The Super Eagle opened his goal account in the English elite division against David Moyes’ Hammers
Taiwo Awoniyi scored his first Premier League goal as Nottingham Forest defeated West Ham United 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.
The Nigeria international’s first-half effort separated both teams in the keenly contested league showdown at City Ground.
In the process, he becomes the 37th Nigerian to score an English elite division goal.
Having made a cameo appearance against Newcastle United in the opening day, the former Union Berlin striker was handed a starter’s role – pairing Jesse Lingard and Brennan Johnson in a three-man attack.
Awoniyi came close to putting the hosts ahead, albeit, his header from Neco Williams’ cross sailed over Lukasz Fabianski’s crossbar.
Three minutes before the half time break, Said Benrahma put the ball past goalkeeper Dean Henderson from close range after he was teed up by Declan Rice.
Nevertheless, the goal was chalked off by referee Robert Jones after VAR adjudged that Michail Antonio had barged over Orel Mangala in the build-up.
A minute later, Awoniyi put the Reds ahead thanks to a cool finish with his knee. Harry Toffolo made a fine run into the Hammers’ box and cut back to Lingard who attempted a shot at goal.
Unfortunately, the ball deflected off Ben Johnson and onto the 25-year-old who rolled into the bottom-left corner of goalkeeper Fabianski.
With just seven minutes into the second half, Forest thought they had doubled their advantage when Johnson found the net but it was chalked off for offside.
At the hour mark, Benrahma was closed to restoring parity for the visitors. Sadly, his well-taken freekick slammed into the bar.
Three minutes later, another opportunity beckoned for West Ham as they were gifted a penalty after Scott Mckenna blocked Tomas Soucek’s goal-bound striker with his arm.
Rice took the resultant kick but he telegraphed his effort low into the waiting hands of Henderson.
After featuring for 72 minutes, Awoniyi was subbed off for Sam Surridge, while Senegal prospect Moussa Niakhate – who sustained an injury was replaced by Steve Cook seven minutes later.
Despite a late attacking surge from the Hammers, they could not get the much-desired leveller as they returned home with heads bowed low.
Awoniyi would be hoping to get on the scorer’s sheet when Forest travel to Goodison Park for their outing against Frank Lampard’s Everton.
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