Archive | May 2012

West Ham 3 Cardiff City 0 (West Ham win 5-0 on aggregate)

Well that’s not the end of the season that any of us would have wanted, but even the most optimistic of Cardiff fans would have accepted that two legs versus West Ham would be very difficult.

Having said that, I for one certainly didn’t expect us to finish anywhere near the dizzy heights of the playoffs this season following the vast amounts of changes that took place in the summer. So all in all I actually would call this season of ‘transition’ a huge success.

The Bluebirds made a good start and should have had a penalty when Winston Reid clumsily fouled Kenny Miller in the box. However, after this rare opportunity it was all one way traffic and West Ham extended their advantage from the first leg 15 minutes in. Carlton Cole’s initial header from a corner was blocked only for the ball to fall for Kevin Nolan to nod in.

Gary O’Neil came close to extending the home sides lead when his side-foot volley struck the top of the bar, but Ricardo Vaz Te did find the back of the net shortly after. His fiercely-struck shot flew across the helpless David Marshall and into the top corner of the goal.

The second half was something of a practice match for the Hammers who were extremely comfortable with their four-goal lead. So much is their strength in depth that they were able to bring on the quality of Nicky Maynard and true to form the substitute smashed the ball past Marshall to finish the route.

The Hammers deserved their 5-0 aggregate lead over the two legs and in all honesty it could have easily been more. City looked tired and outclassed and I thoroughly expect West Ham to win the final now. In fact I hope they do so we don’t have to play them again next season!

Cardiff lost out to Reading at the semi-final stage last year, were beaten 3-2 by Blackpool in the 2010 final and narrowly missed the playoffs in 2009 by a single goal scored. We may have missed out yet again but this season’s defeat doesn’t feel as bitter.

The team have finished higher than expected in the league, reached the Carling Cup final only to miss out on penalties, and showed a lot more grit and passion than previous teams. I think Malky Mackay has done a fantastic job since joining the club in the summer and hopefully he can guide us a step further next season.

West Ham United

  • 01 Green
  • 02 Reid Booked
  • 05 Tomkins
  • 20 Demel
  • 04 Nolan (McCartney – 69′ )
  • 10 Collison (Lansbury – 48′ )
  • 14 Taylor
  • 16 Noble
  • 32 O’Neil
  • 09 Cole (Maynard – 86′ )
  • 12 Vaz Te

Substitutes

  • 13 Henderson
  • 03 McCartney
  • 18 Faubert
  • 22 Lansbury
  • 08 Maynard

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton (Blake – 81′ )
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson Booked
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham Booked
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 37 McPhail (Cowie – 76′ )
  • 09 Miller Booked (Kiss – 76′ )
  • 20 Mason

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 04 Kiss
  • 08 Cowie
  • 23 Blake
  • 10 Earnshaw
Ref: Dean
Att: 34,682
All photos are my own

Cardiff City 0 West Ham 2

Well that’s that then. Another season all but over and what will now surely be another defeat in the playoffs for City.

Yes I know there is another leg yet to play but West Ham’s Premiership squad will not let a two goal lead slip, especially at Upton Park. Having said that, I’ll still be there on Monday and if Cardiff can perform a miracle then I will gladly eat my words.

Sam Allardyce’s side were expected to claim one of the automatic promotion places and return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, only to be pipped by Reading and Southampton. So it’s no surprise they beat us really and in fact it should have been more.

Cardiff were unfortunate to be drawn against a strong West Ham side in the playoffs

Cardiff started the game brightly and nearly drew first blood when Peter Whittingham’s shot was deflected just over the bar, then Kenny Miller forced a save from Rob Green in the West Ham goal.

But it was the Hammers who took the lead when Ricardo Vaz Te beat the offside trap on the left before pulling the ball back for Jack Collison. The Welshman’s initial effort was parried by David Marshall but was able to nod the rebound into the net.

Jack Collison celebrates his first goal

That setback in the ninth minute seemed to rattle the Bluebirds, who were lucky not to concede a second soon after. First Liam Lawrence dawdled in the area, allowing Vaz Te to dispossess him in a dangerous position, and then James Tomkins was allowed a free header at the back post that went just wide.

David Marshall punches a ball clear as the Hammers press for a second

Miller went close with one of Cardiff’s few chances; we only had three attempts on target the whole game, before Ben Turner denied Carlton Cole a shot on goal.

However from the resulting corner, Vaz Te flicked the ball on at the near post and, although Turner cleared the initial danger, the ball fell perfectly for Collison to fire in for West Ham’s second, although his shot took a wicked deflection off Lawrence.

Ben Turner tries to head home from one of Cardiff’s few chances

The Bluebirds had chances to reduce the deficit in the second half but Miller’s efforts continued to miss the target, and Turner saw his looping header cleared off the line by Cole. The visitors were still creating the better opportunities though and Kevin Nolan should have really put the tie beyond City but he headed wide from 10 yards out.

Cardiff will need a miracle to overturn the deficit in the second leg at Upton Park

I’ve always said that on our day we can beat anyone in this division, it’s just West Ham are such a well organised team with bags of talent that I cannot see us scoring the goals we need. I really hope I’m wrong…

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie (McPhail – 74′ )
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 23 Blake
  • 09 Miller (Earnshaw – 74′ )
  • 20 Mason

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 06 Gerrard
  • 04 Kiss
  • 37 McPhail
  • 10 Earnshaw

West Ham United

  • 01 Green
  • 02 Reid
  • 05 Tomkins Booked
  • 20 Demel (Faubert – 75′ Booked )
  • 04 Nolan Booked
  • 10 Collison (Maynard – 86′ )
  • 14 Taylor
  • 16 Noble Booked
  • 32 O’Neil
  • 09 Cole
  • 12 Vaz Te (McCartney – 60′ )

Substitutes

  • 13 Henderson
  • 03 McCartney
  • 15 Faye
  • 18 Faubert
  • 08 Maynard
Ref: Swarbrick
Att: 23,029
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy