The Bluebirds returned to winning ways at CCS, defeating West Ham United, 2-0, on March 9th.
Neil Warnock made four changes to the side that started against Wolverhampton Wanderers last week, including a start for Harry Arter, who had been an unused sub in Cardiff City’s last two matches. Junior Hoilett, Bruno Ecuele Manga and Josh Murphy returned to the starting XI in the other three changes, with Kenneth Zohore, Joe Ralls and Bobby Decordova-Reid moving to the subs bench. Sol Bamba missed his first match since confirmation that he’d suffered an ACL rupture at Molineux.
Cardiff City began the match eager to get on the front foot, with Aron Gunnarsson getting his first shot away for the side with two minutes played. Their attacking efforts were soon rewarded as Junior Hoilett swept home the opener - his third goal of the season - as Josh Murphy’s low cross found the winger inside West Ham’s area. Hoilett was positioned near the goal line and had no issue beating goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański with a well-placed finish.
Oumar Niasse came close to doubling the lead shortly afterwards with a brace of good goalscoring opportunities. His biggest chance came as the match entered the half hour mark, meeting Sean Morrison’s flicked on header inside the box, but this shot went just wide.
The away side rarely threatened the City net but did find themselves in the penalty box on 36 minutes. Former Manchester United man Javier Hernández went down under pressure from Bruno Ecuele Manga. Referee Graham Scott sprinted towards the incident, and immediately booked the West Ham forward for simulation, with replays showing no contact.
The Bluebirds started the second half in the same style in the first and found a similar result, doubling their lead in on 53 minutes. Víctor Camarasa received the ball a yard from the goal line from Murphy’s headed pass across goal and slotted it past Fabianski, who had attempted to dispossess the Spanish midfielder. The three of Hoilett, Camarasa and Murphy were a danger throughout and combined for both City goals.
City’s confidence was clearly heightened by the second goal, and a flurry of attacking movements from the Bluebirds followed. Fabianski was again required with a fine double save, foiling both Niasse and Camarasa successively from close range.
Whilst Cardiff City were looking for a third goal, West Ham came close to their first. Promising talent Declan Rice hit the woodwork from distance on 71 minutes before Marko Arnautovic forced an impressive save from Neil Etheridge shortly after. The Bluebirds showed great composure under pressure, even after losing Joe Bennett and goal-scorer Camarasa in the second period due to injury. Replacements Leandro Bacuna and Joe Ralls filled in admirably for the remainder of the match – ensuring another clean sheet for the impressive Etheridge.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 2-0 WEST HAM UNITED
Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Bennett (Bacuna 62’), Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Arter (Paterson 83’), Murphy, Gunnarsson, Camarasa (Ralls 67’), Niasse, Hoilett. Subs not used: Smithies, Zohore, Decordova-Reid, Harris.
West Ham United: Fabianski, Cresswell, Anderson (Arnautovic 46), Lanzini (Antonio 57’), Snodgrass, Noble (Nasri 57’), Chicharito, Ogbonna, Diop, Fredericks, Rice. Subs not used: Adrián, Balbuena, Obiang, Masuaku.