John Ruddy blame game after Norwich City draw at West Ham is part of a keeper’s life

John Ruddy shows the advantages of using your fist as a keeper at Upton Park. Picture: PAUL CHESTERT

John Ruddy shows the advantages of using your fist as a keeper at Upton Park. Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON/FOCUS IMAGES - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil was in no doubt that the blame for Norwich City's late Upton Park concession should not lay at John Ruddy's door.

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Yet Canaries fans seem less certain about the moment that saw the yellows throw away two points in the closing stages of Saturday's Premier League cracker in the capital. While many took to Twitter to defend the City number one – who made a number of fine saves during the 2-2 draw – others vented their fury at his part in the Hammers' stoppage-time equaliser.

Ruddy's punched clearance in a crowded penalty box hit Andy Carroll and dropped invitingly at the feet of Cheik Kouyate to rifle home from six yards. What should not be forgotten in the fall-out from the error, however, is that the England hopeful kept the visitors in it for large parts of the game.

And while the man keeping Declan Rudd out of the side should clearly have done better at the death, Carroll deserves praise for forcing the issue. Had the striker not thrown his body in the way, Ruddy's clearance would have been completed and City's travelling fans would still be celebrating a sensational triumph rather than what was in truth an excellent draw.

The moment created a disappointing end to an otherwise fine display from the 28-year-old who wouldn't have even been in that predicament had Alex Tettey not needlessly fouled Winston Reid near the touchline.

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Match of the Day pundit Danny Murphy rightfully stated that 'Ruddy will be disappointed with himself' about his 'poor punch' but also chose to highlight the fact that City have conceded five goals from set plays already this season. That stat is far more troubling than any debate that's currently raging about the shot-stopper's perceived limp wrists. Those goals were not conceded in a manner which asked us to discuss whether Ruddy was right to try and take the modern approach of fisting away a centre rather than trying to catch it. It's just this time it did.

Neil defended his man because he knows how vital the St Ives born stopper has been this season. Unfortunately at the weekend he lived the true life of a keeper. Because just one week after being hailed for earning a point at Liverpool, he was soon being vilified for losing a couple at West Ham.

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