West Ham 2-0 Cardiff

Joe Cole

Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan scored in each half as West Ham United enjoyed a comfortable win over Premier League new boys Cardiff City at Upton Park.

The Bluebirds did not manage a shot on target in their first appearance in the top flight since 1962.

Cole and Nolan showed the Welsh side what finishing is all about at this level with two masterful strikes.

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Nicky Maynard missed Cardiff's best chance late on, when he skewed his shot over from six yards out.

The absence of new £7.5m Danish striker Andreas Cornelius through injury might explain Cardiff's lack of cutting edge but, despite a summer of heavy investment - £9.5m Chile midfielder Gary Medel and £8m England defender Steven Caulker both made their debuts - they still found the step up from the Championship a tough one.

The Hammers were without their own star striker Andy Carroll, who was missing with a heel problem, but it was another Liverpool old boy, Cole, who stole the limelight with his superb early strike.

Matt Jarvis sent over a low cross from the left and Cole took a touch before swivelling to expertly fire the ball past Cardiff keeper Andy Marshall and into the opposite corner of the net.

Cole had a chance to get his second moments later when he left the visitors defence flat-footed but he wasted the opportunity and tamely chipped his shot straight into the arms of Marshall.

Mohamed Diame saw his shot deflected inches wide as West Ham went looking for more goals before the break, with Cardiff only managing two long-distance efforts from Craig Bellamy and Kim Bo-Kyung in response. Both were well off target.

The pattern continued after the break. The Bluebirds were competing well in midfield but, with Fraizer Campbell isolated up front, they rarely looked capable of breaking down the Hammers defence.

It took until the 55th minute for Hammers keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen to be called into meaningful action, when he tipped away a corner, and his only save of note came from a Matthew Connolly header that was already looping over when he helped it to safety.

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West Ham's own threat had become more sporadic after the break but they continued to create chances, with Diame and Jarvis both firing over before Modibo Maiga forced Marshall into a fingertip save.

While the score remained at 1-0, the Bluebirds still had hope but that was ended 14 minutes from time by West Ham captain Nolan.

He emulated Cole with an equally astute finish, sweeping home a first-time shot from 20 yards after good work from Mark Noble.

Only then did Cardiff begin to seriously threaten but, even then, their efforts went astray.

Former Hammers striker Maynard should have done better from close range after coming off the bench, and Peter Whittingham, whose set-pieces had been disappointing for most of the game, curled a 25-yard free-kick just wide in injury time.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce:

"We've done a great job today. Our time spent in pre-season has stood us in good stead. We showed today that physically and mentally we were 100 per cent ready for the Premier League.

"We won the came comfortably, perhaps not taking as many chances as we'd have liked, but that doesn't matter now because it's a 2-0 victory and a clean sheet.

"They were two very good goals from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan and the team performed very, very well."

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