Joey Barton insists Portsmouth rely on set-pieces, while Fleetwood should never have lost FA Cup tie

Joey Barton said Pompey are set up to win games from set-plays as his Fleetwood side crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of the Blues.

Sunday, 5th January 2020, 10:45 am
Updated Sunday, 5th January 2020, 5:07 pm

Both Pompey goals came in the second half – and both arrived via corner-kicks as James Bolton and then John Marquis found the back of the net following crosses into the box from Ronan Curtis and debutant Steve Seddon.

It was the first time the Blues had scored from a set-piece since Brett Pitman’s cup winner against Altrincham on November 30.

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Meanwhile, the last time they netted from a corner in the league game against Rotherham on November 26.

And even then, Ben Close’s spectacular winner from the edge of the box came after three attempts from the Millers defence to clear the ball.

Regardless, Barton believes set-pieces are a key part of Pompey’s weaponry and he was disappointed his players failed to cope with that part of the visitors’ game.

When asked about both goals after the match, he told the Cod Army’s official website: ‘Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, Kenny’s sides set up in that way. We told the lads before where the threats were going to come from.

Fleetwood manager Joey Barton. Picture: Paul Thompson

‘They are well organised and well-disciplined and play for set-plays.

‘They have obvious quality in the team from open play, but they were also a threat from set-plays.

‘When the lads cross over the white line, they have got roles and responsibilities. We lose a runner for the second goal and for the first, I think our goalkeeper punches it off their player.

‘I am really disappointed because, it is a cup tie that I feel that we could have well progressed in, and it is gutting.

‘That is two years on the spin, with Wimbledon last year and obviously this year.

‘The effect that it has on our budget is huge. We have got enough to progress against a side like that, but not if we keep making these individual errors at the back.’

Barton added that Fleetwood should never have lost the game, with Conor McAleny scoring a late consolation for the hosts.

‘It was a game that we should definitely not have lost, and we have been undone with two set-plays,’ said Barton.

‘When you play a good side like Portsmouth, you cannot afford to give them a head start.

‘There are a number of teams in the league who you can give them a chance to take the lead on you but the better sides in our division or in general, you can’t do that.

‘It is tough to take, but from a coaching perspective you haven’t got time to dwell on it. The games are coming thick and fast and we play Accrington at home on Tuesday night.’