Barnsley’s dream trip to Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final is still very much on after the northern final first leg ended 1-1.
The Reds now face a 90-minute shoot-out for glory on February 2 at Fleetwood after sub Ashley Fletcher (20) scored on his debut, just days after joining from Manchester United on loan.
With a big crowd watching thanks to match tickets being priced at just a fiver, it proved to be an enterprising, yet goalless first half.
Fleetwood probably came closest to breaking the deadlock, particularly when Antoni Sarcevic raced clear of the Reds’ back-line, only to then fire wide.
Adam Davies also had to be at his superb best to palm away a superbly-hit shot from Ashley Hunter.
Early on Sarcevic had to be alert to hack Conor Hourihane’s effort off the line, while the recalled Ryan Williams ought to have done better when he side-footed straight at ‘keeper Chris Maxwell from 12 yards.
Fleetwood drew first blood in the tie bang on the hour mark.
Ashley Hunter crossed in from the left and as ‘keeper Adam Davies and Kevin Long went for the ball on the six-yard line, it squirmed under the pair of them and rolled agonisingly over the line.
Hourihane lashed a shot disappointingly wide as the Reds sought an immediate response, but he Cod Army held out and continued to look a threat on the break.
The Reds did haul themselves back in the 74th minute when Fletcher pounced superbly to head home Adam Hammill’s off the underside of the crossbar.
Jamie Proctor and Amari’i Bell came close to nicking a dramatic late second goal for Fleetwood late on.
Barnsley (4-4-1-1): Davies; Wabara, Mawson, Long, A White; R Williams, Abbott, Hourihane, Hammill; Isgrove; Winnall. Subs: Townsend, Bree, Roberts Fletcher, Templeton.
Fleetwood Town (4-3-3): Maxwell; McLaughlin, Pond, Davis, Bell; Sarcevic, Jonsson, Ryan; Proctor, Grant, Hunter.
Subs: Jordan, Nirennold, Forbes, Haughton, Gogic.
Referee: Fred Graham (Essex).