diumenge, 4 de març de 2012

La clau de volta del temple del Football. Hammers playtime!

Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United FT

Kevin Nolan and George McCartney are on target as the Hammers prevail in south Wales




Final score - Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United

93 mins - Green makes a superb save to deny Miller at the death and the final whistle blows. That is testament to his powers of concentration, because that is the goalkeeper's first meaningful save all afternoon. The game is over and West Ham are back to within a point of Southampton at the top. To view an exclusive gallery of photos from today's game, simply like West Ham United's official Facebook page.

91 mins - Collison concedes a corner as we enter the two added minutes. Green punches clear and West Ham are just a few seconds from another fantastic away win.

90 mins - Into the final minute and the stands are clearing. Don't forget, tickets are still on sale for the home games with Watford and Doncaster Rovers this week. For the visit of the Hornets, selected Band 3 Adult tickets are available for just £20!

87 mins - Cole shoots low and Marshall collects. Cardiff break and Mason challenges as McCartney tries to head back to Green. The forward gets a toe to the ball and lifts it over the goalkeeper, but Faye gets back to head clear before the striker can finish. Good alert defending from the big No15.

85 mins - McCartney and Vaz Te combine to clear. Noble picks up the ball and lofts it forward for Cole to chase. He is surely brought down by Hudson, but referee Mr Foy gives nothing. Cole cannot believe it!

83 mins - The travelling fans implore Big Sam to give them a wave. Big Sam waves. The away supporters cheer. It will certainly make the 200-mile drive home more fun if West Ham can hold on to what would be a vital victory. With two home games coming up this week, the Hammers can really strengthen their position over the coming seven days.

81 mins - Vaz Te shoots...well wide.

Kevin Nolan

80 mins - The way McCartney celebrated, with a raised arm a la Alan Shearer, you'd think he scored every week! It was a great finish from the left-back.

79 mins - Miller shoots again from 22 yards, but it's weak and straight into the arms of Green.

77 mins - GOAL! MCCARTNEY! He doesn't score many, but that was some goal! McCartney picks the ball up on halfway and drives forward and beats a man with a lucky rebound. He gets into the box and crosses for Cole. The ball is headed back to McCartney and he curls a RIGHT-FOOTED shot into the far corner. That's just his second goal in 101 appearances in claret and blue and is a huge goal in the circumstances.

75 mins - Green claims a cross and bowls the ball out for O'Brien. Lansbury launches it down the line for Collison to chase and he wins a throw. Before it is taken, Lansbury is replaced by O'Neil.

74 mins - Brilliant from Mark Noble, who wins the ball in midfield before beating one man and being fouled by a second. Superb stuff. Gary O'Neil will be on shortly, presumably for Vaz Te or Lansbury...

72 mins - The Hammers have lost their way a bit in recent moments. Some passes are going astray that previously were going to feet. There are 23,872 fans here today, including about 1,500 West Ham supporters. They sing 'You're only here for the West Ham!" as the attendance is announced.

70 mins - West Ham attack, but the cross from O'Brien is low and cleared. Cardiff have men on the counter and the ball is worked to Miller again 20 yards from goal. He shoots, but it's too high.

69 mins - A chance for Whittingham to shoot as Nolan is penalised for a push. Whittingham curls the free-kick over the wall and it comes out off the inside of the post! Amazing escape for the Hammers...

68 mins - Cardiff are coming back into this. The ball drops to Miller on the edge of the penalty area and he shoots left-footed. It's blocked and Faye slams the ball away. West Ham are not keeping possession as well as they were in the period after half-time.

64 mins - McCartney gets himself in a bit of a lather and has to clear for a throw. The long ball over is there for Turner to attack but he heads powerfully a yard too high. Warning sign for the Hammers.

63 mins - A first change from Big Sam as Carlton Cole replaces Maynard.

62 mins - Another chance goes begging, Collison latches on to Maynard's pass and he's into the box. Rather than stand the ball up for Nolan, he shoots and the ball flies across the face of goal and out for a throw. Cardiff break and the ball drops to Mason, but he lashes his effort well off-target.

Abdoulaye Faye

60 mins - West Ham have been completely dominant since the break, but they need a second goal to feel a bit more comfortable about things. Vaz Te is felled by Gunnarsson. The free-kick drops to Vaz Te inside the box, but his left-foot shot is wild and the ball flies high and into the stand.

56 mins - Another golden opportunity is wasted. A back header from Hudson lands at the feet of Maynard who is completely on his own inside the penalty area. He has all the time in the world, but Marshall is out like lightning to smother the shot. West Ham should be out of sight...

