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Joey Barton pleased to build Bristol Rovers momentum with narrow Salford win

Joey Barton led Bristol Rovers to a narrow victory over Salford (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Joey Barton led Bristol Rovers to a narrow victory over Salford (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Joey Barton hailed another important moment in Bristol Rovers’ promotion push after edging Sky Bet League Two play-off hopefuls Salford 1-0.

The Gas made it five home wins in a row as they saw off Gary Bowyer’s team at the Memorial Stadium, with Elliot Anderson’s 75th-minute effort enough to secure the win.

Barton was adamant after the match that it was always likely that there would be little between the sides, with the visitors unbeaten in their previous six away matches.

“We’re at that stage now where every matchday we’re talking about important moments and keeping momentum building,” said the manager, whose side are five points off the automatic promotion places with four games to play.

“I felt we deserved that win today. We were always aware it was going to be a really tight game due to how much improvement there has been in both camps.

“Ourselves and Salford are probably the two most improved sides from the first half of this season. We have slightly different styles of football, but they’ve made adjustments, as have we.

“Gary’s got them playing really well and they were on a decent run themselves. They’re looking to gate-crash the automatics or the play-offs picture. We knew it would be a tricky game and that it might be one goal that decided it.

“They’ve got similar players to us, who can open a door. That’s obviously what Elliot did on this occasion.

“You always feel you’ve got a chance with those sort of lads in your team.”

Rovers had to be patient, but Anderson’s drive inside Tom King’s near post was enough to get the job done.

Barton added that Leon Clarke felt his hamstring in the warm-up, leading to a late change to the starting XI.

Salford boss Bowyer, meanwhile, bemoaned his side’s second-half display after a result that leaves them two points outside the play-off positions.

“We came here to set our stall out and have a right good go at winning the game,” he said.

“I thought we started well. Matt Smith’s header was kept out by a good save from their goalkeeper.

“From the resulting corner, Ryan Watson has put the ball just wide when we might have gone ahead.

“After that, we had another couple of key moments and failed to capitalise, which you have to do in close matches.

“They then came into the game, as you’d expect with a wonderful crowd and the noise and atmosphere at this stadium.

“I didn’t think we started the second half at all well. I didn’t feel that we put them under enough pressure in the final third.

“We didn’t create enough and we didn’t get into good areas on enough occasions, which disappointed me.”