Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton expects punishment following Bristol Rovers red card
Town missed their opportunity to leapfrog Rovers in the League One table and move into the play-off places, but Barton became the centre of attention when shown a yellow and then a red card at Highbury.
That was for protesting after referee Paul Marsden had ruled out Ched Evans’ 70th-minute strike as an offside Paddy Madden seemingly touched the ball on its way into the net.
A huge melee followed on the touchline after the referee gave the goal, only to rule it out after consulting with his assistant.
Barton said: “The referee made a decision that it was no goal, and as frustrating as that is for us, I need to hear the decision clarified.
“It doesn’t help us now, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m probably going to get a fine off the FA now and I’m probably going to have to sit and watch a game from the stands.
“I’m just passionate and I care about my team winning games. I think we deserved to win today and our fans deserved to see a win.
“It was just total confusion. All the Rovers players were trying to influence the fourth official and so it just became a mess because the officials didn’t deal with the situation properly.
“It’s frustrating because we have been brilliant, disciplinary-wise.”
As far as the match itself was concerned, the Cod Army enjoyed the better of it, though both sides struck the crossbar late on.
In the first half, Madden wasted Fleetwood’s best chance very early on, dragging a shot wide from only eight yards.
Evans sent a free header off target early in the second period, before a frantic finish saw both sides go close to nicking a winner.
Evans’ strike was brilliantly palmed onto the crossbar by Rovers keeper Anssi Jaakola, while at the other end, sub Tom Nichols’ looping effort bounced down after also hitting the bar.
“It feels a bit frustrating, but we’ve played a side who are in the play-off places and they’ve been on a great run,” acknowledged Barton.
“Bristol will be in with a great chance of being in the shake-up, so we wanted to give a commanding performance and I thought, in the second half especially, we were outstanding.
“Some of the passages of play and the switching of play, Bristol just couldn’t live with us.
“The lads deserved three points today, undoubtedly, but you have to give Bristol credit.
“They defended manfully, and got bodies in the way, so it’s disappointing we haven’t won the game.
“That’s the level of expectation we’ve got here now though, we are disappointed if we don’t beat teams here.
“A draw for us here isn’t a good result.
“We drew against Gillingham and Bristol now, they are two really good teams don’t forget.
“If we keep playing like that we’re going to be fine.
“For me that’s as good as we’ve been without scoring a goal in quite a while, certainly in the second half.”