Pompey defender adamant he didn’t make contact with Plymouth attacker

Pompey defender Matt Clarke
Pompey defender Matt Clarke
Brett Pitman addresses his Pompey team-mates after their 0-0 draw at Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Matt Clarke maintained his innocence as penalty appeals took centre stage against Plymouth.

But the defender admitted he was a nervous man as the home side demanded a first-half spot-kick at Home Park.

Clarke produced another dominant display as he helped Pompey to their latest clean sheet in the 0-0 draw.

That’s the fourth shutout in six games for Kenny Jackett’s men as they continue their play-off push.

There were three appeals for spot-kicks in another high-tempo meeting between the two port rivals.

Ruben Lameiras went to ground with Clarke in his vicinity before the break.

The 21-year-old was adamant he made no contact, and it wasn’t a penalty.

He knew, though, referee Dean Whitestone had a decision to make.

Clarke said: ‘I took a bit of a swipe but I didn’t make contact. I’d be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous when he hit the floor.

‘You always will be in those situations, but I didn’t think it was a penalty.’

Pompey themselves had two shouts for penalties in the second half of Saturday’s clash.

The strongest of those arrived as Kal Naismith went to ground in the 72nd minute as Oscar Threlkeld made a challenge. Brett Pitman also claimed he should have had a spot-kick in stoppage time.

Clarke explained both players felt they had decent claims. The former Ipswich man insists his team can’t afford to place their hopes in being given those kinds of decisions, though.

He added: ‘Our lads think the ones the other way were penalties.

‘We can’t rely on penalty decisions to decide the fate of the game, though. There’s 90 minutes to do that but we couldn’t quite get the goal.’

– JORDAN CROSS