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Sunday, 5 March, 2000, 18:15 GMT
Collymore hat-trick sinks Sunderland

Collymore: He's back
Leicester 5-2 Sunderland

Stan Collymore marked his Filbert Street debut with a stunning hat-trick, his first Premiership goals since 1998.

Leicester saw their two-goal lead twice closed to one but Collymore's hat-trick was enough to give them a stunning victory over Sunderland.

Match facts
16 mins: Collymore scores: 1-0 to Leicester
35 mins: Heskey scores: 2-0
53 mins: Phillips scores: 2-1
60 mins: Collymore scores 3-1
75 mins: Quinn scores: 3-2
88 mins: Collymore scores: 4-2
90 mins: Oakes' scores: 5-2
Collymore waited only 16 minutes into his second Premiership game for Leicester to open his account with a stunning right-foot volley.

His new partner Emile Heskey added a second and though Sunderland's strike duo Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn also found the net, the day belonged to Stan.

He wrapped the game up with a powerful long-range header and a scuffed tap-in two minutes from time.

Sunderland's first strike was Phillips' 24th of the season and the 100th goal of his league career.

Some feat considering the mark has been achieved in just 143 games.


Collymore and Heskey have well and truly clicked
But it was eclipsed completely by the stunning home debut of Collymore.

Though the controversial striker lacked a yard of pace and a measure of sharpness, his natural eye for goal and intelligent reading of the game clearly remain undimmed.

His partnership with England hope Emile Heskey clicked from the kick-off as between they linked up promisingly throughout the match.

One could even say that a leaner, fitter Collymore may have done better with some of the chances that fell to him.

The controversial star showed all of his prodigious talent with his 16th minute opener.

Heskey again won the ball in the air. It bounced once and Collymore, at 90 degrees to the goal, hooked a vicious right-foot volley into the top corner.


Gerry Taggart holds off Sunderland's Niall Quinn
Sunderland boast the top scorer in the top flight in Kevin Phillips but they have the poorest defensive records among the top ten.

Though Phillips came close with a wonderful snap volley on 24 minutes and Kevin Kilbane hit the bar from a free-kick, Collymore should have added to his tally just after the hour mark.

To be fair to the former Aston Villa man, Heskey's cross was somewhat under his feet, but with only Tomas Sorensen to beat, he allowed the keeper to save with his feet.

Three minutes later however Leicester did increase their lead as the Sunderland defence was again found wanting.

Neil Lennon's determination in midfield won him a 50-50 ball and his first-time pass fell perfectly into the path of Heskey, who took one touch before squeezing a right foot shot through Sorensen's calves.


Sunderland manager Peter Reid was not happy
If the finish was a trifle lucky, Leicester also benefitted from good fortune when skipper Matt Elliott's near post clearance rattled his own cross bar before being toe-poked clear.

After the interval Leicester had Darren Eadie to thank for preserving the lead after he made a superb sliding tackle to deny Kilbane.

But minutes later Phillips once again showed his class with a beautifully struck half-volley from the edge of the box which reduced the gap to a single goal.

It remained that way for less than ten minutes as Collymore ensured the headlines would be his.

Lennon once again provided the telling ball, his hard, arrowed cross directed by the head of Collymore in to the top corner from fully 15 yards.

Phillips' strike partner Niall Quinn forced Sunderland back into the game with a well-taken, curled strike 15 minutes from time which again closed the gap to one.

But once again, just as Sunderland sensed a comeback, Collymore was on hand to tap home his third and re-establish the lead.

Substitute Stefan Oakes, who replaced the injured Eadie, then capped a memorable Filbert Street festival with Leicester's fifth as the home side left the pitch to ironic chants of 'Boring, boring Leicester'.

Teams:

Leicester: Flowers, Sinclair, Taggart, Guppy, Savage, Elliott, Izzet, Lennon, Eadie, Collymore, Heskey.
Subs: Gilchrist, Arphexad, Impey, Cottee, Oakes.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Holloway, Makin, P. Butler, Craddock, Rae, Roy, Schwarz, Kilbane, Quinn, Phillips.
Subs: Marriott, Williams, Gray, Oster, Summerbee.
Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).

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See also:

05 Mar 00 |  Football
Stan is back
05 Mar 00 |  FA Carling Premiership
Kewell tears Coventry apart
05 Mar 00 |  FA Carling Premiership
Dixon saves Gunners' day
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Foxes in bar rumpus
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Collymore receives 'stress counselling'
04 Mar 00 |  FA Carling Premiership
Owen wastes chance to win it
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Poyet ends Robson's run
Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.