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Clarke deflated after fine display proves in vain
RYAN Clarke admitted the man-of-the-match award for an excellent individual performance meant little as Oxford United went down 1-0 to Chesterfield.
The goalkeeper produced his best display since returning from double shoulder surgery to keep the leaders at bay.
Andy Whing’s red card left the U’s down to ten men and as they searched for an equaliser, Clarke was exposed.
Several smart saves, including one from close range to deny a deflected shot from Jay O’Shea, caught the eye and kept the home side in the game.
But while there was some satisfaction in his own efforts, the result overshadowed the recognition.
He said: “I enjoy playing well, but it doesn’t count for a lot when you lose.
"It’s nice to keep the lads in the game and still give us that chance in the end. This is what I like to think I did with the saves I made, to maybe give us that chance late on to get something.
“I’m happy with the way I played, but at the same time I’m more disappointed we haven’t got a result.
“I would rather have made a mistake and won 3-1.”
The 31-year-old was frustrated the side could not match the support.
The biggest attendance of the season turns out for the top-of-the-table clash, creating a buzz around the Kassam Stadium.
Clarke said: “It’s a great atmosphere and a great thing to be a part of.
“We know how massive they can be for us and they almost suck the ball in the net sometimes which is great.
“It’s just unfortunate because on another day, even though we haven’t played great, we could possibly have nicked a point.”
He added: “Unfortunately, I think they were better than us in all areas.
“Maybe they were a yard quicker to everything, that’s how it felt and as a group we knew that was the case after the game.”
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