Defender scoops Pompey awards

Matt Clarke collects his Players' Player of the Season award from Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep
Matt Clarke collects his Players' Player of the Season award from Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep
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Matt Clarke has kicked off the award season by being recognised by his Pompey peers.

The 21-year-old was crowned Players’ Player of the Season at a special gala dinner held in the Victory Lounge at Fratton Park tonight, as well as Player of the Season, voted for by guests.

Ben Close was awarded Pompey's Young Player of the Season. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep

Ben Close was awarded Pompey's Young Player of the Season. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep

The traditional end-of-campaign occasion saw Clarke fight off challenges from Brett Pitman and Jamal Lowe to scoop the accolades.

Enda Stevens, now at Sheffield United, had taken the honour in the previous two seasons.

Clarke is now also certain to be among the leading contenders in supporter-nominated awards, including The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season, which will be presented on the pitch before Saturday’s game against Peterborough.

Tonight’s sell-out event featured former Premier League referee Jeff Winter as the guest speaker, with the Blues’ entire playing squad, management and staff among those in attendance.

A number of other awards were also presented, with Ben Close receiving the Young Player of the Season in recognition of an excellent breakthrough campaign.

The youngster from Southsea has made 44 appearances and scored twice.

Elsewhere, Matt Casey was crowned Academy Player of the Season. It represented double delight for the central defender, who was offered third-year scholarship terms by the club this week, along with Dan Smith.

There was also an honour for Conor Chaplin, named as PFA Community Champion following excellent work off the pitch.

Lowe’s second strike in the 4-1 home win against Fleetwood won Goal of the Season, while Pitman collected the Golden Boot.