‘Pleased’ - Joey Barton on Bristol Rovers win as Aston Villa man given ‘enormous credit’

Joey Barton was full of praise for several of his Bristol Rovers stars after their win over Oxford United.

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Joey Barton says that Bristol Rovers will benefit from their struggles in recent weeks after his side showed maturity to thrash Oxford United 3-0 at the Kassam Stadium.

The Gas ended their seven-game run without a win in a convincing manner as they swept aside the hosts with three goals without a reply. Scott Sinclair opened the scoring from the penalty spot and six minutes later Aaron Collins doubled the visitors advantage, with fifteen minutes remaining Luca Hoole made sure of the victory.

In the losing streak, Rovers have come up and struggled against sides mainly below them in the table, whose tactics are slightly more simplified with a direct approach. Barton believes that against Oxford, a side that prides themselves in possession, similar to his own team, they were able to show their true game.

"We’ve really struggled in the last few weeks who asked you questions by booting the ball long and competing," said Barton in his assessment of the match.

"We’ll be better for it that baptism and adversity we have come through. We’re now looking up the table again because we’ve kept a valuable clean sheet and scored three goals on our travels and so I am really pleased."

Sinclair's penalty in the 22nd minute is what set the tone for the match, and after the former Celtic winger opened the scoring, there was no looking back for Barton's men. In the build-up to the penalty, Collins' shot was saved but then on-loan Aston Villa loanee Lamare Bogarde was fouled, something which drew praise from his manager.

Sinclair missed his last penalty for Rovers in the 5-1 defeat to Morecambe, and he showed true resolve to score from the spot, when others were queuing up to take it. The 33-year-old stepped up to send Eastwood the wrong way to spark jubilant scenes in the away end. He put in a man-of-the-match display as he expertly picked out Collins for his 15th goal of the season.

Asked who was meant to be on penalty duties, Barton said: "I’ll leave it to the lads, who is confident? Managers can’t really sense players' confidence on the pitch. They see things hear and feel things that we can’t from the touchline. We’ve got a number of competent penalty takers; Scott, Antony Evans, Azza, and Couttsy want to get their hands on them. For me, the key thing is whoever takes it puts it in the back of the net. Scott stepping up I am never in any doubt.

"You always fancy him to score and he’s got a great ability to take a penalty and that settles us down. I must give an enormous credit to Lamare Bogarde who has followed in on the shot in the second phase. He nips in front of their lad and the lad obviously brings him down.

"It opens the game for us, we scored a really good goal after that, a team goal down the side and Scott repays Azza for taking the penalty. They both got a goal each and the front side of the team are scoring really nice, and the clean sheet to boot."