Page 8 of 13

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:11 pm
by Nephara
Cranequin City 1-0 Parrhesia United
Newrook City 0-1 Diamondqueen
Morningstar 3-2 Creed United
Maximum Rovers 0-1 Vermillion Rage

An interesting set of quarterfinals, with just two First Division sides left - one in the form of Misha Nechemevic’s struggling Cranequin City. But they’re all full of those Audioslavian virtues tonight, snapping into challenges and harassing Parrhesia with an energy and verve that belies their youth. Young Saints goalkeeper Angela Spyrakis makes a few good saves but there’s nothing she can do when Verdier’s inch-perfect pass plays through Leofric Woadswell, who hammers his shot… okay, straight at Spyrakis, but she spills it and Annesley pounces for the winning goal. Heavily-rotated Newrook and Diamondqueen, both in the bottom four, play a game unsurprisingly short of quality but settled with a single moment of brilliance from Denisa Thirlwell, the captain providing the perfect pass for young Qad fullback Valentina Fairbairn to break free of Monroe Luque and slot low past Costin Anghelescu. Morningstar are also in deep water, but their second string takes the fight to Creed’s first choice. Garrett Spycer and Karena Bittner are both sent off in an explosive first half, but it’s Creed who lose their shape without their captain, Morningstar notching up two goals in quick succession from a Niko Boldman brace. Hecate Dransfeld puts them three up before Kurtis Rough is sent off as well for annihilating Karena Braham, putting the winger out for the rest of the season. Furious, Creed fight back, Axel Korborg and Kurtis Bristoll scoring nice goals to put the tie back in the balance, but on the day, Morningstar hold out. Maximum Rovers’ Premiership audition, however, gets a hitch as Vermillion just control the game away, Ryan Paulsson pulling all the strings and eventually coming up with a richly deserved winner in the 80th minute shortly before his substitution.

North Laithland 0-1 Bishop
Chenoworth Harriers 4-0 Parrhesia United
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Newrook City
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Creed United
Raven River 0-0 Brookford Otters
Morningstar 2-3 Starling
Brinemouth 2-1 Coret Hawks
Diamondqueen 1-2 Violence Chariots
Southfell United 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Extreme Hills 1-4 AFC Treason
Chatswood 2-2 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 0-4 Sabrefell Athletic

Sabrefell Athletic did Crisisbless a pretty massive favour last time around, but if the Heelers expected it to be redoubled the next day when Tom Benedict’s Reds came to visit they would be sorely disappointed. The Moths did their part, from the Heelers’ perspective. Goals from Ylissa Hatherton and Solara Vol set them to what looked like a cruisy win against Chatswood, and then out of nowhere Cohen won a penalty off Weaver. Claire Beresford converted it and then Gary Corsie, from absolutely nowhere, came steaming in to find a speculative Machan cross and volley it into the ceiling of the net. So Crisisbless had the perfect opportunity to overtake them, and… well, Athletic were up 3-0 by halftime, substituted off Coltrane after 57 minutes to rest him and his replacement, Alexa Ferryman, netted a tidy fourth after Crisisbless’ defence completely failed to pick her run up. Brinemouth complicate matters as well, though it takes a stoppage time header from Pablo Scotti to get them past the resilient Hawks. Four teams within five points at the top. Parrhesia aren’t in a good way at the moment, as the Harriers hand them their third straight defeat with a 4-0 thrashing. After the match, Jazmin Dragana tweets about dreaming of silverware. Rumoured interest from the Stags may well intensify. The Stars, meanwhile, may yet rue their indelicate approach - five minutes from three points against Starling, Padilla jinks into the area and is dragged to the ground by Hawthorn. The Valladar calmly converts the penalty. Two minutes later, Liam Armstrong’s deflected strike puts the Passerines ahead and suddenly the Stars’ relentless timewasting appears to have backfired. Kreisburg should win it late on but shoots straight at a flat-footed, almost Slav-squatting Hargrave from twelve yards and screams in frustration loud enough for the microphones to pick up. Newrook are slightly disappointed to just take a point away from lowly Corvette, but it’s enough to get them out of the bottom four on goal difference for now.


Parrhesia United 1-1 Cranequin City
Cranequin City win 2-1 on aggregate.

Diamondqueen 0-2 Newrook City
Newrook City win 2-1 on aggregate.

Creed United 0-0 Morningstar
Morningstar win 3-2 on aggregate.

Vermillion Rage 0-2 Maximum Rovers
Maximum Rovers win 2-1 on aggregate.

“We need to hit them early and hit them hard,” Miriam Aragon demands, and they get off to a great start when Swanhilda Berisha ghosts past Rook Keenan, motions for the cutback but ends up stylishly whipping the ball past Zaparas’ near post with the outside of a boot. She remains a threat all game, though some - bluntly - thuggery from Keenan attempts to neutralise her impact. But nobody else can really match her impact, and the Saints are punished when the Terracotta Army secures the midfield in the second half before Mendehlson’s free kick is swung in and big defender Heinz Kreis outjumps Brun to flick the ball into the net. Newrook and Diamondqueen, who both understandably have a lot on their plates at the moment, both rotate a few players - Bothroyd most prominently for the Rooks, but their bevy of mid-30s midfielders too. They’re rewarded with a brilliant performance from local youths Coynborough and Marconi, who each score screamers from outside the box to decide a limited contest, while Maladict Farrell makes a nuisance of himself without quite scoring himself. Newrook take the day. In Creed? Nothing happens except a lot of brutality, and that suits Lineker’s Stars just fine. They go through on aggregate, leaving Locklear bitterly disappointed at decisions not to send off a couple of players. It’s Paige Hildebrand’s Rovers who come up with the most stunning result, though, as early goals from Luitgard and Julia Thane are stoutly defender on hostile soil by an experienced defence.

Parrhesia United 3-1 North Laithland
Newrook City 0-1 Bishop
Creed United 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Brookford Otters 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Starling 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Coret Hawks 2-1 Raven River
Violence Chariots 0-1 Morningstar
Vermillion Rage 0-0 Brinemouth
AFC Treason 0-0 Diamondqueen
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Southfell United
Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Extreme Hills
Crisisbless 2-0 Chatswood

An important win for the Stars, who this time do see their way through after an early lead. Circe Rosenthal’s impressed with assured performances all throughout the season, but this is only her second goal of the season, a real screamer that rips through Olivia Selkie’s fingertips. There’s a fair series of resolute defences around, actually, with Karel Jonason of Diamondqueen putting on a performance that former international goalkeeper Tana Colbright would be proud of, making eleven saves to deny a dominant Treason who just couldn’t quite penetrate. Ivan Hemeyer had a brilliant game, pegged back almost to being a third centre-half, and all over the place cutting and hacking… but is suspended after yet another yellow card. Orpheus Clement is similarly good against Brinemouth, though Vermillion are in turn denied six times by Matt Vintner in an end-to-end affair that never quite results in a goal. Newrook City are very nearly as resolute against Bishop, albeit largely by being extremely boring. Keenan keeps youth in the midfield to try and avoid being caught on the counter, a clever move which almost works, right up until Lorelei Neptune just smashes one in from twenty-five yards anyway. It’s a shame that the 21-year old winger isn’t just a little bit better - if she improves by as many leaps and bounds next season there might be an almighty tug of war between Nephara and her father’s country, Cosumar. ‘Resolute’ isn’t a word that has really applied to North Laithland since they were good and had players like Gareth Pearce (who, admittedly, would probably only be good enough in the modern Premiership for a team like… well… modern North Laithland) and they show it with a damp capitulation to an intense Parrhesia.

NEWROOK 32 -22

Lexington Victory 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless 2-3 Revolutionaries

Oh, yeah. UICA. That’s still a thing. It won’t be for very fucking long if Athletic and Crisisbless keep defending like they did. In New Gelderland, Cam Cross opened the scoring with a neat flicked header before Srecko Brekovic doubled their money, but fortunately in the second half Coltrane orchestrated a fightback and assists for Bereveskos and Curren on the wings. Crisisbless, though, are in far more trouble - prodigal teenage playmaker Rhys Griffiths netted a late brace for the Revolutionaries, both from outside the box.

North Laithland 1-2 Newrook City
Parrhesia United 0-2 Creed United
Bishop 2-1 Brookford Otters
Chenoworth Harriers 1-6 Starling
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Coret Hawks
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Violence Chariots
Raven River 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Morningstar 0-1 AFC Treason
Brinemouth 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Diamondqueen 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Southfell United 3-2 Crisisbless
Extreme Hills 1-1 Chatswood

The Harriers have had a good season, yes. Aidan Brosque has done brilliant work with them, thoroughly deserves to be the incumbent Manager of the Year, they’re a really good, solid team. But Jesus Christ, when they miss a call, they don’t do it small. 6-1 is the scoreline this time in front of their own fans - 6-1! Sheffield’s had a few ropey performances across the season but he’s terrible tonight, and picked a good night for it in general given how thoroughly Starling dominated them everywhere. At least Airik Ruhl can keep up this season’s funniest tradition of the utterly in vain really mad consolation goal, scoring a looping header over an uncharacteristically complacent Hargrave and rushing to the ball, shoving over Heston and McNessa in his way and stamping undetected on the latter on his way to grab the ball… mate, it’s 5-1 in the 78th minute. Armstrong finishes it not long after. There’s a spicy affair in Treason with Morningstar desperate to take points from the Stags, but they go snapping into challenges and that leaves holes for a Misidjan to find room to play in an unmarked Cantor to rocket the ball into the top corner. By the end, Rough’s been sent off for the fourth time this season after a flying elbow on Roddy Fraser, which does at least set a new record. Fraser stays down, which is not what the Stags wanted to hear in the dying embers of their title challenge.

But at least they win. Chatswood don’t beat Extreme Hills after Sigrun Barota, the only Hound not to have seemingly given up, breaks their hearts late on after a blistering run and neat little sidefooted finish past Alphonse. Very much two points dropped at the bottom of the table. Crisisbless? They drop three, Tedesco just having too much work to do in the middle of the park as a late flurry sees Southfell turn 0-2 on the hour to 3-2 at full time, relentless pace stretching the defence until it breaks. A proper six-pointer sees North Laithland lose to Newrook - they take an early lead when Josie Webster orchestrates a lovely 16-pass move that floods through the Rooks’ midfield and defence and culminates in a tap-in for charging leftback Karsten Riordan. Newrook are less subtle with their own approach - Senturk slips through Bothroyd who turns and shoots and really should have it saved by Sinstadt, but the goalkeeper went the strong way and it slips feebly in. And then, in the 86th minute, who steps up but Rook Fenwick with yet another free kick goal, perfectly up and over the wall and in beyond Sinstadt’s dive. Newrook overtake the Spiders, who now sit precariously in 21st. The Moths, thanks to a resilient performance against a Brinemouth side that just kept coming at them and kept crashing off their defence, sneak a win when Serra’s perfectly-timed run gets him on the end of a clever cutback from Meier and he slams the ball through a sea of legs and past a blindsided Vintner. “We showed another feather to our bow today,” Thunder malapropped after the match - but who’s going to tell him otherwise? The Moths race four clear.

NEWROOK 34 -22

Sabrefell Athletic 0-1 Lexington Victory
Lexington Victory win 3-2 on aggregate.

Revolutionaries 1-0 Crisisbless
Revolutionaries win 4-2 on aggregate.

Two 1-0 defeats, both remaining Nepharim clubs knocked out. A grim cycle for the Premiership, though they are projected to maintain their top three placing. Space commenting on the games would be wasted - instead, better to talk shit about Brinemouth! Because, seriously? 59 million spent and you can’t get a single fucking win? Christ.

