Football: Cole carries on regardless

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The Independent Online
Barnsley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Newcastle United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

(Newcastle win 3-1 on aggregate)

FOR ALL the controversy surrounding his fitness or otherwise to play for England, Andy Cole's eye for goals retains its healthy sparkle.

The prolific striker's 12th of the season eased Newcastle's passage into the third round of the Coca-Cola Cup against a Barnsley side whose bright performance belied their lowly position in the First Division, but who ultimately lacked the class to resist the continuing march of the Premiership leaders.

Cole's injured shin troubles him so much that he cannot train, but he has yet to miss a competitive match and Kevin Keegan's decision to start him again last night was rewarded four minutes from half-time. A rapid move down the right ended with Robert Lee crossing into a crowded penalty area and Cole firing past David Watson's right hand.

Barnsley might have been overwhelmed in the second half when Newcastle noticeably raised the tempo, but a much wider margin would have been unfair on Danny Wilson's team whose adventurous formation, with both full-backs licensed to roam forward, contributed significantly to some free- flowing entertainment.

The Yorkshire side, beaten by a goal five minutes from time in the first leg, ought to have levelled the aggregate score in the eighth minute when Pavel Srnicek failed to hold Gerry Taggart's header, only for Andy Payton to scoop the ball over the crossbar from six yards.

Watson produced a marvellous save to deny Lee in the first minute of the second half and again, almost in the last, when he kept out substitute Alex Mathie and Lee with a magnificent double stop.

Barnsley (5-2-3): D Watson; Eaden, Davis, Fleming (Liddell, 68), Taggart, Bishop; Redfearn, Wilson; Payton, O'Connell, Jackson (Rammell, h-t). Substitute not used: Butler (gk).

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Srnicek; Hottiger, Peacock, Howey, Beresford; Lee, Clark, Albert, Sellars; Cole, Kitson (Mathie, 84). Substitutes not used: S Watson, Hooper (gk).

Referee: K Lynch (Knaresborough).