Card collector Ben’s unwanted ‘record’

PNE midfielder Ben Pearson eyeballs Bournemouth's Dan Gosling in the EFL Cup clash
PNE midfielder Ben Pearson eyeballs Bournemouth's Dan Gosling in the EFL Cup clash
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Ben Pearson’s familiarity with yellow cards became apparent in the season just finished and his 16 bookings are the most picked up by a Preston player in one campaign.

He was cautioned 16 times in his 34 appearances, serving three bans as a consequence.

To label him as PNE’s 
dirtiest player in history – or the biggest hard-nut – would be somewhat misleading.

In days gone by, fouls which were bordering on GBH rarely got punished by a booking.

It is only in the last couple of decades that cards have been handed out like confetti.

Still, Pearson averaging a booking almost every two games is an achievement.

Greg Cunningham was not far behind on 14 yellows, his season ended by a fractured leg on Easter Monday.

In recent years, midfielder Paul Coutts got 14 bookings in 2011/12 and Ross Wallace 
was booked 13 times in 2009/10.

In the 2015/16 campaign, Joe Garner was cautioned on 12 occasions, likewise John Welsh and Bailey Wright in 2013/14.

In 2001/02, Sean Gregan got 11 yellow cards, with Brian O’Neil getting the same number in 2004/05. Colin Murdock reached 10 yellow cards in 2002/03, as did David Nugent and Danny Pugh in 2006/07.

In the 2007/08 campaign, Youl Mawene, Chris Sedgwick and Callum Davidson got 10 bookings apiece.

Pearson’s brushes with the law were not a total surprise.

He was booked 12 times in 2015/16, arriving at Deepdale from Manchester United in January 2016 having been shown nine yellow cards when on loan at Barnsley.

The previous season, he got five yellows in his first loan at Barnsley.

This term, his first booking came in the EFL Cup win at Bournemouth.

Pearson got to five in the 2-1 defeat to Newcastle at the end of October.

That triggered a one-game ban, ruling him out of the 3-1 win at Rotherham.

A 10th booking came against Arsenal in the FA Cup, leading to a two-game ban.

On Good Friday, Pearson was booked a 15th time in the 3-2 loss at Huddersfield.

After returning from the subsequent three-match ban, his 16th booking came on the final day at Wolves.

There is an edge to his game which PNE do not want him to lose – what he does need to cut out is the unnecessary ones for dissent.