Football: Allardyce earns much-needed breathing space with victory at Cardiff

(REUTERS) - Struggling West Ham United relieved the pressure on manager Sam Allardyce with a 2-0 win at Cardiff City in a roller-coaster of an English Premier League match last night.

The London club's first win in eight league games came at a cost with Guy Demel carried off on a stretcher and fellow defender James Tomkins sent off after 72 minutes.

Allardyce, who saw his side lost 0-5 at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup last weekend and 0-6 at Manchester City in the League Cup in midweek, refused to talk to the media after the victory over Cardiff.

"That was massive," captain Mark Noble told reporters. "We have been poor lately, we have been embarrassed in two cup games and this is a tough place to come but we have lost a man and still managed to win."

Allardyce has cut a lonely figure on the touchline in recent weeks as media speculation mounted about his job.

The West Ham board, however, gave him their full support in an open letter to fans on Tuesday.

West Ham are one spot above the relegation zone in 17th position, level on points with 18th-placed Cardiff.