15 March 2022

Joey Barton praises Elliot Anderson after midfielder’s goal beats Colchester

15 March 2022

Joey Barton was full of praise for Newcastle loanee Elliot Anderson after seeing his in-form Bristol Rovers team move into the League Two play-off zone with a 1-0 win over Colchester.

It was the 19-year-old midfielder’s sweet right-footed drive from the left side of the box after 49 minutes that settled a closely-fought game from which both sides emerged with credit.

Anderson collected the sponsors’ man-of-the-match prize for the second successive game, having scored a brilliant solo goal against Harrogate last Saturday, and Barton did not stint in his post-match comments.

The manager said: “Elliot has been brilliant for us from the first day we brought him in.

“I would have paid to watch him tonight, he was that good. He is growing into the shirt and his goal capped an outstanding performance.

“Elliot is a huge talent. He excites you and tonight he showed a different gear to be the stand-out player on the pitch.

“That was our most difficult game of the season. They had a game plan to be condensed in central areas and catch us on the break.

“I thought when we went ahead it might bring them out a bit, but it didn’t. I can understand that with the position they are in.

“We had to show a high degree of professionalism to win the match. Our crowd are with the lads and, with them as 12th man, we are riding the crest of a wave.

“I believe the best is yet to come from this group of players, but no one will get carried away because every game is a cup final from now on.

“Our focus from day one has been to win the division this season and that remains the case.”

Colchester boss Wayne Brown felt disappointed for his players.

He said: “I feel for my lads on the back of two long trips because they took on board all the information we fed them.

“Bristol Rovers are on a good run and capable of scoring a lot of goals, yet we restricted them to four shots, two of which came from outside the box.

“If I were to be critical, I would say that we didn’t show enough quality in the final third of the pitch.

“But if you look at the stats from the match, I think even their management would concede we were a bit unlucky not to take a point.

“I know football is based on results, rather than stats, and I get that. But my players turned in a decent performance and deserve some credit.

“I am frustrated and disappointed because I asked them to go out there and give a disciplined display, which is exactly what they did.”

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