We responded ever so well against Swansea and were back to the levels that we have been.Martyn Olorenshaw
Having been held by Sheffield Wednesday over the weekend, Blues needed a win to guarantee a top-two finish with third-placed Sheffield United also victorious in the final round of fixtures.
However, with the pressure on, Blues duly delivered as they ran out comfortable winners in South Wales to set up a one-legged semi-final away to Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
Kieran Wakefield started the scoring inside the opening quarter of an hour as he burst clear of the Swans defence before slotting past Tyler Evans in the home side’s goal.
Harry Manton nearly doubled the advantage just moments later, but Blues were not made to wait long for a second. Jordan James advanced from midfield and was on hand to convert a low cross after 27 minutes.
The points were wrapped up shortly after the break when Panashe Makokowe was penalised for a foul inside the box, with Rico Patterson scoring the resulting penalty as Blues ensured their season is to be extended.
And speaking post-match, Martyn Olorenshaw was thrilled with how his players handled the pressure at Landore, reacting from the set-back of dropped points against the Owls last time out.
He said: “To get into the play-offs we knew we had to win to guarantee it. There was pressure of course, but the boys handled it really well. From minute one we controlled the game and picked them off. You never know how they might deal with it, but the boys were fantastic and dealt with it really well.
“The Sheffield Wednesday game was a bit scrappy, and we weren’t as fluent as usual. I think we made a couple of errors which we haven’t done recently, including a goal from a set-piece that we should have done better with.
“We responded ever so well against Swansea and were back to the levels that we have been.”
The success secured second place for Blues in the PDL North and sets up a clash with Charlton on Saturday at The Valley.
Coming up against the runaway winners of the PDL South poses another test for Blues, but one that the Assistant Coach is relishing.
He told BCFC.com: “Charlton at the Valley, it will be great and a great day out for everyone. The lads have been brilliant and worked so hard this year. It’s one more game, but let’s hope it is two and we can get through to the final.
“It will be a tough one, they are clearly a good team as they finished top of the south division. They score goals and they are going to be a tough challenge. We will do our homework and give the players everything they will need to try and help them.”
Olorenshaw concluded by providing an injury update and stating his pride at the team’s achievements within the Club’s development pathway.
He said: “We lost George Hall for the game, but he should be back on Saturday. But the nice achievement in recent weeks is that it has been a largely first-year group with some schoolboys. So, it is really pleasing as to how they have stood up to it. It is a great achievement from both us and the Under-23s to be in the play-offs.”
Blues: Mayo, Fogarty, Barratt, Oakley (Nguepissi 75), Browne, Manton (Khela 60), Patterson, James, Bellingham, Wakefield (captain), Sullivan.
Goalscorers: Wakefield 14, James 27, 52 Patterson.