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Joey Barton taunts Sunderland for being 'scared of little old Fleetwood Town'

Barton claimed the Black Cats celebrated ‘like they’d won the World Cup’ after last night’s 1-1 draw.

sunderland-v-fleetwood-town-sky-bet-league-one-stadium-of-light Joey Barton pictured after last night's game between Sunderland and Fleetwood Town. Source: EMPICS Sport

FLEETWOOD TOWN MANAGER Joey Barton accused Sunderland of playing “hoof ball” during the 1-1 draw between the sides in their League One fixture at the Stadium of Light.

Fleetwood, who moved into the play-off spots with Saturday’s win over Portsmouth, were on course for a sixth consecutive victory last night until Max Power scored for Sunderland with the last kick of the game.

The visitors had taken the lead in the fifth minute through Barrie McKay, who finished off a move which was engineered by Irish pair Paddy Madden and Glenn Whelan.

In the race for promotion to the Championship, Sunderland remain fourth in League One. The concession of the late equaliser pushes Fleetwood down to seventh, but only goal difference separates them from Peterborough United in the final play-off place. Fleetwood also have the benefit of a game in hand.

Despite being denied a victory in such dramatic circumstances, Barton taunted Sunderland over their style of play and the manner of their reaction to the late goal.

“We’re a miles better team than them, in my opinion, when it comes to passing the ball,” the 37-year-old – who had a spell with Sunderland’s arch rivals Newcastle United during his playing career – told Sky Sports.

“We saw that in the build-up – they absolutely drenched the pitch all day because they’re scared of little old Fleetwood Town coming and out-playing them, they’ve gone to hoof ball. Credit to them, Max Power gambled and they got a goal.

“It was very, very interesting as a former Newcastle player to see Sunderland, who were in the Premier League three years ago, celebrate like they’d won the World Cup final having scored an equaliser in stoppage time against the mighty Fleetwood Town.”

Fleetwood, who were promoted to the Football League in 2012 for the first time in their history, have never before reached the heights of the Championship. The Lancashire club play their home games at Highbury Stadium, which has a capacity of just over 5,000.

sunderland-v-fleetwood-town-sky-bet-league-one-stadium-of-light Max Power celebrates after equalising for Sunderland against Fleetwood Town. Source: EMPICS Sport

Barton, who’s in his second season as Fleetwood manager, has seen his side storm into contention for promotion with a nine-match unbeaten run.

Ahead of Saturday’s game away to relegation-threatened Tranmere Rovers, he added: “We are in the mix. We should be above Sunderland tonight. If we meet Sunderland in the play-offs, would we be worried? I don’t think so.

“They are a big physical outfit. Phil Parkinson has got them going well but with that style of football, you’d rather watch us than Sunderland as we play football. They do sit above us in the table and that’s results, but as I said, there’s no time to sulk, there’s another war to come on Saturday.”

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Paul Dollery

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