Retro SAFC: 1999 – Trick and a treat as Quinn inspires Sunderland success against Spurs

Niall Quinn drives in an unstoppable right-foot volley to set Sunderland up for their 2-1 win over Spurs in 1999
Niall Quinn drives in an unstoppable right-foot volley to set Sunderland up for their 2-1 win over Spurs in 1999
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Sunderland 2 Tottenham 1 – October 31, 1999: Niall Quinn was Sunderland’s trick and treat man in this Halloween thriller at the Stadium of Light.

Two crackers from Quinny, and both with his feet not his head, gave Peter Reid’s high-fliers the points.

Nicky Summerbee and Kevin Phillips watch as Niall Quinn's volley hits the back of the net

Nicky Summerbee and Kevin Phillips watch as Niall Quinn's volley hits the back of the net

But they had to defend resolutely to hold on to the victory after a surprisingly flat Spurs side finally came to life in the last half hour.

The Sunderland manager was forced into a midfield change for the visit of George Graham’s side.

Eric Roy made his first Premiership start in the place of Alex Rae.

Spurs started the stronger and for a while it looked like Steffen Iversen had come back for a repeat of the hattrick he registered the last time his side was on Wearside.

Niall Quinn celebrates wildly after his magnificent opener against Spurs in 1999

Niall Quinn celebrates wildly after his magnificent opener against Spurs in 1999

Nicky Summerbee had lost possession to Mauricio Taricco in the fourth minute who in turn fed David Ginola and the Frenchman found Iversen’s run into the area, but Thomas Sorensen pulled off a terrific save.

Kevin Phillips thought he should have had a penalty after five minutes.

Ramon Vega appeared to tug the striker’s shorts as he looked set to race clear on goal.

Referee Mike Riley saw nothing wrong and waved on play.

Quinn races away to savour the moment of his cracking strike

Quinn races away to savour the moment of his cracking strike

The visitors went straight up the other end and as Riley cast aside Sunderland’s appeals, Iversen was closing down on Sorensen, but the Dane saved his shot again.

Chris Makin smothered the threat of Ginola, Paul Butler wafted aside anything Tottenham could offer and Gavin McCann, in particular, stood out in the midfield.

Up stepped Quinn in the 10th minute to start and finish the move that gave Sunderland the opening goal.

Quinn was the first to a Sorensen kick upfield and he nodded down to Phillips, who brought Roy into play.

Roy then slid a ball into the path of Michael Gray and his cross caught Sol Campbell woefully out of position with a despairing leap.

Quinn still had work to do and he controlled it instantly before lashing an unstoppable right-foot volley past Ian Walker.

If that strike was outstanding, his next was out of this world.

Full of confidence now, the Irishman chested down a McCann chip into the box before unleashing an instant volley.

The speed of it all left Walker powerless and the ball didn’t touch the ground until it landed in the back of the net.

Quinn again tested Walker with a header from Summerbee’s corner, but the Spurs goalkeeper acted comfortably.

Remarkably, goal machine Phillips hadn’t had much of a sniff, but when Makin cleared, the Sunderland striker pulled it down with a tremendous first touch before his shot was well saved by Walker.

It would be the first and last contribution to the game in an attacking sense as Phillips suffered an injury.

Racing onto a McCann pass, the striker collided with Walker five yards outside the Spurs penalty area and went down clutching his right foot.

He resumed after some treatment, but hobbled his way through the remainder of the half.

A clash on the hour with Campbell however ended his involvement in the game.

The big Spurs defender was lucky not to be booked after catching Phillips late and it was soon clear that the striker would not continue.

With a Red and White Army ovation ringing in his ears, Phillips was stretchered from the scene holding his right knee and Danny Dichio was brought into the action.

A defensive lapse by Sunderland gave the visitors hope in the 64th minute when Vega caught out Steve Bould and raced into the box after the Sunderland man slipped in trying to turn.

Gray desperately tried to make up ground, but only Paul Butler was anywhere near as Vega squared for Iversen to find the net.

Spurs should have equalised six minutes later.

Right-back Stephen Carr apparently found it easier hitting the target from 30 yards rather than six.

Vega slid in at the far post in a bid to spare Carr’s blushes, but just failed to connect.

Spurs continued to press, and went close only for Campbell to put a shot over the bar.

But Sunderland held firm and Tottenham could not find a way through.

Another three points in the bag, another entertaining chapter written in an increasingly unlikely Sunderland story.

Peter Reid said after the game “This is a new stadium, new Sunderland, and the walls of fortress Stadium of Light are proving a mighty obstacle for visiting invaders.”

Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Gray, Bould, Butler, Summerbee (Williams), Roy, Schwarz, Quinn, Phillips (Dichio), McCann. Subs: Marriott, Rae

Tottenham: Walker, Carr, Taricco, Freund, Campbell, Iversen, Ginola (Dominguez), Vega, Leonhardsen (Sherwood), Clements, Piercy (Perry). Subs: Baardsen, Fox.

Referee: Mike Riley (Leeds)

Attendance: 41,904


* Newcastle United and Arsenal fought out a 0-0 draw at Highbury.

This was the Tynesiders’ first away point of the season at the seventh attempt, and their first clean sheet on their travels for more than eight months.

Boss Bobby Robson said this was “a massive point” to gain from an Arsenal side in great form which included the impressive Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars and Patrick Vieira.

* Middlesbrough came from behind to beat Everton 2-1 at the Riverside Stadium.

The win elevated them up to sixth in the league. Kevin Campbell put Everton ahead in four minutes when a corner wasn’t cleared by the Boro defence and Campbell poked home from six yards.

Boro rallied and equalised when goal-shy Christian Ziege curled in a beautiful free-kick from 25 yards.

Later, Brian Deane got on the end of a Phil Stamp cross to nod home and claim the points for the Teessiders.


TV: Walking with Dinosaurs, Grafters, Dharma and Greg, One Foot in the Grave, The Fast Show, The Jerry Springer Show, Michael Pailn’s Hemingway Adventure, Fifteen-to-One, Clive Anderson All Talk, Naked Planet.

MUSIC: No.1 single: Christina Aguilera – Genie In A Bottle; Others: Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!, Ann Lee – 2 Times, Westlife – Flying Without Wings, ATB – Don’t Stop, Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee), Steps – After The Love Has Gone, Macy Gray – I Try, R Kelly – If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time, B*Witched – Jesse Hold On, Destiny’s Child – Bug A Boo.

FILMS: The Blair Witch Project, American Pie, East is East, Runaway Bride, Bowfinger, Star Wars Episode One The Phantom Menace, The Sixth Sense, Doctor Dolittle, Deep Blue Sea, Out of Towners, Fight Club.