A trip to Wembley Stadium is the pinnacle for all English clubs to try and achieve, whether it be in the FA Cup final or the Vanarama National League play-offs.
Supporters from across the country will almost certainly agree that there is no feeling quite like seeing their side walk out on the hallowed turf yet it can be excruciating if they end up witnessing a heartbreaking defeat.
Some clubs have better records than others when visiting Wembley. Whereas Woking have won all of their clashes there, Stockport County have lost on four occasions (via The Guardian), illustrating just how fine the margins can be in cup competitions.
A moment in time – Barnsley at Wembley, 2016
Since the re-opening of the national stadium in 2007, Barnsley have made two appearances which both resulted in success. The first of their victories saw them win the Football League Trophy against Oxford United in April 2016 as second-half strikes from Adam Hammill and Ashley Fletcher helped them to defeat their League One opponents 3-2. Their second and most recent trip occurred just one month after their win over the Yellows as they faced Millwall in the play-off final and was a game to remember for Tykes supporters.
A barnstorming start for the Yorkshire-based outfit saw both Fletcher and Hammill repeat their previous heroics by scoring again for their side as they raced into a 2-0 lead. The Lions pulled a goal back just before half-time yet Barnsley proved to be too strong in the second-half for their opponents as Lloyd Isgrove headed in a third to cement the club’s place in the Championship.
Although the Tykes’ stay in the second tier would only last two seasons, the significance of their Wembley achievements could be beneficial for their hopes of promotion at the end of the current campaign. Daniel Stendel’s side are currently second in League One but find themselves facing a real battle to secure an automatic return to the Championship as both Portsmouth and Sunderland are within striking distance of displacing them.
If Barnsley do succumb to the pressure and drop into the play-off positions, there is still a great chance that they could still secure promotion if they use their previous escapades in the competition to their advantage. It could be argued that the current crop of players are more suited to achieve success via Wembley than the 2015/16 squad was as they have been front runners for the majority of the season and so will have the belief that they can defeat any team on their day.
Indeed, Stendel would almost definitely prefer a top-two finish at the end of the season but if they somehow miss out on achieving this, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Barnsley could win their third play-off final in thirteen years in May.