Nottingham Forest beat Southampton 4-3 at the City Ground to move out of the relegation zone.
In the first half, Taiwo Awoniyi scored twice under pressure after Everton’s unexpected victory. Carlos Alcaraz later scored a goal to cut the deficit to one. But Morgan Gibbs-White’s penalty seemed to put an end to any chance of a comeback when it restored Forest’s two-goal advantage.
Instead, the drama continued into the second half when substitute Lyanco’s header equalized. But, as Southampton pushed for an equalizer, Danilo converted after a delightful flick from Gibbs-White. James Ward-Prowse’s penalty was too little, too late.
Cooper’s team has now three points above relegation zone in 16th place with 33 points, above Everton, Leicester, and Leeds. Southampton, managed by Ruben Selles, are now eight points from safety with only three games remaining.
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Nottingham Forest made a nervous start, needing a fine block from Felipe to keep Che Adams out early on, but the game changed with the opening goal, a lightning quick counter-attack that took advantage of Brennan Johnson’s blistering pace.
The attacker quickly intercepted Danilo’s pass and squared the ball for Awoniyi to score past Alex McCarthy in goal. The Nigerian international scored his first goal for the team since January, but he did so quickly that Southampton appeared to be crumbling.
Danilo was involved once more, this time forcing the ball through as it popped up nicely for Awoniyi to ram home on the turn. The City Ground was rocking at that point, any tension inside the stadium gone, but a reminder of their frailty moments later tipped the scales back.
After an errant pass from the otherwise fantastic Gibbs-White, Stuart Armstrong centered the ball for Alcaraz to score. Saints were desperate for victory and were willing to throw everything at Forest. A draw was ineffective.
Unfortunately for them, they were unable to keep the back door shut. Johnson took advantage of the space in behind and was penalized when Ainsley Maitland-Niles caught him while attempting to clear. The penalty was put down the middle by Gibbs-White, and the crowd erupted.