Pearce keen to build on proudest day

Jason Pearce attempts to stop Saints striker Billy Sharp in his tracks
Jason Pearce attempts to stop Saints striker Billy Sharp in his tracks

Jason Pearce hailed Pompey’s defiant derby day performance as his proudest moment in a Blues shirt.

And the Pompey defender has called on his team-mates to use their last-ditch leveller in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Southampton as a catalyst in their survival fight.

Pearce believes the performance from Michael Appleton’s battlers against their bitter rivals warranted a draw at St Mary’s.

The 24-year-old skipper reckons the spirit shown by his side was evident in how they bounced back from Billy Sharp’s controversial late goal to snare a return from the game.

And the manner in which that arrived from David Norris’ superb volley made the occasion a Pompey high for the man who has come through the ranks at Fratton Park.

Pearce said: ‘It definitely is my best moment.

‘I know how much it means to the fans. I came here as a youngster and I know what it means to everyone. It means a lot to me as well.

‘To get the equaliser late against them when they are top of the league was great.

‘We drew the game but it felt like a win. I thought we played well.

‘Defensively, I thought we worked hard and the spirit showed.

‘We deserved something from the game and we rightly got it.

‘We stopped their best players playing. It would have been an injustice if we had lost the game – and it was brilliant to get the result.’

The challenge now for Pompey is to build on Saturday’s return and deliver in tomorrow’s must-win home meeting with Millwall.

Quite simply, the Blues have to beat the Lions to give themselves any chance of staying in the Championship with five games remaining this term.

Pearce believes the result against Southampton gives his team momentum after the second-half capitulation against Burnley a week earlier.

Just what the draw meant was evident in Appleton’s Jose Mourinho-style charge from the technical area after Norris’ late, late strike.

But that now has to be built on at Fratton Park tomorrow.

Pearce said: ‘The gaffer was great, I’m told.

‘I didn’t see it because I was busy celebrating but apparently he did a “Mourinho”.

‘The last performance (against Burnley) didn’t show what we are about and he knew that.

‘But we put in a performance and there was no better time to do it than against your rivals.

‘It’s something to build on.

‘The top teams have consistency and that’s what we need to show now.

‘Everyone can beat everyone in this league.

‘We need that for the last five games. We need to build on it. Hopefully, we will do.

‘We did well and we can take this forward.

‘The fans turned out in their numbers on Saturday and will do the same against Millwall.

‘They are our 12th man and they gave us brilliant backing.

‘We need to give them something back and that is the challenge for us.

‘Every game really is a cup final for us now.’