Chelsea will host Aston Villa in round four after Joe Cole marked his first competitive start since the World Cup with their opening goal in their 2-0 win against Blackburn.

Cole was back in the starting line-up after recovering from a knee injury and he showed that his knack for goal has not vanished by converting Salomon Kalou’s pass in the 53rd minute. Kalou added a late second goal.

Birmingham City also face a daunting tie in the last 16 as they host Liverpool, who won 4-3 against Reading at Anfield. The Reds led 3-0 and 4-1 yet were hanging on in the closing minutes.

Robbie Fowler netted the opening goal in the 44th minute and John Arne Riise doubled Liverpool’s lead before half-time.

Gabriel Paletta headed the third in the 50th minute before Andre Bikey opened Reading’s account 15 minutes from time.

Peter Crouch restored Liverpool’s three-goal advantage two minutes later, but in the 81st minute Leroy Lita struck again for Reading. Shane Long made it 4-3 with a close-range header but Reading could not find a fourth goal.

Holders Manchester United survived a scare against Crewe, winning 2-1 after extra-time at Gresty Road. Sir Alex Ferguson fielded a weakened team and Alan Smith made his first senior start of the season, just over nine months since fracturing his leg and breaking an ankle.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fired United in front after 26 minutes but Luke Varney drilled a shot through Tomasz Kuszczak to draw Crewe level in the 73rd minute. With two minutes of the additional half-hour remaining, United substitute Kieran Lee rifled home the winning goal.

MK Dons dominated the first half against Totenham but found themselves 2-0 down after goals from Mido and Jermain Defoe, who each found the net again after the break. Robbie Keane also got in on the act.

Charlton beat Bolton at The Valley for the second time this season. Marcus Bent netted the only goal after 17 minutes with a header from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s cross.

Giuseppe Rossi hit his first goal for Newcastle as they beat Portsmouth 3-0 . The Italian striker, who joined on loan from Manchester United in August, scored three minutes after half-time. Nolberto Solano fired a second five minutes later and grabbed his second goal in the last minute.

This season’s Carling Cup final will be staged at the Millennium Stadium on February 25.

Fourth round draw:
Notts County v Wycombe Wanderers
Tottenham Hotspur v Port Vale
Birmingham City v Liverpool
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Watford v Newcastle United
Chesterfield v Charlton Athletic
Southend United v Manchester United
Everton v Arsenal
* To be played November 7-8.