Burnley footballer Clarke Carlisle narrowly failed to score a hat-trick on Channel 4's quiz show Countdown today.

The defender, 30, had been leading throughout his third appearance on the show but conceded a last minute winner when his opponent bagged the last condundrum.

That left the final score 89-86, ending Carlisle's run on the show.

On Wednesday, he had seen off reigning champion Adam Guest 89-55 to move into the champions chair.

That win ensured the show's famous teapot trophy will take pride of place among the Turf Moor silverware.

And yesterday he won 101-78, breaking the 100-point barrier with the final conundrum, 'massively'.

After his debut win, Carlisle, 30, told the show's host, Jeff Stelling: "I can't say it's better than winning a big football game - but it's up there!

"It's a lifelong ambition. I'm just delighted to be here," he added during the show.

Stelling noted: "Your team-mates can't take the mickey out of you too much now."

Carlisle, who admits he has been an "addict" of the show since childhood, had previously failed an audition during a long-term cruciate ligament injury lay-off from January 2001 to September 2002.

But he was crowned "Britain's Brainiest Footballer" in an ITV show hosted by former Countdown number-cruncher Carol Vorderman in January 2002, seeing off a panel of 12 including England's World Cup-winning full-back George Cohen and legendary Newcastle striker Malcolm "Supermac" Macdonald.

And, after coming through the audition process successfully this time round, he proved his credentials with a slew of impressive words.