Walsall run riot to book Barnsley play-off date
Walsall sealed a play-off place with their biggest win for more than five years, a 5-0 hammering of Port Vale. Goals from Paul Downing, Tom Bradshaw, Sam Mantom and an Anthony Forde double completed the impressive victory at Vale Park.
“I feel immensely proud of my players, my staff and the fans, they couldn’t have done any more,” said Walsall interim head coach Jon Whitney.
“I told them to control what we can control. We’re all very upbeat.”
Walsall’s play-off opponents will be Barnsley, whose 4-1 win at champions Wigan secured sixth spot on goal difference ahead of Scunthorpe.
Will Grigg’s 28th goal of the season put the home side ahead before a Sam Winnall double swept Barnsley into the lead. Goals from Conor Hourihane and Josh Brownhill wrapped up the victory.
“That’s one box ticked but we have another one to try and cross, then on to a final.” said Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom.
Meanwhile, Millwall’s 2-1 win over Gillingham secured them fourth spot and ensured that they would have home advantage in their play-off semi-final second leg.
Aiden O’Brien put Millwall ahead before John Egan equalised in the 92nd minute. However, Lee Gregory’s penalty eight minutes into injury-time won it, and in doing so, denied Gillingham any lingering hopes they may have harboured prior to kick-off of stealing the last remaining play-off spot.
Millwall manager Neil Harris said: “Whenever I’ve asked for a Millwall performance or questioned their mentality, the players have always responded.”
At Valley Parade, goals from Lee Evans and Billy Clarke helped Bradford complete the regular season with 2-0 win at home to Chesterfield.
“I was delighted with the lads’ approach and that summarises what they are like as a group of lads and they’re very professional,” Bradford manager Phil Parkinson said. “There’s always that one eye on next week, but I thought the way they went about their business was terrific.”
At the other end of the table, Blackpool were relegated after losing 5-1 to Peterborough.