Michael Duff was 'really pleased' with Barnsley’s performance in their 1-1 first leg play-off draw at Bolton Wanderers but was disappointed not to take a lead back to Oakwell for Friday’s second leg.
The Reds took the lead through Nicky Cadden but conceded soon after, with the visitors playing the better overall and having more chances.
Duff told the Chronicle: “I think we did enough to win. Their goal has come from nothing. It was a disciplined performance against a very good team. We kept our shape and structure really well. I can’t remember them having many chances, and we had some good chances – their ‘keeper has made some good saves.
“I was really pleased with the performance and there’s a tinge of disappointment that we didn’t quite do enough to shade it. It was two good teams going at it properly and a draw keeps it interesting.”
Some questioned whether Barnsley had lost momentum after collecting just a point from the final three league games. Duff said: “The first goal we conceded last week was because Peterborough’s midfielders ran past our midfielders. That was never going to happen today. We got a little bit sloppy in the last few weeks but they know their jobs. I trust the players. There was outside noise, people talking about momentum. I look at it the other way. If we kept winning and still finished fourth, what are the odds you keep winning in the play-offs? I trust the players to deliver and they struck to their task on a hot day against a good team who moved the ball really well. I don’t imagine there are many games Bolton have been limited to that many chances.”
Goalkeeper Harry Isted punched a Randell Williams cross into Dion Charles for the equaliser.
Duff said: “It was good wing play from Williams but it’s a cross that has gone into Harry and he’s spilt it. But even then we had chances to go on and win it.”
Duff chose Slobodan Tedic up front instead of James Norwood. He said: “He holds the ball up really well. They are aggressive in their press and he’s the best we have with his back to goal. I thought his performance was absolutely outstanding. Not just him but both strikers - not just with the ball but their discipline without the ball was really good as well.”
Duff was pleased to have captain Mads Andersen back after an injury scare.
“Any team in the league would miss a player of his quality. He was outstanding today.”
Cadden told the Chronicle: “I am delighted to get the goal but I think the team played well today and we’re unlucky not to come away with an advantage. I thought we were really good. It was near enough a packed house. We knew they would come out of the traps in the first ten or 15 minutes. But once we weathered that storm I thought we were in control.”