Tom Clarke: PNE deserved Newcastle point

Captain Tom Clarke felt Preston North End were worthy of at least a point against Newcastle United.

Sunday, 30th October 2016, 8:01 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:55 am
Preston North End's Tom Clarke remonstrates with referee Christopher Kavanagh at the end of the match, watched on by Preston North End's Simon Makienok (centre)

Two goals in 12 second-half minutes from Aleksandar Mitrović had seemingly put the Magpies on their way to a second win in a week over PNE.

Simon Grayson’s side battled back though with Jermaine Beckford’s strike in the last minute of the 90 setting up a grandstand finale.

North End then appeared to be denied a penalty for a foul on the returning striker before Marnick Vermijl hit the post in the ensuing scramble.

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“I felt we played really well,” said Clarke.

“They’re obviously a good team that can hurt you and the goals came at good times for them.

“We kept in the game though and kept on pushing and managed to get the goal.

“We’re just disappointed with how the game ended.

“I felt that Becks was just about to pull the trigger and it’s been taken away from him.

“We’re gutted we couldn’t get the late draw that we probably deserved in the end.”

The challenge by Grant Hanley on Beckford was the second penalty claim to be waved away, Callum Robinson also having gone down in the area.

“I thought they were both very strong cases,” said Clarke.

“We’re just disappointed we didn’t get them because we got the goal and it was us pushing from them on.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get the rub of the green and the decision.”

Mitrovic’s two goals had taken it to four in the week against PNE, the Serbian front man having been kept largely quiet at Deepdale as the Championship leaders looked to cement their place at the top of the table.

“It’s frustrating on our part,” said Clarke.

“We kept him quiet and they’re a quality team who can hurt you at any opportunity.

“That’s why we had to keep concentrating and we’re gutted with the two goals.

“We said at half-time we couldn’t let the game get stretched, that’s what they wanted.

“At times that did happen but I felt for the majority of the game we held them very comfortably.

“The goals were very disappointing but I felt the performance deserved at least a point.”

Despite PNE seeing their six-game unbeaten run in the Championship come to an end, the performance was a world away from the 6-0 hammering at St James’ Park in the EFL Cup exit.

“We looked at the fixtures and knew it was going to be tough,” said Clarke.

“We feel at home we’ve been playing well and we’ve picked up confidence and got results in this tough period.

“We were disappointed on Tuesday with how the game went, that’s not what we’re about, and we looked to change that today and I felt we did.

“We gave a good account of ourselves against a good team.”

The game was played out in front of more than 20,000 fans at Deepdale, something which Clarke relished.

“These are the games you want to be involved in,” said the skipper.

“It was a massive crowd, they brought a lot of fans, but throughout the game you could hear our fans and they kept us pushing to the end.

“It’s just disappointing we couldn’t get the result for them.”