Thomas Sorensen's brilliant memories of the night he out-smarted Alan Shearer in Sunderland's historic derby day victory
‘A rare and extremely costly failure’.
That’s how one national newspaper recalls Alan Shearer’s dramatic penalty miss which, twenty years on, still provides happy memories for Sunderland fans.
The Black Cats were 2-1 up when a clumsy foul from Niall Quinn, who had previously netted to put his side in front, handed Shearer an opportunity to level from the spot with just eight minutes remaining.
Usually prolific, the Newcastle United star was denied as Thomas Sorensen sprung to his left to make a save that manager Peter Reid described as ‘magnificent’ – and helped his side to an important derby day triumph.
“He's normally deadly,' said the Sunderland manager at the time.
“I thought we were heading for an exciting 10 minutes at the end, but Thomas pulled off a magnificent save. He showed he's a top-class keeper.”
It’s a save that Sorensen still remembers fondly.
“In the moment, it’s obviously part of the game,” he said, speaking to Optus Sports’ GegenPod.
“It came late. Niall Quinn had worked his way back into our box and bundled one of the Newcastle players, I can’t remember who, over.
“There were about seven or eight minutes left and we were 2-1 up.
“Shearer was well-known as a great penalty taker and I probably wasn’t given much chance of saving it.
“I tried to outsmart him and it worked.”
Not that the significance of his stop was realised by the Dane at the time.
“It’s funny in football - you can play for ten years and not be remembered or play for ten seconds and be remembered forever. That’s the game.
“Certainly, that night has only grown in significance.
“In the game and after the game we were happy that we had won, but it very slowly hit me that it was a big moment for the Sunderland fans - because it was Shearer, because we won, and because we were back in the Premier League.
“That wrote it into the history books, and that’s a nice thing to have twenty years on.”