10 April 2023

He was a fool to sack me – Joey Barton enjoys winning return to Fleetwood

10 April 2023

Joey Barton admitted getting one over on his former club Fleetwood was extra sweet after Bristol Rovers came from behind to record a 2-1 away win.

Lewis Gibson cancelled out Jayden Stockley’s opener with a scrambled equaliser after goalkeeper Jay Lynch fumbled a shot, and Gavin Ward scored with a cross into the box that bypassed everyone and sailed in.

And Barton, sacked as manager by Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley in January 2021, could not help but smile at overseeing Rovers’ victory on his old turf.

“Is there added satisfaction coming here and winning? Yeah, absolutely,” he said.

“He was a fool to sack me and you can see from the style of football the way the club’s gone since.

“To be fair to Scott (Brown) he’s turned it round with a good cup run and he’s picked them up in the table and it’s taken a bit of time.

“But my mind goes to winning the game. I want to beat my children at Connect 4 or tiddlywinks, I don’t give anyone an inch, in anything.

“It added a bit of spice coming back here. It’s sweet to beat your former club but I’ll take three points anywhere, from anyone.

“I thought we were unfortunate to go in at half time behind. They are a set-play team and we didn’t think it was a corner but we didn’t defend the second phase of it, so that was disappointing.

“That’s all they really had, long balls into Stockley and second-phase or set-pieces.

“We told the boys at half-time to just settle down and we got more penetration through the middle. We just tweaked it a little bit and I thought we were good value for the win.”

Fleetwood boss Scott Brown was infuriated by the performance of referee Sam Barrott, particularly when Shaun Rooney was felled in the visitors’ penalty area but claims for a penalty were waved away.

“Our performance was good enough to get a point, maybe even to win the game but it was more about a refereeing decision,” he said.

“We should have had a penalty when Rooney’s clean through and about to square the ball. There’s no need for him to go down. He’s clipped his heels when he’s in the box and it’s a clear and obvious penalty.

“I went to speak to him but it doesn’t do anything, we probably need to go above his head and we’ll get another apology. It feels like a real injustice not to get the opportunity to square it.

“In the first half we were happy but we knew there was going to be a reaction, we knew that was going to happen so we needed to make sure we held out a little bit longer.

“For their first goal, their strikers and midfielders were on the move a lot quicker than ours. We switched off and a couple of lads just stood around expecting others to do their job.

“The second goal was a freak, there was nothing we could do about it. It’s a disappointing result but the performance I was happy with.”

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