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West Ham win takes pressure off Allardyce

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REUTERS

West Ham United's captain Mark Noble celebrates with teammates after scoring against Cardiff City. Picture: Rebecca Naden

Cardiff, United Kingdom – West Ham eased the pressure on under-fire manager Sam Allardyce as they boosted their Premier League survival hopes with a crucial 2-0 victory at Cardiff on Saturday.

Allardyce had endured a barrage of criticism after the Hammers were routed 5-0 by Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup last weekend and then slumped to a humiliating 6-0 loss at Manchester City in the League Cup semi-final first leg in midweek,

But the West Ham supporters who were calling for Allardyce to be sacked were silenced for one weekend at least as their 10-man team ground out a much-needed win in south Wales.

Carlton Cole gave them the lead just before half-time and, although James Tomkins was sent off in the second half, Mark Noble sealed West Ham's first win in seven matches in all competitions with a stoppage-time strike.

It was the east Londoners' first league success since a win over Fulham on November 30.

And with Andy Carroll making a first appearance of the season as a substitute after a lengthy injury absence this was a good day for Allardyce with co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan in attendance.

West Ham are now above third bottom Cardiff on goal difference, making it a miserable home debut for new Bluebirds manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Cardiff survived an early scare when West Ham hit the post inside three minutes.

Stewart Downing's cross missed everyone and cannoned out of the far post, where Tomkins' follow-up was smothered by David Marshall.

But Allardyce suffered a blow in the eighth minute when Guy Demel went down.

Fraizer Campbell had just failed to connect with Peter Odemwingie's cross and when the ball was quickly put back into the box the striker collided with Demel and Roger Johnson.

Johnson's elbow appeared to strike Demel and the Ivorian required lengthy treatment before being stretchered off with a suspected broken elbow and facial injuries.

Cardiff looked the more likely to score and they thought they had in the 32nd minute.

Kim Bo-kyung's shot deflected off Johnson, struck the bar and appeared to cross the line as it came down. No goal was given and Campbell gave away a foul as he bundled Adrian and the ball over the line.

But replays showed the Goal Decision System had been correct, with the ball landing on the line.

West Ham took advantage of that escape to take the lead in the 42nd minute.

Matt Taylor picked out Jarvis, and the winger's weighted pass gave Cole an easy tap in.

Cardiff dominated after that and it seemed they would be rewarded when Tomkins saw red in the 70th minute as he picked up a second booking for a foul on Campbell after earlier being cautioned needlessly for dissent.

But West Ham survived and Noble finished a sweeping break from Carroll's pass to secure the spoils in the final moments. – Sapa-AFP


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