BY LOUIS MENDEZ
Juggling parenthood and your work life can be a struggle – but Charlton skipper Jason Pearce managed both as he stayed with his pregnant wife overnight on Friday before making his own way to Hull and bagging a priceless winner on Saturday afternoon.
The defender, 32, and his wife Charlotte are expecting their third child any day now which meant the Addicks captain was unable to stay the night with the rest of the squad on Humberside before they returned from the coronavirus break with a huge bottom of the table clash against the Tigers.
Pearce’s first-half goal would prove the difference as the visitors earned all three points to leapfrog their hosts and climb out of the Championship relegation zone.
“I don’t know if anyone knew, but my wife is about to drop,” explained the former Leeds United man.
“So, I didn’t travel up with the team. I came up this morning. I left at, like, 7 o’clock this morning to travel up. I was hoping I wasn’t going to be tired in the game but I was raring to go. I couldn’t wait to come up against Tom Eaves or Josh Magennis – I enjoy a battle like that.
“I don’t get many goals but if I can contribute, my main thing is trying to keep a clean sheet for the team and then it gives us a basis to work from. To score a goal and it be the winner, I’m delighted to help the lads out and help the club out.
“It’s a huge win for us. Both teams needed to win, we knew that and we’re glad. The twelve weeks we’ve had off, we worked really hard. Bow recognised that. We’ve had a few weeks training building up to this game. A massive win for us.
“We felt ready. We had done a lot more tactical work, in and out of possession, and I really felt like we benefitted from it. It was great really. It showed on the pitch how together we were, knowing our jobs. It was a great result.”
The solitary goal of the game, Pearce’s first of the season, was the result of a well-worked corner routine that saw striker Tomer Hemed dashing towards the near-post before flicking the ball on for Pearce at the far-stick.
“We had worked on that,” Pearce added.
“Tomer flicking it, I came around the back and I was fortunate enough to get my head on it. I thought they were going to clear it so I just put my head in and I was just glad to see it hit the back of the net.
“[Set-plays] are crucial. Johnny Jackson mentioned about the German league. There’s been so many set-play goals since they’ve come back. It’s going to be huge. We’ve focused on that a lot. Trying to make sure we’re organised defensively, organised quickly. Also, attacking we’ll try to be inventive and try something new. Luckily today, one of our set-plays came off so we’re delighted with that.”
The contest was played out at a deserted KCOM Stadium, with the crowds forced to stay away under the Covid-19 guidelines.
Pearce said, “It is different. I’m quite a loud person on the pitch so it was quite nice for me because everyone could hear me! But it is different. It’s nice to play in front of a crowd, that’s what you live for.
“At the end of the day, we were in the relegation zone and we’re out of that now. We’ve got eight cup finals to try and keep ourselves in the league. It’s going to be tough. There’s going to be lots of ups and downs. If we keep that as our basis, this type of performance, we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
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