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EFL Trophy: Trevor Clarke back in from the cold to score for Barton's Bristol Rovers, Ferguson on target

Barton then derided the ‘nonsense’ competition, expressing hope that his side would soon be eliminated.

Joey Barton.
Joey Barton.
Image: PA

TREVOR CLARKE’S REHABILITATION at Bristol Rovers continues apace, netting the second goal in his side’s 2-0 EFL Trophy win against Crystal Palace’s U21s. 

Clarke scored the second goal of a 2-0 win, his first goal of a roller-coaster season. Having started the season in the team, Clarke was the subject of withering public comments from his manager Joey Barton, in which he said he had “made a mistake” in offering Clarke a new contract just weeks earlier. Barton spoke of the need to get Clarke a new club, but instead the former Shamrock Rovers defender has returned to the team, playing recent League One games on the left wing and at left wing-back. 

Former Irish international Glenn Whelan was also sent off in the game, a decision that Barton says they will appeal. 

The EFL Trophy features League One and Two first teams in competition against U21 sides from the Premier League and Championship, and despite their victory, Barton last night labelled the competition a “nonsense.” 

“Who cares about it? It’s a nonsense competition, and when it’s officiated in that fashion it makes me even further devalue the competition”, Barton told Bristol Live. “I’ve tried to support it in all my time but when I get officials like that who are basically on work experience sending my players off that don’t deserve to be sent off and all the while allowing young players to steam in and make stupid tackles and don’t book them or reprimand them because they’re young players, it’s a nonsense.

“We don’t take it seriously, so I said to the lads tonight go out and enjoy it because the opposition are inferior because they are a bunch of kids. If you take their teamsheet and look at it in five years’ time, some of those lads will be working in civilian jobs. They won’t be playing football…. the sooner we’re out of it the better and I’m going to go forward carrying absolute disdain for the competition when referees officiate it like that.”

Gavin Cooney
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Elsewhere in the competition, Republic of Ireland U21 international Evan Ferguson scored in Brighton’s 3-2 loss to Gillingham, a game in which another Irish prospect, Andrew Moran, played all 90 minutes. 

Ronan Curtis, meanwhile, scored for Portsmouth in a 5-0 win over Aston Villa while Trevor Clarke, back in from the cold under Joey Barton at Bristol Rovers,  scored in a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace. 

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