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Joey Barton criticises referee after Bristol Rovers put four past Accrington

Hull City v Bristol Rovers – Sky Bet League One – KCOM Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Joey Barton criticised the standard of League One refereeing after seeing his Bristol Rovers side ease their relegation fears with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Accrington.

The manager was delighted with the three points secured by goals from Luke Leahy and Alex Rodman before the break and Sam Nicholson and Zain Westbrooke in the second half.

Paul Smyth scored a consolation for Stanley after 77 minutes, but Barton felt Rovers were value for an even bigger win, insisting they were denied a stonewall penalty by referee James Bell late on.

“I went to prison for less than the challenge by their keeper on James Daly,” he joked. “It was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen when the referee didn’t point to the spot.

“When I asked him about it after the game and he told me the keeper was entitled to make the challenge. But if he doesn’t get the ball it has to be a penalty.

“I have been in charge for five games now and the officiating has been poor right across the board.

“I don’t want to say any more, but it’s important I make my point after a win, so people don’t think I am making excuses following a defeat.

“The score flattered a play-off chasing team in Accrington. Their goalkeeper has made a couple of great saves.

“But it is three points and no more than that. We have to keep building from here.”

Stanley boss John Coleman had no complaints about the defeat.

“We didn’t deserve anything from the game and the better side won,” he said.

“We won’t be bawling and shrieking about it because the lads didn’t set out to play poorly. There was no shortage of effort, but the application wasn’t there.

“All credit to Rovers, who played very well. You get nights like this in football and the important thing is how you respond.

“We will look at the game and analyse what we did wrong. But there is a long way to go in the season and we have to put this match behind us quickly.

“I think that is 7-5 to us on aggregate over the two games with Rovers this season. We didn’t get carried away by our 6-1 home win and we won’t get too down about tonight.

“Sometimes you can’t put your finger on why a performance is poor. But if our fans were here I would be apologising to them because it wasn’t good enough.”