Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton
Bristol Rovers grabbed their first league win of the 2022/23 season as the West Country outfit smashed Burton Albion 0-4.
The Gas were given a helping hand when the home side’s Conor Shaughnessy was given a red card for a foul on Aaron Collins just outside the area by referee Ross Joyce.
From then on, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s team were always up against it and the South West side took full advantage.
Four goals in the first half proved enough to take the three points on offer, as Antony Evans fired in the free kick that followed Shaughnessy’s dismissal on four minutes, before James Connolly made it two on 12 minutes with a back-post finish.
Two Collins goals just before half-time completed the scoring, with John Marquis hitting the bar with a header after the break.
Manager Joey Barton said following the game that he believed it was a goal-scoring opportunity and hence Brewers defender Shaughnessy was given his marching orders.
“It was a major moment in the opening skirmishes of the game,” said Barton on the official club channels.
“And the sending off leads to Evans scoring the free kick. And from there I thought we were excellent.
“I think Aaron’s in [on goal]. He gets a touch on the ball, and he’s the other side of the defender and he [Shaughnessy] is the last man...
“We spoke to the lads about a big start and catching them cold. We watched the warmup and I thought the warmup was really slow on their behalf and I said to our lads ‘the way we wam up, don’t wait for the first five to ten minutes to get warm.
“Credit to the boys who were out the gate and scored the first goal with a moment of quality with the free kick,” said Barton.
Rovers move on to face Crawley Town in the EFL Cup on Tuesday before hosting Oxford United at the Mem next weekend, looking to build on their first win.
Barton is realistic that future matches won’t be as one-sided as this trip to the Pirelli Stadium.
“The games are going to be a lot tighter than that. We won’t have a man advantage for 90-odd minutes in every single game,” he said.
“We’ve got work to do but we cleared the building out this week and I said that I felt that the energy had changed.
“And from that performance you can see that we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” added Barton.