Creed United 0-2 North Laithland
Brookford Otters 1-0 Newrook City
Starling 4-0 Parrhesia United
Coret Hawks 2-0 Bishop
Violence Chariots 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Vermillion Rage 1-2 Corvette Maulers
AFC Treason 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Raven River
Sabrefell Athletic 4-1 Morningstar
Crisisbless 0-5 Brinemouth
Chatswood 2-0 Diamondqueen
Extreme Hills 1-2 Southfell United

They visit Crisisbless. Big day for both of them, with the Moths already having secured a narrow 1-0 win against River, Thunder’s Green and Black Army finding a rough, hard-nosed edge that can grind out results. Athletic, too, gain momentum with a thundering 4-1 win over Morningstar. “Conviction in my methods, that’s the only secret” - strong words from Benedict after his 4-4-2 gets the goods once again. Morten Crestwell got a rare start up front, poached a goal and laid on two assists. Starling, too, won convincingly, thundering past Parrhesia 4-0. Hargrave peerless in goal. Koehler and Surman not giving an inch to the Saints’ best assets, their wingers. Hawke and Andisori wreaking havoc. Easy. So it becomes really imperative for Crisisbless to keep up their momentum and keep up with Athletic four points behind the Moths and not get pulverised five fucking nil at home. But that’s what happens! Two goals happen early, a Scotti brace within the first twenty minutes, and Urso, Swan and Jevdjevic-Hadsic each try and do too much on their own and end up isolating themselves and the two strikers, Rafford’s carved open by Silkman which just shouldn’t happen and she lays it on a plate for Candelo to smash home the third… every time Brinemouth go forward, they threaten. Scotti completes his hat-trick, Tedesco is sent off for a second professional foul just as Condotta waits patiently on the sidelines to replace him and ultimately she comes on for Swan, bundles over Drinkwater in the box for a penalty and watches gloomily as the substitute Bosetti, tossed the armband, slots it home for his belated first of the season. Crisisbless slip to third. The top five are clustered and Treason, held by Serpentine, miss out on closing the gap. At the foot of the table, where middling teams like Creed and Brookford start to exist only in terms of ‘tough but winnable fixtures’, North Laithland manage to win against the former thanks to Kistler and Tsikitsiris while Newrook come away pointless from the latter. Chatswood, though, dominate the Diamonds physically as Hemeyer’s really badly-timed three-match suspension (he’s had a lot of cards.) sees them miss their most forceful presence. Samael Lawrence just isn’t… very good at football, and Chatswood overrun them and through clinical finishes from Joan Vickers and Desdemona Schuster win the day. Rook Alphonse, too, deserves credit for dealing calmly with a bushel of frustrated shots from outside the box.

NEWROOK 34 -23

North Laithland 2-4 Brookford Otters
Creed United 1-0 Starling
Newrook City 5-1 Coret Hawks
Parrhesia United 1-2 Violence Chariots
Bishop 1-2 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 AFC Treason
Corvette Maulers 0-4 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Serpentine 1-4 Sabrefell Athletic
Raven River 1-0 Crisisbless
Morningstar 1-0 Chatswood
Brinemouth 2-1 Extreme Hills
Diamondqueen 1-1 Southfell United

Three straight defeats - four in five - one win in six - look, no matter how you paint it, Crisisbless have fucking sucked lately, at a real crunch time of the season. The match itself isn’t great, it’s just River’s physicality and baseline defensive competence getting the job done and a powerful header from Povilas Kaukenas, dominant in the first half of the season but dropping off lately, winning the day for the Ferrymen. Another Ferryman - Alexa, of Sabrefell Athletic - does well in a rotated side to help guide them to another 4-1 victory over Serpentine. The Moths go one better, a fourth straight clean sheet victory as they ease past Corvette 4-0, while Brinemouth labour to a 2-1 win over Hills at home and do, ultimately, overtake the Heelers. Starling would as well, but they stumble to Creed’s physicality. At the foot of the table, or at least the relevant bits of it, Emery Lineker gets her revenge over her former club, making no attempt at subduing her celebrations after Circe Rosenthal threads the perfect pass for Marko Petrosian, cutting inside of Tsicaderis, to slot home past Alphonse’s near post. The goal happens after concerted pressure in the first half-hour but from that point Morningstar sits back, daring the Woodsmen to come at them, and Chatswood just… don’t. Beresford and Kovach are sent off in the last five minutes, confirming that Lineker’s Morningstar have equalled the record of Lineker’s Chatswood with eight red cards in a season. Still, all the plaudits must go to Newrook. They start the match in 21st, but Keenan bravely opts for the youth of Coynborough and Marconi over the experience of Winter (well, relatively - he’s 24) and Senturk. It pays off, thanks to the oddity of a first-half brace from Raquel Woods bombing in from leftback, and from there just hit Coret on the break time and again. The match ends 5-1. Jessica Loque makes a face.

NEWROOK 37 -19

Starling 2-1 North Laithland
Coret Hawks 3-1 Brookford Otters
Violence Chariots 1-1 Creed United
Vermillion Rage 1-2 Newrook City
AFC Treason 0-4 Parrhesia United
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Bishop
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless 2-1 Corvette Maulers
Chatswood 0-2 AFC Serpentine
Extreme Hills 1-3 Raven River
Southfell United 0-1 Morningstar
Diamondqueen 0-2 Brinemouth

Treason are officially out of the running, following a dismal 4-0 defeat at home to Parrhesia United, a middling team that should really be jobbers in the business end of the season. Boos ring out across the Gauntlet, and serious questions must be asked about Ben Randall’s future. Still, signs from the club is he’ll be given ample backing to overhaul a stagnant squad in the summer, as heroes like Vesper, Cantor, Katskalidis and Lopes have seemingly regressed. Having far more fun, you’d wager, is Athletic’s Tom Benedict, who eases Athletic past the Harriers through Avila Wardenier’s brace. Imagine what he’ll do with the world-class striker they’re reportedly targeting (then again, who doesn’t need a world-class striker?). In fact, the entire top five win today - the Moths pulverise Bishop 3-0, refusing to be hit on the break, Athletic wounds the Harriers again, who have just not quite been able to lay a glove on the top teams, Brinemouth beat Diamondqueen comfortably, Crisisbless suffer a late scare from Corvette through Ankergren’s strike but Irsa Croxteth puts them back up in stoppage time and permissive North Laithland defending allows Starling to come back from 1-0 down to win in the last twenty minutes. Amidst all these defeats, Chatswood would expect to beat Serpentine at home, but don’t. Most eyes are on Gary Corsie, who is… terrible, and vanishes at half-time. He’s outshone by a rather more forgotten Schottian midfielder, Aya Bernman, who suffered badly with injuries but, now finally fit, has lit up a Dragons side that occasionally lacks inspiration from elsewhere on the pitch. She scores one today, and lays on another strike for journeywoman striker Carrie Mason in stoppage time. Winner of the week? The Rooks, and specifically young striker Liesel Ironhewer. Under-fire manager Catheline Keenan rolls the dice when level with Vermillion away - one point there, you’d imagine, would be great! It’s not enough for her, and a staggeringly direct move - goalkeeper Kattner hoofs it upfield, Bothroyd holds off Jeong and flicks it on and Ironhewer runs onto the rebound and hammers it past Clement for a dramatic late winner.

NEWROOK 40 -18

North Laithland 2-3 Coret Hawks
Starling 0-1 Violence Chariots
Brookford Otters 3-1 Vermillion Rage
Creed United 2-0 AFC Treason
Newrook City 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
Parrhesia United 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Bishop 3-2 Crisisbless
Chenoworth Harriers 3-1 Chatswood
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Extreme Hills
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Southfell United
Raven River 2-0 Diamondqueen
Morningstar 2-6 Brinemouth

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Ifrit Coynborough finds space in the midfield and then slams the ball past Robert Griffin from 25 yards, putting an end to the Moths’ record of five straight clean sheet victories. They’ll have to settle for the 4-1 win. Thunder doesn’t look too upset. The Friendly Derby doesn’t see River give the Diamonds any favours, Povilas Kaukenas sniffing a chance to pad his goal tally in Diamondqueen’s porous defence and hey presto, he winds up with two goals. Even if one of them does see him seemingly hit Dario Pavlovic in the throat during his run. The referee doesn’t catch it. Morningstar score first against Brinemouth, then leak five at the other end before the end of the first half. Petrosian and Kuralay score in the second half for a final score of 2-6, prompting Circe Rosenthal to remark; “Well, at least we drew the second half.” Cue Lineker’s angry shouting from the corridor; “Don’t be a prat, Rosey!” Thanks, mum. Meanwhile, the bottom-feeders face off. Corvette, who aren’t pathetic, just bad, and Extreme Hills, who are both. It’s the Hills who score first, Barota going down (slightly easily?) from a hack by Tawney, who she later alleges called her a ‘Sammy bitch’ (findings are inconclusive). Hearn scores the penalty, but Tawney evades Barota later on to flick in a beautiful cross that Corvalan… mishits, but it goes to Djuric to score anyway. Corvalan atones for it in the 91st minute, when substitute Kamasutra Fernwood lashes a shot against the post and it rebounds uncontested by the Hounds’ defenders, letting him slot breezily past Czarina Tournay. “We would like to announce,” the Extreme Hills board says after the match, “that Malta Fletcher has decided to pursue an opportunity with our academy team.” Yeah, that’s one way to put it.

15 points to play for.
NEWROOK 40 -21

Violence Chariots 1-3 North Laithland
Vermillion Rage 0-2 Coret Hawks
AFC Treason 3-0 Starling
Sabrefell Moths 7-2 Brookford Otters
Sabrefell Athletic 6-4 Creed United
Crisisbless 3-0 Newrook City
Chatswood 0-0 Parrhesia United
Extreme Hills 1-2 Bishop
Southfell United 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Diamondqueen 3-2 Corvette Maulers
Brinemouth 2-0 AFC Serpentine
Morningstar 1-1 Raven River

An interim manager is found for Extreme Hills. Sort of. They go with Bryony Johansen, the 36-year old defender, and she goes head-to-head with former club Bishop in her first game. Her squad selection switches everything up, unsurprisingly, giving a bunch of teenagers debuts. Coretta Rooke gets her first start of the season up front and hell, her 20th birthday is as good an occasion as any. The young forward scores the opening goal, but Tournay is beaten by Neptune at her near post just minutes later before in the dying minutes of the game, Karlene Sitz bursts through the makeshift midfield to hit a low, hard and decisive shot beyond the embattled goalkeeper. “All I wanted was some spirit,” Johansen sighs. “And I got it. We’ll move on.” Brookford will not be moving on. Brookford were pulped 7-2 by the Moths. Athletic get pegged back within nineteen seconds after a slip from Gerhardt plays in Korborg, and then after two and a half minutes Korborg doubles his money by getting on the end of former Athletic winger Braham’s cross. What happens next is… well, Athletic go in for the kill. They look to be getting it, denied only by an excellent save from Matraxis and then get sniped by Mithradates on the counterattack. 0-3 on the red fields of the Barbarossa. Tom Benedict’s face communicates to his player that This Will Not Do. Hey presto, it’s suddenly 3-3 by the end of the first half, albeit with the help of a suicidal pass from the normally cool-headed Taddeo Loredan that his countryman Lucassen eats right the fuck up. In the second half, Athletic overwhelm, and though Loredan makes some way up for his error with a lovely header off a lovely Braham free kick, Athletic find their way to a 6-4 win and are cheered off with the newfound belief that they can do this! They can overtake the Moths! Starling will not be overtaking the Moths. Treason have lost three straight before this, but Ben Randall demands results, and his side pulls them out with a performance of clinical intensity. And, of course, brute force. Roddy Fraser scores a perfect hat-trick over the 90 minutes and Fletcher makes seven great saves, and it’s now down to just three.

12 points to play for.
NEWROOK 40 -24

Cranequin City 1-2 Newrook City
Morningstar 5-1 Maximum Rovers

Surprisingly but reassuringly, despite three of these teams being threatened with relegation and the fourth fighting for a title, all four sides bring out strong lineups. This gives the tale of two Cities a rather… geriatric feel, a placid midfield battle pitting Sutton, Fenwick and Senturk against Mendehlson and, late in the game, Diana Ashworth. Both sides find their teeth in the second half after a soporific first, Ninian Lechleiter breaking down Fenwick and then getting quickly to his feet and rushing through the midfield, then threating through a great pass for Woadswell who bottles the shot and cuts back for Laura Annesley, badly off balance, to desperately stick out a foot and just about scuff the ball into the net. But Newrook fight back, and hard - Raquel Woods has been constantly pressuring down the left and after the tenth time she gets past Flitcroft is desperately hacked down inside the box. Fenwick, still limping a little from Lechleiter’s challenge, converts the penalty, and then sets up a brilliant pass over the top for Woods to score herself. Annesley, the bright spark of the season, breaks free of the offside trap late on and takes a shot but Anghelescu slips out a leg for a brilliant save, and when Woadswell rolls the rebound into a seemingly empty net, rightback Conrad Trelliston rushes in out of nowhere to hook the ball off the line. They really love the Cup in Newrook - winning it saved them from relegation once, after all. No such intrigue in Treason, as Morningstar hammer Maximum Rovers 5-1. “Job done,” said Emery Lineker post-match, dusting off her hands for good measure.

North Laithland 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Violence Chariots 2-4 AFC Treason
Coret Hawks 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Starling 3-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Brookford Otters 2-2 Crisisbless
Creed United 0-0 Chatswood
Newrook City 3-0 Extreme Hills
Parrhesia United 4-3 Southfell United
Bishop 1-1 Diamondqueen
Chenoworth Harriers 3-1 Brinemouth
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Morningstar
AFC Serpentine 1-2 Raven River

Newrook breathe a sigh of relief, facing Extreme Hills - or the academy side that passes for them nowadays as Bryony Johansen continues to Make A Point. Bothroyd scores two and Alessa Marconi, going past five players and slotting low past Tournay, secures a third and a crucial victory for Newrook. It makes North Laithland’s brave 1-1 comeback win - they never come back! They’ve constantly been come back from! - against Vermillion pale in significance, while Morningstar are really regretting a poor 3-1 defeat to Corvette. Chatswood hold on for the point against Creed with very transparently no ambition of more and Diamondqueen, beating Bishop for 76 minutes thanks to yet another thumping strike from Weber, are left to rue Jonason spilling a shot from Neptune that Penbrooke, ever the opportunist, stabs in a split second before McKinley Sanabria stamps on his ankle, ending his season. He claims he was going for the ball. Another late equaliser sees Coret hold the Moths at home, but they’re the stronger side in truth - it’s only rewarded in the 86th minute when Alyss Montague nutmegs Vicelich, runs across Weaver and slots past Griffin with the outside of the boot. “It’s the sort of moment she’s capable of,” says Jessica Loque, the picture of relief. Next step, consistency. It creates an opening that Brinemouth completely fail to capitalise on as the Harriers finally put in a dominant showing over a top four side, Ruhl leading the line with genuine venom and malice as his goal opens the scoring and his hold-up play gives openings for Sanna, then Feist, to hammer home. 3-1 the final score, and Brinemouth, nine points adrift with nine to play, are basically out of the running. It’s down to a rejuvenated Athletic, travelling to Starling on Tanith Rainsford’s birthday. A good omen, surely. But Starling are still battling for fourth, and aren’t about to lie down and die quietly. They trade blows throughout the first half - Padilla’s blistering strike slips through Gautier’s palms, but is avenged by a flying Lucassen header. Hawke forces a great save from Gautier but scuffs home the rebound, but then the luckless Mathis Orsay gets in the way of Rudden’s viciously whipped cross and accidentally shins it into his own net. FInally, in the 53rd minute, Oscar Coltrane pulls through for his squad, a neat one-two with leftback Lena Iserlohn setting him up for a vicious strike into the top corner, the normally faultless Gryphon too permissive in giving him space. But then it’s Gryphon whose peerless free kick goes into the corridor of uncertainty - and it’s Orsay who redeems himself with a thunderous header past Gautier. 3-3 the final score, and the Moths remain four points clear.

9 points to play for.
NEWROOK 43 -21

Newrook City 0-1 Cranequin City
2-2 on aggregate. Newrook City win on the away goals rule.

Maximum Rovers 0-3 Morningstar
Morningstar win 8-1 on aggregate.

Newrook rotate out their older players with a crunch match against Diamondqueen coming up, but it’s a dire affair in truth. A screamer from Verdier in the 24th minute leaves Anghelescu with no chance and alights hope in the away crowd, but they just don’t have the penetration to capitalise and crash out on away goals. Paige Hildebrand stuck to facts before the rematch with Morningstar; “We need to win 4-0,” she announced, but her B-list selection betrayed her lack of faith that it was possible and Morningstar’s B-list selection ran roughshod over them, Christos Tsiavis scoring a goal with either foot before 19-year old Felix Stremer scores his first goal for his former club in stoppage time.

AFC Treason 3-0 North Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 4-2 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Athletic 4-1 Violence Chariots
Crisisbless 1-1 Coret Hawks
Chatswood 0-2 Starling
Extreme Hills 0-2 Brookford Otters
Southfell United 1-4 Creed United
Diamondqueen 1-3 Newrook City
Brinemouth 5-3 Parrhesia United
Morningstar 0-1 Bishop
Raven River 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Serpentine 2-3 Corvette Maulers

“We’re going out with a mission,” says Isla Safarova, who for achieving mediocre results with a skeleton crew of youths and castaways has become quite the fan favourite in southeast Sabrefell. “I know the passion that goes into this match, and we’re going to stop Athletic winning the title.” They don’t. They show passion, snapping into tackles, but go down early to goals from Wardenier and Bereveskos that exploit the holes in the defence. Coppinger breaks clear and sets up Escrow to equalise in first-half stoppage time, and briefly in the start of the second half the Chariots are in the ascendancy… then Laura Belfry’s sent off for a second yellow card after a murderous challenge on Coltrane. The talisman limps off, in doubt for Treason - perhaps the Chariots have helped after all. But God helps those who help themselves - and Aaliyah Johnson is good at helping herself. Specifically, to goals. Kept quiet in the first half by Jeong as a 2-2 thriller plays itself out, her frustration boils over and she lashes out at Marios Tzavellas, kicking him in the ankle and getting booked. But she comes out in the second half a woman reborn. She slips away from Jeong, Meier finds her and she slots home her 33rd of the season from a seemingly impossible angle, with that finally equalling the goalscoring record her manager, Gerhard Thunder, has held since the first modern season. Then, just after the hour, Townsend crosses, Vol flicks on under pressure from Jeong and Johnson slips in, takes the ball away from Preston, rides a poor challenge, whirls past him and shoots low past Clement. With that, she’s basically secured her fifth (FIFTH!) Iron Boot, too… and means that a win against lowly North Laithland, smashed 3-0 by Treason today, will secure them the title. Newrook secure safety, dominant over Diamondqueen in a 3-1 win that owes much to Aziz Senturk and his ability to evade countryman Hemeyer, seemingly a man on a mission to end his career. Instead, he gets a goal and an assist before substituting off on the hour, applauding the away fans. It’s 2-1 at that stage to the rooks, and much-maligned midfield signing Lorne Winter breaks a long goal drought to finish the Diamonds in injury time.

6 points to play for.

North Laithland 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Treason 0-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Vermillion Rage 3-0 Crisisbless
Violence Chariots 2-1 Chatswood
Coret Hawks 4-3 Extreme Hills
Starling 5-0 Southfell United
Brookford Otters 0-2 Diamondqueen
Creed United 1-3 Brinemouth
Newrook City 0-1 Morningstar
Parrhesia United 3-2 Raven River
Bishop 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Corvette Maulers

All eyes are in the Laith. The Premiership trophy is wheeled out tantalisingly pitchside as North Laithland look to stop the rot and pull clear of danger. Kartakoullis sets up, unsurprisingly, to sponge up and counter in a flat 4-5-1, but it’s something of a betrayal of her attacking principles. Within seventeen minutes of Moths domination that have already seen two vital saves from Sinstadt, it’s clear that it hasn’t paid off when Sanna finally finds the right ball over the top for Sol to battle Duguid for, win and knock down. Aaliyah Johnson is there to finish. She doesn’t miss from ten yards. Ten minutes later, the Moths double their advantage, Meier bursting down the right, hurdling a clumsy challenge from Kendrick and slamming the ball past Sinstadt with genuine violence, and the green bloc in the stands can feel the victory coming. Kartakoullis seems to acknowledge she’s fucked up, and sets up her team in a bold 4-2-3-1 in the second half, throwing on former Moths striker Haldenstadt and Gazzincha over the interval, and hoping that three creative midfielders in Webster and Tsikitsiris either side of Gazzincha can spark something. They do, and it’s Tsikitsiris who hits the long diagonal cross that Weaver tantalisingly doesn’t quite get his head on, but Kendrick sees the run and blazes across to find the cross and cut it powerfully across goal. Haldenstadt gets on the end of it, heading forcefully down into the bottom corner, and doesn’t make himself a popular man in western Sabrefell by celebrating exuberantly while only Webster busies herself with the business of wrestling the ball off a recalcitrant Griffin and hoofing it to the halfway line. But it’s a mirage, they can’t conjure up anything more - after all, Conjure’s off helping Brinemouth to a 3-1 win over Creed with a goal and an assist - and the Moths ease their way back in charge with a few firm challenges. At the end, the Moths are deserved winners - of the match, of the league, of everything, and the away fans stream onto the pitch, and the stewards only lukewarmly care. This title has been coming.

Perhaps it’s unsurprisingly that, kicking off later that day, Treason and Athletic stall to a scoreless draw, the injured Oscar Coltrane only unleashed in the last twenty minutes but even he’s muted. They’re basically assured of second place, Brinemouth of third. Crisisbless visit Vermillion - the assistant manager at the victorious World Cup 74 meets the master. And the result confirms what everyone knew - Theresa Riether is a much better manager than Portia Thrift as Crisisbless collapse, Antunovic, Madrigal and Cassadore putting them down 3-0 with intensity and spirit. Crisisbless have won just three of their last eleven games - that’s less than fucking Corvette. It means that the Heelers slip to 5th as Starling pulverise Southfell 5-0, Keira Andisori notching up a hat-trick, to overtake them. The Harriers overtake Treason to reach 6th with a fairly comfortable 2-0 win over Corvette, Treason stranded in 7th while an end-to-end affair between Coret’s lethal attack and Extreme Hills’ pure elan sees a 4-3 win for the Hawks, edging them level on points with the Stags in 8th.

