Red card stalls Pearce bid for Pompey first team spot

Bournemouth's Jason Pearce (third right) is shown the red card that rules him out of Pompey's first three matches of the season
Bournemouth's Jason Pearce (third right) is shown the red card that rules him out of Pompey's first three matches of the season
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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August 6 – the curtain raises on the Championship campaign.

Not for Jason Pearce.

It will be another 10 days after that opening trip to Middlesbrough before he can make his seasonal entrance and Pompey bow.

A straight red card in what would prove to be his final Bournemouth appearance is the cause of the delay.

The central defender was given his marching orders by referee Neil Swarbrick in the second period of extra-time in the League One play-off semi-final second leg defeat to Huddersfield.

The challenge on Kevin Kilbane was deemed serious foul play, earning him an automatic three-match ban.

It means the new recruit misses Middlesbrough, Barnet in the Carling Cup and Brighton’s visit to Fratton Park.

The first time Pearce will be eligible for Blues duty will be the home clash with Reading on August 16.

He will be playing catch up from the beginning as he looks to establish himself in the first team.

No wonder the 23-year-old cuts a frustrated figure.

He said: ‘It’s a bit of a nightmare really.

‘My first-ever sending off in my last Bournemouth game means I cannot play for Pompey at the start of the season.

‘I didn’t even think it was a sending off, to be honest.

‘It was a crunching tackle on Kilbane, that was it. I had my studs on the floor, there was nothing wrong with it.

‘Unfortunately the referee didn’t like it so off I went.

‘I have now lost the chance to start pushing for a starting place through pre-season. No matter what I do I won’t play those first three games.

‘I’ve actually got my head around it and knew this was going to happen. It is something I have long since accepted.

‘It doesn’t stop me being a bit annoyed, though.

‘Bournemouth didn’t even appeal in the end. It would have cost a bit of money so they didn’t want to take the risk.

‘Maybe they knew they were going to sell me!’

The dismissal meant an inglorious end to the Dean Court career of Pearce.

After 183 appearances for the Cherries he failed to complete the match, a game which would see their play-off dream shattered.

Lee Bradbury’s side would go on to lose on penalties after the two-legged encounter finished 4-4 on aggregate following extra-time.

Liam Feeney and Anton Robinson both missed from the spot as Huddersfield booked their place in the League One final.

That defeat led to the departures of a number of Bournemouth players this summer, including Pearce.

Had he not been sent off, though, things could have been very different.

He added: ‘The red card didn’t make a difference to the result, there were only five minutes left.

‘I have to admit, though, I was going to take a penalty.

‘As captain it was expected of me and probably I would have taken one of the earlier ones.

‘Not that I usually take penalties or anything, so I don’t know if things would have been different.

‘In the end I was devastated like everyone else when we lost.’