Joey Barton: Defeat to Fleetwood Town would have been harsh on Sunderland

Ched Evans wheels away in celebration after scoring against Sunderland
Ched Evans wheels away in celebration after scoring against Sunderland
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Joey Barton hailed a point gained after Fleetwood Town came within four minutes of seeing off Sunderland.

It looked as though Town were set to hang on for victory against the Black Cats after Ched Evans’ first-half penalty put them ahead but Chris Maguire’s late spot-kick meant the visitors left with a well-deserved point.

Barton, who had watched the game from the stand following his sending-off three days earlier against Bristol Rovers, spoke only positively about his side’s performance.

He said: “It could have been better from us but both sides missed some really good chances.

“I thought we were going to get home though.

“Sunderland had hit the post, Alex Cairns made an unbelievable save that he had no right to make and then Luke O’Nien blasted over.

“After those chances I thought ‘okay, this could be our day’.

“We hadn’t had too much luck this season but it looked like we were going to get a bit here.

“It would have been harsh on Sunderland to take no points.

“It was a game between two good sides really going for it, though both teams probably were a bit too open defensively.

“It’s another point gained as far as I’m concerned.

“That’s one defeat in 11 games now I think and we’ve remained unbeaten over the busy Christmas period.

“It would have been nice to have won a couple more games, but also we haven’t lost many games at all this season so I’m really pleased.”

Town had got off to a great start with Evans scoring from the spot after just 13 minutes.

The striker fired past Jon McLaughlin after Charlie Wyke’s stray arm had floored Josh Morris.

Town had further chances to score, chiefly through Paddy Madden, but Sunderland took a point when Maguire scored after Kyle Dempsey tripped Duncan Watmore.

Barton added: “Paddy had a couple of good half-chances and it was just going to be a case of putting one away for what would have been a two-goal lead.

“The players you wanted the chances to fall to, they fell to – especially with Paddy – but overall the lads were brilliant.

“You could see the difference in the size of the squads but that’s where we’re at.

“We are at the point where we need more players if we’re going to be promoted or if we’re going to get to Wembley in one of the cup competitions. We need more bodies in, that’s for sure.”