Welshman Collison shoots down Bluebirds

Cardiff City 0 West Ham United 2

Jack Collison's double strike helped West Ham take a huge stride closer to the Premier League.

The Welshman, a product of the London club's youth system, registered twice in the first half of his side's npower Championship play-off semi-final first leg encounter at the Cardiff City Stadium, nodding home from close range after nine minutes and then seeing his deflected volley find the back of the net five minutes before the break to give the Hammers a huge advantage going into the second leg on Monday.

The hosts struggled for any kind of rhythm for much of the match and West Ham could have taken an even more comfortable lead back to Upton Park, but for David Marshall's superb save from Carlton Cole's header.

The Hammers may still have two more games to negotiate before they can celebrate a return to the top flight but, on this showing, the class and determination is there to achieve exactly that.

Cardiff almost went ahead after two minutes, Peter Whittingham's deflected effort dipping narrowly over the crossbar.

Moments later, Robert Green had to be alert to beat away Kenny Miller's volley as the Bluebirds started at a furious pace.

But with their first attempt at goal, the Hammers gained the upper hand. Ricardo Vaz Te crossed from the left and, although Collison's first attempt was brilliantly stopped by Marshall, the Welshman was on hand to nod in the rebound.

Quickly, West Ham got a stranglehold on the game. Gary O'Neil tested Marshall from range and James Tomkins headed Matt Taylor's fizzing cross wide.

Cardiff, in part, were the architects of their own struggles, frequently gifting possession to their guests.

The Welsh side tried to rally, with Miller firing wide, but Collison soon stunted their comeback with his second.

Taylor's corner was half-cleared to the midfielder, who controlled the ball on his chest, pulled the trigger and saw a wicked deflection off the head of Liam Lawrence wrongfoot Marshall.

Cole must have thought he had put the tie out of sight before half-time, but Marshall pulled off a sensational low save from the striker's header.

Cardiff showed intent to get back into the game after the interval, with Whittingham volleying wide and Ben Turner seeing his header cleared off the line by Cole, before Miller fired horribly off-target.

With space tighter in the Cardiff half, West Ham created far fewer chances - the best of the lot being Kevin Nolan's point-blank header which failed to test Marshall - and the visitors had to withstand a spell of concerted pressure from their hosts in the final quarter.

Mark Hudson nodded Aron Gunnarsson's cross wide from 10 yards, substitute Robert Earnshaw missed the target with a wild volley and Gunnarsson squandered a decent chance from the edge of the area.

For all their late huff and puff, however, the Bluebirds could not fashion a goal, leaving themselves with a lot to do in London in four days' time.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions