Ian Evatt had a hunch Wanderers’ big finish would pay off again as his side clinched ninth place in League One.
The Whites were pegged back by Fleetwood Town – who stayed up despite their defeat – with just over 10 minutes of the final game of the season to go.
But Evatt’s men have made a habit of scoring late goals during a remarkable run since January which has seen them lose just three of their last 22 games.
And they produced the goods again as Dion Charles scored a spectacular – if fortunate – second goal before Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s injury-time strike wrapped up a gripping 4-2 win and took Wanderers above Portsmouth on goals scored with 73 points apiece.
“To be fair to Fleetwood they were fighting for their lives and the goal kind of rocked us but gave us some desire and inspiration to go and click into gear,” said Evatt, whose side went behind early before goals from Charles and Declan John either side of the break put Wanderers ahead.
“We did that with the goal and the second half was much more like us.
“We told the players what was expected. We reminded them that the fans had come here to support us, their friends and families all here to support us, and we didn’t want to let anyone down.
“It was nice for us to turn it on in the second half and get the victory.
“I said to the staff that we always score late and we managed to get two late goals.
“One was a bit of a fluke but to be fair to Dion he’s not had much luck in front of goal of late and I’m pleased for him.
“The first goal he took really well. That was clinical and that’s why we signed him and the second is Dion in a nutshell, determination and pressure.
“Jon came on and he’s been outstanding so I’m delighted for him to get us a goal that moved us into ninth, which is pleasing.
“Seventy-three points was the target. That’s what we wanted and that’s what we tried to do.
“I’m pleased we managed to do it. Watching other teams celebrate promotion hurts a little bit but it give us motivation to make sure that’s us next season.”
While four successive victories and an unbeaten eight-game run weren’t enough to get Wanderers into the play-offs, the fans showed their appreciation for the Whites’ impressive efforts with a warm reception as the players and staff showed their own thanks in a lap of the pitch after the game.
And Evatt felt it was an apt way to end another big 12 months.
“The bigger picture here is what we’ve built off the pitch,” added the Wanderers’ boss.
“On the pitch we’re building all the time and progressing.
“The connection we’ve got with the fan-base and the work being done off the pitch by Sharon and the rest of the club are doing is phenomenal from where this club was three years ago.
“Huge credit to everyone. We can enjoy tonight and tomorrow (end-of-season awards) and celebrate again and then time to get our heads down and work hard, knowing what we need to achieve next season.”