Nottingham Forest defeated West Ham 1-0 thanks to Taiwo Awoniyi’s goal, as Premier League football returned to the City Ground after a 23-year absence.
The Nigerian bundled home on his full debut, sending the home crowd into a frenzy, but Steve Cooper’s side needed Dean Henderson to save Declan Rice’s second-half penalty to keep the three points.
West Ham also had Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma hit the crossbar, with the latter also having a goal disallowed in the first half, before Neco Williams cleared Kurt Zouma’s header off the line late on. David Moyes will find it difficult to believe that his team has yet to score this season.
Maybe it was just Forest’s day. On a day that most of the fans in the stadium will never forget, they earned their first Premier League win and first Premier League points of the century. Forest are back, as the chant goes.
Cooper dedicates his victory to fans who were unable to obtain a ticket.
“Today, there were two things. There was the occasion, and then there was the game. The first home game back in the Premier League is extremely important to many people. Everyone was probably looking forward to the first home game since we were promoted.
“We knew it was going to be a big day.” Today’s supporters included three generations. Someone who can recall the good old days. A new generation who were witnessing their first Premier League game. And everything in between.
“We had to stand in for all of those people.” What I’d like to do is dedicate the victory to the fans who couldn’t get a ticket today, because I know we could have quadrupled the number of people in the stadium compared to Wembley. “I considered it.”
‘We did not deserve that result,’ says Moyes.
“We are extremely dissatisfied. We haven’t scored many goals in preseason, so this was a good sign. I was frustrated for the first 20 minutes because I thought we were really bad. But I thought we got better at the game. We certainly did not deserve the outcome we received.
“Today’s decisions did not go our way. I can only say that I thought we played well at times. We started the game, though not as well as we had hoped.
“We can’t always blame the officials, but we certainly feel like we should have gotten a lot more out of this.” Finally, we did enough [to get something out of the game]. You should bring in the referee and ask him how he saw it.”