Irish fans are, unfortunately, well-attuned to a Ciaran Clark own goal.
Most infamously, Clark put through his own net against Sweden at Euro 2016, the final stage of Ireland's questionable 'play-very-well-until-we-go-one-nil-up-and-then-retreat-towards-our-own-goal-as-we-shit-the-bed' tactics.
Darren O'Dea has had one of the most remarkable careers in Irish football history: from being held at gunpoint during the Russian invasion of Ukraine to working under Nicolas Anelka in India, O'Dea covered it all and more in a feature-length interview. You can get the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or via your podcast app of choice. Just search 'The Football Show from Balls.ie' on said app. It is also below.
Clark's proclivity for clangers often overshadows a good overall performance, and it was the same for Newcastle tonight. They were in action at home to QPR tonight, and took the lead in the very first minute through Jonjo Shelvey. QPR equalised at the end of the first-half through Connor Washington, only for Matt Ritchie to restore the Magpies' lead ten minutes into the second-half.
A win would put them top of the league, a point clear of
Bright- Richie Towell's Brighton, and that victory looked assured until.....a Ciaran Clark own goal.
Here's the disastrous moment:
Ciaran Clark Own Goal
— Willem (@Will_Raworth) February 1, 2017
Oh dear. In fairness to Clark, he had sustained an ugly head injury in the first half: a clash had left the Irish defender looking groggy, with blood pouring from his head. He returned...perhaps, in this case, discretion would have been the better part of valour. Also, Clark has been one of Newcastle's most consistent performers since signing from Villa.
The result leaves Newcastle in second, a point behind Brighton, who have a game in hand. The Magpies are now just four points clear of Reading in third, with Leeds a point further back in fourth. It's all getting a little congested for Rafa Benitez' liking.