Newrook and Morningstar play out what will be the NFA Cup final, and Maria Kartakoullis later rages at what can optimistically be called a ‘relaxed’ squad selection by Catheline Keenan. Keenan’s response: “If Kartakoullis was a good manager, her team would be safe and she could rest all the players she wants instead of having a cry about it.” Morningstar take the game by the scruff of the neck early on and win when Circe Rosenthal’s vicious through-ball doesn’t … actually connect with anyone, just arrows into the net of its own accord past a wrong-footed Kattner. Bruno Hawke’s Chatswood try and violently break the Chariots apart, and succeed in injuring Alexis Brill and the talismanic Rusalka Klein in the first half before Tzipporah Cohen flicks a header past Selkie. But Safarova isn’t going down without a fight, and in the second half the Chariots come out roaring with a vengeance. Chatswood hunker down for the onslaught but a brace of flying headers from Ulster give Violence a deserved win. After that, the Woodsmen can only watch in horror as Diamondqueen ease past a diffident Brookford in an assured, technical performance, a goal from Auburn Weber (naturally) setting them on their way just seventy-three seconds into the game before a slack pass from Siegrist is seized upon and quickly converted by Fortounis to put the Diamonds ahead of Chatswood.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:11 pm
by Nephara
Leichhardt 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Maximum City 4-3 North Sabrefell
West Brinemouth 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Hackett 0-2 South Laithland
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Sheridan
Maximum Rovers 0-0 Crisisbless United
Belgrave 2-0 Cranequin City
Armstrong 0-1 Cypher Town
Crossroads Town 3-1 Iron City
AFC Shale 0-1 Coret Rovers
AFC Corvistone 5-1 Ritter Town
Rochford 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
North Sabrefell 0-2 Leichhardt
East Laithland Harriers 0-3 Goodfeather FC
South Laithland 2-0 Maximum City
Sheridan 2-0 West Brinemouth
Crisisbless United 0-1 Hackett
Cranequin City 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Cypher Town 1-2 Maximum Rovers
Iron City 1-1 Belgrave
Coret Rovers 0-1 Armstrong
Ritter Town 1-2 Crossroads Town
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 AFC Shale
Rochford 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Leichhardt 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
North Sabrefell 1-1 South Laithland
Goodfeather FC 2-0 Sheridan
Maximum City 2-1 Crisisbless United
West Brinemouth 1-0 Cranequin City
Hackett 0-2 Cypher Town
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Iron City
Maximum Rovers 1-1 Coret Rovers
Belgrave 2-2 Ritter Town
Armstrong 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Crossroads Town 1-2 Rochford
AFC Shale 1-0 AFC Corvistone
South Laithland 0-1 Leichhardt
Sheridan 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Crisisbless United 1-1 North Sabrefell
Cranequin City 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Cypher Town 2-1 Maximum City
Iron City 2-0 West Brinemouth
Coret Rovers 3-2 Hackett
Ritter Town 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Vermillion Wanderers 0-3 Maximum Rovers
Rochford 1-1 Belgrave
AFC Corvistone 2-1 Armstrong
AFC Shale 3-0 Crossroads Town
Leichhardt 1-0 Sheridan
South Laithland 1-2 Crisisbless United
East Laithland Harriers 1-3 Cranequin City
North Sabrefell 3-1 Cypher Town
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Iron City
Maximum City 2-2 Coret Rovers
West Brinemouth 1-2 Ritter Town
Hackett 0-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Rochford
Maximum Rovers 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Belgrave 5-1 AFC Shale
Armstrong 1-1 Crossroads Town
Crisisbless United 1-0 Leichhardt
Cranequin City 1-1 Sheridan
Cypher Town 1-0 South Laithland
Iron City 0-2 East Laithland Harriers
Coret Rovers 1-2 North Sabrefell
Ritter Town 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Vermillion Wanderers 0-2 Maximum City
Rochford 1-0 West Brinemouth
AFC Corvistone 2-2 Hackett
AFC Shale 4-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Crossroads Town 2-2 Maximum Rovers
Armstrong 0-0 Belgrave
Leichhardt 1-1 Cranequin City
Crisisbless United 1-1 Cypher Town
Sheridan 0-2 Iron City
South Laithland 1-0 Coret Rovers
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Ritter Town
North Sabrefell 3-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Goodfeather FC 3-0 Rochford
Maximum City 1-1 AFC Corvistone
West Brinemouth 1-1 AFC Shale
Hackett 3-2 Crossroads Town
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Armstrong
Maximum Rovers 3-1 Belgrave
Cypher Town 1-1 Leichhardt
Iron City 2-0 Cranequin City
Coret Rovers 1-0 Crisisbless United
Ritter Town 1-1 Sheridan
Vermillion Wanderers 0-5 South Laithland
Rochford 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
AFC Corvistone 2-1 North Sabrefell
AFC Shale 0-0 Goodfeather FC
Crossroads Town 2-0 Maximum City
Armstrong 0-0 West Brinemouth
Belgrave 2-5 Hackett
Maximum Rovers 2-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Leichhardt 2-0 Iron City
Cypher Town 2-1 Coret Rovers
Cranequin City 3-1 Ritter Town
Crisisbless United 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Sheridan 1-0 Rochford
South Laithland 1-4 AFC Corvistone
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 AFC Shale
North Sabrefell 5-0 Crossroads Town
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Armstrong
Maximum City 2-0 Belgrave
West Brinemouth 1-1 Maximum Rovers
Hackett 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Coret Rovers 1-1 Leichhardt
Ritter Town 0-1 Iron City
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Cypher Town
Rochford 3-1 Cranequin City
AFC Corvistone 0-3 Crisisbless United
AFC Shale 0-1 Sheridan
Crossroads Town 2-0 South Laithland
Armstrong 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
Belgrave 2-2 North Sabrefell
Maximum Rovers 3-2 Goodfeather FC
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Maximum City
Hackett 1-2 West Brinemouth
Leichhardt 1-1 Ritter Town
Coret Rovers 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Iron City 1-1 Rochford
Cypher Town 1-0 AFC Corvistone
Cranequin City 2-1 AFC Shale
Crisisbless United 4-1 Crossroads Town
Sheridan 1-0 Armstrong
South Laithland 1-2 Belgrave
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Maximum Rovers
North Sabrefell 3-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Hackett
Maximum City 1-0 West Brinemouth

Things are solidifying in the First Division, meaning there’s less to talk about. Maximum Rovers have seized the day at the top, and haven’t been beaten in twenty-fucking-four matches, but thanks to a lot of draws they’re just a point (and insurmountable goal difference) ahead of Goodfeather. While the Rovers are just big on having middling Premiership-proven talent plus the help of Kolitsidakis, wearing the armband all season, spurring them on, Goodfeather are assured, confident and capable, if not massively prolific. Ulrica Rannon has been a revelation. Leichhardt? They’re hard as nails, guaranteed to finish third by this stage. Corvistone are currently holding fourth despite hideous inconsistency, losing to the likes of Shale and 3-0 to a Crisisbless United side ravening in 6th. Between them, Cranequin Wanderers have been solid, if uninspired. North Sabrefell could mathematically make it to fourth after salvaging a sinking season but… well, it’s mathematical. Truth is, whoever comes in 4th is probably favourite to come 24th next season, and that’s only if they win the playoff in the first place. Corvistone crumbles as soon as its depth’s tested and is a plastic team anyway, the Wanderers really, really miss Strongbow and Teixeira (though Blaylock’s been a revelation), Crisisbless United are woefully inconsistent and North Sabrefell’s defence is awful and its lynchpin, Marko Gillard, is on five red cards for the season. How the fuck do you get five red cards in a season?

Things are heating up at the danger zone, too, with a number of teams all picking up some points. Going from the bottom, Shale beat Cranequin Wanderers 4-0 but they’re well down. Iron City are down too, surprisingly, the first time in the modern era they’ve slipped beneath the First Division. West Brinemouth could hypothetically lift themselves out of danger, but they’d need to win and other results to go their way. They fell apart after Tana Colbright left and there just aren’t any goals in them. Realistically, it’s four teams trying to avoid 21st. Coret Rovers are there currently, a point behind but with by far the best goal difference, a commendable willingness to go toe-to-toe with the best and, in Wintergren and Cecchini, two of the best wingers in the bottom half of the league. They’re only in contention through a commendable draw with Leichhardt and then, though a valiant goalkeeping performance by Darroll Kewell and a rare goal from leftback Jozic, a 1-0 win over Vermillion Wanderers. On the supposedly magic 50-point mark of safety, Vermillion Wanderers have forgotten how to score (beaten 5-0 by South Laithland), Crossroads can’t defend (beaten 3-0 by Shale, 5-0 by North Sabrefell, 4-1 by Crisisbless United…) and Cranequin City are less than the sum of their parts. Somewhat surprisingly, East Laithland, Rochford and Hackett have all avoided being in the conversation. Sandwiched between them? An unhappy Belgrave.

Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Locksley
The Strongest 0-0 Riverkey
Pillars of Southfell 3-0 Southriver
Dartmouth Terriers 3-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Greygate 2-0 West Hook
Mantlegrove 1-0 Boleyn Town
Sutcroft 1-1 Kensey Town
Martella Jazz 2-7 Stonegrave
Kommissar 0-1 Iron United
Peregrine 0-1 Brindleton
The Hanged Man 0-1 South Parrhesia
Strephonage 1-1 Barossia United
Riverkey 3-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Southriver 0-0 Locksley
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 The Strongest
West Hook 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
Boleyn Town 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Kensey Town 1-1 Greygate
Stonegrave 1-1 Mantlegrove
Iron United 1-0 Sutcroft
Brindleton 3-1 Martella Jazz
South Parrhesia 2-1 Kommissar
Barossia United 1-2 Peregrine
Strephonage 0-2 The Hanged Man
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Southriver
Riverkey 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Locksley 5-0 West Hook
The Strongest 1-0 Boleyn Town
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Kensey Town
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Stonegrave
Greygate 2-3 Iron United
Mantlegrove 1-0 Brindleton
Sutcroft 1-0 South Parrhesia
Martella Jazz 1-0 Barossia United
Kommissar 1-1 Strephonage
Peregrine 3-2 The Hanged Man
Chenoworth Rovers 2-2 Crisisbless Athletic
West Hook 0-1 Southriver
Boleyn Town 0-1 Riverkey
Kensey Town 0-1 Locksley
Stonegrave 5-3 The Strongest
Iron United 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
Brindleton 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
South Parrhesia 0-1 Greygate
Barossia United 0-0 Mantlegrove
Strephonage 0-2 Sutcroft
The Hanged Man 0-2 Martella Jazz
Peregrine 1-3 Kommissar
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 West Hook
Chenoworth Rovers 3-0 Boleyn Town
Southriver 3-1 Kensey Town
Riverkey 1-1 Stonegrave
Locksley 2-3 Iron United
The Strongest 0-0 Brindleton
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 South Parrhesia
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Barossia United
Greygate 0-0 Strephonage
Mantlegrove 0-0 The Hanged Man
Sutcroft 0-1 Peregrine
Martella Jazz 2-0 Kommissar
Boleyn Town 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Kensey Town 1-1 West Hook
Stonegrave 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Iron United 4-2 Southriver
Brindleton 1-2 Riverkey
South Parrhesia 0-1 Locksley
Barossia United 1-1 The Strongest
Strephonage 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
The Hanged Man 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Peregrine 2-3 Greygate
Kommissar 1-1 Mantlegrove
Martella Jazz 3-1 Sutcroft
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Kensey Town
Boleyn Town 1-0 Stonegrave
West Hook 1-2 Iron United
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 Brindleton
Southriver 2-1 South Parrhesia
Riverkey 3-1 Barossia United
Locksley 2-2 Strephonage
The Strongest 2-0 The Hanged Man
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Peregrine
Dartmouth Terriers 2-1 Kommissar
Greygate 2-1 Martella Jazz
Mantlegrove 3-1 Sutcroft
Stonegrave 3-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Iron United 0-0 Kensey Town
Brindleton 1-2 Boleyn Town
South Parrhesia 2-0 West Hook
Barossia United 4-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Strephonage 0-2 Southriver
The Hanged Man 0-2 Riverkey
Peregrine 4-1 Locksley
Kommissar 1-0 The Strongest
Martella Jazz 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Sutcroft 0-3 Dartmouth Terriers
Mantlegrove 1-1 Greygate
Crisisbless Athletic 3-2 Iron United
Stonegrave 1-1 Brindleton
Kensey Town 1-1 South Parrhesia
Boleyn Town 2-1 Barossia United
West Hook 1-0 Strephonage
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 The Hanged Man
Southriver 0-2 Peregrine
Riverkey 3-2 Kommissar
Locksley 1-1 Martella Jazz
The Strongest 1-1 Sutcroft
Pillars of Southfell 3-1 Mantlegrove
Dartmouth Terriers 0-2 Greygate
Brindleton 0-4 Crisisbless Athletic
South Parrhesia 2-1 Iron United
Barossia United 1-0 Stonegrave
Strephonage 5-1 Kensey Town
The Hanged Man 1-1 Boleyn Town
Peregrine 1-1 West Hook
Kommissar 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Martella Jazz 2-1 Southriver
Sutcroft 1-0 Riverkey
Mantlegrove 2-2 Locksley
Greygate 2-0 The Strongest
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 South Parrhesia
Brindleton 2-0 Barossia United
Iron United 2-0 Strephonage
Stonegrave 1-0 The Hanged Man
Kensey Town 0-4 Peregrine
Boleyn Town 2-1 Kommissar
West Hook 1-0 Martella Jazz
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Sutcroft
Southriver 0-3 Mantlegrove
Riverkey 0-2 Greygate
Locksley 3-0 Dartmouth Terriers
The Strongest 1-1 Pillars of Southfell

