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Southampton all but relegated after losing six-pointer to Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest 4-3 Southampton (Awoniyi 18′, 21′, Gibbs-White 44′ pen, Danilo 73′ | Alacaraz 25′, Lyanco 51′, Ward-Prowse 90+6 pen’)

Nottingham Forest won this winner-takes-all contest – but they were pushed all the way by Southampton before an outcome which all but relegated the visitors.

If Forest do stay up, the City Ground will effectively be where it’s been done.

Only the top five and Brentford had lost fewer home games than Forest’s five in the top flight this season.

Southampton should have taken an early lead before Forest hit them with two goals in four minutes, then the visitors revived again before conceding on the break.

Saints striker Che Adams had only goalkeeper Keylor Navas to beat eight yards out. But his attempt was deflected behind off Felipe.

There was little warning of what was to come as Forest suddenly burst into life to lead 3-1 by half-time.

Taiwo Awoniyi tapped home Brennan Johnson’s cross after a sumptuous diagonal pass from the left foot of Danilo in the 18th minute.

Nigerian striker Awoniyi, 25, grabbed his and Forest’s second goal in 21 when he punished some awful Southampton defending, hooking home from Danilo’s short pass after Carlos Alcaraz carelessly gave away the ball in his own half and spell on pinball followed.

Worse was to follow for the visitors when they lost centre back Armel Bella-Kotchap with a hamstring injury chasing Johnson as the winger sped away from him in a foot race down the right.

After looking the better side then almost dead and buried, Southampton gave themselves a lifeline in the 25th minute.

Player ratings

Nottingham Forest

  • Navas 7
  • Aurier 7
  • Felipe 6
  • Niakhate 7
  • Lodi 7
  • Yates 7
  • Mangala 6
  • Danilo 7
  • Johnson 8
  • Awoniyi 8
  • Gibbs-White 7


  • Worrall 6
  • Toffolo 6
  • Kouyate 6
  • Boly 6
  • Surridge 6


  • McCarthy 6
  • Maitland-Niles 5
  • Bednarek 5
  • Bella-Kotchap 6
  • Walker-Peters 5
  • Lavia 6
  • Walcott 6
  • Ward-Prowse 7
  • Alcaraz 7
  • S Armstrong 7
  • Adams 7


Adams burst forward when Morgan Gibbs-White conceded possession and found Stuart Armstrong to his left.

Armstrong could have gone for goal himself but the midfielder unselfishly crossed to Alcaraz, who tapped home.

Forest restored their two-goal cushion in the 44th minute with a coolly-taken penalty.

The spot-kick appeared harsh as Johnson made a desperate sliding attempt on the ball and Kyle Walker-Peters, attempting to clear, caught the winger as he followed his kick through.

Gibbs-White calmly drilled his spot-kick low and down the middle as Alex McCarthy dived left.

Adams wasted a chance to put Southampton back into contention just after half-time when he rose highest to James Ward-Prowse’s inviting free kick but glanced across goal rather than get a full head to the ball to propel it goalwards.

Lyanco headed home Ward-Prowse’s corner to make it 3-2 in the 51st minute.

Nottingham Forest's Augusto Felipe (left) celebrates a goal ruled offside by VAR during the Premier League match at City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Monday May 8, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Forest. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Forest may have salvaged their Premier League status (Photo: PA)

Southampton had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Forest for the first quarter of an hour of the second half.

But apart from Lyanco’s header, Forest had stayed firm.

And that stubborn resistance was to prove crucial as they broke to score a fourth goal in the 73rd minute.

It was the best of a pulsating game too. Substitute Cheikhou Kouyate won the ball high in Southampton’s half, Johnson seized possession and crossed, Gibbs-White back-heeled into the path of Danilo, who coolly lifted the ball beyond McCarthy to lift the roof off the City Ground.

Ward-Prowse’s penalty made it 4-3 in the sixth minute of time added on after substitute Sam Surridge clipped Romeo Lavia.

But Forest hung on – and with it possibly their Premier League status, as Southampton all but lost theirs.

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