NOTTINGHAM, England, Aug 14 (Reuters) - A first-half goal from Taiwo Awoniyi was enough to earn Nottingham Forest a 1-0 win over West Ham United on Sunday, their first victory of the new Premier League season as the City Ground hosted top-flight soccer for the first time since 1999.
Awoniyi scored Forest's first Premier League goal in 23 years in first half stoppage time and it proved to be the difference as both teams had goals disallowed by VAR and West Ham captain Declan Rice had a second-half penalty saved.
"I'm really happy about it because it took me a long journey to get back to the Premier League and I'm very, very proud of myself," said Awoniyi, who was at Liverpool from 2015-21 but did not make a competitive appearance and was loaned out several times.
"It was a dream for me to score and for the team to win... I believe we will have a great season."
Steve Cooper's side had been outclassed by Newcastle United during their 2-0 defeat on the opening day but looked at home in the top flight against West Ham, who were also looking to bounce back from a 2-0 loss to champions Manchester City.
Spurred on by a boisterous home crowd, Forest started on the front foot and kept David Moyes' West Ham at bay in a frantic first half before Awoniyi, making his home debut, bundled home Jesse Lingard's miscued shot from Harry Toffolo's cross.
Moments earlier, Said Benrahma had slotted past on-loan Forest goalkeeper Dean Henderson following a West Ham counter-attack but the goal was chalked off after Michail Antonio was adjudged to have fouled Orel Mangala in the build-up.