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Derry strike twice to see off IOM challenge

Photo credit: Vannin Photos

Isle of Man 0-2 Derry City

A late goal in either half condemned the Isle of Man to a 2-0 defeat at home to professional side Derry City on Wednesday evening.

Aidy Delap tapped home from six yards moments before the interval, and Patrick McClean's volleyed effort sealed the win for The Candystripes two minutes from time.

The Isle of Man's best chance came when Jack McVey's cross was just too high for substitute Sean Doyle to convert at the back post, with the score at 1-0.

League of Ireland outfit Derry were the better side throughout and deserved the win, but there were plenty of positives for Paul Jones as his players against a side hoping to qualify for Europe this season.

Hundreds braved the sub-zero temperatures at The Bowl, with Declan Devine's Derry using the match as a pre-season friendly, and the Manx squad as preparation for the inter-island football tournament which takes place this summer.

A rather mundane opening 20 minutes saw neither goalkeeper tested, but it was the Island stopper who was called into action first when he was even to a Shane McNamee shot from the edge of the penalty area.

It wasn't until the half hour mark when the Manx carved out their first real opening.

Ryan Burns played in Lee Gale down the right flank, who used his pace to beat his man before drilling a low ball across the 18-yard box, only for Dan Simpson - who looked lively in the opening exchanges - to miscue his shot.

The visitors had a penalty appeal turned down five minutes before the break when Jamie McDonagh went to ground under the challenge of Simpson, but it wasn't long before they broke the deadlock.

After seizing control of possession in the middle of the park, McNamee fed in David Parkhouse down the left wing whose low cross was tapped in by Delap to give Derry a half-time advantage.

Both sides made changes in the second period, with Gale, Simpson, Daniel Bell, Rhys Oates, Sam Caine and Josh Thomas making way.

Corinthians skipper Doyle, teammate Stephen Whitley, Ashley Higginbotham, Alex Maitland and Matthews Skillicorn and Woods all getting game time.

The substitutions brought with them a bit more vigour in the Isle of Man's performance, but they rarely threatened to find an equaliser.

Their best chance came with little over 20 minutes remaining, as McVey's cross beat the Derry back line but was agonisingly too high for Doyle at the far post.

With time running out, the fitness and quality of the Northern Irish side shone through.

A succession of corners eventually proved fruitful, as the failure to clear the ball allowed substitute McClean to drive a volley past Killey into the bottom right corner to wrap up the win.

Isle of Man manager Paul Jones:

"I thought we were really, really good. It was such a step up from what the players are used to on a Saturday in the Isle of Man.

"The fact that they can go out there and match an Irish Premier League side who are ten days away from going into the highest level of competition in Ireland and trying to win something, I'm super proud of them.

"When we play against lads this level, we tend to make silly mistakes and that can be attributed to concentration but the beginning thing - rather than the concentration - is the tiredness.

"Before we get to the Island Games we need to make sure that they can sustain 90 minutes worth of intensity for four matches in a week.

"It's a physical tiredness that leads to a mental tiredness and it's something that we need to manage and get better at dealing with.

"We've got a good group of players fighting for those 20 places [in the squad].

"The great thing is everybody knows that they're not certain of being on that boat to Anglesey so there should be an awful lot of intensity and competition for places over the next three months."

Derry City manager Declan Devine:

"The trip in general has been sensational for us in terms of where we are and our preparation.

"The way we've been received on the Island, the help we've been given from the Isle of Man FA and the general public has been incredible.

"We were always going to go away on a pre-season tour and this has been exactly what we needed.

"We're bringing in players that we feel can enhance the club, build a club for the future and we wanted a really tough game.

"Paul [Jones] and his team made it extremely difficult for us and they've caused us a few problems.

"I thought their shape made it very difficult for us. I thought they were very positive in their play, asked questions of us defensively.

"It was certainly something we needed tonight in terms of asking us some questions and I think it's something that I think everybody on the Isle of Man should be extremely proud of.

"We certainly want to be pushing towards the European places [this season] but it's a difficult league we're in.

"There's been big investment in the Dublin based clubs but we just want to be competitive. More importantly we want to make sure that come the first game of the season we're ready to get three points."

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