Matt Clarke: Portsmouth winner at Burton my most important goal – but it’ll count for nothing if we’re not promoted

Matt Clarke claimed his stoppage-time winner at Burton was the most important goal of his career.

Saturday, 20th April 2019, 7:00 am

But the centre-back admitted it won't prove significant should Pompey fail to reach the Championship this season.

The 22-year-old kept his composure to slot home a much-debated 92nd-minute effort as Kenny Jackett's men secured a crucial 2-1 triumph at the Pirelli Stadium.

It ensured the Blues kept automatic promotion in their own hands, taking them up to third in the table for a short period.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Matt Clarke, right, celebrates his Burton winner with Omar Bogle. Picture: Daniel Chesterton

The Blues dropped back down a place after Sunderland's 2-0 victory over Doncaster in the late kick-off.

But Clarke's strike could prove crucial come the end of the season, with Jackett's side pursuing a top-two finish with four games remaining.

And the former Ipswich defender revealed it was the most pivotal of his eight career goals.

He said: 'For the circumstances and at this moment, it’s massive for us and keeps the momentum going.

'In terms of importance, it’s probably top. I haven’t scored many goals.

'You won’t know how significant it is until the end of the season.

‘But it keeps the pressure on.

‘Hopefully this will put an edge on the teams around us.'

Following a scramble in the Burton box, Clarke finished with aplomb from close range to ensure Pompey returned to Fratton Park with all three points.

Nigel Clough's Brewers were incensed the goal stood, however.

There were appeals for offside and handball against Nathan Thompson, but neither were awarded by referee Craig Hicks.

And Clarke was just pleased to keep his cool to secure a last-gasp victory for Pompey.

He added: 'I was just standing waiting to work out what was going to happen almost – I just sort of froze.

'Fortunately it fell to me perfectly.

'I don’t get many goals so it was nice to get one.

'In football you deserve a bit of luck at times. It doesn’t matter how they go in.

‘If it was a handball, we’re not looking to cheat or anything like that.

'It’s just one of them things that happens in football.'