One moment of his inspiration in the 53rd minute at the Riverside Stadium was enough to beat Chelsea, who gave Gianluca Vialli only his fourth start in 20 matches. Juninho, picking the ball up on halfway and beating two players, passed to Mikkel Beck and ran on to meet the cross with a diving header. The three points lift Boro out of the relegation places.
The defensive solidity of Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United did not bode well for the entertainment factor of their Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough. Surprise, surprise, it was a four-goal thriller. Lee Sharpe put the visitors ahead after 17 minutes but the Owls were level three minutes later when David Hirst headed in Benito Carbone's cross.
Parity lasted a minute. Des Walker, the Wednesday centre-back, was robbed by Brian Deane and his pass let in Rod Wallace whose shot went under Kevin Pressman. Six minutes into the second half, Carbone beat two defenders to provide Andy Booth with the simplest of chances to make it 2-2.
Dean Sturridge, the Derby County leading scorer, returned from a two- match suspension but it was another Ram back on duty, Robin van der Laan, who put them ahead against Tottenham Hotspur at the Baseball Ground. In the 10th minute, a half-clearance from a long throw-in fell to van der Laan and he scored from the edge of the penalty area. Twelve minutes later, Paul Trollope made it 2-0.
Spurs, with their customary crop of crocks, David Howells was the latest addition, pulled one back through Ronnie Rosenthal in 29 minutes and five minutes into the second half Jason Dozzell, who is to leave White Hart Lane at the end of the season, equalised. But two goals, by Sturridge (a deflected shot) and Ashley Ward (a tap in), in as many minutes gave the points to the Rams.
Following Tuesday night's supine performance in Monaco and subsequent exit from the Uefa Cup, Newcastle United go to Selhurst Park this afternoon with a place in next season's competition at the top of the agenda. Their hosts, Wimbledon, are six points behind but have similar ambitions. "I figure that we have to win six matches from our remaining nine games," the Dons' manager Joe Kinnear said. He will have to start without the suspended Vinnie Jones. Newcastle's absentees, however, are likely to be missed much more.
Alan Shearer is still recovering from his latest operation; while his fellow striker Les Ferdinand will test a hamstring injury.
"We won't be rushing anyone back," the Newcastle manager Kenny Dalglish said. "We don't want to have any adverse reaction." Good point. Ferdinand's previous comeback, 12 days ago at Liverpool, lasted just 11 minutes.Reuse content