‘Phenomenal’: Joey Barton hails ‘exceptional’ Bristol Rovers match-winner Scott Sinclair

Bristol Rovers claimed all three points against Peterborough United thanks to Scott Sinclair’s second-half goal.

Joey Barton hailed Bristol Rovers’ match-winner, Scott Sinclair, as ‘phenomenal’ after his goal defeated Peterborough United 1-0 at the Memorial Stadium. Sinclair scored his second goal in six games after his fairy-tale return to the club where he started his career with.

The 33-year-old made just his second league start for Rovers after a series of substitute appearances since rejoining just over a month ago. Sinclair netted the match-winning goal against Rochdale in the FA Cup earlier this month and it has gained confidence after his late arrival to the Mem.

Sinclair’s goal came when top scorer Aaron Collins played a key pass forward to Sam Finley, who threaded the ball through to the attacker to score with a first-time shot past Lucas Bergstrom.

"We always feel we’ve got a chance to score goals. Collins (Aaron) and Coburn (Josh) were superb today without getting a goal," said Barton in his post-match press conference.

"That’s the beauty of being able to add a phenomenal professional and player in Scotty Sinclair. His finish today was exceptional. His all-around performance was first-class.

“He’s been great. He’s honestly been a real breath of fresh air. Scotty hasn’t come in and put all his trophies, medals and achievements there. He’s come in knuckled down and got stuck in with the lads. They love him as a person in the dressing room and I think the Gasheads now are seeing somebody they can resonate with in the team.

“A superstar in the Gas’ history, he’s come back now to enjoy the Indian summer of being north of thirty. If he carries on as he  has in the early part the best is yet to come from Scotty.”

Peterborough United arrived at the Mem with the division’s top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris named as a substitute. Grant McCann’s side are chasing promotion after being relegated from the Championship last year. Before kick-off, they had occupied fourth spot and looked to close the gap on the automatic promotion places.

Rovers meanwhile were placed in 17th, a lowly position for a side that have claimed positive results against Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth Argyle. Last week’s draw against Fleetwood Town, which saw Shaun Rooney score in the 99th minute, set Rovers back but there was no sign of that today.

The hosts dominated with 62% possession and boasted 19 shots with five of them being on target. Peterborough with an abundance of attacking stars only registered nine shots with just one save for James Belshaw to make.

In his assessment of the match, Barton said: "We could have made it a bit easier but last week’s late goal and the calibre of the opposition were always going to keep probing. Certainly when it was 1-0 and they will always keep testing you but I thought we were commanding today.

"The first-half performance was controlling and combatant without an abundance of chances probably until the latter stage of the half."