Sporting a canny black eye from Wednesday night’s encounter, Ciaran Clark thinks Newcastle were well worth the three points as they beat Derby 1-0 and returned to the top of the Championship.

The Newcastle defender put in yet another superb display and after conceding that freak late goal against QPR, Clark thinks he and his teammates ‘put it right’ against an in-from Derby County.

Ciaran Clark pointed to the ‘one scare at the end’ when DeAndre Yedlin brilliantly cleared off the line from a Darren Bent header injury time – but apart from that Karl Darlow only made one save during the entire 90 minutes.

Newcastle though had 19 shots, eight of them on target, but that hadn’t prevented our old friend Steve McClaren claiming that Newcastle hadn’t deserved to win, with Derby ‘unlucky’ and deserving at least a point.

It wasn’t a case of Newcastle being dominant throughout the game but Rafa’s boys were well worth the three points overall, as Ciaran Clark puts it – ‘We created chances…whilst limiting Derby to very few – it was a good performance’.

In reality, Newcastle could and should have had the game won in the first half and even in the second when Derby had a bit of a go, Mitrovic missed a sitter and other good chances fell to Perez and others, whilst one of the worst refereeing decisions of the season (against some serious competition!) was seen when Scott Carson charged out of his goal and took out Perez – the match officials somehow missing the incident.

Ciaran Clark speaking to the official club website:

“It was a big game during the week and we wanted to get the win – coming so close and being so unfortunate at the end was obviously really disappointing going into the dressing room.

“But it was a quick turnaround, we knew we had a game a couple of days later and we knew we wanted to put it right – Luckily we did today.

“We wanted that, we wanted the clean sheet, and we want to do that in as many games as we can. To do that after the game on Wednesday was massive for us and it is credit to the whole team.

“Throughout the whole team, we all showed real effort and real fight today. It was tough, especially in the last 15 or 20 minutes, but we managed to hold on to the win and we’re all really pleased with that.

“I think throughout the game we were fairly well organised, we limited their chances.

“There was one scare at the end and DeAndre did well to clear it off the line and we got rid of it, held on and we’re happy with the three points.

“We had a few chances, especially in the first half. We wanted to go out there at the start of the game and put them on the back foot and make it hard for them, which we did.

“Matty did well with the strike, it took a deflection and went in, but it doesn’t matter how it goes in. We’ll take those all day.

“We showed real fight today and hopefully we can continue showing that.

“I think he (Matt Ritchie) has scored a few deflections already this season but we really don’t mind how they go in.

“We created chances and that’s the main thing, whilst limiting Derby to very few – it was a good performance.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Derby 0

Newcastle: Ritchie 27

Possession was Derby 49% Newcastle 51%

Total shots were Derby 4 Newcastle 19

Shots on target were Derby 2 Newcastle 8

Corners were Derby 5 Newcastle 5

Referee: Darren Bond

Crowd: 52,231 (3,185 Derby)

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Hanley, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden (Perez 49), Shelvey, Gouffran (Lascelles 90+3), Diame, Mitrovic (Ameobi 84)

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Lazaar, Gamez, Murphy

(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)

(To view our interactive Newcastle v Derby player ratings and to add your own go HERE)

(What Rafa had to say, read HERE)