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Awoniyi scores as Forest down Southampton to move out of relegation zone



Taiwo Awoniyi is Nottingham Forest highest goal scorer this season

Taiwo Awoniyi lifted Nottingham Forest out of the relegation zone with their first away win of the Premier League season on Wednesday as Southampton sank to a 1-0 defeat at St Mary’s and remained rooted to the bottom of the table.

Forest’s goal, only their second away this season, was a 27th minute close range tap-in after Brennan Johnson pounced on an error by Brazilian defender Lyanco and squared to the Nigeria international.

Southampton, with the Premier League’s worst home record, squandered early chances and were booed off after a first half with no shots on target.

They have now lost their first four league games under new manager Nathan Jones and six in a row.


Steve Cooper’s Forest, the side with the league’s worst away record, had not scored on the road in the top flight since a 1-1 draw at Everton last August but could have had more with Johnson rattling the crossbar after 12 minutes.

Forest moved up to 15th with 17 points while Southampton are on 12.

Struggling Saints lose sixth successive league match

Before the match began, it featured the side with the worst home record against the team with the worst away record.

Che Adams had a glorious chance to put the hosts ahead after only six minutes but shot wastefully wide from inside the penalty area.


That proved costly as Forest, with just two points from their previous eight games on the road, hit the crossbar through the impressive Johnson before he set up Awoniyi 15 minutes later for the opening goal.

The first half got even worse for the hosts when centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap, a member of Germany’s World Cup squad although he failed to make an appearance, went off injured after only 34 minutes with Duje Caleta-Car replacing him.

The atmosphere was turning with Southampton giving their fans little to cheer for the remainder of the half, with the team booed off at the break.

Sekou Mara had a rare chance for the Saints in the second half but headed wide, although it took a deflection and was wrongly given as a goal-kick.

Jones made an attacking triple substitution in the 64th minute, with Joe Aribo, Samuel Edozie and Adam Armstrong all coming on, but none failed to test Forest goalkeeper Dean Henderson.


Forest then handed a debut to Brazil international midfielder Gustavo Scarpa after he became the club’s 24th signing of the campaign when he joined Forest on a free transfer from Palmeiras last month.

The visitors were happy to defend deep with Willy Boly, Joe Worrall and Serge Aurier all superb for Forest as they frustrated the hosts.

Southampton could not find a way through and suffered their sixth successive league defeat – their worst run since an eight-game losing streak in 2021.

Singh Gill makes league history

History was made at St Mary’s with Bhupinder Singh Gill becoming the first Sikh-Punjabi to serve as an assistant referee at a Premier League match.


The 37-year-old, who qualified as a referee at the age of 14, said earlier that he hoped to inspire the future generation.

“My dream has always been to reach the top of the game, be a role model for future officials and encourage more people from diverse backgrounds into officiating, especially from a South Asian background just like me,” he said.

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