Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton admits frustration over Gillingham draw

It proved to be a frustrating day for Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton after they were pegged back late on by Gillingham at Highbury.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 6:00 am
Fleetwood Town drew with Gillingham on Saturday

Paddy Madden’s 16th goal of the season handed the hosts a deserved lead just after half-time in a badly wind-affected Sky Bet League One clash.

However, with eight minutes left, Gills’ sub Alex Jakubiak curled home an equaliser to give Steve Evans’ side an unlikely point.

Despite missing out on maximum points, Barton was encouraged by his side’s performance after losing at Blackpool seven days earlier.

He said: “You have to give Gillingham some credit because they kept going and kept going, but we feel like it’s definitely two points lost.

“You could see by the way Gillingham were wasting time from virtually the kick-off, that that was a very good point for them.

“We’re disappointed of course but, on the whole, our home form – certainly this calendar year – has been superb, all the lads have been superb.

“We need to now start showing that on the road because we’ve got two tough examinations on the road in front of us now, at Rotherham and Rochdale.

“They’re all tough games in this division, and they start coming thick and fast now, and that’s just how we like it.

“It was nice to see a different side to my lads today too.

“They stood up really well to the physicality and direct approach we were expecting from Gillingham.

“We haven’t always handled that so superbly, but we were good today.

“We were disappointed with the goal we conceded late on, but then I’m blaming the strikers because they should have put the game beyond Gillingham.

“We had a number of chances. Wes (Burns) had a great header in the middle when he should have hit the target, Josh Morris tried to backheel something in and Danny Andrew hit a shot over.”

The wind certainly played its part in a disjointed opening period at Highbury.

Barry Fuller sidefooted an early effort over for the Gills, before Burns almost struck for Barton’s men when he headed wide from Madden’s cross.

Peter Clarke came to Fleetwood’s rescue just before the break when he blocked Stuart O’Keefe’s strike.

It was Madden who broke the deadlock in the 56th minute, coolly slotting home from eight yards as he converted Morris’ cross.

However, it turned into another frustrating afternoon for Town as Jakubiak curled superbly past Billy Crellin with just eight minutes left.

“It was just one of those days when you know you need a second goal,” added Barton.

“Any side in any division has always got a lifeline if there’s only one goal in it.

“Credit to Steve. They threw a couple of attacking players on, and in the end, his positive approach paid off.”