|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Junior Hoilett strike inspires Cardiff to crucial victory over West Ham
Stuart James at Cardiff City Stadium
datePublished Sat 9 Mar 2019 17.20 GMT
This felt like the shot in the arm that Cardiff City’s season so badly needed. Reeling from three consecutive defeats and a week that their manager, Neil Warnock, described as their worst in the Premier League, Cardiff produced a performance full of endeavour and grit to lift the doom and gloom and revive their survival hopes.
With Southampton beating Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton winning at Crystal Palace, results elsewhere did not go in Cardiff’s favour but in many ways that made this victory all the more important. They remain 18th in the table but are now only two points behind Burnley as well as Southampton and, in the words of Warnock, have “brought a few more back into the pack”.
It was a particularly good afternoon for Junior Hoilett, who justified his return to the side by scoring the first and also having a hand in the second, which was stabbed over the line by the excellent Victor Camarasa. Oumar Niasse could and should have added a third before the hour mark as West Ham became more and more ragged.
With Cardiff losing their previous two home games against Watford and Everton, Warnock claimed this was their biggest win of the season. He also took pleasure in highlighting the spirit and togetherness that was on show in the wake of claims from a couple of former players that the players were losing faith with his management.
“That’s the only way you can answer [the critics] really,” Warnock said. “You don’t get a performance like that from a split camp. We wanted to have a go at them from the start and not sit back like we did against Watford. The only disappointment was we didn’t score another two or three in the second half when we had some fabulous opportunities.”
From West Ham’s point of view it was a hugely disappointing result and in keeping with a worrying trend away from home that has seen them lose five of their past six league matches on the road and fail to score in each defeat. Toothless and flat for long periods, West Ham looked and played like a team that are comfortable in mid-table.
Asked about their away form, Manuel Pellegrini, West Ham’s manager, said: “It’s not normal. We need to talk with the players in the week.”
Despite having 71% possession, West Ham registered only two shots on target and one of those was a 45-yard effort from Mark Noble. Felipe Anderson was withdrawn at half-time after another ineffective display and Javier Hernández was booked for diving. It was that sort of day for West Ham, who never carried any sort of threat until 20 minutes from time, when Declan Rice hit the upright and Marko Arnautovic, on for Anderson, forced Neil Etheridge into a save.
Cardiff were coasting by that stage. Hoilett, totally unmarked in the six-yard box, neatly converted Josh Murphy’s low centre to give the home team the lead after some lovely play by Camarasa and the same three players were involved in the second goal. Hoilett crossed from the left, Murphy intelligently headed back across goal and there was Camarasa, no more than a couple of yards out, to prod home. Only the combination of Niasse’s profligacy and a fine save from Lukasz Fabianski denied Cardiff a third.
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS, LIVE LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
CARDIFF (4-2-3-1): Etheridge 7.5; Peltier 7, Morrison 7, Manga 7.5, Bennett 7 (Bacuna 62, 6); Gunnarsson 7, Arter 7 (Paterson 84); Hoilett 8, Camarasa 8.5 (Ralls 68, 6), Murphy 8; Niasse 6
Subs not used: Smithies, Zohore, Reid, Harris
Goals: Hoilett 4, Camarasa 52
Booked: Morrison, Arter
Manager: Neil Warnock 7.5
WEST HAM (4-1-4-1): Fabianski 6; Fredericks 5, Diop 5, Ogbonna 5, Cresswell 4; Rice 5.5; Snodgrass 4.5, Noble 4.5 (Nasri 58, 6), Lanzini 4.5 (Antonio 58, 6), Anderson 4 (Arnautovic 45, 6); Hernandez 4.5
Subs not used: Adrian, Balbuena, Obiang, Masuaku
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini 4.5
Referee: Graham Scott 6