Barnsley produced an encouraging performance in a 1-1 draw at Bolton Wanderers in the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final on Saturday afternoon.

Nicky Cadden opened the scoring midway through the second half but the hosts levelled within three minutes.

After a nervous start, Barnsley played well and had the better chances throughout.

The second leg is set to be played at Oakwell on Friday from 8pm.

Mads Andersen started after an injury scare, in place of Barry Cotter who dropped out of the squad, while Slobodan Tedic started in place of James Norwood.

The hosts were on top early on and missed several chances in the first 15 minutes.

Bolton’s George Johnston’s met a right-wing Aaron Morley free-kick five yards out in the first minute but diverted it wide of the bottom left corner.

Dion Charles was then left unmarked to meet a low right-wing cross by Elias Kachunga in the 11th minute but blazed over the bar ten yards out.

Johnston’s shot following a scramble from a corner was cleared almost on the line by Liam Kitching.

The visitors then started to find their rhythm, pressing the hosts intro errors and using the ball a lot better.

Luca Connell had Barnsley’s first shot on 19 minutes when his powerful but central 25-yard effort was spilled by the goalkeeper and cleared. Adam Phillips then shot over from 30 yards out.

Barnsley’s first big chance arrived after half an hour when, after a neat one two with Devante Cole, Tedic went through on the left but the angle was tight and goalkeeper James Trafford came out to make a good save.

Cole then volleyed wide on the left of the box after Tedic flicked on a Kitching throw-in. Cadden’s long-range shot was easily caught by Trafford.

In the second half, Cole headed well wide from a Jordan Williams cross after good passes by Phillips and Kane.

The breakthrough came on 64 minutes when a Phillips corner dropped in the box and Cole passed it to Cadden who took a touch and found the bottom right corner from 20 yards.

But the lead lasted just three minutes as Randell Williams beat Jordan Wiliams on the left and sent in a low cross which Harry Isted punched into Charles and the ball floated in.

Barnsley reacted well to the leveller, with Cadden winning the ball on the left and sending in a low cross which hit Tedic a few yards out with little time to react.

Bobby Thomas then had two big chances in a few seconds. Phillips' free-kick hit the wall and turned into a through ball for him but, one on one, he could not beat Trafford. The defender then headed a Phillips cross over.

Bolton had a chance to take the lead on 85 minutes when Cadden gave Conor Bradley too much space at the back post to bring down a left-wing Johnston cross and pass to Dan Nlundulu whose eight-yard shot was brilliantly blocked by Andersen.

Cadden sliced over a 15-yard effort in the 90th minute after another Phillips corner was half cleared.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Isted; B Thomas, Andersen, Kitching; Williams, Kane, Connell, Phillips, Cadden; Cole (Watters 82), Tedic (Norwood 82).

Unused: Collins, Russell, Benson, L Thomas, Larkeche.

Goals: Cadden 64.

Bolton (3-4-1-2): Trafford; Santos, Toal, Johnston; Bradley, Morley, Sheehan (Lee 65mins), Dempsey, R Williams; Kachunga (Nlundulu 65), Charles (Adeboyejo 78). Unused: John, MJ Williams,, Thomason, Jerome.

Goals: Charles 67.

