‘It was Gordon Banks-esque’ – Gareth Ainsworth hails John Ruddy save in QPR draw
QPR manager Gareth Ainsworth likened John Ruddy’s late save to England great Gordon Banks as goalkeepers took centre stage in the 0-0 draw against Birmingham.
Asmir Begovic, the former Chelsea, Bournemouth and Stoke goalkeeper, and ex-Wolves shotstopper Ruddy – both 36 – produced a string of saves as Birmingham missed the chance to climb into the Sky Bet Championship’s top six overnight.
But Birmingam keeper Ruddy’s late stop to deny Lyndon Dykes’ downward header from Albert Adomah’s cross was the pick, after Begovic denied Scott Hogan in a one against one.
“I thought there were some fantastic blocks from us, two magnificent saves from Asmir – the one where he came out and smothered (from Hogan) was world class, and it was,” said Ainsworth.
“But then John Ruddy at the other end – it was Gordon Banks-esque; he put the ball up in the air and away from people.
“When Lyndon headed it, you’re hoping it’s going into the side of the net. It was further out than I thought and a great cross and great header.
“I’ve said Lyndon is going to get double figures this season and it’s going to be his biggest haul.
“But when you come up against someone as good as Ruddy it’s tough to get past him – as Birmingham saw with Begovic.”
Only a desperate, acrobatic goalline clearance from QPR midfielder Sam Field prevented Blues taking a 21st-minute lead, after Lee Buchanan’s fierce cross flicked off centre-back Steve Cook and looped over Begovic.
Ruddy denied Paul Smyth and Field before his late heroics to prevent Dykes’ heading home, while Begovic matched him by foiling Cody Drameh, Krystian Bielik and Jay Stansfield.
Birmingham head coach John Eustace agreed the two goalkeepers were on top in a game of chances at both ends.
“I think that’s why John won Player of the Year last season. John’s a very good experienced goalkeeper,” he said.
“He’ll be disappointed with a couple of goals he’s conceded this season but tonight he showed his class and that’s what top goalkeepers are all about.
“So to not concede is also very good and very encouraging because we’ve had two very tough away games and to keep our levels of concentration in difficult moments was very pleasing.”
Birmingham’s Hogan missed the game’s other standout chance when Begovic denied him.
“You’d have to ask Scott (about his confidence) but what is pleasing is his workrate and his effort is still there,” said Eustace.
“He’s still working his socks off and we have to create more chances for him as well – he can’t just be having one or two.
“We have to create more opportunities for our front players. But Scott will score goals as long as he keeps going and keeps believing.”
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox