Bobby Zamora’s second-half goal gave West Ham victory in the 2005 Championship play-off final and a return to the Premiership after a two-year absence 15 years ago today.
Tomas Repka hit the post and Carlo Nash denied Matthew Etherington as the Hammers started brightly in Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium.
Shaun Newton headed Richard Cresswell’s effort off the line, while Zamora and Marlon Harewood went desperately close.
Zamora converted Etherington’s cross and his team survived late pressure and keeper Jimmy Walker’s injury to win.
Preston had done the double over the Hammers in the regular season, and finished above them in the table, but it was the Hammers who found their best form going into the play-offs. They dominated possession in the early stages at the Millennium Stadium and played the ball around with pace and precision.
West Ham: Walker (Bywater 87), Repka, Ferdinand, Ward, Powell, Newton (Noble 82), Reo-Coker, Mullins, Etherington, Harewood, Zamora (Dailly 74).