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.

Related Video
Champions League
Championship
League One
7.45pm
Colchester
vs
Sheff Utd
7.45pm
Doncaster
vs
Crawley
7.45pm
Gillingham
vs
Peterborough
7.45pm
MK Dons
vs
Bradford
7.45pm
Notts County
vs
Leyton Orient
7.45pm
Port Vale
vs
Bristol City
7.45pm
Preston
vs
Chesterfield
7.45pm
Rochdale
vs
Walsall
7.45pm
Scunthorpe
vs
Coventry
7.45pm
Swindon
vs
Oldham
7.45pm
Yeovil
vs
Crewe Alexandra
League Two
7.45pm
AFC Wimbledon
vs
Burton Albion
7.45pm
Bury
vs
Stevenage
7.45pm
Cambridge
vs
Exeter
7.45pm
Cheltenham
vs
Southend
7.45pm
Mansfield
vs
Morecambe
7.45pm
Northampton
vs
Hartlepool
7.45pm
Oxford Utd
vs
Accrington
7.45pm
Plymouth
vs
Wycombe
7.45pm
Portsmouth
vs
Dag & Red
7.45pm
Shrewsbury
vs
Carlisle
7.45pm
Tranmere
vs
Newport County
7.45pm
York City
vs
Luton
Conference Premier
7.45pm
Aldershot
vs
Braintree Town
7.45pm
Alfreton
vs
Telford
7.45pm
Bristol Rovers
vs
Nuneaton Town
7.45pm
Chester
vs
Southport
7.45pm
Dartford
vs
Dover Athletic
7.45pm
Eastleigh
vs
Forest Green
7.45pm
Halifax Town
vs
Grimsby Town
7.45pm
Kidderminster
vs
Altrincham
7.45pm
Macclesfield
vs
Gateshead
7.45pm
Torquay Utd
vs
Woking
7.45pm
Welling United
vs
Lincoln City
8pm
Barnet
vs
Wrexham
Scottish League Cup
7.45pm
Rangers
vs
Inverness
Tables