Preston North End in Numbers: Ben Pearson back walking disciplinary tightrope

All good things have to come to an end and Ben Pearson’s run of games without a yellow card was halted at Stoke City on Wednesday.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 1:40 pm

The fiery midfielder had gone six games without a booking, his last having been at Leeds on Boxing Day.

But referee John Brooks ruled Pearson had adopted an aggressive attitude after being on the receiving end of a barge in the back from Potters winger James McClean and showed him an eighth yellow card of the campaign.

The six-game run without ending up in the notebook was Pearson’s joint best run at North End in terms of staying out of trouble.

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Ben Pearson (centre) reacts to a challenge at Stoke – and ended up in the book

He went the last six games of the 2017/18 season without getting booked. At the time he was walking a disciplinary tightrope as another yellow would have resulted in a three-game suspension.

North End manager Alex Neil felt the booking at Stoke fell into the ‘silly’ category, in that Pearson should not have reacted to McClean in the manner he did.

However, Neil does think Pearson is learning when it comes to the bookings.

Neil said: “We have seen signs that he is getting better but I still think the one in the week was a silly one, albeit it was down to him reacting to someone.

“I feel hypocritical when I criticise Ben because I was more hot-headed than Ben when I played.

“At times I feel like I am watching myself 15 years ago.”

Pearson’s eighth caution means he will have to watch his step to avoid a two-game suspension – 10 bookings trigger that, with the amnesty not until March.

Darnell Fisher has the most yellows in the PNE squad this season, having been booked 11 times.