Joey Barton was unhappy with the decision-making of referee Tom Neild after arguing that Accrington’s first goal should not have stood in the 2-0 win over his Bristol Rovers side.
A ball into the box hit the hand of Harvey Rodgers, and Tommy Leigh pounced on the loose ball before turning and firing into the net to open the scoring for Accrington after 51 minutes.
Defender Ryan Astley then volleyed home the second in the six-yard box after 79 minutes to give Stanley their first home league win since October and move them out of the relegation places.
“You have to give Accrington credit, they played the conditions well,” said Gas boss Barton. “But the handball changed the game.
“I could see it was a handball. I have got to be careful what I say or else the FA will fine me, but our fans have paid a few quid to get here and then the referee swings the contest with the most blatant handball leading to a goal which you are ever likely to see, and it leaves them short-changed.
“The referee said it wasn’t handball because it wasn’t deliberate or it wasn’t the player who scored the goal, but why wouldn’t they advise our players to handle it to each other and have a game of volleyball or basketball? The reason it’s called football is because you are not allowed to use your hands!
“Accrington won’t care as they are fighting for their lives. It’s a tough afternoon, we have to be better as well.
“It’s back to the drawing board and we have got work to do in the market. There are still 57 points to play for.”
Stanley boss John Coleman was thrilled with the win but the injury curse struck the Reds once again, with both on-loan striker Aaron Pressley and captain Seamus Conneely limping off the pitch.
Stanley were already down to the bare bones and Coleman said: “I’m delighted with the result but devastated with the injuries, they are massive blows for us.
“It was a scrappy game. I have seen a lot of Bristol Rovers this season and I have seen them play better than that but I think our defence should get the credit for stifling them.
“There will be conjecture about the first goal, whether it’s handball, but I think if it hits the hand of the person who scores then it’s automatically disallowed.
“I think because it has come off another part of Harvey’s body before it hit him on the arm, that means it’s unintentional.
“I am not saying I agree, but they are the rules and then it makes it a decent goal. Then it’s a great finish by Ryan for the second.”
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