Joey Barton makes controversial penalty claim - and takes another dig at Sunderland

Joey Barton has called for VAR to be introduced in League One – after believing Sunderland were wrongly awarded a penalty against his Fleetwood Town side.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 8:52 am

The Cod Army boss was left frustrated after Chris Maguire netted from the spot late on to ensure the points were shared at Highbury, and remains insistent that the foul on Duncan Watmore was outside the box.

“Ours was definitely a penalty,” he said, speaking to Fleetwood’s official website.

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Joey Barton has once again taken aim at Sunderland's stature
Joey Barton has once again taken aim at Sunderland's stature

“And there was a free-kick as the foul was outside the box. I have watched it back a number of times and we are disappointed that it has got to the stage where Kyle [Dempsey] had to make a challenge.

“The challenge is clearly outside the box and we just have to be more careful. It’s frustrating for us as the game is hard enough, and the last thing we need is for those decisions to go against us. If we had VAR, it’s given as a free-kick but it happens.

“It’s a point gained and we are unbeaten over the Christmas period, yet we would have liked to have more points on the board.”

And former Newcastle United midfielder Barton couldn’t resist another dig at the Black Cats, continuing the ‘David v Goliath’ rhetoric he has built-up since taking the reigns at Fleetwood eighteen months ago by mentioning Sunderland’s attendances and the history of their playing squad.

“It was a tough game against Sunderland, and it is especially whenever you play against a side who has a stadium capacity bigger than the number of people in our town and you know it’s going to be a difficult,” he added.

“In the game, we looked tired and when you look at the squads you see them bringing on Duncan Watmore who has played in the Premier League, and then we bring on young Harvey Saunders – who we brought to the club this time last year from Darlington.