Joey Barton breaks silence after sending off in Bristol Rovers draw with Fleetwood

Barton was sent to the stands before Bristol Rovers conceded a 99th-minute goal
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Joey Barton has apologised to referee Robert Madden after he was sent off in Bristol Rovers’ 2-2 draw with Fleetwood Town. The 40-year-old was sent to the stands before stoppage time.

Rovers had come back from a goal down after Shaun Rooney opened the scoring to go ahead after goals from Josh Coburn and Aaron Collins. The hotly-contested match resulted in six yellow cards with four for Rovers and two for Fleetwood. Jordan Rossiter and James Belshaw were booked for time wasting whilst Lewis Gordon was cautioned for a scuffle with Jay Lynch. Aaron Collins was also booked for simulation but believes a ‘blatant penalty’ was missed after a collision with Josh Earl in the box.

Before the seven minutes of additional time were shown, substitute Luca Hoole was clattered by Fleetwood skipper Josh Vela. It was a moment that left the Rovers coaching staff frustrated. Barton was initially going to be cautioned but Madden decided to send Barton off and red-card him.

The former Manchester City midfielder could only watch on as Shaun Rooney earned a brace in the ninth minute of added-on time, despite only seven being indicated. It was a sucker blow for the Gas who had been much improved in the second period and were almost deserving of a victory.

In the aftermath of the match, Barton’s assistant manager Andy Mangan took post-match duties in the absence of Barton. Barton shook hands with the officials after the match but did not speak to the press afterward. He has now spoken for the first time and taken to social media to offer clarity into the moment which saw him dismissed.

He posted on his Instagram account: "Regardless of how much you disagree with an official’s decision-making, you shouldn’t swear at them. For that I apologise to yesterday’s match official, Robert Madden."

It is unsure yet whether he will be absent from the dugout for Rovers’ next match. They host promotion-chasing Peterborough United at the Memorial Stadium next week.