Taiwo Awoniyi scored and lifted Nottingham Forest out of the relegation zone with a first away win of the Premier League season on Wednesday as Southampton remained rooted to the bottom of the table.
Forest’s 1-0 victory, thanks to only their second away goal of the season, came after Brennan Johnson pounced on a 27th minute midfield error by Brazilian defender Lyanco to set up the Nigeria international for a tap-in.
Southampton, with the Premier League’s worst home record, squandered early chances — with Che Adams firing wide after six minutes — and were booed off after a first half with no shots on target.
The boos continued after the final whistle.
The Saints have now lost their first four league games under new manager Nathan Jones, who replaced Ralph Hasenhuttl in November, and six in a row.
Jones made a triple substitution in the 64th minute but the Forest defence held firm
Steve Cooper’s promoted side, with the league’s worst away record, had not scored away since a 1-1 draw at Everton last August but could have had more with Johnson rattling the crossbar after 12 minutes.
Their last away win in the top flight was against Blackburn Rovers in 1999.
Forest, who held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at home on New Year’s Day, went from 18th to 15th with 17 points while Southampton are on 12.
The visitors also gave a debut to new Brazilian signing Gustavo Scarpa.
“When the game settled I thought we were by far the better team in the first half, we looked a real threat,” Cooper told Sky Sports television. “We scored a good goal, brilliant decision-making from Brennan and Taiwo was able to put it in.
“I don’t think (goalkeeper) Dean (Henderson) has made a save, I don’t think there was a (Southampton) shot on goal.
“We didn’t think about Southampton and league positions and all that sort of stuff, it was just about us being what we were tonight and because of that we got the rightful result.”
Jones recognised the setback left his men with a mountain to climb.
“We gifted them the goal,” he said. “We know they are a counter-attacking side and if you play square balls or risk balls in the midfield, you give the ball away then you are susceptible to that.
“We did that and they got the goal. We never demonstrated then enough quality in possession… we had 60% of possession and didn’t convert that into chances and that’s the frustrating thing.”
History was also made on the sidelines, with Bhupinder Singh Gill becoming the Premier League’s first Sikh-Punjabi assistant referee.