Advantage West Ham after Jack’s double
Jack Collison's double strike helped West Ham take a huge stride closer to the Barclays Premier League.
The Welshman, a product of the London club's youth system, scored twice in the first half of the npower Championship play-off semi-final first leg encounter at the Cardiff City Stadium to give the Hammers a huge advantage going into the second leg on Monday.
The hosts struggled for any kind of rhythm for much of the match and West Ham could have taken an even more comfortable lead back to Upton Park, but for David Marshall's superb save from Carlton Cole's header.
The Hammers may still have two more games to negotiate before they can celebrate a return to the top flight but, on this showing, the class and determination is there to achieve exactly that.
The Hammers gained the upper hand with their first attempt at goal. Ricardo Vaz Te crossed from the left and, although Collison's first attempt was brilliantly stopped by Marshall, the Welshman was on hand to nod in the rebound.
Quickly, West Ham got a stranglehold on the game. Gary O'Neil tested Marshall from range but Cardiff were the architects of their own struggles, frequently gifting possession to their guests.
The Welsh side tried to rally, with Miller firing wide, but Collison soon stunted their comeback with his second.
Taylor's corner was half-cleared to the midfielder, who controlled the ball on his chest, pulled the trigger and saw a wicked deflection off the head of Liam Lawrence wrongfoot Marshall.