Nottingham Forest 4-3 Southampton: Player ratings as Forest win huge relegation clash

Forest took a big step towards survival
Forest took a big step towards survival / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Nottingham Forest held off a spirited effort from bottom place Southampton to win a relegation classic 4-3 at the City Ground and boost their Premier League survival hopes.

Taiwo Awoniyi's brace fired Forest into an early 2-0 lead before Carlos Alcaraz finished smartly to bring the visitors back into the game.

Morgan Gibbs-White and Lyanco struck at the end of the first half and the start of the second respectively, but the points looked wrapped up when the awesome Danilo arrived to finish off a flowing move.

Felipe had a goal chalked off by VAR and a penalty from James Ward-Prowse in the 96th minute gave the Saints hope of a desperately late equaliser, but Forest held out to move up to 16th. The loss leaves Southampton eight points from safety after Everton won at Brighton.

Southampton went close in the opening ten minutes as Theo Walcott broke through the middle. The ball broke to Che Adams but his shot from inside the box was deflected wide by the backtracking Felipe.

It would the hosts, however, who would take the lead.

Forest countered quickly as Brennan Johnson drove towards the area from Danilo's raking pass before finding Awoniyi. The Nigerian netted his first of the night, running onto the low cross to curl beyond Alex McCarthy.

Awoniyi's second had the hosts two goals up before the midway point of the first half. The 25-year-old held off Armel Bella-Kotchap to swivel and fire in his sixth league goal of the season.

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The Saints pulled themselves back into the game through some carelessness from Steve Cooper's side. Forest gave the ball away and the visitors pounced as Stuart Armstrong found Alcaraz, who took a touch and picked out the bottom corner.

They nearly equalised before the break as Kyle Walker-Peters got to the byline and found Walcott, who couldn't produce an effective finish.

Instead, Forest reestablished their two-goal lead from the penalty spot. Johnson was brought down by Ainsley Maitland-Niles and referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot, allowing Gibbs-White to send McCarthy the wrong way and make it 3-1.

It was a day of huge scoring in the Premier League after Craven Cottage and the AMEX witnessed eight and six goals respectively, and the second half continued at a breathless pace as Southampton dragged themselves into contention again.

Ward-Prowse's fierce corner found Lyanco, who connected well from close range to bundle it past Keylor Navas to give Saints hope.

Navas was needed soon after to stop Ruben Selles' side drawing level, with Lyanco again on the end of a Ward-Prowse set piece. The former Real Madrid stopper reacted well this time, however.

Gibbs-White brought a diving save from McCarthy before Forest again went two ahead. Johnson was again involved, driving into the box, before Gibbs-White flicked into the path of Danilo to finish powerfully.

A penalty from Ward-Prowse deep into stoppage time cut the deficit back to 4-3 and over 100 minutes were on the clock by the time the game finally ended.

Nottingham Forest player ratings (4-3-2-1)

Danilo was brilliant for Forest / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

GK: Keylor Navas (6); RB: Serge Aurier (7), CB: Felipe (7), CB: Moussa Niakhate (7), LB: Renan Lodi (6); CM: Ryan Yates (6), CM: Orel Mangala (7), CM: Danilo (9); RF: Brennan Johnson (8), LF: Morgan Gibbs-White (9); ST: Taiwo Awoniyi (9)


Joe Worrall (6), Cheikhou Kouyate (6), Sam Surridge (N/A), Harry Toffolo (N/A), Willy Boly (N/A)

Southampton player ratings (4-1-4-1)

Lyanco, Jan Bednarek
Lyanco netted from the bench / David Rogers/GettyImages

GK: Alex McCarthy (4); RB: Kyle Walker-Peters (6), CB: Jan Bednarek (6), CB: Armel Bella-Kotchap (6), LB: Ainsley Maitland-Niles (6); DM: Romeo Lavia (7); RM: Theo Walcott (7), CM: James Ward-Prowse (8), CM: Carlos Alcaraz (7), LM: Stuart Armstrong (7); ST: Che Adams (6)


Lyanco (8), Kamaldeen Sulemana (7), Adam Armstrong (6), Paul Onuachu (6), Samuel Edozie (6)