Norwich City 4 QPR 0 match report: Perfect send off for John Ruddy in Canaries' romp
PUBLISHED: 16:37 07 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:40 07 May 2017
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John Ruddy got the farewell he wanted with Norwich City romping to an emphatic 4-0 Championship win against QPR on the final day of the season.
Ruddy captained the side and kept a clean sheet in a routine win on his 243rd and final City appearance, before leaving when his contract runs out in the summer.
Wes Hoolahan celebrated his award as player-of-the-year with a brace and Alex Pritchard and Josh Murphy were also on target in Alan Irvine’s final match in interim charge.
Irvine made two changes for his final game in charge from the starting line up that drew 3-3 at Leeds. Timm Klose replaced Ryan Bennett, after the centre back was informed earlier in the week he will be one of the seven senior players released in the summer when current contract expires. Hoolahan returned after a hip injury to replace the suspended Steven Naismith. Nelson Oliveira was also fit to lead the line after missing the early part of this week’s training with a bug. Alex Tettey was included among the substitutes after missing the Easter programme with a back problem.
John Ruddy captained the side on his 243rd and final Norwich appearance but there was no farewell opportunity for Steven Whittaker, who was the only other one of the seven to train this week.
Ben Godfrey was the beneficiary of Naismith’s absence on the bench and Michael McGovern was back after missing the trip to Elland Road compassionate grounds.
Hoolahan was crowned player-of-the-year prior to kick off to mark his distinguished service at Carrow Road since 2008
Ruddy then led the home side out, flanked by his two children, before a rapturous ovation when his name was announced.
Josh Murphy underlined his growing confidence from a regular run in the starting XI with two key early interventions, picking out Oliveira who saw his effort cleared off the line by Joel Lynch, before Alex Smithies denied the youngster at his near post.
The flying wide player then crashed a curling shot against the top of the bar from 20 yards.
Ruddy was pressed into service to shovel Michael Doughty’s free kick behind after Mitchell Dijks handled Conor Washington’s cross.
Hoolahan celebrated his first ever Norwich player-of-the-year award when he unleashed a low left-footed strike that appeared to brush a QPR defender and deceived Smithies - although team mate Pritchard was also in the vicinity.
The Republic of Ireland international then turned provider with a hooked near post cross miscued by the diving Dijks.
Pritchard ranged forward, with both sides enjoying plenty of space to attack, but the midfielder’s deflected shot clipped Lynch and rolled the wrong side of the post.
Pritchard needed treatment to his left knee before continuing and Ruddy kept his side in front in the 44th minute when he superbly tipped Pawel Wszolek’s rising shot onto his bar.
Ryan Manning’s free kick drifted wide of Ruddy’s left-hand post early in the second half. City doubled their lead when Hoolahan slipped the ball into Pritchard who volleyed home at the second attempt.
Irvine made his first change in the aftermath, with Cameron Jerome replacing Oliveira. Pritchard then made way to a standing ovation for James Maddison.
City’s home support urged Ruddy to take a free kick wasted by Maddison and the big man showcased his outfield skills with a composed dribble as time ebbed away.
Josh Murphy added a third in the 85th minute when he held off Smithies and slotted on the turn just outside the six yard box.
Hoolahan sealed the victory in stoppage time when Jerome unselfishly squared for the Irishman to chip into an unguarded net.
• Norwich: Ruddy, Pinto (Godfrey 86), Martin, Klose, Dijks, Howson, Dorrans, Hoolahan, Pritchard (Maddison 71), Josh Murphy, Oliveira (Jerome 61). Subs: (not used): McGovern (GK), Wildschut, Jacob Murphy, Tettey.
• Goals: Hoolahan (22, 90), Pritchard (60), Josh Murphy (85)
• QPR: Smithies, Onuoha, Lynch, Washington (Grego-Cox 81), Wszolek, Doughty, Smith (Freeman 45), Robinson (Bowler 69), Luongo, Perch, Manning. Subs (not used) Ingram (GK), Goss, Petrasso, Furlong.
• Time added on: 2 minutes / 2 minutes
• Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)
• Attendance: 27,005