Preston North End boss Alex Neil frustrated with Ben Pearson and the referee as midfielder picks up another ban in Millwall win

Ben Pearson in action at Millwall on Saturday
Ben Pearson in action at Millwall on Saturday

Preston North End boss Alex Neil was equally frustrated with referee Steve Martin and Ben Pearson after seeing one of his key men pick up another ban at Millwall.

The midfielder will serve a fourth suspension of the season, this time for two matches, after being booked for the 10th time this campaign in the 3-1 win.

Having impressed in the middle of the park, Pearson kicked the ball away late on with Martin having no hesitation in pulling out a yellow card.

Neil was unhappy with his player but also pointed to several challenges on his man that went unpunished.

“The one real disappointment from today is that Ben Pearson’s going to be missing for the next two games,” he said.

“He’s a key factor in how we play and he’ll be sorely missed, there’s no question about that.

“The booking was disappointing for me.

“I thought there were about four challenges on him today where if he does them to anyone else it’s without doubt a yellow, potentially a red.

“I felt that the one where he kicks the ball out of play, although it’s silly from him, the referee can quite easily, like he did on quite a few occasions, have a word in his ear and tell him to cut it out and then get on with the game.

“I’ve told Ben what I think though, he’s fully aware of my feelings on him kicking the ball out.”

With Pearson set to miss the games against Bristol City and Blackburn Rovers Neil feels his player’s reputation is counting against him.

“If there’s a player in the team that can’t tackle for supper and he does a tackle then you’re less likely to book him,” the PNE boss said.

“If someone runs about and he’s got a mop of hair and he’s a wee angry man then he draws attention to himself.

“He needs to wind it in but equally I think referees need to take a view on the challenge itself rather than who’s dishing it out.”