JASON Pearce has seen a lot in his decade-long career. But even the big centre-back was taken aback with the events at the Proact Stadium last weekend, when Wigan Athletic came back from two goals down inside the last 10 minutes to beat Chesterfield 3-2.
Leon Barnett had got Latics up and running, atoning for his earlier headed own goal with a volley to give the visitors hope.
With the home side dropping further and further back, Latics sensed blood.
They levelled through Craig Davies’ penalty, before substitute Jordy Hiwula won it right at the death.
“What a game great for the neutrals and obviously the Wigan fans,” beamed Pearce, still coming to terms with the nature of the win.
“Given the chances we had, particularly in the first half, I think we should have had the game dead and buried before they scored.
“Their first goal – which was a ‘worldy’ finish – obviously put us on the back foot and suddenly we’re chasing the game.
“Barney scored a own goal and we thought it’d be tough to get back into it.
“But the lads showed unbelievable character to come back.
“Barney then scored a brilliant goal, the lads dug in, and the end to the game was superb.”
Pearce admits he was particularly chuffed for fellow centre-back Barnett, who must have experienced the whole range of emotions having gone from zero to hero in the space of a few minutes.
“Barney’s a great pro and a great lad to have in the dressing room,” Pearce acknowledged.
“He’s played in the Premier League, right at the top level, and he deserved that.
“He was unfortunate with the header – I was taking the mickey after the game, about trying to get his ‘50p head’ on the ball - but it was unbelievable the way he bounced back.”
Once Barnett had pulled one back, there was a growing sense of inevitability about what was to come.
“We had the momentum at that point, and that means a lot in this game,” Pearce recognised.
“Once we got the second goal, we thought we could go on and win the game.
“As a defender, my first thought for us was to stay tight, because I didn’t want us to lose then game.
“But to keep going and win the game was brilliant, and I think we deserved it.”
The scenes at the end were a sight to behold and, according to the ex-Leeds United man, long overdue.
“It was great to see the fans travel in such numbers, and great for us to give them something to shout about,” he revealed.
“Last season, I was here at the end and it was a really disappointing time for the club.
“We’re just hoping now we can put something together for the fans and make sure we’re right up there this season.
“The last two results have been positive and we need to carry it on.
“The challenge now is to keep this form going, and it’s important we keep our feet on the ground.
“This is a really tough league and, as we’re finding, every game is very hard.
“We’ll go to Port Vale on Saturday positive, and with the belief we can win the game.
“Having said that, we know they’re a tough team and they won’t give us an easy game.”