Ellan Vannin got their ConIFA’s European Football Cup campaign up and running in Northern Cyprus on Monday evening.
Chris Bass Sr’s charges are in Group B alongside reigning champions Padania, Felvidek and Szekely Land and faced a tough start to the competition against Padania.
In what was an extremely exciting and close game, Ellan Vannin pushed the current European champions all the way and only a well-taken goal in the 70th minute separated the two sides at the final whistle.
The Manx were unfortunate not to go into the half-time break with a 2-0 lead having seen a goal-line clearances from skipper Sean Quaye and two superb saves from the Padania keeper from Conor Doyle and Frank Jones.
Bass’s team enjoyed a considerable share of possession in the second half against the technically-gifted Padanians, but the northern Italians’ goalkeeper stood firm and was equal to every shot on target as the Manx were unable to find a way through.
Although the result was disappointing, Ellan Vannin demonstrated that they once again can compete at a much higher level of football.
With Felvidek beating the much-fancied Szekerly Land in the other group match, it meant that Ellan Vannin’s progression to the semi-final knock out stages is very much still in their hands heading into their must-win game against Felvidek tonight, Tuesday.
More in Thursday’s Manx Independent.