Joey Barton aims series of jibes at Sunderland after Max Power's 97th minute equaliser

Joey Barton aimed a series of jibes at Sunderland after Max Power scored a 97th minute equaliser to prevent his side drawing level with the Black Cats in the table.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 2:07 pm

Barton thought his side had got over the line after Barrie McKay’s early goal had given them the lead in a crucial match in the push for automatic promotion.

The Fleetwood boss and former Newcastle United midfielder said he was ‘proud’ of his team, but criticised the referee for the amount of stoppage time played and Sunderland for ‘drenching’ the Stadium of Light turf before kick-off.

“I thought we were there,” he said.

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Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton

“Six minutes stoppage time usually means six minutes stoppage time, but not today. We’re disappointed, but we dust ourselves down and go again.

“You have to give Sunderland credit, they kept fighting and pushing.

“The fanbase drive them on, and they got their rewards. They’re trying as hard as we are to win a football match, and sometimes it doesn’t go your way, but it’s interesting for me to see Sunderland fans celebrating in the manner they did after drawing at home to Fleetwood Town.”

The referee had initially awarded six minutes of stoppage time after a truncated second half.

Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson had praised referee Scott Oldham for playing on in his post-match press conference.

“You always wonder whether the referee is going to be fair with the time he adds on,” he said.

“There was at least six minutes.

“I asked for ten, I'd have settled for eight.

“They were going mad when he gave six but I was a bit disappointed.

“Joking aside, if a team comes and does that, you've got to make sure that time is added on at the time.”

Parkinson went on to say that he had no problem with Fleetwood’s approach, but Barton criticised the Black Cats for their style of play.

Sunderland landed their crucial equaliser after Alim Ozturk found Kyle Lafferty with a long pass in the dying moments of the game.

The Black Cats kept the ball alive before Power fired his effort into the corner.

“What are we meant to do, speed up because we’re winning?” Barton said.

“Would they have sped up if they were winning? No. They’re on a good run themselves, they’re a good team, no doubt about, and we knew we were going to have to turn over the momentum.

That’s what we did to Portsmouth, who had won 11 in 12 before we played them, we beat them.

“Peterborough had won six on the spin, we beat them. Wycombe were unbeaten at home, we beat them.

"Sunderland paid more for Will Grigg than our entire budget," he said.

"I love coming to caludrons of football, and this is certainly a cauldron of football, but it's so sad to see them playing at the level they're playing.

"I'm a mad Newcastle supporter and loved my time on Tyneside, but I loved coming here in the derbies. They were great occasions, mainly because most of the time we won.

"But on the whole they were great occasions because they're proper football fans. I know I have my banter with the Mackems, but I'm a football fan at heart. I was a mad Evertonian as a kid, and I'm as passionate about football as the Sunderland fans are.

“I saw the documentary, which I thought was embarrassing on the football club. I thought it was more about Martin Bain than about Sunderland, which is sad because this is an incredible institution of football.

"I'm made up to come here 18 months into management and test myself. I'm four games unbeaten now against Sunderland and I'm delighted for that, but they shouldn't be in this division. This club should not be in this division.

"It's a massive football club and the North-East is a massive hotbed of football, and it's sad to see they've only got one top-flight team.

“As soon as Sunderland get back to where they should be, the better for everybody,” he added.

“We're just trying to fight, our attendances are there with Accrington and Burton.

“I’m so proud of our lads, we had a 19-year-old at left-sided centre-half playing his sixth game of senior football, with a 21-year-old alongside him.

“I’m telling you now though, if I had these resources, we wouldn’t be hoofing the ball like that.

“We’d be passing the ball. The fact they soaked the pitch before the game goes unnoticed, not by us. They absolutely drenched the pitch so we couldn’t play football on it.

“That’s what you have got.”

Parkinson admitted he was frustrated with the way his side started the game, but was pleased with their patience in the second half.

“It took us a while to get into our stride and then we started stepping in with the ball, being a bit more progressive in our play,” he said.

“The second half was just about being patient again, keep trying to do the right things.

“We changed the shape to try and get back in it.

“Eventually we got a goal from our captain, and you need your big players to step up when it matters most.

“I'm delighted to get the point, I'm disappointed with the start and we will have a good look at that in the next couple of days, and come out stronger against Coventry.”