League One round-up: Luton’s ‘worst performance’ could mean tense final day… Daniel Stendel’s pride as Barnsley close in on automatic promotion??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Mick Harford labelled Luton’s showing at Burton as the ‘worst performance’ from his side since he took charge in January.

Sunday, 28th April 2019, 1:26 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th April 2019, 1:33 pm
Luton boss Mick Harford. Picture by Clive Mason/Getty Images

The Hatters’ 2-1 defeat at Burton blew the League One automatic promotion race wide open.

Leading scorer James Collins fired the visitors ahead on the half-hour.

But Lucas Akins’ second-half double condemned Hardford’s men to defeat.

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Leaders Luton are top only on goal heading into the final day after their slip-up against the Brewers and second-placed Barnsley’s win over Blackpool.

Pompey, in third, sit four points off the top two and they have a game in hand.

And Jack Ross’ fourth-placed Sunderland find themselves six points off leaders Luton having played a game less.

A second defeat in four games means the Hatters could now face a tense final day, potentially needing to win when Oxford visit to make sure of automatic promotion.

Speaking to Luton Today, manager Harford said: ‘I’ve said to the players in there, we’ve got a chance, one last chance next week against Oxford.

‘We didn’t perform (against Burton), ever since I was given the opportunity to manage the football club, that was probably our worst performance in terms of the way we played.

‘I don’t mind getting beat and I think Burton thoroughly deserved the victory, I thought they played very well, their movement, they were very good and we couldn’t contain them at times.

‘So you’ve got to give them a little bit of credit, but overall we’re very, very disappointed.

‘We move on and I will not accept the way we played (against Burton) in terms of the way we played, we went too long at times, we went too direct and it’s not what we’re about.

‘Maybe the players, maybe ourselves, the staff, maybe we were a bit edgy, but we felt we didn’t really have any control in the game today and that’s the most disappointing factor.’

Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel spoke of his pride as his troops took a huge step towards automatic promotion.

The Tykes’ 2-1 victory over Blackpool means a top-two finish is in their own hands heading into the final day.

And Barnsley could be promoted on Tuesday should third-placed Pompey and Sunderland, in fourth, lose respective games in hand.

Speaking to the Barnsley Chronicle, Stendel said: ‘The tension was very high for me and the players.

‘But I told the players it was just a normal game and we needed the best performance. After the 1-0 for Blackpool, we played well.

‘I am very happy with the performance and I am very proud that my team can show this performance in a situation which is not easy.

‘Other clubs have done very well for us which is good, but we have one game left and we need a very similar performance and another win in Bristol so we can 100 per cent make sure we get automatic promotion.

‘I assume that we will have to win on Saturday. The best thing is to prepare for Bristol as if we have to win it. We cannot influence other games and I think our rival teams will win their games anyway.’