Football: Quinn's double lifts gloom of Phillips injury

Sunderland 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1; Another win lifts Sunderland to third in the Premiership
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The Independent Online
IT WAS another momentous match for Sunderland. Roared on by a record 41,904 crowd in the Stadium of Light, the Wearsiders recorded their 100th league victory under Peter Reid's stewardship.

In doing so, courtesy of a Niall Quinn brace, Reid's emerging force moved back to third place in the Premiership, level on points with Manchester United. It was a victory achieved at a cost, however.

Kevin Phillips was carried from the field on the hour mark and, while the extent of the damage he suffered in a robust challenge from behind by Sol Campbell was not immediately evident, it was serious enough for Reid to book a hospital check this morning for his main striker.

"It's his right foot that's causing us concern," Reid said last night. "It's sore and bruised but I can't speculate. He's booked in for a scan at 9am. We'll know better then."

The prognosis will be eagerly awaited by Kevin Keegan, though Reid, with less striking talent at his disposal, has reason to show greater concern - Phillips has averaged a goal a game 13 matches into his Premiership career.

It was Quinn who assumed the mantle of goalscoring match-winner instead though, in Thomas Sorensen, Sunderland had a match-saver too.

Twice in the opening five minutes, Steffen Iversen found himself with only Sunderland's last line of defence to beat. That only, however, happens to be a rather big one.

Sorensen, in line to make his international debut for Denmark as a stand- in for the injured Peter Schmeichel in Israel on 13 November, has conceded fewer goals per game than any goalkeeper in Sunderland's 110-year history.

Sorensen's saves were impressive, though admittedly the finishing was altogether more clinical at the other end, where Quinn buried his two chances in the blink of an eye.

The first came via Michael Gray's deep cross from the left in the 10th minute and courtesy of the normally statuesque Sol Campbell, whose inexplicable failure to make an aerial challenge allowed Quinn to rifle home a low right-foot shot.

The Irishman's second finish, 12 minutes later, was even sweeter. Chesting down Gavin McCann's clipped ball in from the right, he fired home a first- time volley from 15 yards. It took Quinn's goalscoring tally for the season to five and brought Tottenham's assistant manager to the touchline, George Graham presumably having muttered the words: "Houston, we have a problem."

In pushing the robust Ramon Vega into attack, having withdrawn both the lightweight John Piercy and the lethargic David Ginola at half-time, Tottenham's management team eventually succeeded in effecting a turning of the tide.

With 64 minutes on the clock, Oyvind Leonhardsen released Vega on the right and the Swiss rolled the ball towards the penalty spot for Iversen to score with a side-footed shot.

It was only the third goal Sunderland had conceded at home in the Premiership and it was very nearly followed by a fourth in the 70th minute, Stephen Carr sending a shot fizzing across goal.

There was another scare for Reid's rattled team 10 minutes later, Campbell ballooning the ball over the bar from fully three yards. But Sunderland held out for another three points, leaving Graham looking for a crumb of consolation. "It was nice to see the home team hanging on," he said - through gritted teeth, of course.

Goals: Quinn (10) 1-0; Quinn (22) 2-0; Iversen (64) 2-1.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Sorensen; Makin, Bould, Butler, Gray; Summerbee (Williams, 87), McCann, Roy (Ball, 72), Schwarz; Phillips (Dichio, 61), Quinn. Substitutes not used: Marriott (gk), Rae.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Taricco; Leonhardsen (Sherwood, 78), Clemence, Freund, Ginola (Dominguez, h-t); Piercy (Perry, h-t), Iversen. Substitutes not used: Baardsen (gk), Fox.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds).

Bookings: Tottenham Hotspur Taricco, Campbell, Iversen.

Man of the match: Quinn.

Attendance: 41,904.

More football, pages 8, 9 and 10