Barnsley ‘lucky’ to keep advantage over Portsmouth and extend gap to Sunderland
With the nerves starting to increase in the League One promotion race Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel admitted his team were lucky to beat Walsall.
As Pompey won on Saturday and Sunderland were not playing it was a significant success for the team in second position.
Kenny Jackett’s Blues are keeping the pressure on as they beat Shrewsbury 2-0 to keep the gap to four points after Jacob Brown's injury-time winner had rescued Barnsley.
So Stendel was very relieved his men got that victory on Friday night.
He told the Yorkshire Post: ‘We were lucky to win. We cannot be satisfied with the performance, but we can be very satisfied with the result after 95 minutes to win this game.
‘It is an important victory for us and what we need at this time of the season.
‘Walsall had chances to win, but they did not score and we scored. We had the luck to score and I am so happy.
‘But I like it when I have a team who worked so hard and gives their all to win games. Sometimes, you need luck and we had luck.’
Kenny Jackett has pinpointed how quickly the gap could close at the top if his team continue winning and Barnsley draw a few games.
Sunderland also have the chance to turn the tables if they win their two games in hand being five points back from second place.
So the tension is increasing towards the key stage of the season.
Stendel is not sure which way it will go.
He added: ‘There are still seven games to go and it is not decided. Sunderland have two games in hand, but we are in good shape and have a good chance.’
Meanwhile, leaders Luton extended their unbeaten run to 26 games after beating Doncaster 4-0.
The Hatters have not lost since October.
Goals from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Danny Hylton, Kazenga LuaLua and Luke Berry earned the hosts victory.
Peterborough now sit sixth after beating Southend 2-0 with goals from Marcus Maddison and Ben White.
Coventry missed the chance to climb into the play-off spots after losing 1-0 at home to Oxford thanks to Curtis Nelson’s winner.
Bottom club Bradford were hammered 4-1 by Blackpool as the Tangerines closed the gap on the play-offs to two points.
Armand Gnanduillet’s brace and goals from Matty Virtue and Chris Taylor won it. David Ball grabbed a late consolation.
Aaron Wilbraham’s double helped Rochdale secure a vital 3-1 win over Scunthorpe and leave Dale just a point from escaping the drop zone. Kgosi Ntlhe also netted while Jordan Hallum scored for Scunthorpe.
Wimbledon’s resurgence was ended by Gillingham’s 4-1 win at Kingsmeadow, leaving the Dons three points from safety.
Michael Folivi opened the scoring for the Dons but the Gills replied with four unanswered goals from Brandon Hanlan, Graham Burke, Leonardo Lopes and Tom Eaves. James Hanson scored a late second for the hosts.
Mid-table Burton came from 2-0 down to beat Accrington 5-2 with goals from Scott Fraser, Kyle McFadzean and David Templeton adding to Lucas Akins’ brace. Sean McConville and Billy Kee had put the visitors in control.
Elsewhere, Plymouth and Bristol Rovers drew 2-2 after Gavin Reilly’s injury-time equaliser for the Pirates.
Jonson Clarke-Harris had earlier cancelled out Ruben Lameiras’ opener before Tony Craig’s own goal handed Plymouth a 2-1 lead.