Jack Goal-ison

Wales international Jack Collison was all smiles after his two goals in Cardiff gave West Ham United the perfect start to their npower Championship Play-Off semi-final with the Bluebirds.

The No10 bagged both goals as the Hammers defeated Cardiff City 2-0 in south Wales on Thursday night, putting Sam Allardyce's side in the driving seat ahead of Monday's second leg at the Boleyn Ground.

Collison opened the scoring on eight minutes when he headed in after David Marshall had saved his initial volley, and doubled his account four minutes before half-time with a rasping shot that flew in via a slight deflection.

"Obviously it is nice to be the one scoring the goals but, more important than that, it was a massive team performance," he told West Ham TV. "I think the boys were superb throughout.

"I don't think Coley [Carlton Cole] has played much better than that all season - I thought he was unbelievable and really worked his socks off."

Collison's goals took his tally to three in two away games following his thunderbolt at Leicester City ten days previously. In total, four of his five goals this season have come on the road.

"I was getting in the right positions earlier in the season but perhaps not finding the net as much as I'd have liked to. Thankfully they seem to be flying in at the right time and it's a great boost to the team that we managed to score two goals.

"The first one I think I did my hardest to miss it, to be honest! It was a great ball from Vaz [Ricardo Vaz Te] and he put it on a plate for me. I've hit the keeper and luckily it has bounced out for me and I've managed to knock it in.

"The second one, it has bounced out to me and Matty [Taylor] was in my ear telling me to shoot so I thought 'Why not?' and I caught it quite sweet. It took a little deflection but I think it was going in anyway!

"They all count and it's great to get the goals, but like I said it was a real team performance."

Collison was quick to heap praise on his team-mates for their determined, up-tempo performance that simply did not let Cardiff settle into any sort of rhythm on their own pitch.

"Everybody has come into a good form at the moment and we're on a good run. We've lost one in 19 and I think that is down to teamwork.

"We were superb right throughout from the back to the front and if we play like that on Monday we're going to be very hard to deal with."

Collison said West Ham would play to win the second leg, rather than seek to hold onto their two-goal advantage.

"I think we'll treat it like any other game. The manager has come in and said not to get too excited because it's only half the job done.

"If we play like that, work hard and do well as a team, we'll be hard to beat."

Finally, Collison asked for forgiveness from his fellow Welshman, knowing that he is sure to be back in Cardiff soon pulling on the red shirt of his national team rather than the claret and blue of West Ham.

"It's a great place to play and Cardiff are a big club with a great fanbase, so it was nice to come here and play in a proper game. It's nice to get a bit of stick and it's good fun.

"I really enjoy playing there. Obviously it was nice to get the goal so we'll see what sort of reception I get when I'm back in Wales!"