Joey Barton left feeling “cheated” as Liverpool loanee sent off for ‘headbutt’

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton was left feeling “cheated” by the referee in a 2-0 loss to Portsmouth that saw Liverpool loanee Jarell Quansah sent off.

Barton has been a vocal admirer of Quansah ever since he made the temporary switch to Rovers in January, describing himself as “absolutely delighted” to sign him.

But a 10th consecutive start for the Gas came to a frustrating end, as the 20-year-old was shown a red card for his involvement in an ugly melee in the closing stages of the game.

Quansah scythed down Joe Morrell in the 90th minute, before leaning in with his head after being confronted by the Portsmouth midfielder.

Morrell made the most of it, before the Liverpool youngster then turned to another Portsmouth player as the travelling fans called for a sending-off – to which the referee obliged.

He will now be suspended for up the three games, and as he certainly misses their next fixture at home to Charlton on April 7, Quansah won’t play club football for at least another three weeks.

“We feel cheated and aggrieved today. Big decisions in the game, a lot of them have gone against us,” Barton told reporters including Bristol World.

“But we have to dust ourselves down. The officials will sail off the world unaccountability and they’ll be backed up by their assessor.”

On Quansah’s red card, he added: “I don’t think his tackle warranted a straight red.

“From my vantage point, I saw [Portsmouth defender] Joe Rafferty throwing a few bodies around. Our players go in and it’s a bit of a melee.

“I’m not sure what has gone on, I presume it is something that has happened in the melee because I don’t think the tackle warranted a red card.

“I think it’s a poor tackle, but I don’t think it’s more than a yellow card.”

Unfortunately, the footage from the stands suggests that, while soft, Quansah did push his head into Morrell and gave the referee little choice.

Speaking to BBC Radio Solent Sport, Morrell gave his account of the situation, explaining: “I think he’s tried to break my leg.

“I’ve got up. Maybe he’s started a bit and he’s headbutted me. I think it’s probably [worth] two red cards.

“I haven’t made a tackle like that in my career and I certainly wouldn’t do that.”

Quansah had played the full 90 minutes in each of his nine previous outings for Bristol Rovers, who were on a three-game unbeaten run prior to back-to-back defeats to Wycombe and Portsmouth.

He will now depart for international duty with the England under-20s, and friendlies against Germany, the USA and France.