Ben Pearson savoured experiencing the goalscoring feeling again as he slammed home the fourth goal in front of the Alan Kelly Town End as North End emphatically beat Barnsley 5-1.
The Lilywhites’ No.4 has proved a key player for the club over recent years but had not registered himself on the scoresheet for just over three years, when he found the net against Aston Villa in October 2016, also at Deepdale.
Pearo’s goal came after he ran half the length of the pitch to meet Tom Barkhuizen’s cross to tap home in front of a raucous Town End, and the midfielder told iFollow PNE after the game that he was delighted to get his long-awaited goal.
“It was nice, obviously to make sure we get the win was nice, and then I think when you go three, four [goals ahead], you start to let the shackles off and getting in the box and trying to get yourself a goal,” PNE’s No.4 said.
“I saw Barky running down the left and I saw an option to sprint in, no-one else was going in with it, so I thought I’d try my luck and luckily, Barky has found me and I thankfully scored.
"That was probably me done for the game after that [run] – I probably ran 60 or 70 yards just to try to get a goal and it paid off.
“Then it was just sitting in so we didn’t have to do that much running in the last 20 minutes, it was just keep the scoreline the same, not concede and just see the game out.
“I’m not sure when it will come [next goal], but I’ve got that hunger to try to get a few more goals this year rather than just sitting in and letting Gally and DJ, head the box maybe once or twice a game, get in there and let them sit a couple of times.
“My ambition is just to get a few more than I usually do and then just keep it tight at the back like we have been doing.”
It was a second half onslaught that ultimately won the day for North End, with the scores having remained level at the break, but Pearson felt the Lilywhites could even have been further in front by half-time.
“I think we probably should have been three or four up at half-time. Seani [Maguire] had two great chances, DJ [Daniel Johnson] had a chance, but we were patient throughout that first half and we just said at half-time to keep probing, keep playing how we’ve been playing, try to give that extra 10 per cent and we’d kill them off.
“Thankfully we’ve managed to score four goals in the second half and properly kill the game off quite early, so it was quite comfortable in the end.
“You know what they’re going to do, they’re going to press you, and like you’ve seen in four or five of the games that we’ve watched, that with balls over the top, they struggle.
“It’s happened again today, you can exploit them in behind numerous times – I think every time we played the ball, we were in on goal.
“We used that and thankfully, we’ve managed to have players at the top end of the pitch who have made the right passes and finishing the chances away which was good. To come away 5-1 winners, move up in the table, I think it’s been a good six or seven weeks to start the season.”
With North End now without a game for two weeks, until visiting Reading in mid-October, Pearson believes the forthcoming international break can provide some useful time to rest for the Lilywhites.
“I think we’ve got a couple of days off now, we’ll have a few days’ training in the week and then probably the weekend off next week.
“It’s been tough, I think for myself personally I’ve found it tough the past couple of games to get going and make those yards that I usually do.
“It’s a well-needed rest and I think we deserve it, we’re third in the league now, we’ve been scoring plenty of goals and I’m sure the fans are happy with what they’re seeing and I’m sure the manager is, so it’s all been a positive start up to now.”
Watch Pearo’s post-match thoughts in full now on iFollow PNE.