Clark: We owed them one in For­est re­match

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Bull

NEW­CAS­TLE de­fender Ciaran Clark ad­mit­ted he and his team-mates had looked to set­tle per­sonal scores against Not­ting­ham For­est.

The Mag­pies moved back to the top of the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble on Fri­day night as Dwight Gayle’s dou­ble in­spired them to vic­tory.

The win was re­venge for Rafa Ben­itez’s side af­ter they slipped to a con­tro­ver­sial de­feat only four weeks ago at the City Ground.

That clash saw both Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dum­mett sent off while the home side were awarded two penal­ties be­fore win­ning it late on thanks to a Ja­maal Las­celles own goal.

The re­match was not short of con­tro­versy, Matt Mills see­ing red in the sec­ond half for the vis­i­tors, but for Clark and his team-mates it was job done.

“There was a lot of con­tro­versy in the game away at For­est, and we felt that we owed them one,” said the de­fender.

“With the Brighton game be­ing called off as well, we knew there was a chance for us to go back to the top with a win. With all of those things in the back of our minds, there was an ex­tra boost for us to go out there and do well.

“It’s ob­vi­ously a good re­sult in the end, and I thought it was a good per­for­mance. We were dis­ap­pointed to go in 1-1 at half-time, be­cause we felt that we con­trolled the game.

“They tried to slow the game down and frus­trate us, but it didn’t get the bet­ter of us, and every­one man­aged to keep a cool head. In the end, they ended up los­ing it them­selves – the send­ing-off helped us and we made them pay. We man­aged to get the two goals and we’re happy in the end.”

Matt Ritchie’s de­flected free-kick put the hosts ahead, but they were pegged back by Ni­co­lao Du­mitru’s strike against the run of play.

But af­ter Mills saw red for two book­ings in the same minute, the first for a late chal­lenge, the sec­ond for his re­ac­tion af­ter­wards, Gayle pounced with a dou­ble to leave the For­est side lick­ing their wounds head­ing into Jan­uary. Du­mitru said: “We are dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult be­cause the lads gave all they had, but 11 against ten against a team like this is very hard.

“The red card changed the game. I didn’t un­der­stand the de­ci­sion. Millsy was re­ally up­set about it be­cause he didn’t de­serve it.

“We were feel­ing re­ally con­fi­dent but then the game changed and you saw what hap­pened.”

DWIGHT ON! Dwight Gayle slots home his first of the night


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