forest returned to life in the Premier League, in front of their own fans, at the City Ground, to win their first top flight game since a 1-0 victory over Leicester City on the last day of the season in 1999.

The Reds needed a bit of luck, and a bit more, but were pound for pound well worthy of victory having put bodies on the line in every department and showing a true team spirit epitomised by the terrific atmosphere generated by the superb supporters inside the red painted sunkissed arena.

The early game screened live on Sky’s Super Sunday was a typical high energy, high octaine affair and West Ham United may feel unfortunate they didn’t take more from the match, Said Benrahma a constant threat, breaking through the Reds defence before laying off to Declan Rice who played the ball back to him to slide home into the net.

Benrahma’s goal chalked off for a foul by Michail Antonio on Moussa Niakhate, a clear and obvious push by the former Forest man.

The Reds responded just a couple of minutes before the break in the best possible way, Harry Toffolo doing brilliant down the left to cross for Jesse Lingard who misfired, the ball fell to Taiwo Awoniyi who had a couple of sniffs already, this one he knew little about, sticking out a leg for the ball to trickle over the line, a first Forest goal, all be it far from a collecters piece, fewer will ever be more significant.

West Ham came fighting back in the second half, immediately after the break Pablo Fornals hitting a lovely shot which cannoned off the crossbar before Soucek’s header on the rebound was brilliantly stopped by Henderson. Forest thought they had a goal but Johnson was rightly ruled out by VAR for offside, before Benrahma hit the bar from a free kick on the hour, the same player then broke inside the box to cross where Soucek’s shot was blocked by McKenna, the referee deciding via his monitor to award the spot kick after the goal bound effort was stopped by the Scottish International’s arm.

Declan Rice stepped up to take the penalty and placed to Dean Henderson’s right but the Manchester United loanee was already in inspired form, diving low to claim the soft spot kick into his hands before celebrating with the home crowd going wild.

From that moment on, it was clear to see that the day belonged to Forest, the Hammers huffed and puffed thereafter and the Reds had to endure seven agonising minutes of injury time but they dug in, Neco Williams clearing one off the line late on, brilliant on the day, the back three including Steve Cook who came on late for Niakhate all playing their part, Toffolo superb to keep Jarrod Bowen quiet all afternoon and the midfield pairing of O’Brien and Mangala looking eye-catching with more to come, Lingard, Johnson and Awoniyi starting to forge a relationship that could be very exciting this season ahead.

In the end, Manager Steve Cooper stated ‘the win was dedicated to the fans that couldn’t get to the game’ the Welshman saying “this win is for them, we know we could have quadrupled the attendance today, so this win is for the fans that were watching at home”.

Late on Sunday night Nottingham Forest capped off a productive weekend with the signing of Swiss international Remo Freuler, known as the conductor, for orchestrating the Atalanta midfield, he’ll be a huge addition to a team that is really looking to go places this season, already off the mark with three huge points for their Premier League survival push.

Nottingham Forest: Henderson, Worrall, Niakhate (Cook 79), McKenna, Williams, O’Brien, Mangala (Cafu 84), Toffolo, Lingard, Johnson, Awoniyi (Surridge 72).

West Ham United: Fabianski, Couffal, Johnson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Fornals (Lanzini 69), Benrahma, Bowen (Cornet 85), Antonio (Scamacca 69).

Venue: City Ground (29,281)

*Main image @NFFC Taiwo Awoniyi celebrates his winning goal.

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