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Power of the crowd: 5 talking points as Forest secure win over West Ham

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Nottingham Forest have their first Premier League points on the board this season after beating West Ham 1-0 at the City Ground.

Taiwo Awoniyi got the only goal in a game full of drama as Dean Henderson saved a penalty. West Ham twice hit the underside of the bar and each team had a goal disallowed.

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Here are the key talking points from the game.

Making the most of key moments

It certainly wasn’t a dull game, was it? Key moments went against each side, with each having a goal ruled out with influence from VAR. On both occasions it was the right call. Forest also had to react to conceding a penalty and West Ham twice hitting the bar.

Each time they reacted smartly and with belief. Not only did they score soon after West Ham’s goal was ruled out and not only did Henderson save the penalty, but when the visitors were on top, the Reds kept playing with confidence.

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They’re going to need that throughout this season as the pressure will be on at points in every game. You would hope opponents won’t hit the underside of the bar twice, have a goal ruled out, an effort cleared off the line and miss a penalty every game though!

New look midfield success

Lewis O’Brien is far from the biggest name Forest have added this summer, but he had a brilliant home debut. Not the biggest physically, but he got his body in well to knock Declan Rice off his stride a few times.

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He also reads the play superbly and was efficient on the ball. In fact, it was hard to think of him giving it away once. The former Huddersfield man will not give up his place to Remo Freuler or Ryan Yates and Jack Colback when they return.

O’Brien battled well alongside Mangala when West Ham had an extra man in midfield, with Mangala also a dynamic performer before he tired in the second half. Midfield was certainly much better than against Newcastle.

Forest keepers and penalties in front of away fans

No one needs reminding of Brice Samba’s saves against Sheffield United. Dean Henderson produced a near carbon copy of Samba’s save from Morgan Gibbs-White in the play-off semi-final second leg with a brilliant stop from Declan Rice in the 63rd minute.

That was the highlight of Henderson’s performance but he was excellent throughout, pushing Tomas Soucek’s header away and handling superbly throughout. It is meant as no disrespect to Samba, but Henderson is a better keeper. He’s perhaps a better keeper than David de Gea too.

Awoniyi’s promise

There were a couple of times when Cooper looked frustrated with the Nigerian, especially in the second half when he tried to beat players on the touchline rather than pass in his own half.

He might be raw, but Awoniyi’s pace and movement caused West Ham problems. Yes, his goal was lucky, but he showed enough to suggest he’ll be a really good signing in time. Was also unfortunate to see a really good header from a Neco Williams cross drift wide.

Power of the home fans

In his post match press conference, David Moyes felt the atmosphere impacted the first 20 minutes with Forest buoyed by the noise and sense of celebration at the City Ground. Forest will need that in every game this season as their Premier League destiny will be decided on home turf with away points a bonus.

For those there on Sunday it was another day to remember as Forest proved they are back.

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