Proud caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom saluted his Barnsley players after they carried out his pre-match instructions to perfection in booking another dream day out at Wembley.
Less than two months after winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the iconic stadium, the Reds will return there on Sunday week as their Sky Bet League One play-off final place was sealed thanks to a 3-1 win at Walsall last night.
The Reds completed a well-deserved 6-1 aggregate win against the Saddlers, and will now go head-to-head with either Millwall or Bradford on May 29, with a place in the Championship up for grabs for the victors.
Heckingbottom said: “I know we were 3-0 up from the weekend, but this second leg could still have been tricky.
“We knew we’d have to be on our guard in the opening 20 minutes. We had a game-plan to dictate the play early on and to be on the front foot.
“That’s just how it worked out. We knew we couldn’t be taking our foot off the gas. We played to our strengths and I knew that would be enough.”
Looking ahead to the final shoot-out, Heckingbottom added: “Everything is riding on that now, but we’ve got to be confident no matter who we’ll end up playing. Every player has grown in stature throughout the season and we’ll be ready.”
The Reds were never in danger of letting their three-goal first-leg lead slip once Adam Hammill had fired them in front after just 18 minutes.
Ashley Fletcher made it 2-0 midway through the second period and though Jordan Cook halved Walsall’s deficit on the night Josh Brownhill wrapped up a dominant semi-final tie win in the 89th minute.
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