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Unfortunate last-minute Ciaran Clark own goal keeps Newcastle off top

The Ireland defender nodded Kazenga LuaLua’s in-swinging cross over goalkeeper Karl Darlow and into his own net.

Newcastle United's Ciaran Clark looks dejected during tonight's match.
Newcastle United's Ciaran Clark looks dejected during tonight's match.

CIARAN CLARK’S UNFORTUNATE last-minute own goal saw Newcastle United held to a 2-2 draw by Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday that prevented them from recapturing the Championship summit.

Rafael Benitez’s men looked poised to leapfrog leaders Brighton and Hove Albion until Clark inadvertently nodded Kazenga LuaLua’s in-swinging cross over goalkeeper Karl Darlow and into his own net.

Newcastle, who trail Brighton by a point, made a scorching start as Jonjo Shelvey slammed a fine half-volley into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box inside the first minute.

Conor Washington equalised shortly before half-time, but although Matt Ritchie quickly restored the hosts’ lead, Clark’s unwitting intervention denied Newcastle victory.

Elsewhere, Leeds United closed to within four points of the automatic promotion places courtesy of a 2-1 victory at struggling Blackburn Rovers.

Stuart Dallas put Leeds in front in the 74th minute, only for Blackburn to level with seven minutes remaining when Elliott Bennett struck in spectacular fashion from 30 yards.

Source: Zak Sands/YouTube

But Pontus Jansson met Pablo Hernandez’s 89th-minute corner with an emphatic header to lift Garry Monk’s men to within a point of third-place Reading.

Blackburn, who have won only one of their last 10 league games, remain second from bottom, three points from safety.

Fulham moved to within three points of the play-off places after winning 2-0 at Burton Albion through second-half efforts from Stefan Johansen and Scott Malone.

Burton manager Nigel Clough, who this week turned down a move to his former club Nottingham Forest, has work to do, with Burton only three points above the relegation places.

© – AFP 2017

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