It’s safe to say that Ben Pearson was a lucky man on Tuesday night.
Of course, the main story is that Preston beat Fulham 2-1 at Deepdale. Seani Maguire and David Nugent were on the scoresheet as North End halted a run of four straight defeats without scoring a goal.
Preston move back up into the top six with that win, but it was a bad-tempered affair in patches. Denis Odoi was sent off for an ugly challenge on Patrick Bauer, before Preston defender Joe Rafferty was given his marching orders for a high challenge on Joe Bryan.
10 v 10 was bad enough, but Preston should have been down to nine. Ben Pearson produced a nasty challenge on Josh Onomah, for which he was booked. On the replay though, Pearson was out of control with two feet off the ground straight into Onomah’s ankle.
Pearson was already lucky to be on the pitch, but then avoided a red again in the second half. Already on a yellow, Pearson raked his studs down Anthony Knockaert’s leg, and was very lucky that referee Keith Stroud missed it.
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Pearson was substituted late on in favour of Tom Clarke, with his disciplinary record in the headlines again. That’s six yellow cards already for Pearson this season, having racked up 14 yellows and three reds last term.
His reputation precedes him at this point, and pundits Kevin Davies – formerly of Preston – and Lee Hendrie criticised him on Sky Sports after last night’s game.
Davies felt Pearson should have been sent off at least twice, believing he as lucky to stay on, whilst Hendrie felt the game was Pearson in a nutshell, making ‘ridiculous’ fouls that could put his team in danger – but it’s hard to see Pearson changing his style, with that nasty streak making him the play he is.
“Two, at least,” said Davies. “He’s got history with yellow cards, and he’s very fortunate to stay on the pitch there. There was a couple in the second half as well where they could have been yellows.”
“I saw him having words with Alex Neil at the end of the game, about him getting brought off, but this is Pearson in a nutshell. He’s got to be more cuter, he hasn’t got to be doing ridiculous fouls like that,” added Hendrie.