Lambert delighted to see Ruddy rewarded
Chris Lakey Paul Lambert believes the ghost of Fraser Forster has finally been exorcised as Canaries fans hailed a new goalkeeping hero on Saturday. John Ruddy's penalty save was not only excellent, it was one which helped change the course of the game in those vital remaining minutes.
Paul Lambert believes the ghost of Fraser Forster has finally been exorcised as Canaries fans hailed a new goalkeeping hero on Saturday.
John Ruddy's penalty save was not only excellent, it was one which helped change the course of the game in those vital remaining minutes.
The crowd sang his name - just as they had done Forster's during the march to the title last season - the atmosphere lifted the team, and two goals later City were seventh in the table.
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For Lambert it was just reward for a player who has had more than the usual spotlight shining on him.
“He has had to live with the ghost of Fraser Forster, which is not an easy thing after what Fraser did for me and did for the football club and the rapport he had with the fans,” said Lambert.
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“But I always said when I first signed him (Forster), everybody wondered who he was and when he made the mistake at Leeds everybody was telling me to drop him, and after that game he comes on and is absolutely brilliant.
“John Ruddy had that to contend with, to live under, and in the last two games John Ruddy has been absolutely brilliant for us and it will put that to rest.
“It's a long, long season, but it puts the Fraser thing to bed. Coming here after what Fraser did for us has been huge. John Ruddy - the last two games he has been pivotal to what we have done.”
The penalty came on 83 minutes after Ruddy had brought down Scott Sinclair - a yellow card was shown, David Cotterill took the spot-kick and Ruddy dived to his right, getting a strong hand on the low shot to push it against his post.
It was a moment that changed a game which City had started well, before ceding control to Swansea.
“It can galvanise you,” said Lambert. “As soon as he saved it you had the crowd who lifted the atmosphere and we got on top of it again. I always think we can score.
“A great trait of a footballer is even if you are having an absolute doing you hang on for as a long as you can. Don't get beat - if you can't win a game make sure you don't lose it and we have got that in abundance. I have seen many games where you have got to hang in and hang in, and that's a classic example.”
Lambert said the decision by referee Phil Crossley not to send off Ruddy was the right one.
“I had a feeling he maybe wouldn't - because it was that late in the game I thought he might just give him a yellow. I didn't really think he was going to give him a red. I thought it was a penalty right enough, but I never thought he'd give him a red.”
Goal number two came from another new boy, Simeon Jackson, cracking home a volley in time added on for his first goal since his move from Gillingham.
“Top drawer, brilliant,” was Lambert's first reaction. “It was a world class finish - side foot and it hits the underside of the bar. It was a terrific ball from Grant and it just finishes the game.
“If the truth be known I wanted him (Holt) to take the ball to the corner myself.”
Game over, six points out of six - but was the result a fair reflection of the game?
“They are a top side, don't underestimate them,” said Lambert. “There are not many teams I have seen pass the ball like that coming here. I watched them against Preston last Saturday and they were excellent.
“Everybody knows they are a really good football side if you give them time, but I thought for the first 25 minutes we started brilliantly.
“Yes, they had the bulk of the possession, but sometimes you have to hang in as long as you can and always you will get a chance and we did that. We defended strongly when we had to and we had the break with the penalty and we got the chances to get the goals.
“The lads have been excellent. We are finding our feet and we will do for a lot of games still to come, but I am delighted with the start, delighted we're through to the next round of the cup. Two big wins in the last fortnight.”
Elliott Ward deservedly took the man of the match honours, although centre-back partner Michael Nelson limped off right at the end and must be a doubt for the Carling Cup tie at Blackburn.
“We just need to see how he is,” said Lambert. “I thought the back four were excellent all together against a really good side. Like Grant (Holt), he has not done much pre-season due to the Achilles problem and it takes a little bit of time to get your fitness, so I thought him (Ward) and Michael were excellent.”