May 4, 2012 by FKB - GFC
Last night we sent a message out proving why we are favourites. At West Ham this season we have no dealt with pressure very well but I have never seen a side go into a playoff game with so much calmness, we know our game plan and stuck to it. It was a truly professional away performance and after coming away with a two goal advantage I am actually a little disappointed simply because we had so many chances and should have put away at least one more.
Cardiff really struggled to get going in the first half and for once Whittingham had a disappointing game for them. For the first 30 minutes we hounded them down and caused mistakes in their normal free flowing game.Every time we stole the ball was when we really looked dangerous. On the counter we broke at speed and looked a real force. The first ball was really created out of nothing a poor ball played over the top meant Vaz Te had to chase it to keep it in, The portuguese forward crossed on the volley superbly for Collison who mishit his first shot but followed in to score the follow up. Cardiff didn’t only cause problems for themselves in an attacking sense, they gave Collison to score the second by not closing him down as the corner eventually found itself to Collison who dispatched a volley that took a deflection off Lawrence to wrong-foot Marshall in goal.
We were so unlucky not to be 3-0 up on half time as Cole directed a cross to the bottom right corner, only for Marshall to pull off a superb save to keep the welsh side in the tie.The threat from Cardiff grew slightly in the second half but to be honest I thought we were actually reasonably comfortable and always looked like scoring on the counter, and we really should of as a ball was fired in from the left only for Nolan to head wide from a few yards out, and our captain really should have done better.
One worry was Carlton Cole, our striker worked hard all night long but never really looked fit after the first 20 minutes. If we can get him fit for Monday, we should comfortably cause them enough problems to settle the tie.
Attention now turns to Monday and all we need is another professional performance, at times Cardiff try too much without the quality to actually pull it off. An early goal for us at home should all but finish it off with the form of our back four and keeper at the moment, who were again dominant all game long. While I was confident before yesterday, that lingering worry of cracking under pressure has left me and probably most West Ham fans. I now fully expect us to be at Wembley on the 19th. Two wins and we’re in the Premier League, simple. COYI