Pearce gives Royals the elbow

Jason Pearce made his long-awaited debut for Pompey against Reading
Jason Pearce made his long-awaited debut for Pompey against Reading
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Paul Currie

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Jason Pearce shrugged off his League One play-off semi-final elbowing incident after finally making his Blues bow.

The centre-back – who missed the first three games of the season through suspension after being sent off for Bournemouth against Huddersfield last term – put down a serious marker to become a terrace favourite with a succession of brave blocks and meaty challenges that epitomised Pompey’s new drive.

And despite being the victim of Reading striker Noel Hunt’s flailing elbow – which saw the Irishman escape with only a yellow card – Pearce was delighted with his debut victory.

He said: ‘It was more intent really. I’d just had a little incident with him but I’m not one to go down and make too much out of things.

‘I wasn’t happy about it but I just got on with it.

‘I’m probably a bit too honest but I don’t really like that side of the game when someone stays down if they’re not hurt.

‘I had a few words with him out on the pitch. It will wait until the next time we play them.

‘But I got a few challenges in on him.’

Pearce was perhaps rewarded for his honesty as a late penalty appeal fell on deaf ears with the ball bouncing in the area.

He said: ‘I don’t know what it hit. I went to block the ball but I couldn’t tell you whether it hit my hand or not.

‘There were a few arms and legs around and sometimes they get given. Maybe I got a bit lucky.’

He added: ‘I really enjoyed it. It was great to finally get out there and play in front of the fans and get the win.’