Fleetwood Town's Joey Barton dubs referee "as bad as I've seen" after Ched Evans and manager receive red cards

Joey Barton is shown the red card by referee Brett Huxtable
Joey Barton is shown the red card by referee Brett Huxtable

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton’s Christmas wish is never to see Brett Huxtable refereeing in League One again after the sending-off of striker Ched Evans in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers.

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Huxtable also showed Barton his first red card as a manager in the closing stages of Saturday’s match, which saw Town fall to a sixth successive away defeat in League One and slip to 12th in the table

The scores were tied at 1-1 when Evans was sent off for violent conduct in the 55th minute after tangling with Tom Lockyer.

Rovers went on to net the winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time, with Barton sent off for dissent as he questioned the validity of the free-kick that led to James Clarke’s winning goal for the third-bottom Pirates.

Barton hopes that Huxtable, who was taking charge in League One for only the fifth time this season, does not referee at this level again.

The Town boss said: “Eleven against 11 we knew it would be a very competitive fixture. Ten against 11 does not help.

“At times it definitely felt like we were against a lot more than 11.

“I have to be careful not to say anything because we all know the ramifications of telling people exactly what you think of officials.

“Hopefully we never see those guys again because good football matches officiated in the correct spirit are great to be part of.

“On Saturday, that is the horrible part of football.

“The game did not warrant what he has ended up doing.

“But maybe he wanted to come here to send Ched Evans off and tell Joey Barton.

“Maybe he had that in his mind, and he can go away and tell his kids and grandkids that he has been able to do that. If that is a highlight for him, then fantastic.

“Hopefully we never see him refereeing in this league again in that kind of game because he was way above his head.”

The winning goal and Barton’s dismissal came after Ross Wallace had tried to slow the game down ahead of Rovers’ decisive free-kick and was pushed to the ground by Chris Lines.

The referee booked Lines but still allowed Rovers to take the set-piece from which Clarke scored.

Barton said: “It is a free-kick and Ross has been booked for standing on the white line that the referee sprays.

“He is obviously standing on the ball to slow them down so we can get back in position.

“The referee asks him to move back but it looks like their player has taken the law into his own hands and decides to throw him on the floor.

“The referee sees it and gives him a yellow card. That is what perplexed me because if that is a foul worthy of a yellow card, then surely the free-kick is reversed?

“It just summed him up. I kept my lid on it as long as I could to try and not compound things, but sometimes you just have to say what you feel.

“All through the afternoon, decision after decision after decision...

“We are trying to communicate and be amicable but sometimes with some people it is just not possible!

“It was as bad an officiating performance as I have seen in my life.

“I have seen some bad ones but that set the new limit.”