All four teams have confirmed their promotion, and they’re the usual suspects for the most part. Greygate currently lead on goal difference, set to go straight back up under former journeyman goalkeeper Kieran Schrader’s management and with an overhauled squad to that recently relegated, with Harper’s Rovers just in behind and relieved to be back to their place at the sharp end of the pyramid. Riverkey and the ambitious young Pillars of Southfell complete the squadron. Fancied Stonegrave, eleven points adrift, have disappointed. At the bottom, anything apart from redemption for Kensey could happen - three open slots, four teams on 45 teams, three on 48. Boleyn are one of the 48 ones, despite a paper-thin squad and tumultuous finances. One to watch.

Sutcroft Athletic 3-4 Gosmouth Swans
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Mapleford
Downsparrow 1-0 Ox River United
Lazuli Diamonds 0-2 Ballardine FC
Dross Rovers 0-0 Falston United
Iberia Chenoworth 2-1 Gridlock Rovers
Rushe United 1-0 Fenland Albion
Brookway Town 0-3 Long Lake
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Falston Town
FC Seierstad 2-1 Fischer
Bodkin Road 1-1 Ringway
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 Pravenna Saints
Mapleford 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Ox River United 6-0 Gosmouth Swans
Ballardine FC 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Falston United 3-1 Downsparrow
Gridlock Rovers 0-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Fenland Albion 1-0 Dross Rovers
Long Lake 4-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Falston Town 0-0 Rushe United
Fischer 1-0 Brookway Town
Ringway 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Pravenna Saints 0-2 FC Seierstad
Chardonnay Rangers 3-0 Bodkin Road
Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 Ox River United
Mapleford 1-1 Ballardine FC
Gosmouth Swans 2-3 Falston United
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Gridlock Rovers
Downsparrow 0-1 Fenland Albion
Lazuli Diamonds 2-0 Long Lake
Dross Rovers 1-1 Falston Town
Iberia Chenoworth 1-1 Fischer
Rushe United 2-1 Ringway
Brookway Town 1-0 Pravenna Saints
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
FC Seierstad 2-0 Bodkin Road
Ballardine FC 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Falston United 1-2 Ox River United
Gridlock Rovers 4-1 Mapleford
Fenland Albion 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Long Lake 1-2 Alliance Barossia
Falston Town 3-0 Downsparrow
Fischer 1-4 Lazuli Diamonds
Ringway 1-1 Dross Rovers
Pravenna Saints 0-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Rushe United
Bodkin Road 1-2 Brookway Town
FC Seierstad 3-1 Gonen's Bridge
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Falston United
Ballardine FC 1-1 Gridlock Rovers
Ox River United 2-0 Fenland Albion
Mapleford 2-2 Long Lake
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Falston Town
Alliance Barossia 2-1 Fischer
Downsparrow 1-1 Ringway
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Pravenna Saints
Dross Rovers 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Iberia Chenoworth 1-3 Bodkin Road
Rushe United 4-1 FC Seierstad
Brookway Town 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Gridlock Rovers 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Fenland Albion 1-1 Falston United
Long Lake 1-0 Ballardine FC
Falston Town 2-2 Ox River United
Fischer 0-1 Mapleford
Ringway 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Pravenna Saints 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Chardonnay Rangers 5-0 Downsparrow
Bodkin Road 0-3 Lazuli Diamonds
FC Seierstad 2-0 Dross Rovers
Gonen's Bridge 5-3 Iberia Chenoworth
Brookway Town 2-5 Rushe United
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Fenland Albion
Gridlock Rovers 2-2 Long Lake
Falston United 2-0 Falston Town
Ballardine FC 4-1 Fischer
Ox River United 1-0 Ringway
Mapleford 1-0 Pravenna Saints
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Bodkin Road
Downsparrow 0-0 FC Seierstad
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Dross Rovers 2-0 Brookway Town
Iberia Chenoworth 1-2 Rushe United
Long Lake 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Falston Town 3-0 Fenland Albion
Fischer 1-2 Gridlock Rovers
Ringway 0-2 Falston United
Pravenna Saints 1-1 Ballardine FC
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Ox River United
Bodkin Road 1-5 Mapleford
FC Seierstad 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Brookway Town 1-1 Downsparrow
Rushe United 4-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Iberia Chenoworth 3-2 Dross Rovers
Sutcroft Athletic 3-1 Falston Town
Long Lake 5-1 Fischer
Fenland Albion 1-1 Ringway
Gridlock Rovers 0-1 Pravenna Saints
Falston United 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Ballardine FC 2-1 Bodkin Road
Ox River United 3-0 FC Seierstad
Mapleford 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Brookway Town
Alliance Barossia 2-1 Rushe United
Downsparrow 1-4 Iberia Chenoworth
Lazuli Diamonds 3-0 Dross Rovers
Fischer 5-3 Sutcroft Athletic
Ringway 0-2 Falston Town
Pravenna Saints 2-1 Long Lake
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 Fenland Albion
Bodkin Road 2-3 Gridlock Rovers
FC Seierstad 0-3 Falston United
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 Ballardine FC
Brookway Town 1-1 Ox River United
Rushe United 0-0 Mapleford
Iberia Chenoworth 4-3 Gosmouth Swans
Dross Rovers 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Downsparrow
Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 Ringway
Fischer 0-0 Pravenna Saints
Falston Town 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Long Lake 2-1 Bodkin Road
Fenland Albion 0-1 FC Seierstad
Gridlock Rovers 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Falston United 1-2 Brookway Town
Ballardine FC 1-3 Rushe United
Ox River United 2-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Mapleford 1-0 Dross Rovers
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Downsparrow

Gonen’s Bridge win the title despite losing to Gridlock Rovers, as Lazuli Diamonds also choke to the lowly Gosmouth Swans. Falston Town’s narrow win over Chardonnay throws everything into chaos, with five teams set to scuffle over 2nd to 4th. The bottom four, though, are settled, and despite contriving to conceded 93 goals in a season Iberia Chenoworth are not among them, perhaps in part due to scoring more than 4th-placed Falston United and just three less than the champions. Pravenna Saints are also safe with a brutalist, ugly style of football that has scored and conceded less than a goal a game. It’s helped morale in a protectorate that needs it. The powerful Boltcroft Thorns, the ambitious Corinthians No Longer, stable Hartford Glade and the resilient Rochford Pilgrims have secured their promotions to the fourth tier.

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Sabrefell Moths 45 31 9 5 124 48 +76 102
2 Sabrefell Athletic 45 29 9 7 111 53 +58 96
3 Brinemouth 45 29 6 10 95 48 +47 93
4 Starling 45 25 10 10 88 47 +41 85

5 Crisisbless 45 25 9 11 91 61 +30 84
6 Chenoworth Harriers 45 24 10 11 86 63 +23 82
7 AFC Treason 45 22 14 9 71 43 +28 80

8 Coret Hawks 45 24 8 13 85 62 +23 80
9 Raven River 45 21 9 15 70 54 +16 72
10 Bishop 45 20 10 15 59 48 +11 70
11 Vermillion Rage 45 19 8 18 70 65 +5 65
12 Creed United 45 19 8 18 61 61 +0 65
13 Brookford Otters 45 18 9 18 72 76 -4 63
14 Violence Chariots 45 17 8 20 73 88 -15 59
15 Parrhesia United 45 14 10 21 68 83 -15 52
16 AFC Serpentine 45 13 12 20 52 73 -21 51
17 Southfell United 45 14 7 24 52 82 -30 49
18 Newrook City 45 13 8 24 57 76 -19 47
19 Morningstar 45 12 9 24 45 76 -31 45
20 North Laithland 45 12 5 28 52 86 -34 41
21 Diamondqueen 45 10 10 25 58 94 -36 40
22 Chatswood 45 10 9 26 36 63 -27 39
23 Corvette Maulers 45 9 7 29 50 101 -51 34
24 Extreme Hills 45 5 6 34 41 116 -75 21

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Maximum Rovers 45 25 14 6 82 40 +42 89
2 Goodfeather FC 45 26 10 9 65 35 +30 88
3 Leichhardt 45 23 14 8 62 29 +33 83

4 AFC Corvistone 45 20 16 9 74 50 +24 76
5 Cranequin Wanderers 45 20 15 10 67 55 +12 75
6 Crisisbless United 45 21 10 14 71 51 +20 73
7 North Sabrefell 45 21 10 14 75 61 +14 73
8 South Laithland 45 20 11 14 60 39 +21 71
9 Maximum City 45 19 10 16 52 47 +5 67
10 Armstrong 45 18 11 16 47 40 +7 65
11 Cypher Town 45 17 12 16 43 46 -3 63
12 Sheridan 45 16 13 16 40 39 +1 61
13 Ritter Town 45 17 8 20 56 58 -2 59
14 East Laithland Harriers 45 15 9 21 51 72 -21 54
15 Belgrave 45 13 14 18 65 73 -8 53
16 Rochford 45 13 14 18 39 47 -8 53
17 Hackett 45 16 5 24 58 86 -28 53
18 Cranequin City 45 12 14 19 46 64 -18 50
19 Crossroads Town 45 13 11 21 53 77 -24 50
20 Vermillion Wanderers 45 13 11 21 41 65 -24 50
21 Coret Rovers 45 13 10 22 57 67 -10 49
22 West Brinemouth 45 11 14 20 35 51 -16 47
23 Iron City 45 13 7 25 35 55 -20 46
24 AFC Shale 45 8 11 26 28 55 -27 35