  • 1:47pm
    Good afternoon and welcome to the Chronicle’s live text coverage of Barnsley’s play-off semi-first leg at Bolton Wanderers from 3pm.
  • 1:50pm
    Team news is due at 2pm. Barnsley were hopeful their captain Mads Andersen would be fit to play.
  • 2:00pm
    Barnsley: Isted; B Thomas, Andersen, Kitching; Williams, Kane, Connell, Phillips, Cadden; Cole, Tedic. Subs: Collins, Russell, Norwood, Benson, L Thomas, Larkeche, Watters.
  • 2:01pm
    So big news is Mads Andersen is fit and Tedic is preferred to Norwood up front
  • 2:05pm
    Bolton: Trafford; Santos, Toal, Johnston; Bradley, Morley, Sheehan, Dempsey, R Williams; Kachunga, Charles
  • 2:06pm
    Subs: John, MJ Williams, Nlundulu, Lee, Thomason, Adeboyejo, Jerome
  • 2:08pm
    The Reds completed their season with a 2-0 loss home to Peterborough on Sunday. That left them fourth in League One with 86 points. Bolton finished fifth on 81.
  • 2:08pm
    The first play-off leg is at the University of Bolton Stadium from 3pm with the second leg on Friday, May 19 at Oakwell from 8pm. The final is at Wembley on May 29 against the winners of Sheffield Wednesday and Peterborough United.
  • 2:12pm
    The only side in the top four divisions of English football to have conceded fewer home goals this season than Bolton this season – with 13 let in in 23 matches – are Manchester United with eight.
  • 2:14pm
    Bolton won at Wembley last month, 4-0 against League One champions Plymouth in the EFL Trophy final but Barnsley are standing in their way of a return.
  • 2:14pm
    Head coach Michael Duff said: “We’re on Sky, in front of big crowds, promotion on the line – these are the games that get your juices flowing and that’s why we do it.
  • 2:16pm
    “I have been looking forward to this for three weeks. We had a meeting at the start of the week and I said: ‘thank God it’s here, I have been waiting to present this.’ It was a presentation in pictures of what the players have achieved this season. Now we are all fully focused on two cup finals. We had a three in a 24 chance at the start of the season but now it’s one in four so we’ve doubled our odds.”
  • 2:18pm
    “We have reacted a lot better recently. We went 1-0 down against Peterborough and I thought we were dominant until we conceded a corner. We’ve been better in other games too. That’s the positive sign. In the early part of the season it looked like we were never going to get back in games after we conceded.
  • 2:19pm
    “It’s completely different in the play-offs because it’s a 180-minute game. “I don’t see the players giving in until the 190th or 200th minute or maybe even longer if it goes to extra-time. We will be fighting until the end.”
  • 2:21pm
    Bolton won 3-2 at Bristol Rovers to ensure they finished fifth. Duff said: “If you were going to describe them in a few words it would be that they want to dominate the ball and they are aggressive in their press. “They work it into good areas and don’t just toss it into the box. They are a good footballing team but you look at their defensive record and there’s obviously a structure and organisation as well. We’ll have to be clued in.”
  • 2:22pm
    Barnsley midfielder Luca Connell spent more than a decade in the Bolton youth system. He was booed off at Bolton earlier in the season by the home fans who felt he was time-wasting when taken off late on in the 0-0 draw. He told the Chronicle: “I don’t really know what to expect, to be honest. I thought I would get a nice reception last time and, to be fair, at the start it was. But I think, in the heat of the game, we all got carried away, maybe. “But it was fine and I look forward to going back there. There’s a lot of noise around ‘it’s Bolton and you used to play there’. But it’s just another two games and we’re looking forward to it.”
  • 2:25pm
    Connell added: “I was there since I was seven. I have got to thank them for everything they taught me. They helped me get to the stage I am now. “I made my debut when I was 17. “I have to be grateful for everyone at Bolton and the gaffer for trusting me when I was so young. “The money the club got for me helped them get out of some debt. I felt it was the best move for me at the time but it didn’t work as I wanted.”
  • 2:26pm
