Joey Barton praised for performance on Twitter but slammed for beard

It was a mixed night for the controversial midfielder on the social networking site.

Joey Barton scored the only goal of the game against Preston North End on Friday to help Burnley return to the top of the Championship.

But it was to be an evening of mixed fortunes on the web, as while his influential performance was hailed on social media, his newly grown facial hair took a battering.

The Clarets extended their 21-game unbeaten run ahead of this weekend’s fixtures by the narrowest of margins after Barton's deflected free-kick found its way past Chris Kirkland via Alan Browne’s head.

The Lancashire club are now three points above title rivals third-placed Brighton and Hove Albion in the automatic promotion places with just two matches yet to play.

Burnley are now just two wins away from an immediate return to the Premier League following last season’s 19th place finish.

Sean Dyche has masterminded a superb recovery after falling into the second-tier and could be set to earn his side a bumper pay packet with a renewed TV rights deal set to come into place worth £5.136 billion, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Central midfielder Barton was the star of the show at Deepdale as he produced a sublime performance, dominating possession and orchestrating the Burnley attack.

He was widely praised for his contribution on social media, with several onlookers claiming the former Manchester City and Newcastle United playmaker appeared to be playing at a different level to everyone else on the pitch.

However, it wasn’t just his performance that stole fans’ attention. As Barton lined up for his post-match interview it became clear that the 33-year-old was sporting some new facial hair - a move that failed to please the eyes of the Twitter faithful.

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