Barnsley secured their promotion to the Championship yesterday evening, as Portsmouth and Sunderland both suffered surprise defeats.
The Tykes were expecting Saturday’s match against Bristol Rovers to be crucial in deciding their promotion fate, but their rivals instead slipped up to take the pressure off Daniel Stendel’s side.
Pompey lost 3-2 to Peterborough, while Sunderland fell to a 2-1 defeat against Fleetwood to gift the Oakwell outfit with a Championship spot.
Stendel spoke to the media at Oakwell on Wednesday afternoon following their success, and he readily admitted that he did not expect to be celebrating their promotion before the weekend.
“I didn’t expect this,” he said to journalist Andy Giddings.
“I thought we would have needed to win on Saturday. We all celebrated together. Other people will have more of an idea of what we did.”
On the celebrations last night, #barnsleyfc DS said: “I didn’t expect this. I thought we would have needed to win on Saturday. We all celebrated together. Other people will have more of an idea of what we did.”
— Andy Giddings (@Gids1980) May 1, 2019
Barnsley are now an unsurpassable four points clear in second place after a solid late-season run which has seen them win their last four matches.
Stendel’s side can now celebrate their successful season in unison with the supporters when they travel to Bristol on the weekend.
Stendel’s comments ring true. It was a huge surprise for both Pompey and Sunderland to lose last night.
The League One automatic promotion chase seemed destined to go to the last game of the season, but Barnsley deserve their promotion nonetheless.
Pompey and Sunderland have slipped up with more regularity this season, while the Tykes have been solid throughout.