Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi highlighted his importance to the Nottingham Forest team once more when he scored the crucial goal that saw his team beat Southampton 1-0 on Wednesday night.
Aside from helping Forest to their first away win of the season, the goal by Awoniyi, his fourth of the season, also lifted Forest out of the relegation zone on the Premier League table.
Wednesday’s basement clash between Forest and the Saints who were 18th and 20th respectively going into the match was quite crucial, but Awoniyi’s first-half goal made the difference.
Steve Cooper’s side had failed to score in their last six away Premier League fixtures but looked good early on as Awoniyi and Ryan Yates combined before Brennan Johnson hit the crossbar.
Awoniyi then found the back of the net in the 27th minute, and Forest controlled the rest of the match as Southampton could not get a shot on target.
It is worth noting that three out of Awoniyi’s four goals this season have come in 1-0 wins for the Premier League returnees.
Forest are now in 15th, just below Leeds United.
But while Awoniyi is gradually dragging his team to safety, the situation is getting bleaker for Joe Aribo’s Southampton who are now rooted to the base of the log.
The defeat suffered against Forest is their sixth consecutive loss under the new management of Nathan Jones, who replaced Ralph Hasenhuttl last November.
Though not in action on Wednesday, Alex Iwobi’s Everton has also been dragged into the relegation zone with the results recorded.
Elsewhere, Leeds played out a thriller at Elland Road against West Ham.
Leeds went ahead thanks to Wilfred Gnonto’s 27th-minute strike, but VAR drama saw the visitors awarded a penalty when Pascal Struijk was deemed to have tripped up Jarrod Bowen.
Lucas Paqueta converted from the resultant kick just before half-time and in the second half, a loose ball from Brenden Aaronson allowed Gianluca Scamacca to fire the ball home and put the Hammers 2-1 up.
Leeds got back in the game in the 70th minute when Rodrigo connected a Jack Harrison’s pass to the delight of the vociferous fans.
Both sides had their chances in a frantic final 20 minutes to stake a claim for the maximum three points, but the two teams were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Wolves remain in the bottom three after drawing 1-1 with Aston Villa.
Daniel Podence put Wolves ahead in the 12th minute at Villa Park after some nice play with Joao Moutinho but substitute Danny Ings rescued a point for Villa with a goal with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Unai Emery’s side had a big chance to win it late on, but Leon Bailey put the ball wide when he was through on goal.
With the solitary point, Villa now sits 11th in the table with 22 points.
In Wednesday’s last fixture, Harry Kane grabbed a brace as Tottenham Hotspur hammered sorry Crystal Palace 4-0.
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