Furious Joey Barton launched an astonishing attack on his Bristol Rovers players after seeing nine-man Salford rescue a 1-1 draw deep into injury-time.
Rovers were cruising thanks to Sam Nicholson’s early goal with Salford then suffering straight red cards to Matty Willock and Ash Hunter.
But after the visitors missed a string of chances, Salford struck in the fifth minute of added time through Brandon Thomas-Asante.
“We paid the price for spurning loads of chances,” blasted Barton before singling out substitute Luke Thomas for the most scathing criticism.
“LT’s was the best one and we have got to put the game away.
“Luke Thomas will not get a better opportunity to score a goal in professional football. He doesn’t even hit the target, which kind of sums up where he is at for me.
“He is not wired in, he’s never quite right, thinks the world owes him a favour.
“Unfortunately if he doesn’t get his finger out then this opportunity at Rovers is going to pass him by. He came in with a big fanfare but constantly when trusted and given opportunities he doesn’t maximise it.
“He probably thinks the world owes him something and is above the level. If you are not sharp, not wired in, and not fully fit then no matter what level of football you play then you will not be successful.”
Barton says his players got what the deserved against a Salford side he feels Rovers should be beating.
He added: “I’m frustrated with the lads, it is our own fault. Lessons for us to learn and for me it is two points thrown away. Salford are not even in the same ball park as us, they boot it long.
“The one time our lads didn’t deal with it we got punished and I’m absolutely fuming, furious. We have got to learn those lessons. “
A relieved Salford boss Gary Bowyer responded to Barton’s criticism of his side’s tactics.
He said: “I didn’t read the rules which said you can only play one certain type of football. I’ve not seen that rulebook this year. If you’re only allowed to play one type of football I apologise.
“After the first sending off we had to change what we were going to do and how we were going to go about it. Big Tom Elliot gave us a different option and he did brilliant for the goal with the flick-on and Brandon got on the end of it.
“The game changes with the sending off. Before that we were second best. I’ve looked at it again and the ref was in a real hurry to send him off. I didn’t think it is a sending off and we will appeal it. The second one for Ash Hunter I have no arguments with that.
“We showed unbelievable spirit. We spoke at half-time about going the extra mile like Kevin Sinfield and that was what we were able to do.
“We had a wonderful away victory on Saturday and today nicking the point at the end takes us to five unbeaten in all competitions, and we have another big game now on Saturday.”