Joey Barton was disappointed by the performance of referee James Bell during his side’s 2-0 Sky Bet League One loss to Portsmouth.
The Bristol Rovers boss was angered by the officiating team’s performance throughout the defeat at the Memorial Stadium, which included a controversial opening goal, a penalty decision and a red card all going against the Pirates.
“You can’t speak to them [the officials]. He books me at half-time in the tunnel for me trying to say ‘look, you’ve altered the path of the first half’,” explained Barton, which followed Portsmouth’s Colby Bishop being deemed onside as he collected a Ryan Tunnicliffe pass to score on 18 minutes, the first of two goals for the Pompey forward.
“The big calls they got wrong, and we suffer for that,” he added. “There wasn’t much between the 22 players out there.
“The second big call, I don’t think it’s a penalty. Paddy Lane pulls our player then throws himself on the floor. Plus the ball hasn’t rolled away from James Belshaw, he’s going to get to it.
“If that’s a penalty then surely the pull on Josh Coburn in their box is a penalty but we don’t get it.
“To compound that, what I think is a yellow card tackle from a frustrated young player, he gives a straight red card.
“We feel cheated. Another good game of football ruined by incompetent officials.”
Barton railed against the level of officiating in the league across the campaign, calling it “negligent”.
“That first goal (from Bishop) was clearly not legal. It’s not like it’s a yard. Nine and a half thousand of our fans can see it’s off. If I was the fans I’d be speaking to the powers that be and want a refund because they’ve ruined the contest,” he said.
“He’s at least four yards offside and they turn the game into a laughing stock.”
Portsmouth boss John Mousinho said that his side had invited too much pressure by sitting deep late in the game, but that he was ultimately pleased for the efforts of his players.
“They had some good chances that could have changed the way the game panned out but I’m thoroughly pleased with how we saw that out and we thoroughly deserved to keep that clean sheet,” he said.
“Colby (Bishop) was brilliant. He gave their back line a really tough time, and that’s what we know about him. He’s also mobile and he scores goals. We were practicing penalties yesterday and we said it would be nice to get one. He deserved it.”
On the late melee between the players sparked following a lunge from defender Jarell Quansah, Mousinho said he didn’t like what he saw.
“I thought it was an awful challenge and the only intention was to hurt our players. I thought the referee dealt with that very well,” he said.
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