Football

Barton denies play-acting

Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has defended himself after being caught up in controversy during the shock 1-0 FA Cup defeat by Lincoln on Saturday.

An incident just after the hour mark in the fifth-round match saw Barton appear to deliberately stand on a boot of Imps striker Matt Rhead while marking him, then go to ground holding his head.

No cards were produced by referee Graham Scott on that occasion, but there was one for the Clarets man soon after, following another flashpoint in which Lincoln midfielder Terry Hawkridge received a hand in the face from Barton before being shoved over by Jon Flanagan.

Scott showed Barton a yellow card while Flanagan escaped punishment.

Barton later insisted that he had not been trying to get Rhead sent off with play-acting.

Barton wrote on Twitter: "Wasn't trying to get the Big Man sent off. It was my job to front screen and disrupt him. Was trying to get back in front of him.

"Tried to duck under his arm and he moved it back and hit me on the head. Contact is part of the game, no problem with that.

"Unlike their player saying he was kicked on the floor and also the one who jumped and held his face as if he'd been struck.

"But that wouldn't make a good story, would it? FairPlay to Lincoln. They were well organised and that's Cup football. Good luck in nxt rd."

When Rhead was asked if he thought Barton had tried to get him into trouble, he said: "Possibly. I'm not sure what he was thinking. I've put my arms up and he has walked into my arm. It was totally accidental. I think he went down to the floor a bit easily.

"He had trod on my foot, but that is part and parcel of the game. He was just backing in - it happens in football."

Things were feisty between Barton and Rhead throughout the match.

Rhead added: "He's obviously a great player. He's been about. I think we were getting on top a little bit and he's tried to upset the flow. That's what he is about.

"We had a little bit of a battle and I love that, it is part of my game." - PA SPORT

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