Filed: Thursday, 3rd May 2012
By: Staff Writer
It's been a perfect 45 minutes for Sam Allardyce's side at the Cardiff City Stadium with West Ham taking full control of the play-off semi final first leg.
And ironically perhaps it was United's only Welsh international, Jack Collison, who has made the difference in the first leg here in the Principality.
Collison struck in the 8th and 41st minutes of the opening period to send West Ham into the break with a 2-0 lead - and bar a superb stop from Bluebirds goalkeeper David Marshall on the strike of half time the game and the tie would be all but over already.
Cardiff, looking to capitalise on their home advantage started the game strongly and Kenny Miller's 3rd minute effort was inches away from dipping underneath Rob Green's crossbar.
However the home crowd were silenced just five minutes later when Collison showed enough determination to get on the end of Ricardo Vaz Te's cross at the second attempt having seen Marshall avert his initial effort.
From thereon the Hammers took full control of the game with Cardiff failing to find their rhythm; Carlton Cole bein gparticularly instrumental as the lynchpin of the attack despite receiving some rough treatment from the City defence.
Therefore it was no surprise when West Ham finally doubled their advanatge four minutes ahead of the break when Collison scored a goal almost identical to that which proved to be the winner at Leicester recently.
Picking up a half-clearance some 30 yards from goal, the midfielder chested the ball down before firing a volley at goal that took a wicked deflection off former Portsmouth player Liam Lawrence, leaving 'keeper Marshall stranded.
Sam Allardyce - and the extremely satisfied vocal travelling support - will no doubt be hoping for more of the same after the break; we'll be back at the final whistle with a full match report.
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Maynard may go [30th Aug 2012]
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