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The BBC's Steve Wilson
"Wednesday really should have won this game"
 real 28k

Saturday, 22 April, 2000, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
Phillips double shatters Owls
Phillips
Phillips was well marked - until the 86th minute
Sheff Wed 0-2 Sunderland

A late Kevin Phillips double stole all three points for Sunderland at Hillsborough and left Sheffield Wednesday still firmly among the relegation strugglers.

With Wimbledon losing at Tottenham, the Owls had the chance to close the gap between themselves and safety.

But Peter Shreeves' men were left to regret wasting the hatful of chances they created during the game.

Kevin will get all the headlines, but the other most important player is your keeper. Sorensen was marvellous today.

Sunderland boss Peter Reid

Phillips, the Premiership's leading scorer, added to his impressive tally, first with a brilliant curling shot and seconds later with a simple tap in from substitute Alex Rae's cross.

It was inevitable that there would be a radio in among the home support, telling them of developments at White Hart Lane.

And there were certainly cheers around the ground not related to the events on the Hillsborough pitch, after Tottenham had gone ahead.

The opening few minutes were played at a canter with the home faithful urging thier team to push the issue.

And with their issue being survival, the impetus to attack was firmly with Wednesday.

Credible chance

The more experienced players in the home team, Wim Jonk and Barry Horne, had the guile to lead by example, but the home side lacked pace in vital areas.

In contrast we didn't have a cutting edge, but I will remain optimistic as long as there are points left to play for.

Owls' caretaker boss Peter Shreeves

They were often exposed by Kevin Kilbane and Michael Gray on either side of the Sunderland wings.

But even Peter Reid's wing wizards were failing to feed the hungry front two of Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn.

The first credible chance of the match came after 15 minutes when Horne sent a pinpoint pass into the path of young forward Alan Quinn.

Quinn outpaced Chris Makin in defence, but sent his attempted lob well over goalkeeper Tomas Sorensen.

By now Sheffield was having its own dose of April showers, making the surface slippy.

Gray had a good chance to put the Black Cats in the lead, but after a fine run his shot was well held by Kevin Pressman in the home goal.

Straight after the interval the elder Quinn had a chance to put Sunderland ahead, but his chipped finish was ruled to be fractionally offside by the linesman.

At the other end a mis-struck shot from Jonk fell into the path of Gilles De Bilde in the six yard area, but his shot was saved by the aware Sorensen.

The Owls looked anxious as the clock ticked down, and slowly but surely pressure on the Sunderland goal was beginning to increase.

Stunning strike

With 20 minutes remaining Wednesday produced their best chance of the match.


De Bilde Sorensen
De Bilde found Sorensen in top form

De Bilde and Jonk linked-up brilliantly just outside the 18-yard box, and as the ball fell to Niclas Alexandersson, his strike was spectacularly tipped away by Sorensen.

And from the resulting corner De Bilde struck a sweeping shot agonisingly wide.

Moments later, the hard-working Belgian found himself in acres of space down the right, but his ball into the box was played in vain, as there were no team-mates to support the striker in attack.

The difference between the two teams was exploited in the closing minutes.

Sunderland substitute Daniele Dichio held firm on the edge of the Wednesday penalty area and laid a short ball off to Phillips.

The England marksmen, swivelled and curled in a stunning strike from 20-yards out.

And before the Owls had time to catch breath the Premiership's top striker added a second to leave Shreeves' team ruing their missed chances.

Teams:

Sheff Wed: Pressman, Haslam, Atherton, Walker, Hinchcliffe, Alexandersson, Jonk, Horne, Quinn, Booth, De Bilde. Subs: Sonner, Sibon, Cresswell, Nolan, Srnicek.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, P. Butler, Craddock, Gray, Holloway, Rae, Roy, Kilbane, Quinn, Phillips. Subs: Dichio, Marriott, Williams, Oster, Nunez.

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham)

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