‘We feel cheated’ - Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton slams refereeing display after 2-0 defeat against Portsmouth

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Referee James Bell was at the centre of Joe Barton’s post-match rant following Bristol Rovers’ 2-0 defeat against Pompey.

The Pirates head coach highlighted a number of incidents which infuriated him in a tough Saturday afternoon at the Memorial Stadium for his men.

Colby Bishop’s opener caused plenty of controversy on 18 minutes when Ryan Tunnicliffe split the Rovers defence to free the Blues striker.

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Despite furious claims of offside, the 26-year-old was able to fire in from a tight angle - sparking outrage from players, staff and fans.

And Barton believed his side were ‘cheated’ in an afternoon full of action.

He told Bristol World: ‘It’s not even like it is a yard, everyone in the stadium can see that it is off. You just know from instinct that it is off.

‘We have the benefit of a replay but 9,000 of our fans know it’s off. Every player virtually stops and then unfortunately for us the people that matter, the ones who have the responsibility of calling the game.

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‘Today, a game between the 22 players out there. There wasn’t much between the two sides. They make a big call and get it wrong and we suffer for that.

Joey Barton wasn't a happy man after Pompey edge his Bristol Rovers side 2-0 on Saturday.Joey Barton wasn't a happy man after Pompey edge his Bristol Rovers side 2-0 on Saturday.
Joey Barton wasn't a happy man after Pompey edge his Bristol Rovers side 2-0 on Saturday.

‘We feel cheated, and aggrieved today. Big decisions in the game a lot of them have gone against us, we have to dust ourselves down.

‘The officials will sail off the world unaccountability and they’ll be backed up by their assessor.’

Barton then raised questions about Pompey’s second, when the Blues were awarded a penalty after Paddy Lane was hauled down by Shawn MacDonald.

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And that was another incident which the Pirates boss was left outraged.

He added: ‘I’m actually thinking the other two big calls that follow that, the penalty for the second goal I don’t think it is when I watch it back.

‘Paddy Lane pulls our player and then throws himself to the floor plus the ball hasn’t got away from James Belshaw, so he’s going to easily get to it.

‘If that’s a penalty then surely the pull on Josh Coburn’s shirt in their box is a penalty and we don’t get it.’

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Barton wasn’t done there though, as he questioned the dismissal of Jarell Quansah after he appeared to headbutt Joe Morrell on 89 minutes.

The former Premier League midfielder was adamant he was unaware of the incident and felt aggrieved by the decision.

He finished: ‘To compound that for what I think is a yellow card tackle, a bit of frustration from a young player he gives a straight red card. I don’t think his tackle warranted a straight red.

‘From my vantage point, I saw Joe Rafferty throwing a few bodies around. Our players go in and it’s a bit of a melee.

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‘I’m not sure what has gone on, I presume it is something that has happened in the melee because I don’t think the tackle warranted a red card. I think it’s a poor tackle, but I don’t think it’s more than a yellow card.’