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It was a perfect afternoon for central defender Matt Clarke as he scored and played a key role in helping Derby County to a valuable three points as they beat Hull City 1-0 at Pride Park Stadium.


The 23-year-old headed the only goal of the game just after the hour mark, from Tom Lawrence's corner, to ensure the Rams extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to six games.

Three of those wins have been at Pride Park, all by one-goal margins, and Clarke was delighted to get off the mark for the season.

“It’s been a long time coming that we got some joy from a header from a set piece,” he told RamsTV following the game.

“You get corner, after corner, after corner, and you get to a point where you think ‘are we ever going to score’ but hopefully scoring one today means we can kick on and add to that tally and become a threat from set pieces more.

“The delivery is vital. That’s half the job as we make the runs and try to lose our man but when the ball is there to be won then it makes it easier.

“We are all drilled before we go out there. It’s not something we discuss out there, it’s all set in stone before we go out. We are clear in our mind who is going up and luckily it worked out today.

“The unbeaten run is something to defend and something we have a bit of pride in. We don’t want someone to take that away from us.”


Although it’s only his first goal of the season, Clarke believes the Rams create more than enough chances for him to add to his tally between now and the end of the campaign.

“I attack the ball so I do think there are goals there for me,” he said. “The way they set up today suited that, with them marking zonal with players marking outside the zone. I felt like there was something there for us and we stuck together.

“It takes pressure off the offensive players in the team. They are there to score the goals but if we can chip in with a couple of goals which wins us games then it takes the pressure off.

“Teams can fear you from set pieces if you have scored in three games in a row from corners, you go into the next game full of confidence that you can add to that.”


The clean sheet against the Tigers was the Rams’ first in the league since the 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough back in November and Clarke was pleased with the shut-out.

“Whenever you get a clean sheet, there are always moments that can go either way,” he commented. “They will usually have some chances in the game and you have to make tackles.

“Max Lowe made a really good tackle and throughout the game, you need to defend well to make sure you get a clean sheet.”


Pos Pld GD Pts
9 Cardiff City 37 2 54
10 Blackburn Rovers 37 7 53
11 Swansea City 37 1 53
12 Derby County 37 0 51
13 Queens Park Rangers 37 -4 50
14 Reading 37 4 48
15 Sheffield Wednesday 37 -3 48
16 Birmingham City 37 -9 47
View full table