Tag Archive | West Ham

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
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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

Cardiff City 0 West Ham 2

Played on: Sunday 4th March 2012

This was by far the worst Cardiff performance I’ve witnessed all season. A shame when you consider that only a week earlier we nearly accomplished the seemingly impossible against Liverpool.

West Ham was always going to be the toughest home game we’d face all season and I believed our impressive Wembley performance would mean one of two things. Either we would be full of spirit and put in another strong performance, or be very flat and tired after giving everything in the final. Sadly it was the latter as a very lethargic City performance saw us well beat 2-0 by the big spending Hammers.

McNaughton tries to find a way through the West Ham midfield

Cardiff actually made the brighter start and had the first good chance of the game through Kenny Miller. The Scotsman’s stinging drive was tipped over for a corner by Robert Green. Both Miller and Gunnarson then fired wide from far out. West Ham then missed three good chances from Collison, Vaz Te and Maynard, all of which could easily have found their way into the Cardiff net as they began to dominate play.

Fatigue started to show in the Bluebirds camp when Gestede was forced off on 35 minutes with a hamstring injury, being replaced by Haris Vuckic. These Cardiff players were forced to play extra time and penalties last Sunday, while in contrast West Ham were in Dubai resting.

Malky would have wanted his side to reach half-time with the score still goalless; however this wasn’t to be as the Hammers took the lead two minutes from the break. Gunnarson inadvertently nudged the ball into Maynard’s path and the striker played a slick reverse pass to Nolan who fired a curling side footed effort past Marshall into the far corner. This was Nolan’s eighth goal of the season and in truth gave West Ham the lead they deserved.

The Hammers celebrate taking a deserved lead

With pressure now on the Bluebirds to equalise, I expected us to start the second half stronger. How wrong I was. Vaz Te could have doubled his sides lead as a long ball caught our defence napping. Vaz Te beat the onrushing Marshall but couldn’t quite get the ball past Hudson who cleared the ball to safety. McNaughton was next to gift West Ham a chance. His poor headed back pass was intercepted by Maynard who raced one-on-one with Marshall, only for the keeper to stay big and block his shot to spare McNaughton’s blushes.

Cardiff finally started to come into the game after an hour of football. Mason and Turner both fired over before Miller saw a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Whittingham came so close to equalising for City but his curling free-kick hit the inside of the post. If only this had gone in then perhaps we could have held on for a draw. That could have meant that we would have four of the most underserved points against a West Ham side destined for promotion, but it wasn’t to be.

Whittingham tries to beat Nolan

With the team looking dead on their legs, I was surprised that Malky didn’t use any of his two remaining subs as the Hammers again began to dominate. And they duly doubled their advantage through the most unlikely source of George McCartney on 77 minutes. The defender beat McNaughton before his cross luckily ricocheted off Turner and back into his own path. He then fired in at a tight angle to score his first goal since 2007.

This wrapped up the three points for the London club but Cardiff did come close to claiming at least a consolation goal. First Mason attempted to lob Green from close range but saw his effort cleared off the line. Then, with the final touch of the game, Miller headed against the crossbar from close range.

Cardiff couldn't repeat last weeks Wembley heroics against a strong West Ham outfit

This was a very poor performance from a very tired looking Cardiff outfit. Our team seems to severely lack much pace which I feel is a necessity in modern football. That said; all our outfield players were those who put in a truly heroic performance last week, so to doubt them or to say they’re not good enough really is not fair.

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 09 Miller
  • 15 Gestede (Vuckic – 35′ )
  • 20 Mason

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 04 Kiss
  • 11 Conway
  • 19 Vuckic
  • 23 Blake

West Ham United

  • 01 Green
  • 03 McCartney
  • 05 Tomkins
  • 15 Faye
  • 17 O’Brien
  • 04 Nolan
  • 10 Collison
  • 16 Noble
  • 22 Lansbury (O’Neil – 75′ )
  • 08 Maynard (Cole – 63′ )
  • 12 Vaz Te

Substitutes

  • 31 Boffin
  • 48 Potts
  • 32 O’Neil
  • 07 Baldock
  • 09 Cole
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy