'The right thing to do'

Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Paul Smith shrugs his shoulders as he waltzes through the Leicester City defence en route to scoring on Tuesday evening. (Photo courtesy of John Sumpter at JMS Photography)

On the same day that Sevilla's Antonio Puerta passed away in Spain, Clive Clarke, a defender on loan to Leicester City from Premiership side Sunderland, suffered a heart attack after collapsing in the dressing room during half-time of a League Cup match with Nottingham Forest.

Clarke, 27, was treated by paramedics and rushed to a cardiac unit at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre. Fifteen minutes after the game was due to restart, Leicester manager Martin Allen and Forest boss Colin Calderwood met on the pitch in order to announce to the crowd that the game had been abandoned.

At the time, Forest were leading 1-0, thanks to a goal from Junior Agogo.

Thankfully, Clarke is recovering well.

"I know I am extremely fortunate to be here," he said recently.

"In the light of recent events involving footballers who have suffered heart attacks, I am the real lucky one, because I have survived. When I was told what had happened, the blood drained from my body. I just thought I could have been dead, and that I might never have seen my family again.

"When you think about Sevilla player Antonio Puerta, it goes without saying that a day won't pass when I don't cherish every moment in my life."

*A goal to show gratitude * Nottingham and Leicester met in the re-arranged fixture at the City Ground on Tuesday evening, when something remarkable happened. Straight from the kick-off, Forest goalkeeper Paul Smith dribbled the ball towards goal unopposed to put the two-time European champions 1-0 up.

"We just felt it was the right thing to do," said new Leicester manager Gary Megson. "The first game ended in tragic circumstances with Clive's heart attack, but the rules say that Forest would have been perfectly entitled to play out the game."

His Forest counterpart Calderwood added: "Leicester felt it was the correct thing to do and I must admit it took us back a little bit to start with. But it was an honourable gesture and I would like to think that football in general has come out of the game as the winner. I think the crowd took it in the spirit it was intended."

Megson, who joined Leicester last week, said Smith was only told he was going to be the player to score when the coin was tossed to start the game, ruling out any chances of match betting.

However, it was Leicester, Clarke's team, that eventually booked their place in the next round to set up a tie with Aston Villa. Alan Sheehan equalised for the Foxes with a well-taken free-kick before Nathan Tyson restored Forest's lead.

With two minutes remaining substitute Richard Stearman levelled and then, with extra time looming, Foxes midfielder Stephen Clemence hit the stoppage-time winner in a match where football and Fair Play was the true victor.

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