Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton says he can no longer make excuses for some of his senior players after mistakes aided Oxford United’s fightback at Highbury.
Barton cut a frustrated figure as his side squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with their relegation-battling visitors on Saturday.
Wes Burns’ eighth minute effort and Paddy Madden’s 26th minute strike had given Town their advantage by half-time.
However, James Wallace’s loose pass deep inside his own half helped Oxford to pull one back as Jamie Mackie’s cross was steered home by James Henry, who had got ahead of Craig Morgan.
James Husband was then outfoxed by Gavin Whyte for the second, his strike poked home by the unmarked Mackie with Burns playing him onside.
The point saw Town move up to 10th in League One but Barton, who admitted he had tried to protect some of his senior players, said he can no longer make excuses for them.
He said:”My frustration is with the team; you win or lose as a team.
“I don’t want to single out any individuals because it is a team game and there are many moving parts.
“But also I cannot make excuses for some of the more senior players in the team any longer.
“I’ve tried to protect them and been loyal to them but at some point you have to put up or shut up; a few of them are fast approaching that.”
Barton’s former QPR team-mate Mackie did the damage for the visitors and left Barton pondering whether to give some of Town’s Academy youngsters an opportunity in the weeks ahead.
“Good players will seize upon mistakes,” Barton said.
“Jamie has played in the Premier League and with us at QPR.
“Good players will seize on those errors.
“They punished us when we made mistakes and it is really frustrating.
“That is football; you accept that from time to time but again at some point you have to draw the line and say ‘enough is enough.’
“It is a case of bringing better players in or moving those players out and bringing what we have from within.
“I’m convinced that there are a few young players in and around that, if given a chance, would not continually make those individual errors.”