Crystal Palace 1 – 1 Nottingham Forest. Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi continued his excellent late-season form with the opening goal in a final-day draw at Crystal Palace.
With Forest having secured their Premier League status last weekend and Palace long since safe, there was a celebratory atmosphere at Selhurst Park before kick-off.
Awoniyi kept the away fans in good spirits when he raced on to Morgan Gibbs-White’s superb through ball, twisted and turned before firing into the bottom corner on 31 minutes.
It came just a minute after Eberechi Eze had seen his close-range effort blocked on the line by his own team-mate, Jordan Ayew, at the other end.
Palace were on top for much of the second half and found the equaliser after 66 minutes when Will Hughes headed in from Michael Olise’s cross.
Neither side was able to find a winner and both teams can begin their plans for next season in earnest, although for Palace it remains to be seen whether that will be with Roy Hodgson at the helm.
Hodgson returned to Palace with the team having gone 13 games without a win. In the 10 games since, the Eagles have won five and drawn three to not only take them well clear of the relegation scrap but also above Chelsea to finish 11th.
While the fixtures may have been friendlier than those Patrick Vieira had to negotiate before his dismissal, it has been an impressive turnaround under the former England boss, with performances as well as results much improved and Eze one of a number of exciting young players reinvigorated since the change of manager.
Hodgson’s contract is up at the conclusion of the season, though, and the 75-year-old has given no indication either way on whether he wants to stay on should he be offered the chance.
That remained the case post-match but there was no obvious goodbye to the fans at the final whistle and it would be no great shock if Palace started the 2023-24 season with Hodgson in the dugout.
After beating Arsenal to guarantee their safety last weekend, the Forest fans were understandably in the mood to celebrate.
Some fans wore masks with the face of manager Steve Cooper, who brought them up and has now kept them in the top flight.
As important as Cooper in the past few weeks have been the goals of Awoniyi. The 25-year-old striker has scored six in his last four games and is the first Forest player to score in four straight Premier League games since Stan Collymore in 1995.
His goal at Palace was also his 10th of the campaign and both he and Forest will hope there are plenty more to come next season.
source – BBC