EDS head coach Brian Barry-Murphy was full of praise for the way his young City charges superbly dealt with the challenge of Saturday’s first PL2 derby of the season.

Pitted against a strong Manchester United side – and a noisy, passionate home crowd at Leigh Sports Village – City rose to the challenge in fine style, securing a hugely impressive 4-2 win.

James McAtee fired a superb hat-trick with Tai Sodje’s late strike then sealing the win after the hosts had narrowed the deficit to 3-2.

The whole squad emerged with enormous credit as reigning champions City moved top of the PL2 table on goal difference.


From his own perspective Barry-Murphy said the game represented a memorable first experience of a Manchester derby.

“United had a strong team but to play the way we did we had to be competitive, resilient and together and I thought we were,” the head coach asserted.

“Irrespective of the scoreline it would have been a really good day for us.

TREBLE YELL: James McAtee celebrates his hat-trick
TREBLE YELL: James McAtee celebrates his hat-trick

“It was my first taste of a Manchester derby and certainly, the atmosphere lent itself to that.

“There were a whole host of things the players had to cope with and to see the way the game evolved and how we coped is very good moving forward.

“There were elements of the game that were difficult but for me the most satisfying parts were when we conceded and it went 1-1 and then when it went 3-2 late in the game.


“There was a real atmosphere in the stadium, especially at that stage.

“In my mind that was an opportunity to see how we behaved and coped with the scenario. To see us play the way we did and stick to what we had practised and see to that bear fruit was very good.”

As well as the small matter of the derby bragging rights, the result also sent City into the international break on a high with the side unbeaten in all four game so far this term.

FOUR TOPS: Tai Sodje celebrates after sealing City's derby triumph
FOUR TOPS: Tai Sodje celebrates after sealing City's derby triumph

For his part, Barry-Murphy who only took charge earlier this month, that fine start only amplified the great work done by his fellow coaching staff and he common purpose and unity amongst the squad.

“There are a lot of different challenges that players at this club face and I feel as if I am getting used to that myself as I am still relatively new,” Barry-Murphy added.

“The staff did a lot of work in pre-season so I joined at the end, so I don’t feel as I’ve done loads yet to be honest


“For me the most satisfying thing is the players’ hunger to improve and willingness to work for each other.

“The challenge is always that common goal. The stronger we are together the greater the individual gains.”