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Wednesday, August 25, 1999 Published at 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK

Gullit on ropes after derby defeat

Newcastle's Jamie McClen holds off Michael Gray's challenge

Newcastle 1-2 Sunderland

The knives are out for Newcastle manager Ruud Gullit after his side lost to arch rivals Sunderland in the Tyne and Wear derby.

The BBC's David Oates: "All the bolts hit Newcastle United"
Kevin Phillips gave the visitors victory with a superb goal 15 minutes from time, after Newcastle had taken the lead in a match played out in atrocious weather conditions.

The result is likely to have massive significance for Gullit's future.

Newcastle now have just one point from their first five matches and have squandered a lead in four games in a row.

And Gullit, who took the controversial step of leaving star striker Alan Shearer on the bench, faces a huge struggle to hang onto his job.

Fans' fury

The final whistle was greeted by boos around St James' Park as the humiliation of losing at home to their newly-promoted neighbours began to sink in among the Magpies faithful.

[ image: Ruud Gullit watches anxiously from the dug-out as Newcastle go down]
Ruud Gullit watches anxiously from the dug-out as Newcastle go down
But for Sunderland the win will delight their supporters following their return to the Premiership.

Phillips snatched the points and local pride with a sublime moment of improvisation.

Newcastle keeper Tommy Wright produced heroics to save the England striker's first point-blank shot - but when the ball rebounded to Phillips he turned and sent a swerving lob from an acute angle over Wright's head and into the top corner.

The goal demoralised Newcastle, who had gone ahead in the first half.

With 27 minutes gone Paul Robinson slotted the ball through to Kieron Dyer, and he lifted a shot over the advancing Sorensen to score his first Newcastle goal and send the home crowd wild.

Lapse at the back

But Sunderland were well motivated for the north-east skirmish and as the rain began to teem onto the ground they fought back into the contest.

The equaliser eventually came on 64 minutes - and Newcastle's suspect defence was again to blame.

Nicky Summerbee curled a free-kick into the box and Niall Quinn beat his marker to glance a header into the far corner.

The pleas for Shearer's introduction were by now frenetic - and Gullit finally brought the England captain on in the 73rd minute.

But within two minutes of his arrival, Phillips had struck his decisive blow.

Luck's out for Ruud

With the ball frequently stopping dead on the waterlogged surface, Newcastle pressed on in search of a dramatic second.

Shearer and his team-mates looked aimless, however, and failed to achieve the breakthrough, Nolberto Solano wasting a glorious chance to score in the dying minutes.

But the nearest they came to snatching an unlikely draw came when Sunderland captain Kevin Ball almost scored a sensational injury time own goal.

Turning in the quagmire in midfield, Ball stuck a foot out and slammed a 30-yard backpass against the Sunderland crossbar.

Luck has not been with Gullit this season - and again it escaped him as the ball ran free and the visitors claimed what could prove a momentous win.


Newcastle: Wright, Barton, Goma, Dabizas, Domi, Solano, Dyer, McClen, Speed, Maric, Robinson. Subs: Shearer, Ferguson, Green, Hughes, Harper.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Butler, Bould, Gray, Rae, Schwarz, McCann, Summerbee, Quinn, Phillips. Subs: Oster, Ball, Dichio, Helmer, Marriott.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)

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