1. ITV Report

Frustrating night for Bluebirds in play-off first leg

Darcy Blake and co. will try to right tonight's wrongs in the second leg Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Cardiff City have given themselves a mountain to climb when they visit Upton Park on Monday for the second leg of the Championship play-offs.

City showed great promise in the opening minutes, almost taking the lead after two minutes, Peter Whittingham's deflected effort dipping narrowly over the crossbar.

Moments later, Robert Green had to be alert to beat away Kenny Miller's volley as the Bluebirds started at a furious pace.

Despite this the Hammers got into their stride and demonstrated their hunger for promotion to the Premier league.

West Ham dominated play and were rewarded with two goals in the first half both courtesy of Welsh international Jack Collison.

The midfielders' first attempt saved by City keeper David Marshall but a rebound shot saw him head the ball into the back of the net from close range.

The Welsh side tried to rally, with Miller firing wide, but Collison soon stunted their comeback with his second.

The midfielder's deflected volley found the back of the net five minutes before the interval to give West Ham a huge advantage going into the second leg on Monday.

In fact Cardiff's sloppy passing frequently gifted possession to the visitors, the hosts struggled to find any kind of rhythm, and were thankful to Marshall for keeping the deficit at only two.

After the interval Cardiff showed intent to get back into the game, with Whittingham volleying wide and Ben Turner seeing his header cleared off the line by Cole, before Miller fired horribly off-target.

With space tighter in the Cardiff half, West Ham created far fewer chances - the best of the lot being Kevin Nolan's point-blank header which failed to test Marshall - and the visitors had to withstand a spell of concerted pressure from their hosts in the final quarter.

Mark Hudson nodded Aron Gunnarsson's cross wide from 10 yards, substitute Robert Earnshaw missed the target with a wild volley and Gunnarsson squandered a decent chance from the edge of the area.

But, it's going to be a long road to Upton Park on bank holiday Monday for the Bluebirds who now have to dig deep to find a way back from the two nil deficit they currently have hanging over them.