Jesse Lingard has the last laugh as West Ham can’t buy a goal in frustrating Nottingham Forest loss

It certainly felt that way at times and, when Hammer’s boss David Moyes reviewing this game, he will wonder how his party left the City Ground with nothing.

Over the course of the 90 minutes, the Hammers did everything but score. They got a goal disallowed by VAR, hit the crossbar twice, missed a penalty and also got another try from the line.

However, this was no stunner of a performance by Forest, who, supported by a raucous home crowd, held their own. In the first half they were excellent at times, playing direct and fast football with Brennan Johnson and Taiwo Awoniyi showing a handful up front.

It was the latter to score the only goal of the game, as he bundled the ball home from a few yards after Jesse Lingard’s good shot was blocked.

Lingard will undoubtedly like that afterwards West Ham fans marked their reunion with him by tossing fake pound notes onto the City Ground field.

But West Ham couldn’t buy a goal all afternoon and while this was a dream day for Forest and one that will live on in their memories, it was one to soon forget for the Hammers.

The game turned shortly before half-time, when West Ham thought they would lead the 1-0, but went into half-time instead.

A slick counter from West Ham saw Said Benrahma just go through, but after he pushed the ball in, VAR saw that Mikhail Antonio had invaded in the run-up to Orel Mangala.

Just moments later, Forest was ahead when Awoniyi punched the ball in from a few yards to clear the roof of the City Ground.

On the balance sheet for the first 45 minutes, it was probably what the hosts deserved for their attacking intent, but they had to dig deep in the second half.

Fornals hit the crossbar with difficulty and then Benrahma did the same from a free kick around the hour. How it didn’t go in was a mystery, with half of the West Ham team holding their hands to their heads in disbelief.

Benrahma was the best player of the Hammers and if they scored, it felt like he would be involved. That certainly seemed the case when he skipped to the left in the 65th minute and attacked Tomas Soucek. The target was gaping, but Scott McKenna swept it off the line with his arm.

Declan Rice, so often the Hammers hero last season, grabbed the ball but his penalty was saved by Dean Henderson. Confirmation, if ever needed, that this wouldn’t be West Ham’s day.

In the final 10 minutes, West Ham threw the sink at Forest, with new lads Gianluca Scamacca and Maxwel Cornet at it. However, it was Kurt Zouma who came closest when Neco Williams came back to wipe his header off the line. Another defining moment in a day that certainly belonged to Forest. The 23 year wait was worth it.

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