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Greygate 45 25 12 8 71 34 +37 87
2 Chenoworth Rovers 45 27 6 12 65 44 +21 87
3 Riverkey 45 24 12 9 69 36 +33 84
4 Pillars of Southfell 45 24 10 11 61 39 +22 82

5 Mantlegrove 45 21 15 9 63 45 +18 78
6 Locksley 45 23 8 14 72 54 +18 77
7 The Strongest 45 22 11 12 64 49 +15 77
8 Stonegrave 45 20 11 14 63 40 +23 71
9 Crisisbless Athletic 45 21 7 17 78 57 +21 70
10 Sutcroft 45 20 10 15 53 48 +5 70
11 Iron United 45 20 10 15 55 53 +2 70
12 Southriver 45 17 14 14 57 58 -1 65
13 South Parrhesia 45 17 11 17 54 52 +2 62
14 Martella Jazz 45 17 8 20 49 57 -8 59
15 Peregrine 45 15 11 19 60 76 -16 56
16 Dartmouth Terriers 45 14 7 24 46 64 -18 49
17 Kommissar 45 13 9 23 46 60 -14 48
18 Barossia United 45 12 12 21 39 54 -15 48
19 Boleyn Town 45 13 9 23 35 55 -20 48
20 Strephonage 45 10 15 20 37 50 -13 45
21 The Hanged Man 45 13 6 26 34 52 -18 45
22 Brindleton 45 11 12 22 46 65 -19 45
23 West Hook 45 11 12 22 33 57 -24 45
24 Kensey Town 45 6 10 29 41 92 -51 28

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Gonen's Bridge 45 26 11 8 74 39 +35 89
2 Lazuli Diamonds 45 26 7 12 92 51 +41 85
3 Falston Town 45 26 7 12 90 54 +36 85
4 Falston United 45 25 9 11 67 32 +35 84

5 Chardonnay Rangers 45 24 11 10 66 31 +35 83
6 Ox River United 45 24 9 12 79 38 +41 81
7 Alliance Barossia 45 22 13 10 59 40 +19 79
8 Gridlock Rovers 45 19 14 12 72 51 +21 71
9 Long Lake 45 20 10 15 61 45 +16 70
10 Ballardine FC 45 18 15 12 59 56 +3 69
11 Rushe United 45 18 14 13 66 51 +15 68
12 Sutcroft Athletic 45 17 13 15 62 50 +12 64
13 Pravenna Saints 45 18 7 20 41 43 -2 61
14 Dross Rovers 45 16 12 17 59 64 -5 60
15 Mapleford 45 16 10 19 54 74 -20 58
16 FC Seierstad 45 14 15 16 52 60 -8 57
17 Iberia Chenoworth 45 14 10 21 71 93 -22 52
18 Gosmouth Swans 45 14 9 22 57 75 -18 51
19 Brookway Town 45 11 17 17 57 72 -15 50
20 Ringway 45 12 14 19 40 62 -22 50
21 Fenland Albion 45 12 7 26 33 61 -28 43
22 Downsparrow 45 7 11 27 40 88 -48 32
23 Bodkin Road 45 5 9 31 36 97 -61 24
24 Fischer 45 5 8 32 39 99 -60 23

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Boltcroft Thorns 38 23 9 6 77 42 +35 78
2 Corinthians No Longer 38 19 12 7 72 39 +33 69

3 Sirencall FC 38 20 8 10 71 53 +18 68
4 Fully Sick XI 38 20 7 11 71 51 +20 67
5 Gridlock 38 17 13 8 39 26 +13 64
6 Grovebank 38 16 13 9 46 40 +6 61
7 Brokenarch 38 15 14 9 55 46 +9 59
8 AFC Brackwold 38 13 16 9 53 44 +9 55
9 Capricopia Rangers 38 12 16 10 60 54 +6 52
10 Courser 38 14 10 14 47 44 +3 52
11 Harrington 38 13 11 14 49 47 +2 50
12 Swag Hill Rovers 38 13 11 14 59 59 +0 50
13 Gridlock East 38 14 8 16 42 51 -9 50
14 Bellamy 38 12 10 16 41 50 -9 46
15 Stonesthrow Town 38 9 14 15 39 47 -8 41
16 Sleetwell Rangers 38 11 8 19 51 64 -13 41
17 Norton Road 38 10 7 21 33 63 -30 37
18 Nay Town 38 7 15 16 42 59 -17 36
19 Tryst Athletic 38 7 7 24 34 73 -39 28
20 Forge Carpenters 38 4 13 21 19 48 -29 25

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Hartford Glade 38 21 11 6 86 47 +39 74
2 Rochford Pilgrims 38 22 7 9 88 58 +30 73

3 Brunyard FC 38 20 11 7 69 44 +25 71
4 Aries Solitaire 38 21 5 12 84 47 +37 68
5 Stamper Road 38 20 8 10 69 48 +21 68
6 Corvistone City 38 17 15 6 54 31 +23 66
7 Blaze 38 17 10 11 79 47 +32 61
8 South Brill 38 17 9 12 52 43 +9 60
9 Rookwall 38 16 7 15 46 43 +3 55
10 Senway Town 38 16 7 15 67 67 +0 55
11 The Travellers FC 38 14 10 14 50 50 +0 52
12 Violence Tigers 38 13 9 16 51 51 +0 48
13 Sandrock 38 12 10 16 34 47 -13 46
14 Twelvetrees 38 14 4 20 38 54 -16 46
15 Coral Bay 38 11 12 15 54 64 -10 45
16 Mainstream Fist 38 11 7 20 55 84 -29 40
17 Corby Hubris 38 9 10 19 47 61 -14 37
18 Masculine Town 38 11 4 23 59 79 -20 37
19 Celebryant FC 38 7 9 22 44 81 -37 30
20 Lackerrun 38 8 1 29 46 126 -80 25

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:16 pm
by Nephara
In the Third Division, despite the hopes of chaos, nothing really happened. Falston Town lost 3-2 to unremarkable Seierstad while Lazuli held contenders Ox River to deny them, both went up as Falston United seized second with a 4-3 win over Iberia Chenoworth. Chardonnay Rangers had the chance to overtake Falston Town but they, too, choked to 20th-placed Ringway at home. They’ll kick themselves for that, but they’re moving in the right direction. Going the other way, the Hanged Man escapes the noose with… er, a 1-1 home draw against Brindleton. None of the relegation battlers actually wins, and only one of the Treason side and Brindleton could survive, but the match was short on quality and high on late challenges. Bruised and battered, the Hanged Man retains their place. Brindleton joins Strephonage, West Hook and Kensey Town in relegation. At the top of the table, Greygate and the Rovers go toe-to-toe - winner takes the league. Except… there is no winner. It’s goalless due to two dour teams defending well until in the 61st minute, Autumn Starbuck is put free with a brilliant ball over the top from Mona Gentile and she makes no mistake, but Greygate hit back in stoppage time, a diving header at the far post from unmarked winger Corso Poulsen ruining the Rovers’ day. Kieran Schrader’s Wardens secure the title on goal difference.

Barossia United 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Strephonage 0-1 South Parrhesia
The Hanged Man 1-1 Brindleton
Peregrine 1-1 Iron United
Kommissar 1-0 Stonegrave
Martella Jazz 1-0 Kensey Town
Sutcroft 1-1 Boleyn Town
Mantlegrove 2-0 West Hook
Greygate 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Southriver
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Riverkey
The Strongest 0-2 Locksley

Pravenna Saints 3-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Ringway
Bodkin Road 3-2 Fischer
FC Seierstad 3-2 Falston Town
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Long Lake
Brookway Town 1-0 Fenland Albion
Rushe United 2-3 Gridlock Rovers
Iberia Chenoworth 3-4 Falston United
Dross Rovers 2-0 Ballardine FC
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Ox River United
Downsparrow 2-1 Mapleford
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Gosmouth Swans

At the top of the table, the Rovers (hosting Sheridan) must match the result of Goodfeather (visiting Maximum City) to clinch the title. The battle for fourth, meanwhile, goes down to the wire - Corvistone (hosting Coret Rovers) are a point and insurmountable goal difference ahead of Cranequin Wanderers (hosting South Laithland), and should both lose Crisisbless United (visiting Belgrave) can try and bridge the gap, but they’ll need a goal difference swing of four in their favour. At the bottom of the table, West Brinemouth must beat North Sabrefell at home and hope for two of the teams above them to lose. Coret Rovers have the best goal difference, but are a point behind the following three; Vermillion Wanderers (hosting Leichhardt), Crossroads Town (hosting Cypher) and Cranequin City (visiting Armstrong). Plenty, then, to sort out.

The Rovers get off to a brilliant start when Drusilla Moxey, who has had a breakthrough season on the left wing, bursts past Bastian Keller with a quick bit of skill and cuts the ball back across for Luitgard to slot past Aldridge. Easy. Cranequin Wanderers also get off to a fairly good start in trademark fashion, two beautifully-taken set pieces from Paul Bismarck resulting in two well-rehearsed goals. Across town, Reinhard Mendehlson scores a nerveless penalty to put the Terracotta Army ahead of Armstrong. Pressure’s on in Corvistone, and it tells - Guillermo Cecchini rifles on past his man and then rifles home past the inconsistent Maria Kovacic’s near post. Kovacic makes up for it some way with a brilliant reflex save minutes later from Hammond’s attempted poach, but the Crows are deeply unsettled. More good news for the Rovers - Luna Nsereko’s header puts Leichhardt ahead of Vermillion, Atherton Telfair equalises for Armstrong against Cranequin City, Crossroads and Cypher are locked in a battle with no end product and West Brinemouth sleepwalk their way to, ultimately, a scoreless draw against the Bohemians. It’s as if they didn’t know they were headed for relegation. The Rovers are pegged back in stoppage time, though, a bullet header from Stacey Potenza well-saved by Lindberg, but Kitteman’s quickest to the rebound and forces it into the net. A gut punch, especially considering they were Sherries’ first and second shots on target of the night.

The news evidently reaches a sleepy Goodfeather side over the interval - they come out for the second half revitalised, driving firmly at the enemy. Twice, Amelia Rusmond tests Loris Aldous between the sticks for the Smiths, but it’s Farrakhan who secures the breakthrough, taking possession closer to midfield, dancing past three Smiths’ defenders and striking low and hard past a sprawling, wrongfooted Aldous. As it stands, they take the title. The Rovers almost seize it back minutes later, but a powerful low drive from Seeklander is matched by a long, strong-armed dive by Gared Aldridge, and at the other end Potenza hits the crossbar. The Wanderers clamber over Crossroads with a Renat Janssen goal, then Crossroads clamber over Cranequin City with Conrad Webber’s header, then Cranequin City respond by conceding to Armstrong, and to Majdiyya Cavazos’ mazy run and lazy flick past a stationary Zaparas, on the hour mark. They’re in real trouble now. South Laithland pull one back through Riske but then concede quickly to Blaylock, who completes his hat-trick in the 87th minute - by which point Coret are 2-0 up over Corvistone after a dipping, swerving strike from Wintergren. Crisisbless United break through Belgrave through Kaija Koppel’s second-half brace but it doesn’t matter - Cranequin City and West Brinemouth, are going down, Cranequin Wanderers are heading to the playoff and, with Heather Garrard’s first goal of the season in the 91st minute of the game to secure a 2-0 win over the Smiths, Goodfeather FC have, out of nowhere, won the title.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Leichhardt
Rochford 1-0 Ritter Town
AFC Corvistone 0-2 Coret Rovers
AFC Shale 1-0 Iron City
Crossroads Town 1-1 Cypher Town
Armstrong 2-1 Cranequin City
Belgrave 1-2 Crisisbless United
Maximum Rovers 1-1 Sheridan
Cranequin Wanderers 4-1 South Laithland
Hackett 1-3 East Laithland Harriers
West Brinemouth 0-0 North Sabrefell
Maximum City 0-2 Goodfeather FC

Sabrefell Athletic vs. North Laithland:
Athletic are all but mathematically secure in second, but they’ve no reason to make things easy for the Spiders, who must win to secure their safety. Hopeful news for the Spiders - Coltrane remains on the bench, with Tom Benedict unwilling to risk him for a dead rubber.

