REACTION: Clean sheet pleases Fleetwood Town boss Barton after his side beat Oxford United 2-0

He's got his first league win as a manager under his belt and the most pleasing thing for Joey Barton from Fleetwood Town's 2-0 win at Oxford United was that clean sheet.

Saturday, 11th August 2018, 7:32 pm
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 11:40 am
The Fleetwood Town players celebrate after Paddy Madden makes it 2-0 at Oxford United

Barton's men bounced back from a 1-0 opening day home defeat to AFC Wimbledon thanks to goals from Ched Evans and Paddy Madden.

Barton's opposite number Karl Robinson was left smarting by Evans' 34th minute strike, the Oxford boss claiming there was a foul as the forward scored his first league effort since December 2016.

But referee Ollie Yates saw no foul play in the strike, Evans rifling home after Kyle Dempsey rolled the ball across for the forward to net his first of the campaign.

Oxford should have been ahead before that, Alex Cairns Town's hero as he thwarted Sam Smith one-on-one while Dempsey should have made it two just before the break.

Barton's ex-QPR team mate Jamie Mackie nodded wide unmarked at the back stick and after that missed opportunity Town professionally closed the game out with Madden clinching the win late on.

His fellow substitute Wes Burns had won a penalty, the forward felled by Oxford keeper Scott Shearer who had only been elevated to the starting line-up after Simon Eastwood dropped out before kick-off.

And for Barton this was his squad's reward for their hard work in pre-season as he celebrated his first win as a manager.

He said: "It is just really pleasing after all of the hard work the lads have done in pre-season.

"We were disappointed with the result and performance last week against Wimbledon but we flipped it round and went back to the structure we had worked on for five or six weeks and it paid off the lads with their dues.

"The hard work and structures made it really difficult and really frustrating for Oxford at times.

"And of course we have superb quality in our side the Paddy Madden's, Ched Evans', Wes Burns and Ash Hunter's of this world that can come on at any point and cause the opposition problems.

"A really pleasing team performance.

"The most enjoyable thing for me and Clint and the rest of the coaching team is the clean sheet.

"It is very important you have got to defend your boxes as well as you can."

Barton switched things up from that Wimbledon opener, changing from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 with five changes.

Jason Holt returned from suspension to make his debut, Burnley signing Dean Marney was handed his first start as Ash Hunter, Gethin Jones and Ash Eastham returned to the starting line-up.

Eastham was the man to miss out due to the new EFL rule of fielding a home grown player last week and this week centre half Cian Bolger was omitted from the squad.

Though it was a good afternoon for Town's homegrown squad member Nathan Sheron who became the first Fleetwood academy product to play for the first team in the league after replacing Marney in the 67th minute.

And with Burns and Madden helping Town clinch the win late on Barton was pleased with all three substitutes.

He said: "I thought it was a real team performance and I am delighted for the lads.

"We made changes, put Wes on for Bobby Grant and Paddy on for Ched.

"It is nice when your subs pay off. Wes wins the pen, Pads puts it away.

"Young Nathan Sheron gets his first ever league appearance and it must be very pleasing for him and his family.

"He should be very proud because I thought he came on and did fantastically well for Dean Marney who was superb and showed why we brought him to the football club.

"It is difficult to single out individuals because it was a real team performance.

"Great to see Ash Eastham in there.

"He had a little bit of disappointment last week because EFL rules stipulate that you have to have a home grown player on the bench.

"The flipside is that is Cian Bolger this week.

"They are not easy to handle but the one thing that I can say about those guys is there response to it they have put the team over themselves.

"They are credit to the profession and credit to this football club."