Taiwo Awoniyi scored his first career brace for Nottingham Forest to help them move out of the bottom three after their impressive hard-fought nail biting 4-3 win over fellow relegation strugglers Southampton while compatriot Paul Onuachu continues to struggle.
Awoniyi, since returning from a lengthy groin injury had gone seven games without a goal, however, he needed just 18 minutes on Monday to open the scoring for the hosts. He completed his brace three minutes later but Carlos Jonas Alcaraz cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 25th minute while Morgan Gibbs-White restored Forest’s two-goal cushion in the 44th minute from the penalty spot.
Substitute Lyanco gave the Saints a lifeline, scoring in the 51st minute but the hope was snuffed out by the visitors after a well taken goal by Danilo in the 73rd minute. James Ward-Prowse converted his 96th minute penalty but Forest held one for a win that may end up deciding where they’ll play next season.
The victory sees Forest move to 16th on the league table from 19th after 35 games and they are currently three points off the relegation zone that has Leicester City, Leeds United and Southampton. The Saints’ relegation might be confirmed if they lose their next league fixture to Fulham on Saturday.
The brace takes Awoniyi’s goals tally to six in 24 league games. The Nigeria international was replaced by Sam Surridge in the 81st minute. The 25-year-old will be hoping to help his side remain in the league by putting up a good performance against their next opponent Chelsea when both sides clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Paul Onuachu’s struggles in the Premier League continued as he once again fired blanks in the loss. The former Genk goals machine came on for Che Adams in the 76th minute but failed to have any significant impact. The 28-year-old has failed to find the back of the net in 10 league appearances for the Saints since joining in January.