Result: West Ham United 3-0 Cardiff City (5-0 on agg.)

Ricardo Vaz Te
© PA Photos
West Ham United strike three goals without reply to book their place in the final of the Championship playoffs.

West Ham United have moved a step closer to securing an instant return to the Premier League by defeating Cardiff City 5-0 on aggregate in the semi-final of the Championship playoffs this afternoon.

The Hammers headed into the tie at Upton Park with a 2-0 advantage that they gained at the Cardiff City Stadium last week.

It was the visitors that started the better of the two sides without drawing home goalkeeper Rob Green into any action.

Their failure to turn possession into goals was punished by the hosts in the 15th minute. Cardiff failed to clear a corner from Matty Taylor and captain Kevin Nolan reacted quickest to head into the net from inside the six-yard box.

Gary O'Neill almost made it 2-0 moments later when his looping volleying beat Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall, but not the crossbar.

The same player called Marshall into action again in the 35th minute with a curling effort that the Scottish keeper was able to turn away for a corner.

West Ham's appearance in the final was all but confirmed five minutes before the break courtesy of Ricardo Vaz Te. The Portuguese attacker evaded his marker inside the area before going on to fire into the net from a narrow angle.

The home side continued to dominate after the restart, although they rarely looked like adding a third to their tally during the opening exchanges of the half.

However, Nicky Maynard staked a claim for a starting berth at Wembley when he beat Marshall from inside the area following a through pass from fellow substitute Henri Lansbury with one minute remaining.

What will have worried manager Sam Allardyce though are injuries to midfield duo Jack Collison and Kevin Nolan, who suffered shoulder and knee complaints respectively.

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CChelsea38269373324187
2Manchester CityMan City38247783384579
3Arsenal38229771363575
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd382010862372570
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs38197125853564
6Liverpool38188125248462
7Southampton381861454332160
8Swansea CitySwansea38168144649-356
9Stoke CityStoke38159144845354
10Crystal Palace38139164751-448
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12West Ham UnitedWest Ham381211154447-347
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14Leicester CityLeicester38118194655-941
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38109194063-2339
16Sunderland38717143153-2238
17Aston Villa38108203157-2638
RHull City38811193351-1835
RBurnley38712192853-2533
RQueens Park RangersQPR3886244273-3130
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