McAuley has now scored in three successive games after twice netting for Northern Ireland on international duty.
"He's had a good goalscoring run and for us a really important goal," Clarke said.
"I thought we played well. Certainly better than our last performance at home (a 2-0 loss to Swansea).
"I thought second half we were good, we played good football. We created some really good chances that on another day, when your confidence is a bit higher, become goals.
"The belief of the players, the character of the players to keep chasing the game and to get the goal in injury time was great.
"It shows you the character of the group of players I've got."
For the big stories and the banter follow us on Twitter: @tribalfootball