52 mins - How many opportunities can West Ham spurn? Maynard gets in behind again and holds the ball up before collecting again from Collison. He has an age to pick his spot, but lifts his shot just wide of the left-hand post.

51 mins - Argh! Nolan wins the ball from Whittingham and finds Vaz Te. He has options left and right but over-hits his pass for Nolan and the chance goes begging.

49 mins - That's an even better chance for Vaz Te, who breaks the offside trap and beats Marshall to the ball. The winger tries to knock the ball one side of the keeper and run around to collect it, but he gets the skill wrong and Hudson clears.

48 mins - Great knock from Tomkins for Maynard to chase. He beats his man to the ball and cuts it back for Lansbury, whose shot is blocked.

46 mins - Cardiff get the second half underway and immediately force a throw deep inside West Ham territory. Nolan hacks clear to halfway where Maynard holds up the play and is fouled by Taylor. Nothing comes from the free-kick, however.

Half-time score - Cardiff City 0-1 West Ham United

47 mins - Referee Chris Foy blows for half-time. To be honest, that was an impressive half from the Hammers, who controlled the game for long periods and kept the ball really well. Big Sam will be pleased, but the job is only half-done. Join us again for the second half.

46 mins - Into the first of two added minutes. West Ham, needless to say, will want to see this through. O'Brien helps the cause by ushering the ball out for a throw-in.

43 mins - GOAL! NOLAN! Lansbury lofts a pass in for Maynard, who holds up play and tries to find Nolan. The ball is slightly behind the skipper, but Collison battles and the ball breaks back to Maynard. He slots a pass through for Nolan, who opens his body and calmly side-foots past Marshall from just inside the box.

42 mins - Good pressing from the Hammers forces the ball back to Marshall. He passes to Turner, whose clearance is charged down by Nolan. Unfortunately, the ball bounces away for a goal kick.

40 mins - Gunnarsson races away from Noble and plays a through ball for Mason to chase. He beats the offside trap but there is just enough pace on the ball for Green to dive out and claim at his feet.

39 mins - Miller knocks the ball back to Green to restart and Faye trots back on.

38 mins - I'm not sure what happened there between Faye and Miller, but the defender goes down before jumping back to his feet. The physio is on to tend to a facial injury, but I'm sure the big No15 will be able to continue after some running repairs.

36 mins - A cross comes in and Faye heads clear to Gunnarsson 35 yards from goal. He shoots and Green dives to his left but the ball flies wide of the target, but not by much. West Ham counter through McCartney and when his cross is cleared as far as Collison, he side-foots well over the top.

35 mins - Haris Vuckic is on for Gestede. Vuckic is on loan from Newcastle United and he exchanges a high-five with former Toon team-mate Kevin Nolan as he trots on to the pitch. All very pleasant!

34 mins - Gestede has pulled his hamstring chasing a through ball and he signals that he shall need to be replaced. He sits down on the turf and Noble sportingly kicks the ball out for the physio to come on. Applause from some of the home fans, and again as Gestede gingerly walks to the touchline.

33 mins - It looks a deliberate tactic for Miller to be playing slightly off Gestede in the gap between the West Ham defence and midfield. He has had some joy in possession, but has yet to produce a telling pass or shot so far.

30 mins - Cardiff attack for the first time in a while and the ball drops to Miller between the midfield and defence. He looks up and crosses for Gestede, but Tomkins is in the right place to calmly head back to Green. The No5 has slotted seamlessly back into the back four after his recent stint in midfield.

28 mins - West Ham are playing quite well at present. Their build-up is considered and patient, probing for a clear opening. So far, Cardiff are staying disciplined in defence, but if the Hammers keep working them with their passing, the opening will surely come eventually?

24 mins - Better work from Maynard, who retrieves the ball in the right corner and wins a corner off a defender. The initial delivery is cleared, but a cross comes in for Nolan and he wins the header. Instead of going for goal, he heads back across goal and the Bluebirds clear their lines again.

21 mins - That is a fantastic chance gone begging. Decent football down the right sees Lansbury get in behind Taylor. His half-volleyed cross is to the far post, where Collison calls off Nolan and nods down for Maynard in the centre of the penalty area. The No8 shapes to hit it, but his shot flies a yard over the top. Big Sam cannot believe it in his technical area.

18 mins - Nolan tries to play in Maynard with a cushioned volley, but Marshall is out quickly to collect. West Ham come forward again through Noble and Lansbury before Vaz Te collects. He takes a touch and shoots left-footed from 20 yards, but it's too high to trouble the goalkeeper. Goal kick from another decent shooting chance for the Hammers.