Crisisbless vs. Sabrefell Moths: Crisisbless need to win and hope Starling drop points at Brinemouth to reclaim fourth place. Chances are that even if they do Portia Thrift’s contract will not be renewed after their dramatic late-season collapse. The Moths? Well, if they score six they’ll break the goalscoring record.

Chatswood vs. AFC Treason: Guaranteed to be spicy. It’s not the Chatswood vs. Brinemouth classic, but you can’t go wrong with a Treason derby, particularly with so much at stake. Currently 22nd but with the best goal difference of the entire bottom six, a draw will give Chatswood a chance at survival should the Diamonds lose, and a win would see them overtake North Laithland unless the Spiders can match that.

Extreme Hills vs. Vermillion Rage: Well, the Hills have already smashed Crisisbless United’s record for most goals conceded in a season, Rochford’s for the most defeats and Corvette’s of the worst goal difference. If they don’t win here, they’ve officially had the worst season in the modern era, breaking Rochford’s fifteen-year record of just 22 points (and 23 goals, which the Hounds have at least managed to eclipse). Vermillion have nothing to play for, but it’s Riether’s last match at the helm before she seeks a challenge abroad.

Southfell United vs. Violence Chariots: Dead rubber, but at least between interesting teams to watch. The Chariots might suffer without key players Klein or Brill, but Carroll’s set to make just her second start since her injury.

Diamondqueen vs. Coret Hawks: Another crucial match. Diamondqueen must win to ensure survival - they’re 21st, a point below North Laithland and above Chatswood with a worse goal difference than either. That said, they’re only two goals seperated from the Spiders, with far more goals scored. A draw might be enough to overtake them.

Brinemouth vs. Starling: Brinemouth don’t have a care in the world, and 3rd represents a slightly disappointing but passable first season for Mescalin. Starling need to beat them, or at least equal Crisisbless’ result, to make sure of fourth place and book their tickets in the Champions’ Cup.

Morningstar vs. Brookford Otters: Dead rubber. Morningstar are putting out the reserves in preparation for the Cup final. Survival is job done in the league, and victory in the Cup would be icing on the cake. If it wasn’t for their kits, Brookford could probably be quietly removed from the Premiership without anyone noticing.

Raven River vs. Creed United: Dead rubber. River’s brilliant early season form was not mirrored in the second half, with an expanding injury list and an expanding Diette Daleiden not helping the cause. Creed? Well, mediocre performances from stars of the past in McMillan, Bittner and Mithradates appear to suggest that, yes, prior success was probably a fluke and, yes, they’re pretty average. Locklear’s put her faith in young guns Accardi, Matraxis and Wright in the tail end of the season, probably the right approach. But the joking title of ‘AFC Net Spend’ that the fans have taken up has more than a grain of truth to it.

AFC Serpentine vs. Newrook City: Could’ve been one to watch, a potential six-pointer, but as it stands both sides are hovering just out of danger. Newrook have a Cup to win and have rested key players accordingly.

Corvette Maulers vs. Parrhesia United: Dead rubber. Corvette are down, but not without a fight. They can be happy with their three-season stint, just less happy at seeing fierce rivals Leichhardt confirmed as being promoted the other way. Parrhesia have endured a difficult season, and wantaway star Dragana is almost definitely walking out the door.

Chenoworth Harriers vs. Bishop: With Treason and Coret two points behind but facing weak opposition and ahead on goal difference (at least, Coret will be after victory), a draw won’t be enough to ensure the Harriers stay in the Globe Cup places. A win here is essential. Bishop have nothing to play for, but they’ve been a real bitch of a banana skin for more than one good team this season.

1 mins - And within sixteen seconds, one of the Moths’ signature diagonal balls over the top unleashes Townsend who flashes a shot on goal from thirty yards, hard enough that Marciak has to tip it over the bar. Already, a nervous air in Crisisbless.
2 mins - Morningstar have handed a starting debut to promising winger Monako Saroszi, with a senior debut for rightback Valeri Longship - the two combine to good effect, Longship releasing Saroszi down the right for the winger to blister past Arweiler, dummy past Ynoa and then, well, they should cut back for the waiting Kreisburg but instead shoots straight at Caravella, with enough power to make her spill it but Vannatter gets across to clear.
3 mins - Trivia time: Saroszi’s the second nonbinary player in the Premiership, following in Alex Beckett’s footsteps. People talk about them like they could one day be a Cormorant, though… and that would be a first. Topically, they put in a terrible overhit cross and make a face. But Morningstar are taking the fight to Brookford so far in this utterly, utterly meaningless game.
4 mins - Early signs from Brinemouth: Starling look really assured. Liam Armstrong is untouchable in midfield, Gryphon dominant in breaking down Brinemouth’s attacks.
5 mins - Diamondqueen look sharp and motivated. Tana Colbright’s had a decisive impact on the side but it hasn’t always reflected itself in results - it absolutely needs to today. But McDonald is doing a good job of stifling Auburn Weber - and if you stifle Weber, you usually stifle the Diamonds.
6 mins - GOAL! Well, that didn’t take long. Fiete Kinnett, who has in six appearances shown beyond a doubt that he is out of his fucking depth at this level, slips under pressure from Coraline Madrigal. Literally slips, in possession, and falls over. Madrigal smashes past a stunned Tournay. EXH 0-1 VRR.
7 mins - That didn’t take long either: the mere 9,000 in Harkerscourt are jeering. Other clubs might be less uptight - most terrible urban clubs just sing rounds of the old classic, “We’re Fucking Shit”, but they’re… proud, in the Laith, and football’s one of the few things to be proud of down there.
8 mins - Ohh, I can hear the hate mail accumulating already after that last sentence.
9 mins - PENALTY! Well, it’s been coming in Brinemouth. Giorgio Magnozzi worked his way into regular starts about midway through the season but he should have done better here, clumsily bulldozing Andisori to the ground.
10 mins - GOAL! Catherine Gryphon doesn’t miss penalties. Vintner goes the right way, but the ball just tantalisingly brushes his fingertips as Gryphon nervelessly buries it in the bottom corner. BRI 0-1 STA.
11 mins - That… really should have been Diamondqueen 1-0 up against Coret. It’s been a quiet match thus far, but all of a sudden Hemeyer wins the ball off Nikolaidis, slips it to Thackeray to hits it across to Kesteren who sees Fairbairn bombing down the left wing, slides it to her, she takes it past Sorrell and fires it back across goal and Kowalczyk is there- ! And Valkanis is sliding in with him, and he fires the shot off her shin and somehow it’s reflexed away by Lethbridge, headed away by Santana and cleared desperately by Jeurissen. Had Kowalczyk just been that little bit faster...
12 mins - At the other end, a reminder of Coret’s quality when Montague effortlessly splits the Hawks’ defence apart and only a heavy touch from Dani Harper stands between Coret and a 1-0 lead. As it stands, Jonason desperately rushes out and smothers it. He’s a good lad, Jonason.
13 mins - First yellow card of the Treason derby. Meredith Towerman tries to claim she got the ball, and to be fair she did, she just followed through by absolutely smashing Roddy Fraser. Free kick’s dangerously close… but Cantor, weirdly, hits it too softly, getting it over the wall and dropping dangerously at goal but without much velocity and too close to Rook Alphonse, who punches confidently clear.
14 mins - GOAL! The Tanners have started confidently against a depleted Chariots side, and this is their deserved reward. A Chariots attack breaks down when di Natale hacks a poor Coppinger pass clear, Schwarzer, unusually, wins the header with Quiverell and gets the ball across to Nikas who runs forward into miles of space and blasts it beyond Selkie. SFU 1-0 VIC.
15 mins - GOAL! Oh, dear. The Chariots go out to pull one back quickly… and a heavy touch from Quiverell allows di Natale to thumb it forward, Nikas slips in Catterick down the left, she crosses and Kerrigan’s flying header makes it 2-0. On the sidelines, Safarova looks nauseated. SFU 2-0 VIC.
16 mins - Currently sitting in 17th and comfortably safe, you’d imagine Felipa Medina - the youngest permanent manager in Premiership history - will be happy enough with that. Southfell United are a foundation (modern) Premiership side and have had some great moments over the years. It’s good to see them back.
17 mins - North Laithland have been decent, actually. They’ve gone for the same 4-2-3-1 with Webster, Gazzincha and Tsikitsiris as ‘won’ the second half against the Moths, and they’ve enjoyed 55% possession and got some nice attacks together. Patricia Etheridge has had a couple of passable chances, but made nothing of them.
18 mins - GOAL! Newrook City Reserves take the lead! Marcia Haskell’s a pretty tidy striker in her own right, and should really get more chances next season (be that with Newrook or in the First Division), and Fenchel plays her past a wrong-footed Dragons’ defence with a lovely disguised pass. Haskell races clear and does the rest. SRP 0-1 NRC.
19 mins - Wahey! Dre Roenoujya flicks the ball over the top of Liam Armstrong’s head, eases around him and drops a long diagonal cross into the box. Bartley and Scotti race for it gamely but it’s Heston’s all the way, the big lad heading it confidently out of danger. It’s been a bit of a baptism of fire for the local but he’s grown into the role as the season’s gone on.
20 mins - Only a sprawling save from Selkie stops Southfell from being three to the good, Kerrigan shooting against the foot of the post and Selkie slides towards it, but when Gail finds the rebound and stabs at goal she somehow drags out a leg to hook the ball away. Probably avoidable, but she’s a good reflex stopper.
21 mins - GOAL! No Coltrane? No problem. Tanith Rainsford’s still here and when Rudden races past Kendrick and cuts back, Ferryman can’t quite get to it, but… yes, that rarest cryptid, a Rainsford goal from open play as it falls to her and she eases onto a position where she can thump it properly with her left peg. No chance for Sinstadt. SFA 1-0 NLA.
22 mins - The Harriers haven’t been fluid against Bishop, disjointed by some… physical challenges from the Cardinals. Juliet Bezemer, deputising for injured (and soon to be retired) midfielder Blondel, is having a great time just clattering people and hoofing the ball up to the dangerous wingers. The upshot of this is no shots on target yet, from either side.
23 mins - GOAL! Mysteriously, Jazmin Dragana’s not been named in the last couple of matchday squads, reportedly stepping up her efforts to leave. Here, then, is Sylvia Rouseff’s audition to take her regular place at left wing back - a shimmy and a shift to wrongfoot neophyte defender Con Neofitides, then a thunderous drive into the top corner past a motionless Sparr. CVM 0-1 PAR.
24 mins - Almost 2-0 Athletic, with North Laithland’s slack marking at set pieces almost biting them in the face yet again. Rainsford whips in a venomous corner and Michael Campbell, who’s kind of hard to miss, somehow muscles unnoticed past two guys and slips Serjeant and heads it… against the crossbar from four yards! Serjeant hacks clear, but Campbell should’ve done better. A real defender’s finish there.
25 mins - Almost 2-0 Athletic again, the cause far more straightforward this time - Andrea Bereveskos skins Karsten Riordan and then hammers a shot across Sinstadt that the goalkeeper goes well to tip around the post. This time, the corner’s dealt with well by Serjeant.
26 mins - PENALTY! Dani Harper takes the ball and whirls past McDonald, jinks past Sanabria- ! And a clumsy hack flattens her, a penalty as clear as day. This is, if the rumour mill has it right, to be Gabriella Antonio’s last game of professional football, at least for the near future and certainly with the Hawks. And she’s stepping up for the penalty… can she convert it?
27 mins - GOAL! Damn right she does, straight down the middle. DMQ 0-1 COH.
28 mins - That… was a vicious challenge from Vedran Tarashaj, both studs through Claire Beresford (who has admittedly been a pest), and the home crowd are chanting for a red card… but referee Rudi Besler gives him the cheese instead. “Bottleless prick!” Bruno Hawke bellows, loud enough for the mics to pick up.
29 mins - A goal almost results for the Woodsmen, not long after. Gary Corsie hits one over the top just after the Stags think they’ve cleared their lines, and suddenly Cohen’s in on goal, but Svensson’s there in a flash to put muscular pressure on her and she puts the shot wide. Joan Vickers wouldn’t give them a second chance like that.
30 mins - Bishop almost take the lead against the Harriers! Karlene Sitz’s shot is spilled and then pawed away by a desperate Sheffield, the quick reflex enough to push it past Penbrooke, who was following the shot in. Penbrooke does well to dig the ball out from under his feet and send it lofting goalwards, but Guiliani’s repositioned to the line, chests it down confidently and hoofs it into the midfield.
31 mins - GOAL! Certainly against the run of play, but the Spiders are level! They’ve managed 58% possession, albeit doing much less with it… until now, where the outstanding Vanderlei hits one down the flanks, Tsikitsiris rushes to collect and then splits open the hosts’ defence with a lovely cutback across goal. Patricia Etheridge slides in to poke it between the sprawling Gautier’s legs, and into the net. SFA 1-1 NLA.
32 mins - That really has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons. The Reds aren’t getting near the Spiders now with some crisp passing going on, while Diamondqueen, unable to lay a glove on the Hawks at the moment, are in real trouble.
33 mins - GOAL! A fairly scruffy goal for a meaningless game between two mildly above-average teams. Young leftback Hywel Wodework sticks a cross in the mixer, it bounces around a bit then ends up getting clear to Petkovic, who slips it along to an unmarked Kaspian, who sizes up and then takes the shot. Low and hard, through a sea of bodies - Matraxis sees it late, would’ve saved it otherwise, and is visibly frustrated at the inability of his defence to clear their lines. RVR 1-0 CRD.
34 mins - Crisisbless vs. Moths has been lively, but largely without goalmouth incident so far. Griffin and Marciak have had a couple saves to make each but all from outside the box, and they’re too good to be beaten by pedestrian efforts like that.
35 mins - Czarina Tournay scuffs a goalkick that bobbles and fluffs to such an extent where it fails to even leave the penalty area and has to be retaken. Now if that doesn’t perfectly summarise the season Extreme Hills have had...
36 mins - GOAL! Nevermind any talk of the Spiders going well, they overcommitted forward and got demolished on the counterattack. The Spiders have a fairly slow defence and Chloe Rudden tears it apart before squaring for Avila Wardenier to finish cleanly. No chance for Sinstadt. SFA 2-1 NLA.
37 mins - Pain across town, in Diamondqueen. Catherine Thackeray is down, maybe with concussion - crowd are booing Jenny McDonald but it seems to have been an innocent collision of heads from which Diamondqueen’s captain’s come out decidedly worse. This is really bad.
38 mins - The Maulers have had a tough season, but Lukas Sparr’s a Premiership goalkeeper. Morningstar, Newrook, Serpentine and Southfell could all use his services, and the former Cypher Town man proves that again by flying out to scrabble away the ball at Quinn McEthinly’s feet… Levi Rainwall misreads its path, allows it to scandalously nutmeg him and Rouseff shapes for the shot and Sparr finds something to spring towards the shot and claw it clear. He shouts at his defence again. He’s done that a lot this season.
39 mins - GOAL! Starling’s charge is checked! It’s been an intense, pulsating game here in Brinemouth but both sides are too disciplined for things to really open up. Sometimes, though, there’s just nothing you can do, as an improvisational half-volley from Kyron Bartley on the edge of the box leaves Hargrave with no chance. BRI 1-1 STA.
40 mins - This has really set Portsgate humming. It’s the venerable ground’s last, as negotiations have been cleared for the Dockers to move into the newly-constructed Eagle’s Club next season. It’s smaller, but you never got 57,000 through Portsgate anyway. And it’s shinier, more corporate facilities and most importantly of all for the ambitious board gives them the international legitimacy that they crave.
41 mins - Reluctantly, Catherine Thackeray has been guided off the pitch. Imogen Jeweler, a tidy but lightweight player, is on in her stead. And the Hawks utterly dominated the ten men, Draxler forcing a sharp save from Jonason and Antonio dragging a shot agonisingly wide.
42 mins - GOAL! Extreme Hills are quite bad at football. This specific occasion, though, may have been blameless. Fourteen passes end in Alemane, normally more one to go for the shot herself, swinging in a cross and Kosta Ouzoundis, charging in late from midfield, produces a powerful header and buries the ball past a stranded Tournay. EXH 0-2 VRR.
43 mins - In River, Daleiden protests when Kurtis Bristoll appears to jab her midriff in the jostling before a corner, but the referee just shrugs.
44 mins - Imogen Jeweler’s first touch of the game sends a 30-yard shot about ten feet over the bar. Promising.
45 mins - Gary Corsie’s gone missing in Treason after a few good kicks from the Stags. He’d been getting around and causing trouble, but the fight’s left him after Misidjan - who is immensely capable of tackling cleanly with pinpoint accuracy - clattered him about ten minutes ago. The match has been terribly dull since.
Injury time - GOAL! Just as the other matches are winding down, just as the Chariots think they’re about done and can regroup and lick their wounds, the massively impressive Vasilis Nikas strikes with a powerful shot hits the intersection of post and crossbar before bouncing in. Selkie gamely claws it out past the line - sorry love, that won’t work in this age of goalline tech. SFU 3-0 VIC.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 North Laithland
Crisisbless 0-0 Sabrefell Moths
Chatswood 0-0 AFC Treason
Extreme Hills 0-2 Vermillion Rage
Southfell United 3-0 Violence Chariots
Diamondqueen 0-1 Coret Hawks
Brinemouth 1-1 Starling
Morningstar 0-0 Brookford Otters
Raven River 1-0 Creed United
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Newrook City
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Parrhesia United
Chenoworth Harriers 0-0 Bishop

