FOOTBALL: Phillips leaves Southampton little consolation

Sunderland 2 Southampton 0

KEVIN PHILLIPS has become accustomed to harsh assessments. In his time as an apprentice at Southampton he was told that he was too small to be a striker and then, after converting to right-back, that he was not good enough to make the grade.

On Saturday evening it was Phillips himself who was lamenting his shortcomings. "To miss from 12 yards is bitterly disappointing," he said. "I know I shouldn't be too hard on myself because I've got two goals, but I'll be sitting tonight thinking I should have had a hat-trick."

It was of little comfort to Southampton that the only consolation they could take from their afternoon's toil at the Stadium of Light was preventing a player that they threw on to the football scrapheap, who left The Dell for a working life driving fork lift trucks, from reaching the 20-goals mark for the Premiership season with 20 matches still to play.

Phillips has come a long way in the eight years since he was shown the door at The Dell. True to the pragmatic nature that has helped him get this far, though, he refuses to revise the target he set himself when he stepped up into the big league in August.

"It's still to get 20 goals," he insisted, even though the brace he bagged on Saturday has left him just a single strike short of becoming the first Sunderland player to score that number in a top flight season since Neil Martin in the 1966-67 campaign.

Barring injury, there is no reason to suspect that the goals will dry up for the hyperactive little striker - especially now that Peter Reid, the Sunderland manager, has provided him with another line of supply.

It promises to be a profitable line, too. Coming off the bench in the 87th minute, Kevin Kilbane's first touch as a Premiership player was to deliver the left-wing cross Niall Quinn hooked back at the far post for Phillips to head his second goal.

At pounds 2.5m, the price it took West Bromwich Albion to part with him, Kilbane looks like another shrewd investment by Reid, who prised Phillips from Watford for only pounds 350,000 two and a half years ago.

The rejected Saint now has 79 goals as a Sunderland player. The 78th arrived after 30 minutes on Saturday, courtesy of a Michael Gray free- kick and another Quinn knockdown. The 79th would have come from the penalty spot eight minutes from time, after Phillips had been tripped by Claus Lundekvam, but Neil Moss - a replacement for Paul Jones when the first- choice Southampton goalkeeper suffered a facial injury in attempting to stop the first goal - dived to his right to save the England striker's kick.

With 37 points in the bag before Christmas, the prospect of European football coming to Sunderland for the first time since Vasas Budapest and Sporting Lisbon visited Roker Park in the Cup-Winners' Cup 27 years ago is becoming an increasingly realistic possibility. Not that Reid is prepared to concede as much.

"I might go to France and watch a game in January," he said. "That's the only way I'm going to mention Europe."

Goals: Phillips (30) 1-0; Phillips (90) 2-0.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Sorensen; Makin, Bould, Butler, Gray; Summerbee, McCann, Roy (Williams, 64), Schwarz (Kilbane, 87); Quinn, Phillips. Substitutes not used: Marriott (gk), Rae, Reddy.

Southampton (4-5-1): Jones (Moss, 33); Tessem (Beattie, 50), Lundekvam, Richards, Benali; Ripley (Le Tissier, 66), Dodd, Kachloul, Soltvedt, Oakley; Pahars. Substitutes not used: Davies, Boa Morte.

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).

Bookings: Sunderland: Makin. Southampton: Kachloul, Benali, Beattie, Le Tissier.

Man of the match: Phillips.

Attendance: 40,860.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent