Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of today's Championship playoff semi-final second leg between West Ham United and Cardiff City.
The Hammers secured a 2-0 first leg win over the Welsh outfit last Thursday – giving them a strong advantage ahead of today's encounter.
Cardiff will take heart, however, from their 1-0 victory at Upton Park on the opening day of the season, but they will need to score at least twice to have a chance of progressing to the final.
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So there we have it, it is West Ham who have advanced to the Championship playoff final after a 5-0 aggregate victory over Cardiff City. In truth, the match as a contest was over when Nolan headed the Hammers into an early lead, with the Welsh outfit struggling for invention all afternoon. Sam Allardyce's side will face either Blackpool or Birmingham City in the final, for a spot in the Premier League. Our report of the match can be found here, thanks for joining Sports Mole for the coverage.
FULL-TIME: West Ham 3-0 Cardiff (West Ham advance 5-0 on aggregate).
90 min: We will play two additional minutes.
Maynard gets in on the act with a wonderful strike from the edge of the box after a cutting ball from Lansbury, simply brilliant.
90 min: GOAL! West Ham 3-0 Cardiff (Maynard)
88 min: Little over two minutes to play this evening, with West Ham in control of possession.
86 min: Final change for West Ham as Cole is replaced by Nicky Maynard.
86 min: The West Ham fans are in good voice as we approach the final few moments in the match, they are certainly heading for the Championship final.
84 min: Another chance for Cardiff as Blake finds a cross into the box, but it's just too close to Green, who collects once more.
82 min: So nearly a consolation for Cardiff as Liam Lawrence strikes a wonderful effort from outside the box, but it just whistles past the post.
81 min: Final change for Cardiff as McNaughton is replaced by Darcy Blake.
81 min: Little over 10 minutes remaining here at Upton Park, with West Ham on their way to Wembley.
79 min: Glorious chance for West Ham to extend their lead as Cole finds Taylor in the area, but it's a smart save from Marshall.
79 min: Penalty appeal for Cardiff as Cowie is felled in the box by McCartney, but once more no decision is given. Cardiff might have had two penalties in this encounter.
76 min: Double change for Cardiff as Miller and McPhail are replaced by Filip Kiss and Don Cowie.
74 min: Claims for a penalty as Taylor is felled in the box by Hudson, but his appeals are turned down.
74 min: Truth be told, this match has been over since the opening goal of the afternoon, and both clubs know it.
72 min: Cardiff continue to search and probe for that opening, but their final pass just hasn't been there, as yet another attack breaks down.
70 min: Yet another Cardiff cross is hit straight into the arms of Green, with the home side now on the attack.
69 min: Change for West Ham as George McCartney replaces goalscorer Nolan.
67 min: Another chance for West Ham is wasted as Vaz Te loses possesion in a forward area, much to the frustration of Cole.
65 min: Cardiff's first shot of the second period falls to Miller, but his effort is high and wide much to the frustation of the away fans.
64 min: So nearly a chance for Lansbury to add the home side's third when he latched onto a Cole header, but McNaughton managed to hold off the danger.
62 min: It's another long throw from Aron Gunnarsson, but Tomkins clears the danger. He has been immense this afternoon.
62 min: It's still comfortable for the Hammers as we enter the last 30 minutes of the match. In truth, the game has fizzled out in the second period.
60 min: Cardiff simply have not made their mark on either of these semi-final clashes, and after such an impressive season, that will be their biggest regret.
58 min: Another cross from Whittingham is claimed by Green, his crosses have not found their target so far this afternoon.
57 min: We haven't had a real chance of note for either team so far in the second period, with West Ham looking ever so comfortable.
56 min: We have just learned that Collison has dislocated his shoulder following that challenge earlier in the half. West Ham will certainly miss his presence if he is ruled out of the final.
54 min: Chance for the away side as Whittingham delivers a fine cross into the box, but Taylor clears the ball for a corner, which is also cleared.
52 min: It's been a really good team performance from the Hammers so far, Cardiff simply have not had a moment on the ball.
50 min: A scrappy start to the second period is summed up by a yellow card for Hudson for a poor challenge on Vaz Te. Cardiff could be in danger of losing their discipline this afternoon.
48 min: As predicted, Collison has been replaced by Henri Lansbury.
47 min: It's an injury worry for West Ham with Collison holding his shoulder, I would be surprised to see the Welshman continue.
46 min: Chance for Cardiff to make the best possible start to the second period as Taylor presents the ball to Mason, but his cross is collected by Green.
46 min: Here we go then, we are underway in the second period. Can Cardiff pull off an astonishing comeback?
So there we have it, goals from Nolan and Vaz Te have given West Ham a 2-0 lead over Cardiff at the break. It takes their aggregate lead to 4-0 - leaving Cardiff with a mountain to climb in the second period. Stranger things have happened in football, however, but Cardiff will need to improve on their first-half showing. Our report of the first 45 minutes can be found here.
HALF-TIME: West Ham 2-0 Cardiff (West Ham lead 4-0 on aggregate).
45 min: We will play an additional two minutes at the end of the half, with the home side in complete control.
44 min: Chance for three for the Hammers as Noble finds Cole in the box, but his header is high of the bar.
43 min: That pretty much sums up Cardiff's opening half as Whittingham fires a free kick straight into the stand.
42 min: What a strike that was from the former Bolton Wanderers forward. Surely Cardiff cannot recover from a 4-0 deficit in the second period?
Vaz Te moves West Ham into a 2-0 lead with an absolute rocket of a strike. The striker evaded Hudson, before unleashing his effort past Marshall and into the top corner.
40 min: GOAL! West Ham 2-0 Cardiff (Vaz Te)
39 min: West Ham are keeping possession as the half approaches its latter stages, with calm, confident football.
36 min: The home side continue to suffocate Cardiff of possession, it just isn't quite happening for Malky Mackay's side this afternoon as Miller is flagged offside once more.
34 min: Chance for West Ham to extend their lead as O'Neil fires a shot from the edge of the box, but Marshall pushed the ball to safety.
33 min: Another long ball finds itself in the West Ham box, but it's more good defending from Tomkins who wins his aerial duel with Turner.
31 min: It's another chance for Cardiff as Whittingham looks for Mason at the far-post, but once more, Green collects the ball and restarts the home side's attack.
30 min: Chance for West Ham to move 2-0 ahead as Demel advances down the right, but Turner just turns the ball behind with Cole lurking in the box.
27 min: So nearly a chance for Miller with James Tomkins's defensive header lacking distance, but it just evaded the Scot. Still nothing from the Welsh side, but not through want of trying.
26 min: Cardiff are finding it difficult to break through the stern West Ham midfield with the 30 minute mark approaching. He doesn't always get the credit he deserves, but Mark Noble plays such an important role in this West Ham side.
24 min: Chance for West Ham to move further ahead as Vaz Te shoots from distance, but it's high of the bar.
22 min: It's really nice work from Cardiff as Andrew Taylor finds Peter Whittingham in the area, but his touch is heavy and the ball is collected by Green.
20 min: Cardiff need a response, and quickly. But it is the home side who are beginning to look the more likely to add to the score.
18 min: Chance for Cardiff to get back into proceedings as Joe Mason finds himself in the box, but his cross is cleared by Nolan.
17 min: It's West Ham who have secured the opening goal in the match. They now lead 3-0 on aggregate, and it might have been four with an effort from Gary O'Neil, but his effort smashed the crossbar.
West Ham take the lead with a header from Nolan from close range. The corner was whipped in by Matthew Taylor, and the former Newcastle United man made no mistake on the goal-line..
15 min: GOAL! West Ham 1-0 Cardiff (Nolan)
15 min: It's West Ham on the attack as we approach the 16 minute mark in the match, with Collison buying a corner from Hudson.
13 min: Chance for Cardiff as Kevin McNaughton finds the head of Mark Hudson in the area, but his effort was collected by Robert Green.
11 min: Replays have shown that Cardiff should have been awarded a penalty after Winston Reid felled Miller in the area, but referee Dean waved play on.
10 min: Chance for West Ham as Guy Demel looks for Cole in the box, but Turner is on hand to make the clearance. End-to-end football in the early stages.
08 min: Cardiff are looking much more composed in the early stages than they were in the first leg, with Stephen McPhail a calming presence in the middle of the park. However, we are still waiting for the first real chance of the match.
06 min: It's nice work from Jack Collison who attempts to find Cole in the box, but David Marshall is on hand to collect the ball.
05 min: It's good defending from Cardiff defender Ben Turner to deny Carlton Cole, who was impressive in the first leg. Kenny Miller, meanwhile, is looking lively for the away side thus far.
04 min: It's good pressing from the home side with Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble getting amongst the Welsh side's midfield. What a glorious afternoon we have in London, let's hope the football lives up to the weather.
02 min: It's West Ham on the attack in the early stages of the match with Ricardo Vaz Te trying his luck with a volley in the box.
01 min: Here we go then, it is Cardiff who get us underway this afternoon. One of these teams will be on their way to Wembley in 90 minutes.
16.25: Both sets of players are emerging onto the Upton Park turf, will the stadium play host to Premier League football next season? Or will Cardiff ruin the party?
16.20: Today's referee is Mike Dean - you can't help but feel that this will be a fierce encounter - but the experienced official is used to these type of situations.
16.10: We are just 20 minutes away from kick off in this afternoon's crucial encounter. The first goal is certainly all-important, and could have a large bearing on the final result.
Live Commentary: West Ham United vs. Cardiff City
© PA Photos
By Matt Law, La Liga Correspondent
Filed: Monday, May 7, 2012 at 15:33 UK
Filed: Monday, May 7, 2012 at 15:33 UK
Last Updated: Monday, May 7, 2012 at 19:05 UK
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