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 Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 22:13 GMT
Cole double downs Wigan
Blackburn striker Andy Cole celebrates scoring
Cole at the double for Blackburn
Wigan 0-2 Blackburn

A double by Blackburn striker Andy Cole shattered Wigan's Worthington Cup at the JJB Stadium.

Cole's fine double proved enough to break the hearts of the Second Division side.

But only after Rovers had emerged unscathed from a spirited second half fightback.

Wigan poured forward in the later stages as they strove to cancel out Cole's clinical 16th-minute opener.

Brad Friedel made fine saves from Gary Teale and Neil Roberts while Stig Inge Bjornebye was forced to clear a deflected corner off his own line.

It all proved too much for Rovers boss Graeme Souness, who was sent to the stands in the 56th minute following a heated touchline exchange with fourth official Matt Messias.

But Rovers' rearguard for once held firm under pressure and Cole sealed his side's path into the last four 10 minutes from time.

He raced onto David Thompson's precise through ball and fired past John Filan.

Nathan Ellington looked to continue his cup exploits and made a lively start, cueing up a long-range chance for Tony Dinning then bustling past Craig Short before being ruled offside.

Thompson should have put Rovers ahead when he was put through by Lucas Neill but shot across the face of goal.

Graeme Souness is sent to the stands by referee Andy D'Urso
Souness sees red

Cole made up for an ealier miss when he raced onto a great Tugay through ball and slammed a fine shot past Filan from 10 yards.

Jason Jarrett's hesitation in his own half should have cost Wigan in the 28th minute when his poor attempted pass sent Dwight Yorke momentarily clear.

But the alert Jason De Vos got back and teamed up with the onrushing Filan to force Yorke wide and bundle away the danger.

Keith Gillespie should have made Rovers safe in the 51st minute when he was sent clear by Yorke but shot across the face of goal.

Substitute Teale - who had replaced Peter Kennedy moments earlier - almost became the hero with a super swerving shot from 25 yards which Friedel brilliantly turned around the post.

Cole raced completely clear but saw his shot blocked by an alert Filan before his second strike which ended the cup dream of the Wigan crowd.

Wigan: Filan, Eaden, Jackson, De Vos, Baines, Green (Flynn 72), Dinning, Jarrett, Kennedy (Teale 62), Roberts, Ellington.
Subs Not Used: Beasant, Mitchell, Breckin.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Short, Taylor, Bjornebye (Johansson 82), Gillespie, Thompson, Tugay, Flitcroft, Cole (Jansen 84), Yorke (Ostenstad 83).
Subs Not Used: Kelly, Danns.

Booked: Flitcroft.

Attendance: 16,922

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).

 BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"Cole's brace ended giantkilling Wigan's run"
 Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"Wigan never gave up"

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