Cardiff City recorded a much-needed 2-0 home win over West Ham United to boost their Premier League survival hopes.
Junior Hoilett scored his third league goal of the season in the fourth minute to put Neil Warnock's side on course for victory.
Victor Camarasa's first goal of 2019 shortly after half-time doubled their advantage and there was no way back for Manuel Pellegrini's side as Cardiff snapped a three-match losing streak.
West Ham, who hit the post through Declan Rice, suffered only their second defeat in six games and saw a seven-match winning run against the Bluebirds come to an end.
The pressure was on Cardiff and they made a fine start as the unmarked Hoilett – in as one of four changes from Warnock – converted high past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski from inside the six-yard box after a right-wing cross from Josh Murphy.
It was a frustrating first half for the Hammers, who failed to register a shot on target and saw Javier Hernandez booked for diving.
After Marko Arnautovic replaced the injured Felipe Anderson at half-time, Cardiff doubled their advantage within seven minutes of the restart.
Hoilett was the creator, his left-wing cross headed towards goal by Murphy, with Camarasa completing the finish from a yard out under pressure from Fabianski.
Oumar Niasse fired wide from a glorious chance he created himself after breezing past Issa Diop and, in Cardiff's next attack, Fabianski had to produce a heroic double-save to keep out the on-loan Everton striker's close-range effort, as well as Camarasa's strike on the rebound.
At the other end, Rice struck the post from 20 yards and Neil Etheridge did well to deny Arnautovic as West Ham finally threatened, but the visitors were well beaten.
What does it mean? Timely boost to Cardiff's survival bid
Time was starting to run out for Cardiff, who came into this game on the back of three straight losses where they had conceded 10 goals in the process.
With games against Chelsea and Manchester City to follow this one, it was vital they claimed maximum points here and they did just that. Southampton's late comeback against Tottenham Hotspur came as a blow, but also made it clear how vital it was to triumph here.
West Ham, meanwhile, see their recent strong momentum halted. Their away form – no win in seven on the road across all competitions – will be a big concern to Pellegrini as his team remain ninth.
Hoilett provides spark Cardiff needed
Hoilett scored the opener and helped to set up the second with a lovely piece of skill and an accurate cross. He also created two other chances for his team-mates, with his spark proving exactly what Cardiff needed in a campaign where creativity and goals have been lacking.
Lanzini lacklustre & Hernandez hopeless
Manuel Lanzini is still recapturing his full fitness, having only returned to action two weeks ago, and his 58-minute outing proved he still has a lot of work to do – no shots and no chances created. Hernandez was similarly poor, failing to register an attempt on goal or a key pass despite playing the whole game.
Key Opta stats:
- Cardiff City secured their first win against West Ham in the Premier League by a 2-0 scoreline, after losing each of the previous three meetings by a two-goal margin.
- West Ham are without a win in six away Premier League games (D1 L5), after winning each of the three before that.
- West Ham have only won one of their last nine Premier League away games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone (D4 L4).
- Cardiff went in ahead at half-time for only the second time this season in the Premier League, still less often than any other side.
- Cardiff kept their eighth Premier League clean sheet of the season, more the likes of Manchester United (7) and Arsenal (5) have managed.
It is three weeks until Cardiff's next fixture, at home to Chelsea on March 31, while West Ham will look to bounce back when they host struggling Huddersfield Town next Saturday afternoon (Sunday morning AEDT).