Matt Pearson might have been called Mr Angry on the pitch – but he says he isn’t a bad boy.
The 22-year-old was picked out by his manager John Coleman after Stanley’s FA Cup win over York when he said ‘everyone is smiling except Matty Pearson who is always angry.’
And the defender admitted, to go with this, his discipline hasn’t always been the best.
But the former Blackburn Rovers trainee says it’s now all a front and he really is a nice guy – and he does smile!
“I am a serious player, it’s just the way I play and I do always look angry,” said Matt. “If you got to know me though you would know it am not always angry!
“When I go out onto the pitch though it’s business and I am fully focused.
“I did used to have a reputation to go with it as the season before last when I was at Halifax, I think I had the most bookings in the Conference.
“I have only picked up two so far this season which, as a defender, isn’t bad. I was playing further forward at Halifax and fouls at the opposite end of the pitch usually didn’t have such an impact on the game.
“Now as a defender I know if I make a foul, it could result in a goal so I am a lot more disciplined.”
Matt, who came to Stanley in the summer, has been called ‘mini Winnard’ because he was at Blackburn, like Dean, and also because of his whole-hearted way of playing.
“It’s died off a bit now,” smiled Matt. “I used to get it all the time as Dean also looks angry when he plays. I never minded the comparison though – Dean is ok!”
After starting his career at Ewood, Keighley-born Matt went to Rochdale with Coleman before signing for Halifax, initially on loan and then permanently in 2013.
However the call came from Coleman to come to Accrington in the summer and he has been an ever-present this season.
“I didn’t know how it would work out to be honest,” said Matt. “I didn’t know if I would be playing or how it would be but it was a chance of league football.
“I have started every game though – and in every position along the backline – and it’s been going well for me although you never want to jinx it.
“I also got my first league goal against Dagenham which was nice but I am more worried about the team winning than personal achievements.”
Matt is part of a young Stanley line-up that has stunned those outside of Accrington by mounting a promotion challenge.
He says he is also surprised by their season so far – although he won’t take anything for granted.
“We are a really young team. I think, of the starting XI, Seamus Conneely is 27, then Dean, Billy (Kee) and Terry (Gornell) are around the 25-mark and the rest are younger. You forget how young we are.
“But we have all come in, many like me didn’t know what to expect and we have all just gelled.
“You can see the confidence – you only have to look at Josh (Windass’s) penalty against York. He had the confidence to dink it in and, when you have that confidence, goals will come and it’s good for the team.
“Crooksy (Matt Crooks) as well, he has been the biggest surprise for me – you can see he has got all the attributes to be a top player. He can play at the highest level.
“We have some top players here who can take us a long way.
“For me, it’s a great season but there is still a long way to go. I had a good season at Halifax when we made the Conference play-offs and hopefully this season can be even better but you have got to keep your feet on the ground.
“There is though a good vibe around the place, especially the last few weeks. Look at new owner Andy Holt doing jobs like clearing leaves, it’s crazy but it’s Accrington and everyone gets on with it and mucks in.
“We’ve got some good games coming up, including the FA Cup clash at Portsmouth and while it’s a lot of miles, it’s a big crowd and it’s a good game for us where we fancy our chances. Saying that, we fancy our chances in every game.”
INTERVIEW FROM LAST SATURDAY’S PROGRAMME