Joey Barton was delighted to see Conor McAleny battle through a chest infection to score his first Fleetwood Town goal in their first defeat of the League One season at Doncaster.
READ MORE: We threw points away says Fleetwood boss Joey Barton
And the Town boss said Wes Burns did not deserve to be the man whose own goal sealed Rovers’ 3-2 win in the dying seconds.
McAleny opened the scoring with his first league goal for Town since April last year only for Cameron John and James Coppinger to give Doncaster a 2-1 half-time lead.
Paddy Madden came off the bench to level for Town but Burns inadvertently diverted Coppinger’s set-piece into his own net in the 92nd minute.
Barton praised McAleny but says Town cannot concede like they did at the Keepmoat.
He said of the forward: “I thought he was brilliant, considering he had a chest infection after the game on Tuesday and had been run down.
“That is why he faded a little bit in the second half. He’s been on antibiotics but he deserved his goal.
“I’m surprised he scored it with his head but we will take them any way they come.
“That is him up and running for the season now and we will take them any way.
“I think it is exciting for the Fleetwood fans. You put him in the mix with Ched (Evans), Paddy, Wes, Josh Morris, Ash Hunter – that is a real exciting attacking front to the team.
“We just have to keep that back door closed. Those are three goals we could do a lot better with.
“We can’t concede three goals and expect to win.
“There is competition for places now and I told the lads that.
“A few of them need to buck their ideas up.”
Barton felt for Burns and added: “I’m gutted for him. He was outstanding on Saturday. He did everything but score a goal.
“He gave their right-back a difficult afternoon and he does not deserve that, but that is football.
“I know Wes is a strong kid, a strong character.
“He has been superb. He just needs to get that first goal.
“He runs through one-on-one and you fancy him to slot from there but he just lifts it over.
“He is mentally very strong, probably one of the more solid citizens in our dressing room. I expect him to take this in his stride.
“He was disappointed and he apologised to people in the dressing room, but he has no reason to apologise.
“He has been first-class since I have been at the club and he will no doubt be back on Tuesday night (at home to Wycombe).”
Jack Sowerby’s header hit the post and bounced down before Rovers eeper Ian Lawlor batted it away in the 78th minute.
Barton felt that showed Town’s luck was out.
Asked if he thought the ball crossed the line, he answered: “Yeah,I did.
“Just looking at the keeper’s feet – he pulls his arm behind it.
“If we had goal-line technology we’d know but there is no point bleeting about it because nobody will care.
“I don’t think the Doncaster players will care, Darren (Moore, Rovers boss) won’t care.
“Sometimes you just need that little bit of luck.”