Joey Barton makes conspiracy theory claims after Bristol Rovers' defeat to Sunderland | Accrington boss' shock verdict on Peterborough hammering

Joey Barton claimed there’s an ‘agenda’ against Bristol Rovers as their struggles continued with defeat to Sunderland.

Sunday, 28th March 2021, 12:05 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th March 2021, 12:17 pm

The Gas have failed to pick up any sort of form since Barton was appointed head coach last month.

Rovers’ 1-0 loss to the third-placed Black Cats on Saturday means they’re winless in five matches and sit second bottom of the League One table.

Aiden O’Brien notched the only goal in the 39th minute at the Memorial Stadium to keep Sunderland firmly in the automatic promotion race.

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Yet Barton felt the hosts should have been awarded a penalty late on which could have earned them a precious point.

The former Fleetwood chief also felt refereeing decisions didn’t go Rovers’ way in their loss to relegation rivals Swindon on Tuesday.

And he’s starting to wonder if there is a conspiracy theory plotting against his outfit.

Barton told the Gas’ website: ‘Yet again a big decision has gone against us and it's becoming a recurring theme.

Joey Barton. Picture: Lewis Storey/Getty Images

‘I'll probably get an apology from Mike Jones (head of referees), I'll be on the phone to Mike again on a Sunday when I'm meant to be with my family.

‘I'm not sure what to do. There feels like there is a real agenda against us. The officials in the past seven, eight, nine games have been suspect and we just keep trying.

‘We should have four extra points on the board but due to poor officials making poor decisions, we don't have anything to show.

‘The lads are fighting and they've backed it up with the performance. We weren’t good enough to win. The big calls have got to drop in your favour and, at this moment, we're getting nothing off officials.

‘That's worrying. You expect a level of consistency and we haven't had it. It does make you start to think of conspiracy theories, is there something bigger at play? I'm not sure, we need to speak to the officials and relevant parties to find out what's going on because it's not acceptable.’

Meanwhile, Accrington boss John Coleman had nothing but praise for Peterborough after they thrashed his side 7-0 at London Road.

Jonson Clarke-Harris notched a hat-trick, Sammie Szmodics fired a double while Mo Eisa and Idris Kanu also netted for second-placed Posh.

Coleman said: ‘It’s just unfortunate there is no Premier League or Championship football to bury this result!

‘Peterborough had a day where everything went right for them and they don’t come around very often.

‘It was like all their birthdays came at once as we gifted them their first two goals, but I’ve got to take my hat off to them. They ran through us time and time again and were fantastic in front of goal.’

Grant McCann remained upbeat despite leaders Hull City dropping more points in their bid for an immediate return to the Championship.

The Tigers were held to a 1-1 draw against in-form Gillingham.

McCann said: ‘We were up against a team that play in a certain way. You have to be manful against it, you have to defend your box, you have to pick up second balls. You have to do the basics well and I thought for the majority of the game we did.

‘It was just one lapse in concentration from a corner. I thought it was a free-kick to us; their centre-half had two hands on Alfie Jones. The referee didn’t give it and we switched off on the second phase.

‘Gillingham are good at that – they play for set-plays and long throws. That was annoying for us to concede.’

Doncaster dropped out of the play-offs for the first time in two months as their plight continued with a 1-0 reverse at MK Dons.

However, Andy Butler – who’s in charge at the Keepmoat for the rest of the season after Darren Moore’s shock departure to Sheffield Wednesday – is confident he can turn Donny’s form around.

Butler told the Doncaster Free Press: ‘There’s a bit of disappointment and frustration at how things are going at the minute.

‘But it’s a challenge and I love challenges. The games are coming thick and fast and it’s a different challenge with every game, from Gillingham to this one.

‘I’m a learning manager and I’m still thoroughly enjoying it. It’s a test but I’m not going to shy away from it because I’ve had tests throughout my career. This is just another test I will knock out of the park.’

Other results

AFC Wimbledon 1-0 Northampton Town, Blackpool 2-2 Plymouth, Oxford 2-1 Lincoln, Wigan 0-0 Ipswich.