Football: Phillips' hat-trick demolishes Derby

Derby 0 Sunderland 5 McCann 24, Phillips 42, 52, 85, Quinn 55 Half-time: 0-2 Attendance: 28,264

SO THIS IS the much-vaunted Premiership. Sunderland must be wondering what all the fuss was about after brushing aside inept opposition in the manner that became second nature to them down among the minnows of the Nationwide League last season.

Any concerns after a 4-0 mauling at Chelsea on the opening day that they would not be able to stand the pace had already been eased by victories against the likes of Watford and Leicester. Here they found confirmation that Derby County, top 10 material for the past two years, must now be ranked among the third of the three different tiers that make up what some still imagine to be the strongest league in the world.

Kevin Phillips, such a prolific goalscorer at the lower level, put to shame anyone who had doubted his genuine ability with a hat-trick that emptied the ground long before the end. The remaining home supporters could not even be bothered to boo, as they had done at half-time with their side 2-0 down.

"People had a right to ask if he'd be good enough at this level, because he'd never played there," Sunderland's manager, Peter Reid, said charitably. "But everyone at this club knew he'd score goals." And so he has, with seven already this season.

Reid, also learning fast, had taken the rotation system to its ultimate in midweek, fielding 11 reserves for the Worthington Cup tie against Walsall (which was won 3-2), then restoring the first team yesterday. They seemed to appreciate the rest.

Derby's Jim Smith, however, must wonder where to turn next. A defence bereft of Igor Stimac, who looks like being an excellent signing for West Ham, could not cope on the ground or in the air; the midfield, despite young Seth Johnson's promise, barely created anything; and the attack had little more to offer than an occasional turn of pace from the Argentine Esteban Fuertes.

Fuertes, presented with possession by Nicky Summerbee early on, had the home side's only sniff of a chance in the first hour. He forced Thomas Soren-sen to fall at his feet and concede a corner, which Paul Butler headed out from under the bar.

Summerbee soon recovered from his error to establish a mastery over the Derby wing-back Stefan Schnoor that delivered a goal after 24 minutes. Having been refused a penalty after an unwise challenge by the German, Summerbee won a free-kick further out on the right, which he hoisted towards Niall Quinn. The home defence were unable to clear and after a messy scrimmage Gavin McCann shot low into the corner of the net. The backline was at fault again just before half-time, allowing Michael Gray to collect a return pass in space from Stefan Schwarz as they waited in vain for an offside decision. Gray's cross gave Phillips a tap-in.

Smith reacted at the interval by withdrawing Schnoor and Mikkel Beck, only to suffer a double blow with two more goals conceded inside 10 minutes. Gray created each of them.

First he launched a diagonal cross that Horacio Carbonari obligingly headed across his own penalty area for Phillips to volley in. Three minutes later, just after Stefano Eranio had pulled up lame, the goalkeeper Russell Hoult misjudged Gray's floated free-kick and Quinn headed over him for the fourth.

One disgruntled home supporter made his feelings known with a foray on to the pitch, which at least guaranteed that he did not have to suffer the sight of Alex Rae opening up the Derby defence again for Phillips to complete his hat-trick.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss