Joey Barton: Fleetwood won a Christmas 'cracker' at Rochdale
Joey Barton was delighted after his Fleetwood Town side secured a thrilling 3-2 victory at Rochdale.
Subs Kyle Dempsey and Wes Burns both notched late on to hand Fleetwood a result which lifted them back up to seventh in League One – and with games in hand on the teams above them.
Barton said: “Boxing Day seems to throw up a wonderful array of results and performances, and this game here was a cracker.
“You just couldn’t take your eyes off the game.
“For me and (opposite number) Brian Barry-Murphy it wouldn’t have been the game we had envisaged.
“We would both have wanted a much more comfortable afternoon overall, but thankfully we’ve ended up coming out of the right side of it so I’m really happy with the three points.
“The result sees us build on a really positive performance at Rotherham too, so that’s been good.
“We were camped in their half in the first half, and missed out on an absolute stonewall penalty, so it was also a strange day in some ways, frustrating even, but thankfully for us we go back to Highbury with the three points before a tough run of fixtures for us.”
It proved to be a disappointing first-half effort from Barton’s players.
They appeared to be suffering from the post-Christmas blues as they created precious little.
The recalled Harrison Biggins probably went closest when he drove wide from 25 yards.
Rochdale capitalised four minutes before the interval when Aaron Wilbraham headed home.
Paddy Madden evened it up seven minutes after the restart with a true poacher’s finish after Ched Evans’ header was saved, only for Wilbraham to volley home to make it 2-1 on the hour mark.
Dempsey fired home via a hefty deflection in the 65th minute, before Burns turned home Evans’ knockdown in the 89th minute.
That winning goal came just after an incident which saw Rochdale’s Rhys Norrington-Davies stretchered off following a clash with Town keeper Billy Crellin.
Barton added: “It looks like Billy has ended up knocking their player out, so hopefully he has a speedy recovery.
“I’ve seen him after the game and though he looks a bit dazed, hopefully it’s nothing too serious.
“Unfortunately, as far as we’re concerned, Billy looks as though he’s picked up an injury as a result of what happened.
“We didn’t have another substitute to use at that point so credit to Billy for showing incredible bravery.
“He also did well in rectifying the slight mistake he made for Rochdale’s second goal by staying on the pitch.
“Billy came through adversity and showed just what a character he is.”