Sunday, August 07, 2011

Miller's Hammer blow: West Ham 0-1 City

Cardiff City started their 2011/2012 Championship campaign with a 1-0 win away to title favourites West Ham courtesy of a late strike by Scottish international Kenny Miller.

City fans probably are still not sure where to pitch their hopes for the season with a new manager and almost completely new squad in place, but if today's performance is anything to go by, they should have no fears, and could well be in contention come April/May next year.

West Ham certainly had the best of the first half an hours play, but City gradually came into the game and arguably finished the first period stronger. City grew in confidence and generally passed the ball well, with Hudson and Gerrard at the back having no real scares, giving Marshall, preferred in goal to Heaton a relatively comfortable time. City pressed on a few occasions with Miller and Robert Earnshaw not really getting a major chance. It was evident that Gunnarson is no Andy Legg, as his two long trhow efforts went straight behind for a goal kick.

The BBC coverage I have to say was a bit poor. Dave Jones was one of the pundits, and though not everyone likes him, it was a bit harsh to hear Gabby Logan questioning him on how the current City team compared to his. All other commentators/pundits were generally fawning over West Ham, who undoubtedly have the quality with the likes of Nolan, Cole, Parker, Collinson etc.

In the second period the game began to open up a little, and the Hammers had the best chances. Piquionne hitting the bar, and Whittingham clearing one off the line with his knee. Marshall made several good stops, including a fizzer from Matt Taylor.

Mackay changed things around, bringing on tall Frenchman Rudy Gestede for Earnshaw, and Mason for Conway, and it was Gestede that made the impact. Hi first missed a decent headed chance. His height and strength added a new dimension and a minutes into three of stoppage time he brushed of Piquionne on the touchline, ran into the box and pulled the ball back to Miller. It looked like the ball had gone too far behind him, but he twisted and shot high into the net
through the hands of England 'keeper Robert Green to seal the points and send the travelling City support home in ecstasy.

Make no bones about this. This win a great win for City. Away from home, on national TV, against the favourites for the title in a side packed with genuine Premiership quality.

Every City player deserves credit. They looked and played like a team. They were all outstanding, but my MoM was David Marshall who made a couple of crucial stops.

I'd have settled for a draw, but realistically expected us to lose. To go home with all three points, and having looked generally assured throughout, send all sorts of really positive messages to players, fans, and the wider Championship. Yes it's early days. Yes there are still 45 matches to go, but hey. You can't get sweeter than beating the Hammers on their own patch on opening day.


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