    There has been an edge to the meetings between these two teams this season. Former Bolton youngster Luca Connell was booed by tens of thousands of home fans for slowly coming off the pitch late on in the 0-0 league draw at October. Barnsley’s November FA Cup win was another tempestuous contest with Tom Edwards’ long throw towel ‘put in a puddle’ according to Duff. The two managers exchanged heated words, particularly after the cup game – with images going viral on Twitter of a furious Ian Evatt following Duff, shouting and wagging his finger at the back of the Reds head coach who walked away from him.
  • 2:30pm
    Duff said: “Sometimes it happens when teams play games so close together. The arguments on the sidelines are just two benches wanting to win – the same as the two teams. As long as it doesn’t spill over or cross the line, there is nothing in it. Ian is a competitive bloke, I am a competitive bloke. “We used to mark each other at corners, now we are two managers who want the best for their teams.”
  • 2:33pm
    Bolton have not been in the play-offs for 22 years, having been involved six times between 1990 and 2001. They reached the top flight via the play-off final in 1995, with a 4-3 extra-time thriller against Reading, and 2001 with a 3-0 victory over near neighbours Preston. They lost in the 2000 semi-final to Ipswich – who beat Barnsley in the final – and the 1999 final to Watford. They also lost the 1991 Third Division play-off final at Wembley to Tranmere, 1-0 in extra-time, having been beaten in the semi-final by Notts County a year earlier.
  • 2:36pm
    Duff won play-offs as a player with Cheltenham and Burnley then, when he returned to Cheltenham as manager, they lost a 2-0 first leg lead against Northampton. Duff told the Chronicle: “I had two (play-off campaigns) as a player and won them both. The one as a manager was slightly different because it was during lockdown. We had 12 training sessions to prepare.
  • 2:41pm
    “It was tough and I learned a lot from it. We hadn’t conceded three goals in a game all season and only conceded two four times. We won the first leg 2-0 and lost 3-0 at home. That’s what pressure can do and you can’t account for that. It was the season unravelling in front of your eyes. I learned you have to try to make a change as it’s happening. “I have had good and bad experiences of the play-offs.”
  • 2:42pm
    The referee for the first leg is due to be Andrew Kitchen – who has never done a Barnsley game before – while for the second leg it is Josh Smith who has taken charge of four Reds matches, the last being their 2-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday in September.
  • 2:44pm
    Duff said: “The main concern is we deliver a good performance and referees don’t get involved. “We’ve talked about referees too much this season because we have been on the wrong side of terrible terrible decisions. “I spoke to Mike Jones (EFL head of refereeing) and said we just want the best team to win. I got the party line which you would expect.”
  • 2:52pm
    Barnsley have won 13, drawn 14 and lost 18 of their 45 meetings with Bolton. Their last league win over the Trotters was in the Premier League in 1997 when Eric Tinkler and Georgi Hristov scored.
  • 2:54pm
    Since then, the only Reds wins in 16 meetings were in the FA Cup, in 1998 – thanks to a Darren Barnard free-kick at Oakwell – and earlier this season. That latest win was their only victory in ten attempts at a stadium they have visited under the names Reebok, Macron and, currently, University of Bolton.
  • 2:58pm
    The. players are out on the pitch
  • 3:01pm
  • 3:02pm
    Bolton win a free-kick after about 20. seconds on the right. Big atmosphere in here
  • 3:02pm
    Close for the hosts already. A. free-kick on the the is touched on by an attacker but drifts just wide of the left post
  • 3:04pm
    It was George Johnston who made contact with Aaron Morley's free-kick
  • 3:04pm
    Bolton have made a bright start and had most of the ball so far
  • 3:05pm
    Barnsley need to get. a foothold on this game. They have just strung a. few passes together Connell is taken out near halfway
  • 3:06pm
    First chance for a Bobby Thomas long throw
  • 3:06pm
    6 Long throw from the left headed out by Santos then Kane and Connell. both try to volley from 20 yards but kick each other
  • 3:07pm
    A better few minutes for the Reds
  • 3:08pm
