Newcastle United vs Norwich City was the definition of a 'six pointer' in the fight to avoid Premier League relegation.
The two basement clubs are facing the very real prospect of dropping down to the Championship and recently appointed Eddie Howe and Dean Smith respectively to try and save their seasons.
So, when the Magpies and Canaries did battle at St. James' Park on Tuesday night, you could rest assured that any potential winner would receive a huge morale boost to their hopes of survival.
Newcastle United vs Norwich City
And with the tension palpable in the north east, the drama took less than 10 minutes to take hold with Ciaran Clark receiving one of the most needless red cards you'll see this season.
The Toon defender was punished for a blatant foul on Teemu Pukki to deny a goal-scoring opportunity when surely he should have left it down to Martin Dúbravka to save the day.
Nevertheless, the rash decision to send Pukki crashing down to the turf couldn't have been more costly with the referee immediately whipping out a red card that was decisively ratified by VAR.
Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
Clark's needless red card
The last thing that the Toon needed just nine minutes into a game that could define their season was having a man sent off and Eddie Howe's reaction to the dismissal just about said it all.
In fact, it was the second-fastest red card that Newcastle have received in the entire Premier League era, so be sure to check out the incident in all its avoidable infamy down below:
What were you thinking, Ciaran?
Furious reaction to Clark's foul
According to the Telegraph, Newcastle legend Alan Shearer branded the incident as a ''crazy, stupid decision," and that was putting things mildly compared to some of the reaction on social media.
One Newcastle fan remarked: "Ciaran Clark with one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen."
Another supporter tweeted: "Ciaran Clark, that is stupidity of the highest order."
A third penned: "What is Ciaran Clark doing?! Things like that is what will relegate Newcastle."
And a fourth posted: "Shocking from Ciaran Clark, why do that so early in such a big game?"
Potentially costly for Newcastle
At the end of the day, footballers at every level make mistakes from time to time regardless of their ability, so alternative claims that Clark should never play for Newcastle again are simply ridiculous.
However, there's no escaping the fact that Clark's red card is one of the most needless that you're likely to see in the Premier League this season, particularly just a few minutes into such a key game.
If Newcastle want to maintain their top-flight status under the new ownership, then they'll need to avoid the exact kind of mistakes that Clark demonstrated with his damning lapse of judgement.News Now - Sport News