Miller scores on Cardiff debut against West Ham

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Veteran Scottish international striker Kenny Miller’s late goal on his Cardiff debut saw the Welsh side beat promotion favourites West Ham United 1-0 on Sunday and make it a disappointing opening match in charge for Sam Allardyce in the English Championship.

Miller – signed from Turkish side Bursaspor in the summer – fired home from inside the box after being set up by Frenchman Rudy Gestede in the 91st minute, though, Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green could perhaps have done better.

West Ham have been made the bet365 bookies favourites to go straight back up after being relegated from the English Premier League but Allardyce – who replaced the sacked Avram Grant – has been given early warning that it will not be easy.

Allardyce – who forged his reputation at Bolton before a disappointing spell at Newcastle and then was sacked as Blackburn manager earlier this year – blamed his side’s poor finishing for the defeat.

“We’ve lost a game we really should have won,” said Allardyce.

“I told the players you don’t always get what you deserve but don’t go throw the game away and that’s what we’ve done.

“I just hope its one of those days.”

Green pulled off a smart reaction save in the 22nd minute from Don Cowie, turning the header away for a corner while the former England goalkeeper also got down smartly to save from Peter Whittingham’s fierce freekick.

The Hammers had had most of the possession prior to that with former Bolton star Matt Taylor at the centre of most of their best play and forced Cardiff ‘keeper David Marshall into tipping the ball over the bar after a delightful left foot effort.

Marshall also had to be at his most alert when he got down to save from French striker Frederic Piquionne.

Piquionne – who has suffered two successive relegations from the English Premier League with Portsmouth and West Ham both under manager Avram Grant – had the best opening chance in the second-half.

The Frenchman was found unmarked in the penalty area in the 56th minute but he could only put in a tame header, from Mark Noble’s cross, that was easily gathered by Marshall.

The lively Taylor then forced Marshall into a sharp save when he fired in a testing left footed effort from outside the area as the hosts turned on the pressure.

Taylor, 29 and who didn’t have second thoughts about moving down a division to play for West Ham, then showed great pace down the left to get to the byline and put in a superb cross but Piquionne’s effort from a few yards out could only hit the post.

Tomkins went desperately close to breaking the deadlock with 10 minutes remaining as he directed his header towards the far corner but it was kneed off the line by Whittingham.

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