West Ham United Vs. Cardiff City, 2012 Championship Playoffs: Sam Allardyce Nearing Top Flight Return

CARDIFF, WALES - MAY 03: Darcy Blake of Cardiff City clears the ball under pressure from Matt Taylor of West Ham during the Npower Championship Playoff Semi Final 1st leg match between Cardiff City and West Ham United at the Cardiff City Stadium on May 3, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Cardiff City need to win by two goals at Upton Park on Monday to force extra time in their Championship playoff tie against West Ham.

Cardiff City are regular fixtures in May's League Championship playoffs, but once again, they appear to be coming up short of promotion to the Premier League. Because of some great defending, some bad bounces and some bad finishing on their part, Cardiff trail West Ham United 2-0. They'll need something resembling a miracle to beat Sam Allardyce's side by two goals at Upton Park.

West Ham have been a more attacking side than most of Allardyce's past teams, but their organization and defense is still a foundation of their game. They're heavy favorites to advance, but there's good news for Cardiff. While West Ham's home defensive record was good for most of the year, it wasn't great at the end of the year. They drew Birmingham 3-3, lost 4-2 to Reading and conceded against Hull City in three of their last four home games. Cardiff shouldn't be able to win by two goals in West London, but at least there's a bit of precedent for decent teams scoring at Upton Park.

Game Date/Time: Monday, May 7, 11:30 a.m. ET, 5:30 p.m. local

Venue: Upton Park, London, England

TV: FOX Soccer Plus (U.S.), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), Sportsnet World (Canada)

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