16 mins - The away fans are making plenty of noise in the corner opposite. It will have been a very early start for many of them, and they are nearly rewarded as O'Brien crosses from the right and Collison volleys over from 12 yards. From Collison's reaction - hands on head - that was a decent chance for the Wales international.

13 mins - Cardiff are carrying the greater threat so far. This time it is Miller, who collects the ball 30 yards out and shoots. It's a well-struck effort. Green dives, but the ball flies wide of the left-hand post. 'Oooohs' from the home supporters, who then break into song.

12 mins - Faye shows great strength to hold off Gestede, His clearance down the left touchline nearly turns into a through ball for Maynard, but Marshall is out quickly and clears the ball to halfway for a throw.

10 mins - Cardiff break through Gestede, but O'Brien gets a foot in. The ball rolls to Mason, whose cross picks out Cowie, but he can only volley the ball miles over the bar and into the stand behind. Ironic cheers from the travelling fans.

9 mins - Maynard wins a corner. Marshall makes a slight meal of it by punching the ball into the air, but Cardiff scramble the ball away from inside their own six-yard box. It falls to Collison, who finds Lansbury, but his chip is too strong and the goalkeeper collects.

5 mins - Faye's header drops to a Cardiff player and Miller gets in behind McCartney. He crosses dangerously and Green has to tip the ball behind for a corner. The delivery is dangerous and Tomkins does well to head clear. When the ball comes in again, it drops to Miller, but Tomkins is there to make a vital block.

2 mins - Confident enough start from the Hammers as most of the players get a touch within the opening 90 seconds. Nolan runs at Taylor and crosses from the right corner, but the ball goes behind. Goal kick.

12.45pm - West Ham kick-off and the ball is played back to McCartney. He launches it down the left touchline and the ball bounces around a bit before McNaughton clears for a throw on halfway.

12.42pm - Herre come the two teams, led by captains Kevin Nolan and Mark Hudson.

12.40pm - The stadium is filling up nicely, but it doesn't look to be anywhere near a sell-out. West Ham fans have safely made their way to the ground from Cardiff West Services on the M4, where they had to collect their tickets earlier this morning. As I type, they start with a chorus of 'Bubbles' as the sun comes out here in south Wales.

12.30pm - Jack Collison is appearing at the Cardiff City Stadium for the second time in five days, having come on as a substitute for Wales in their 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica in the Gary Speed Memorial Match on Wednesday evening.

12.20pm - It's been a changeable few hours weather-wise in south Wales. The rain was pounding down overnight but had stopped by the time the sun came up. It's cloudy and mild outside, with the sun trying to poke through. The pitch is likely to be nice and slick, which should make for a fast-paced, entertaining game.

12.05pm - Today's game is live on BBC television and Big Sam has just completed a pre-match interview with Gabby Yorath. It's a massive game for both clubs, as I don't need to tell you, with Cardiff looking to bounce back from their Carling Cup final disappointment and West Ham aiming to close the gap on leaders Southampton to one point. With Reading winning at Millwall on Saturday, the gap between second and third is down to a single point, but the Hammers do have this afternoon's game in-hand on the Royals.

11.52am - The team news is in. West Ham United make two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace eight days ago. Winston Reid was injured on international duty, while Julien Faubert has a virus. James Tomkins drops into defence, with captain Kevin Nolan returning, while Henri Lansbury makes his first start since the 5-1 defeat at Ipswich Town on 31 January.

Sam Baldock

Cardiff City: Marshall, McNaughton, Turner, Hudson, Taylor, Cowie, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Mason, Miller, Gestede
Subs: Heaton, Blake, Kiss, Conway, Vuckic

West Ham United: Green, O'Brien, McCartney, Tomkins, Faye, Noble, Collison, Nolan, Lansbury, Vaz Te, Maynard
Subs: Boffin, Potts, O'Neil, Cole, Baldock

11.38am - We'll have the team news for you in about ten minutes. Will Kevin Nolan be recalled? Will Nicky Maynard or Carlton Cole - or both - start up front? Will Robert Green or Henri Lansbury keep goal?

11.35am - The team coach has arrived at the Cardiff City Stadium, with Abdoulaye Faye in particularly fine fettle!

Cardiff City

Good morning and welcome to south Wales for West Ham United's first-ever visit to the Cardiff City Stadium.

Sam Allardyce's Hammers take on Malky Mackay's Bluebirds with a huge incentive to collect three points and return to east London having strengthened their position in the npower Championship table.

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