Miller deals a dose of reality to Allardyce

WEST HAM UTD (0) vs CARDIFF CITY (1)

WEST HAM manager Sam Allardyce lamented some wasteful finishing as his tenure began with a dispiriting last-minute defeat against Cardiff.

A summer of steady and shrewd investment saw the Hammers installed as pre-season favourites to make an instant return to the Premier League, following their relegation in May.

But the early optimism in east London was punctured by Cardiff debutant Kenny Miller – the beneficiary of some charitable defending – much to the chagrin of Allardyce.

“Today was one of those days when we were not clinical enough to punish the opposition and then we paid the ultimate price right at the very end,” said Allardyce, who gave first West Ham starts to new captain Kevin Nolan, Matthew Taylor and Joey O’Brien.

“We’ve lost a game we really should have won. I told the players that you don’t always get what you deserve but don’t go and throw a game away, and that’s what we’ve done.

“It’s a hugely disappointing day for everyone. As ever the expectation is high and we haven’t lived up to that expectation today.”

West Ham created by far the clearest opportunities and were unlucky when Frederic Piquionne rattled a post, while Peter Whittingham cleared James Tomkins’ header off the line.

Having weathered the storm, Cardiff then completed a classic smash and grab raid when Rudy Gestede capitalised on a mistake by Herita Ilunga and crossed to an unmarked Miller, who turned and fired into the top corner via Robert Green’s fingertips.