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A goal, a penalty save and a dramatic win - the day Niall Quinn was a hero at both ends of the pitch

On This Day: April 20, 1991

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Manchester City 2-1 Derby County, Maine Road, Saturday 20th April 1991. Niall Quinn scored early on and saved a penalty as City beat Derby County 2-1, relegating Derby in the process. City goalkeeper Tony Coton was sent off before half time for fouling Dean Saunders to concede the penalty. (Photo by Gerry Crowther/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

Manchester City 2-1 Derby County, Maine Road, Saturday 20th April 1991. Niall Quinn scored early on and saved a penalty as City beat Derby County 2-1, relegating Derby in the process. City goalkeeper Tony Coton was sent off before half time for fouling Dean Saunders to concede the penalty. (Photo by Gerry Crowther/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

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Manchester City 2-1 Derby County, Maine Road, Saturday 20th April 1991. Niall Quinn scored early on and saved a penalty as City beat Derby County 2-1, relegating Derby in the process. City goalkeeper Tony Coton was sent off before half time for fouling Dean Saunders to concede the penalty. (Photo by Gerry Crowther/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

In a new series, Independent.ie goes through the archives to bring you the hot topics of years gone by. Today we look back at Niall Quinn's unique performance for Man City against Derby County.

The Ireland striker scored a goal and saved a penalty - condemning Derby to relegation in the process. Here is how the memorable game was recorded in the Irish Independent.

Quinn to the rescue for City

Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn sent long-suffering Derby County into division two with a goal and an amazing penalty save at Maine Road.

The incident-packed match saw Manchester City goalkeeper Tony Colon sent off.

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If Colon was the villain then Quinn was definitely the hero. He volleyed City in front after 22 minutes with a sweet low, left foot shot to claim his 20th goal of the season.

Then as Colon was shown the red card for a professional foul in the penalty area on £3million-rated Derby striker Dean Saunders, Quinn took over in goal and immediately produced a superb save to keep out the Welsh international's spot-kick.

Before that, though, Colon had shown his disgust at his dismissal by angrily throwing his goalkeeper's gloves at the Stockton referee Kenneth Lupton before being led from the pitch.

That moment of madness is sure to cost Colon, with the Football Association likely to take further disciplinary action on top of the automatic three match ban for his sending off. Colon could have no complaints. He clearly dragged down Saunders as the striker took the ball past him with an open goal in front of him.

Luckily for City, though, they had the cushion of Quinn's early goal and his imposing presence as a stand-in goalkeeper.

He looked to be relishing every moment of it, although desperate Derby never tested him too severely.

The Midlanders, 19 matches now without a win and condemned to the second division after four seasons in the top flight, never made their one man advantage count and City were always firmly in control.

David White pounced on some typically slack play by Derby to fire City's second in the 76th minute and although Mick Harford pulled one back with just a minute remaining it was no consolation.

The dejected team saluted their loyal supporters at the end with Mark Wright and Dean Saunders, both up for sale, shaking hands with supporters in what will be one of their final performances for the Baseball Ground outfit.

City, meanwhile, celebrated climbing above rivals and neighbours Manchester United after this win to stretch their unbeaten run to six matches, five of them victories.

Online Editors