Portsmouth defender reveals inspiration for moment of magic

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Matt Clarke believes his clinical piece of Rochdale finishing has been on the cards.  

And the Pompey defender thanked his team-mates for their role in his ruthless strike in Saturday's 3-1 success at Rochdale.

Matt Clarke celebrates his goal against Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Matt Clarke celebrates his goal against Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Clarke showed a marksman's eye for goal as he grabbed his second effort of the season, producing a smart control and nutmeg on Dale striker Aaron Wilbraham before blazing home to wrap up the three points. 

Blues fans have witnessed the 22-year-old's willingness to get forward this term.

And, with the encouragement of his fellow players, he's now delivered the kind of goal he's been threatening.

Clarke said: ‘It's been half-coming for me.

‘The lads keep saying to me “when you get into these areas why don't you have a shot?”

‘It just opened up for me.

‘I made the room for myself and I just hit it! I'm glad it was one of those which ended up in the back of the net.

‘I like to dribble.

‘I guess if I get caught out and they go up the other end people will say “why did you try that?”

‘But it worked for me this time and I take it.’

The expansive side of Clarke's game has once again been evident this season, as he often brings the ball forward from the back.

It's the kind of play not always associated with defenders, but it's something the former Ipswich man is determined to continue – at the right time.

He added: ‘You have to know your limits.

‘A lot of the time on this occasion it wasn't really on to dribble out from the back in deep areas, because they had a good press.

‘But when it's on and there's an opportunity I will take it.’

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