JOEY BARTON insisted former Celtic defender Adam Matthews should have seen red in Fleetwood’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The controversial Town manager was convinced the Welsh full-back should have been banished after his foul handed the visitors’ a penalty-kick at the start of the second-half.
Matthews had already been booked earlier in the League One confrontation and Barton, who had a brief and ill-fated six-month stint at Rangers in 2016, believed referee Darren Drysdale should have sent off the offender.
Scotland international and ex-Hearts keeper Jon McLaughlin made a great save low to his left from Paddy Madden’s spot-kick to rescue the Black Cats.
Barton fumed: “Obviously, you are disappointed when you miss the penalty because it is a great opportunity to take the lead.
“They should have been down to 10-men, that is the reality of it. The full-back, Matthews, is on a yellow card, fouls our player in the box denying him squaring the ball to pass it into an empty net and the referee does not book him.
“We have had a tricky time with officials, so I have got to be very careful with what I say, but they have got to get the big calls correct.
“There are a number of occasions this season that they just aren’t doing that.
“I get it is the heat of the battle, but you have already given the penalty, it is a foul, denying a goalscoring opportunity.
“I’m not arguing for a straight red card. It is almost certainly a yellow card, if he hasn’t been booked the ref would 100 per cent book him.”
Barton also taunted rival gaffer Jack Ross after Fleetwood had earned a point in front of 29,000 spectators, their highest-ever league attendance.
He added: “We are disappointed, we felt we were the better side. I said it was not David v Goliath on the pitch and I was proven right.
“I told you we were slightly better than them and anyone at the game will know that.
“We were the better side, we took the lead deservedly and probably should have been further ahead. Then we gave away a sloppy goal from our point of view.
“You’d expect Sunderland at home to have spells in the game. They had 15 minutes before half-time and from 80 minutes onwards.
“But, for the rest of the game, I felt it was us who were the aggressor, us who was looking more likely to win the game.”
Madden’s ninth-minute header gave Town the lead, but Josh Maja equalised in the 36th minute.
Former St Mirren chief Ross, with the club sitting in fourth place, said: “We have had a solid start. Not spectacular, but solid. Naturally, I would have liked to win this one.”