Sunday, 7 August 2011

Match Report:West Ham 0 Cardiff 1

West Ham were given a rude welcome to life in the Championship , as a last-gasp Kenny Miller goal condemned them to a shock opening defeat.Sam Allardyce's first match in charge of the Hammers, who are favourites for promotion back to the top flight, was heading towards a damp squib of a goalless draw as the rain lashed down at Upton Park.But Miller crashed a dramatic winner on his Cardiff debut as West Ham were given a stark reminder that the Championship may not be the cakewalk the bookmakers are predicting.
Their midfield pairing of Kevin Nolan and Scott Parker would not look out of place in most Premier League teams but for various reasons they find themselves in the second tier.Nolan is captaining the Hammers after contract talks with Newcastle broke down while Parker, named in the England squad to face Holland on Wednesday, is apparently happy to stay unless Tottenham or a top-four club come in for him before the end of the month.Yet the illustrious duo could not break down a well-organised Cardiff side with a new manager of their own in Malky Mackay.Parker should have put the home side ahead after 10 minutes when he found himself bearing down on goal but his touch let him down and Anthony Gerrard was able to make the challenge.Further chances came and went for Frederic Piquionne, Nolan and Freddie Sears, with Robert Green only being tested once as he clawed away Don Cowie's header.After the break Matt Taylor, another of Allardyce's summer recruits, tried to breathe some life into his new side.

But as the clock ticked into stoppage time Miller, who had hardly had a sniff all game, collected a pull-back from substitute Rudy Gestede and lashed the ball past Green.

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