Unless they can engineer a serious turnaround in the second half, Cardiff's chances of reaching Wembley are going to be over before they even play the second leg of their Championship playoff semifinal. West Ham United scored an early goal at Cardiff City Stadium and in typical Sam Allardyce fashion, he got his team to defend that lead very well. Late in the half, they found another goal in somewhat lucky fashion, and the Hammers lead 2-0 at halftime of the first leg.
Jack Collison scored both goals for West Ham, though neither was particularly pretty. The first came just nine minutes into the game and took some real fight and determination to score. He forced a very good save out of David Marshall with a volley off of a Ricardo Vaz Te cross, but Marshall couldn't push the ball out of play. Collison got back to the ball and nodded his second effort into the back of the net.
The second goal came following a corner kick, and it was aided by a big deflection. The shot came from 20 yards and took a big deflection off the back of a Cardiff defender before it floated into the net, giving Marshall no chance to make a save.
Just before the stroke of halftime, Marshall made an absolutely spectacular save on a header by Carlton Cole that would have effectively ended the tie after just 45 minutes of play. Cardiff are already in a massive hole that they will struggle to get out of, but that save might have kept some hope of a comeback alive. Heading to Upton Park with less than a draw would be a disaster.