Alex delighted with final day survival
Town goalkeeper Alex Smithies told htafc.com today’s match was one of the ‘craziest’ games that he’s ever played in.
With less than ten minutes remaining, James Vaughan’s equaliser ensured Town’s Championship status for next season.
Smithies, the only Town player to start every League match this season, made several crucial saves during the match to keep Barnsley at bay.
“It was unreal. It was changing every minute and you could sense it around us in the crowd as goals were going in from the different games,” Smithies said.
“At half-time we were hearing rumours of scores that weren’t going in our favour. We were losing as well at that point and it’s a high pressure situation.
“When we’d scored and their fans started celebrating a few minutes later, it was just surreal.
Smithies also made comparisons to the League 1 Play-Off Final at Wembley last May.
“Promotion was an amazing experience and it got the Club where it deserves to be,” he said.
“Now we’ve managed to keep it there and given everyone what they deserve as well.”
Golcar-born Smithies has been with Town since 2000 and made his 50th appearance for the Club this season today.
“As I live around the town, you can sense when they feel negative and positive and that somewhat reflects on the players.
“This year I just said to myself to give it all that I’ve got, and I haven’t got any regrets.”
Town finished the season in 19th place with tally of 58 points – just three points below a top-ten finish.
“We have finished on a decent amount of points compared to previous seasons and the middle part of the season put the pressure on ourselves. We were really disappointed with that.
“We’ve managed to build on our really good start to the season and hopefully we can put that into next season. Our main goal was to stay in the League - we’ve done that and now it’s time to step on.
“We had managerial changes throughout the season so there was a lot of doubt about the situation, but I’ve always had the belief that we would stay in the division.
“Ultimately it’s the really good start to the season and a late push towards the end that has kept us here.
“We finished the season strongly in the last few games and that’s a result of taking to the Manager’s ways. It does take time and we’ve managed to do it at the right time in the last five games or so.
Mark Robins will now have a full summer to prepare his side for next season and Smithies believe that is exactly what the Terriers need.
“It will give us time to adapt to different policies and a full six weeks of pre-season with him should help. He will also get the chance to bring his own players in.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had a full summer off. First of all we’ll enjoy ourselves, look after ourselves for next season and come back stronger.”