Barton managed to guide his side to what in the end looked like a comfortable 4-1 victory, a win which was desperately needed to relieve immediate relegation worries and to keep them above the drop zone in 19th place. However, despite the win, there were a few contentious refereeing decisions that were made throughout the contest.
The most obvious one of those moments came when Bristol Rovers’ James Daly was brought down after a strong challenge by Accrington keeper Toby Savin, but to the surprise of most people watching the referee did not award a penalty to Barton’s side.
After the game, via Sports Mole, Barton was questioned on his thoughts over that decision and he blasted the standard of officiating in League One with him believing that it had to be a penalty and also that there have been numerous other decisions that have gone against his side in other matches.
He said: “I went to prison for less than the challenge by their keeper on James Daly.
“It was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen when the referee didn’t point to the spot.
“When I asked him about it after the game and he told me the keeper was entitled to make the challenge. But if he doesn’t get the ball it has to be a penalty.
“I have been in charge for five games now and the officiating has been poor right across the board.
“I don’t want to say any more, but it’s important I make my point after a win, so people don’t think I am making excuses following a defeat.
“The score flattered a play-off chasing team in Accrington. Their goalkeeper has made a couple of great saves.
“But it is three points and no more than that. We have to keep building from here.”
Barton is not a manager that will shy away from publicly criticising the performance of officials if he feels that they have let down his side, or cost them points. You can understand why he was annoyed with the decision not to award Bristol Rovers a penalty after Savin’s challenge on Daly. It did look like a stonewall decision that should have been awarded.
It does always seem to have more punch when managers bemoan officials after their team has won, with no one being able to accuse them of just having sour grapes for a defeat. That seems to have been Barton’s aim here with him highlighting he feels his side have been on the wrong end of things decision-wise since he took over as manager.
At least Bristol Rovers can take a lot of confidence from the win they secured and it was a very strong performance against a good Accrington side. That should offer optimism that they can get over the line and secure their League One status this term.