Joey Barton has given his reaction to Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers.
Barton’s side got off to the best start possible thanks to a lovely strike by Ash Hunter, but Rovers who equalised through Gavin Reilly, who nodded the ball home from close range before half-time.
With Ched Evans shown a straight red for an aerial challenge with Rovers captain Tom Lockyer ten minutes after the break, it was always going to be a tough ask for a point. James Clarke scored the winning goal deep into second half added time to give the hosts the points.
Here is what Barton had to say after the defeat….
On the game….
“Today saw two teams competing fairly for everything and unfortunately someone was out there who was out of their depth and lost control and has ruined what was an honest games of football.
“We took the lead and it was a fantastic strike from the little fella [Ash Hunter]. The goal did give us the opportunity to go and win a game of football.
“We undo ourselves on a set play which is disappointing and then it is backs against the ball for the rest of the second half. I thought the lads were first class as they defended the box properly and we almost got there.
“Fair play to Bristol, they hit the bar and hit the post in the game and they got a bit of luck with a deflection and Alex Cairns has no chance. I am not disappointing in the lads, we just need to prepare ourselves for Boxing Day.”
On the red card shown to Ched Evans…
“Having watched the incident back in real time, I think that there is a foul on Ched as the centre half has ducked under him to try and keep him away from the ball and that has resulted in Ched going over the top of him and both ending up on their backs.
“The referee has deemed that a straight red card, and because of that we are bitterly disappointed as that put us down to ten men for 30 odd minutes, whilst giving them [Bristol Rovers] a huge advantage. It is an unjust decision and it’s hard from that to be complimentary about the officiating team.
“On days like today, you need a good referee to come and referee a good game and unfortunately for us, he wasn’t able to do that.
“We will without a shadow of a doubt be appealing this red card.”
On the next game against Doncaster on Boxing Day…
“We are keen now to approach the next game as everything depends on it, as for us as a group, that is how they look at games. I have told the lads after the game that football is a cruel game, and you don’t always get out of it what you put in on the day, but over the season, you do.
“If we keep turning up and rallying around each other whilst defending in that manner too, you can see that we are a proper team and we have good character as we have been in this situation before when Wes Burns got a red against earlier in the season.
“We have usually responded well from disappointments, and now we have a great opportunity to do that in just three days’ time, but it’s important that we rest and refuel ahead of the match.”