    Good move Barnsley. Kane swaps passes with. Cole and finds Tedic who wins a corner on the left
  • 3:09pm
    8 Connell's left-wing corner is headed up by a defender then cleared by Randell Williams
  • 3:11pm
    Pretty even opening ten minutes. Bolton started. well and had a chance through Johnston but the Reds have settled since
  • 3:12pm
    11 Chance for Bolton. Kachunga's low cross from the right is met about 15. yards out by Dion Charles who blazes over
  • 3:13pm
    It was actually more like 12 yards. A big chance really
  • 3:16pm
    So it's been an even game overall in general play but Bolton will feel they should have at least scored one of their two good chances
  • 3:17pm
    Not much has happened in the few minutes since that Charles chance.But now Andersen's to concede a corner o n the right
  • 3:18pm
    17 Morley's corner from the right is. headed by Cole then Johnston's shot is blocked pretty much on the line by Kitching
  • 3:18pm
    Cole wins a free kick 25 yards out.
  • 3:20pm
    Barnsley's first shot is from Connell after a free-kick is touch to him about 25 yards out. It's powerful but too close to the goalkeeper who spills it then it is eventually cleared
  • 3:23pm
    23 Bolton win a another corner on the left
  • 3:24pm
    23 A left wing corner is punched out by Isted
  • 3:24pm
    Bolton have been the better side so far, attacking more often and just looking a bit more incisive
  • 3:24pm
    Bolton have been the better side so far, attacking more often and just looking a bit more incisive
  • 3:26pm
    Barnsley yet to really get into their rhythm but are battling hard
  • 3:28pm
    Bolton having another decent spell. They have had a lot of the ball and Barnsley struggling to keep hold of it
  • 3:29pm
    The Reds do look like they could cause some problems if they get the ball in the home box with the defence slow to clear a few times
  • 3:29pm
    Bobby Thomas' long throw is eventually cleared after being allowed to bounce. He will now take another
  • 3:30pm
    29 Phillips lets fly from 30 yards after Thomas' long throw is cleared. Hit well but over the bar
  • 3:30pm
    30 Big chance for the Reds. After nice interplay between the strikers, Tedic goes through on the left but the angle is tight and Trafford comes out to make a good save
  • 3:33pm
    This is a good spell for the visitors who now have a free-kick
  • 3:33pm
    This is a good spell for the visitors who now have a free-kick
  • 3:33pm
    Connell's free-kick is headed out to Phillips whose shot is blocked
  • 3:35pm
    Barnsley's gameplan working now. Their press is starting to force. Bolton to lose the ball at the back. The hosts have just put it out for a throw deep in their half
  • 3:36pm
    That throw leads to a chance for Devante Cole who fires wide on the turn about 12 yards out
  • 3:38pm
    Tedic flicked that. throw on for Cole. Those two are combining well when they get the ball which is happening more now
  • 3:39pm
    39 Aaron Morley's free-kick from the right is headed behind by Thomas for a corner on the left
  • 3:40pm
    39 Bolton's left wing corner is headed up by Kitching then well caught by Isted who is fouled in the process
  • 3:41pm
    A half of two halves so far. The hosts were on top for 20 minutes and missed some good chances but Barnsley have come back into it well and come close a few times themselves. Decent contest
  • 3:42pm
    Cadden wins a. corner on the left after good work by Phillips and Kane
  • 3:42pm
    Connell goes over to take. Some boos for the former Bolton man
  • 3:43pm
    43 Connell's left wing corner is cleared. Cadden collects and is shot is straight at Trafford from 25 yards
  • 3:44pm
    Decent opening again for the Reds but Kane overhits a simple pass for Connell on the left of the box
  • 3:45pm
    Charging run from Thomas down right all the. way to the byline is the box but he can't get enough on the cross which is cleared
  • 3:46pm
    Williams tries to play Tedic in on the right of the box but he cannot quite bring it under control
  • 3:46pm
    All Barnsley for about 20 minutes really
  • 3:47pm
    HALF-TIME: Bolton 0, Barnsley 0.
  • 4:03pm
  • 4:04pm
    Will Barnsley have to weather another storm of Bolton pressure like in the first half or will the Reds continue their momentum from before the break?
  • 4:04pm
