Did Joe have to go?

McInally says red card looked harsh on Barton

Last Updated: 02/01/12 6:11pm

McInally: praise for Lambert

QPR 1-2 Norwich
Soccer Saturday analysis

"I think the reaction of Bradley Johnson definitely made the decision of the referee. I said it right away, I did not see Joey he give him that little one."

Alan McInally

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Alan McInally admits he feels sorry for Joey Barton following his red card against Norwich.

The QPR midfielder, who had given the home side an early lead at Loftus Road, was given his marching orders 10 minutes before the break following a confrontation with Bradley Johnson.

The dismissal proved to be a catalyst for a comeback from the visitors, who scored twice through Anthony Pilkington and Steve Morison to claim a 2-1 victory.

It was Barton's fifth career red card and his first since May 2009, but McInally said it was hard to tell if he had headbutted his opponent, as the officials eventually decided.

"I have some sympathy for Joey when you see it again," he told Soccer Special.

"There was a bit of handbags before, I think Bradley Johnson had taken a bit of a swipe at him and there was a bit of contact between them.

"It doesn't look as though Joey's put his head towards him, but the camera's a long way away. It's a difficult one for me to call, but it's been called by the referee.

"He ran past and the assistant carried on as well, but after the game broke down he went back. Then everybody had their say, he went to the assistant and brought out a straight red card. I have sympathy for Joey Barton, I really do.

"I think the reaction of Bradley Johnson definitely made the decision of the referee. I said it right away, I did not see Joey he give him that little one.

"They were very close together and Joey will be upset that Johnson didn't receive a yellow card because he definitely had a kick at him as they were running back."

Delighted

McInally had praise for Norwich boss Paul Lambert for the tactical masterstroke that eventually won the game for his side.

He brought on David Fox, Wes Hoolahan and Morison in the 65th minute and the latter popped up with the winning goal eight minutes from time.

"Paul Lambert will be delighted," MicInally added.

"When you're looking at young managers and the big decisions they make, he made a triple substitution.

"Although they had a bit of the game they weren't really in control completely against the 10 men, so he made the three changes.

"The substitute Steve Morison banged it in and it's an absolutely massive three points for Norwich."