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Tom Clarke: 'We Got Our Just Rewards'

19 April 2016

Skipper Tom Clarke believed PNE's comeback was well-earned this evening.

The defender was one of three changes from Saturday's 1-1 draw with MK Dons slotting in at centre back alongside Bailey Wright.

Clarke was able to demonstrate his versatility when an injury to Marnick Vermijl saw him move to the right side of the defence, and he was then able to display his attacking prowess with a delightful cross, deep into Alan Browne who slotted home to kick-start the comeback in the 2-2 draw against Birmingham this evening.

Vermijl wasn't the only cause for concern at the back, with goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard coming off at half-time also with an injury, but despite that North End showed their steel to come from two goals behind to earn a point against the hosts.

Speaking to the Club website after the game, Clarke stated: "It's always difficult when you lose players at the back during a game but we've got more than enough cover to come in and do well. We've got an experienced goalkeeper in Chris Kirkland whose communication is second to none and he's demanding of the team and the back four. We train with him day in, day out so we know his strengths.

"It was nice to be up there for the goal. I was more or less playing the wing back role and I was also pleased for Browney [Alan Browne] that he managed to get on the end of it. He's been doing that all season, arriving late into the box so I'm glad it's come off for him on this occasion.

"We deserved that point. Even first half, we did really well with the ball, it was just in the attacking third where we didn't create much in the first half but in the second half, we pushed on despite making all three subs.

"I didn't even know who scored the second goal in the end there was that much happening! It was just nice that it hit the back of the net. We hit the post a couple of times and I thought it wasn't going to go in for us but thankfully Greg [Cunningham] got on the end of it and put it in.

"With the time that we had left in the game, I felt we were the team pushing for the winner."

Despite a rejuvenated ending to the game, Clarke was disappointed in the manner of the two goals conceded with both coming from Clayton Donaldson who reacted quickest to two saves to give Brum a two goal advantage, and ahead of the Lancashire derby against Burnley on Friday, Clarke admitted it's an issue they have to address.

"We were disappointed with the goals," continued Clarke. "They were really poor goals on our behalf really but we felt we were still in the game and I'm glad we kept pushing them and got our just rewards.

"We need to be more aware and follow things in and get the blocks on the shots when they're in there. It's disappointing on our behalf as we didn't learn from the first one but we'll look back on it and see where we went wrong on them instances.

"The comeback gives us confidence going into the big game on Friday. Of course we need to do better with the goals we've conceded, but we've responded well in time for Friday."

For more reaction to tonight's 2-2 draw from Simon Grayson and Greg Cunningham, head to PNEPlayerHD through this link.

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