    Will Barnsley have to weather another storm of Bolton pressure like in the first half or will the Reds continue their momentum from before the break?
  • 4:05pm
    Connell loses the ball near halfway, he thought he was fouled, but Bolton pass into the box and Thomas does well to intercept
  • 4:07pm
    49 Nice move by the Reds. Good passes by Kane and Phillips put Williams in space on the right and his cross his headed by Cole but it's well well wide
  • 4:08pm
    Connell has had to come here. Not sure what the delay is. It looked like he lost his shinpad at first
  • 4:09pm
    Connell concedes a free-kick on the left wing
  • 4:09pm
    Connell concedes a free-kick on the left wing
  • 4:09pm
    51 Aaron Morley's free-kick from the left goes over everyone and bounces just wide of the bottom right corner
  • 4:10pm
    Teasing cross from the right missed by both Tedic and Cole lunging in.
  • 4:12pm
    Barnsley starting to find openings when they are clever. Good pass by Connell into Kane and he tries to spread it out to the left to Cadden but slightly underhit and Bradley gets a good tackle in
  • 4:13pm
    A comfortable first ten minutes of this second half for the Reds defence. At the other end Cole headed wide. Pretty quiet after the break
  • 4:14pm
    When will Barnsley look to make changes? They have the likes of Benson, Luke Thomas , Watters and Norwood to come on. I reckon Duff is pretty happy with what he is seeing right now so and will leave it another ten minutes or so
  • 4:16pm
    Home fans started to get frustrated. They react angrily to a loose Morley pass on the attack. Cole leads the counter and wins a free-kick
  • 4:17pm
    59 Williams' cross collected at back post on left by Kitching whose cross is headed back across goal by Phillips but. cleared
  • 4:17pm
    Tedic and Santos down after a clash of heads
  • 4:18pm
    Both players receiving treatment. Looked a nasty one
  • 4:19pm
    Both Tedic and Santos now back in action
  • 4:20pm
    Barnsley win a corner on the right
  • 4:21pm
    Nicky Cadden breaks the deadlock!
  • 4:22pm
    A Phillips corner drops in the box, Cole passes it to Cadden who takes a touch and finds the bottom right corner from 20 yards
  • 4:23pm
    That is a deserved goal overall
  • 4:25pm
    Dion Charles levels within a few minutes
  • 4:27pm
    Randell William crosses from the left. Isted punches it and it hits the sliding Charles then floats in
  • 4:27pm
    The home crowd is whipped up now. Bolton hadn't threatened in this game for a long time
  • 4:28pm
    Cadden wins the ball on the left and whips in a low. cross which just hits Tedic yards out and bounces clear. No time to react
  • 4:31pm
    Thomas back involved
  • 4:34pm
    Williams does really well to win a corner on the right
  • 4:35pm
    77 Connell's right wing corner is played to the edge of the box where Phillips shoots over
  • 4:36pm
    Ex-Red Adeboyejo comes on for scorer Charles
  • 4:37pm
    79 Bolton long throw on the left. Headed out by Tedic
  • 4:37pm
    Into the 80th minute and Barnsley are about to make their first change. Watters warming up
  • 4:39pm
    Watters and Norwood on for Tedic and Cole, who have both played well overall but missed a couple of half-chances
  • 4:41pm
    B Thomas concedes a corner on the left
  • 4:41pm
    83 Randell Williams' left wing corner is headed out by Thomas
  • 4:43pm
    Bolton fans up from their seats cheering as Dan Nlundulu shoots from about eight yards out after a pass on the left, but Mads Andersen makes a huge sliding block. Class defending by the skipper
  • 4:46pm
    88 Connell corner on the right. Dropped by the goalkeeper then cleared to Cadden whose cross is headed behind by Santos for another. corner
  • 4:47pm
    89 Connell corner on the left. Touched by the goalkeeper then recycled and Cadden cross blocked
  • 4:47pm
    Barnsley win another corner. They are finishing strongly
  • 4:48pm
    90 Phillips' right wing corner is headed out to Cadden who slices over 15 yards out
  • 4:48pm
    Six added minutes
  • 4:50pm
    This would be a decent result for the Reds but can they pinch a winner? They probably deserve to on the balance of play
  • 4:53pm
    Thomas to take a long throw in the 96th minute
  • 4:54pm
    90+6 Thomas' long throw from the left is headed out
  • 4:54pm
    FULL-TIME: Bolton 1, Barnsley 1.