Joey Barton’s Club Earns Astonishing Promotion By Making Up Goal Difference With 7-0 Win

Needing to better Northampton’s result by five goals, Bristol Rovers did just that.

Bristol Rovers pulled off the unthinkable on Saturday. On the outside looking in for automatic promotion to EFL League One, Rovers needed to better Northampton’s result by five goals to have any hope of finishing in the top three. Seven goals later, they did just that.

Bristol Rovers beat Scunthorpe 7-0, needing every last goal to leapfrog Northampton for third place to claim the final automatic promotion spot on goals scored. Northampton beat Barrow 3-1 on Saturday, but Elliot Anderson’s 85th-minute goal against the last-place team in the league evened goal difference between the two clubs at 22. Rovers earned promotion thanks to more goals scored (71-60). 

It was a stunning win for manager Joey Barton, the former Premier League bad boy who’s better known for being a piece of shit off the pitch, including two violent crime convictions. He was also banned from football for 18 months for gambling on the sport. Despite allegations of assault as recently as June 2021, Barton has coached Rovers since February 2021. And now he has the team in League One in the most remarkable of ways. 

It looked an impossible task for Rovers after Northampton scored three goals in the opening 22 minutes for a 3-0 lead, meaning Bristol would need an 8-0 win to advance. Barrow pulled one back in the 45th minute, but still the task was seven goals or go through the promotion playoff with Port Vale, Swindon Town and Mansfield Town.

Rovers led 2-0 at halftime then poured it on in the second half with five more to clinch promotion against all odds. 

After an incredible end to the regular season, Bristol Rovers are going up and Northampton will face Mansfield Town in the first of two legs on Saturday, May 14. 

Rovers will be joined in promotion with Forest Green Rovers and Exeter City. Forest Green won the league to earn promotion to League One for the first time in club history, a great achievement for the greenest club in the world

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