Wal­sall run riot to book Barns­ley play-off date

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - BARCLAYS PREMIERE LEAGUE - By Richard Amofa

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.

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