Sunday 17 December 2017

Rio Ferdinand leads the criticism of Ireland 'keeper Darren Randolph after near post blunder

Randolph: Hammers start (SPORTSFILE)
Randolph: Hammers start (SPORTSFILE)
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

The West Ham players gave Upton Park the send off it deserved last night after a magnificent late comeback saw the Hammers scupper Manchester United's Champions League qualification hopes.

A late header from Winston Reid earned Slaven Bilic's side a 3-2 win amidst an electric atmosphere, although the occasion was marred by the pre-match behaviour of West Ham fans after they pelted the United team bus with cans and bottles, causing the match to be postponed by 45 minutes.

But the game was still an immensely enjoyable end-to-end barn-burner, and it looked like Louis van Gaal's men were on course for a huge win after Anthony Martial scored his second of the game to put the Red Devils 2-1 up with twenty minutes to go.

On first viewing, it looked like a spectacular goal by the Frenchman, racing past his marker on the left wing before finishing emphatically into the top corner.

However, the replays showed that Ireland's likely Euro 2016 goalkeeper Darren Randolph was extremely culpable, disappointingly allowing Martial's shot to beat him at his near post.

While oftentimes the default criticism of goalkeepers is that they should have better defended their near side, there was no doubt that it was a valid comment in this case.

From an Irish point of view, supporters will be hoping that the Bray-born shot-stopper was merely getting errors out of his system ahead of this summer's European Championships, especially since he was so solid towards the end of Ireland's successful qualification campaign.

People weren't too understanding after the mistake either, with former Hammer Rio Ferdinand one of many who took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.

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