As it stands; Starling will hold 4th, Coret Hawks and Chenoworth Harriers will hold the Globe Cup places, Chatswood are in the relegation playoff and Diamondqueen are relegated.

46 mins - Aaand we’re off again.
47 mins - Pretty placid start to the second half, honestly, yet to see a shot on target from any team. Early signs are good for Crisisbless, though - they’re rolling the ball around freely against an uncharacteristically cautious Moths side.
48 mins - And from the tranquil proceedings at Portsgate… boom! Jess Silkman hammers a shot against the crossbar with a loud, thundering crack. Hargrave wouldn’t’ve stood a chance. McNessa clears the rebound.
49 mins - Controversy in Treason! Chatswood have started the second half well but just as Corsie sends in a dangerous, whipping free kick, Cohen gets away from Katskalidis and manages to crash a falling header into the net… but it’s disallowed, the linesman seeing that Darius Rashkin had Peter Svensson in a headlock. He’s yellow-carded for his troubles.
50 mins - GOAL! It’s been coming, on the strength of the last few minutes! An initial attack down the left from Crisisbless is repelled, Lohengrin’s cross headed comfortably away by Weiss but it falls to Isaia Urso, who drives on past Etzebeth and slams the ball into the top corner from twenty yards! Crisisbless take fourth place. Thrift looks like the cat who’s got the cream. CRI 1-0 SFM.
51 mins - Crisisbless almost go 2-0 up, as the Moths’ high line is torn apart by Jevdjevic-Hadsic, who plays Tia Drenas through on goal! But the normally clinical Eastfielder’s first touch is a little heavy, and her shot is rushed, dragging the shot just wide of a charging Griffin - and of the post.
52 mins - Another card in Treason, this time for a godawful challenge by Karin Machan on Lienke Vesper. Referee Rudi Besler is taking some time out to just tell both sides to chill the fuck out. Captains Beresford and Vyntra glare at each other instead of listening. This isn’t over.
53 mins - Bryony Johansen’s beleagured Hounds are at least making a fight of it against Vermillion Rage. They’re certain to lose Barota next season, maybe Vorbeck too, while Jess Hearn is reportedly cancelling her retirement in order to end her career on a happier note. Many recent relegated teams - West Brinemouth, Armstrong, Belgrave, Maximum City - have struggled. The Hounds could be in for another relegation fight next season.
54 mins - GOAL! This is getting ridiculous now. The Chariots are still going for it, trying to get a goal back, and the Tanners skin them on the counterattack again. Miranda Gail’s finishing isn’t quite there and her lack of physicality has been an issue in this league, but the pace is undeniable. It gets her past Belfry, past Tarrasch and then past Selkie. SFU 4-0 VIC.
55 mins - It’s times like this, where it just isn’t happening for Diamondqueen and Colbright looks at her bench and does nothing that you realise just how little firepower is there. Thirlwell, maybe, but that would mean replacing Weber, which is unthinkable. Hecubah Statkis, a mediocre 28-year old forward, is told to warm up anyway, with the wasteful Fortounis likely to be sacrificed.
56 mins - GOAL! Out of nowhere! Tsikitsiris slips it through to Etheridge but she’s covered well by Gerhardt, holds the ball up… sees Webster running ahead in her peripheral vision, backheels to her. Webster slots across to Karsten Riordan, charging ahead from leftback with Morningstar in pursuit, but with his first touch the burly defender smashes it past Gautier! SFA 2-2 NLA.
57 mins - The Spiders are visibly relieved, now two points clear of danger. They’ve looked assured in the second half, calm in possession, Kendrick and Riordan sitting back and jockeying Bereveskos and Rudden. Well, okay, Riordan was the furthest man forward for his goal, but… he picked his moment well.
58 mins - Coret should be two up! Antonio, under pressure from Sanabria, hooks the ball across to Dani Harper, whose pace has been giving the Diamonds fits all night. Harper shoots but Jonason makes himself big and sprawls and manages, just, to block it with a knee. Antonio scuffs the followthrough at goal, weak enough for Jonason to gratefully collect, and complains that Sanabria’s tugging her shirt (probably true) but no call is made.
59 mins - Chenoworth’s PR guy trying a novel tactic to neutralise the electrifying Karlene Sitz, retweeting a submitted photograph of her seemingly passed out in an alleyway behind a nightclub. ‘Busy night on Friday, Karlene??’ the account remarks, followed by a string of blushing emoji.
60 mins - GOALS! Gail on the counter again in Southfell. Just north on the canal, Creed level the scores in an agonisingly direct goal. Matraxis hoofs it upfield, straight to Mithradates, who hooks the ball away from an overcommitting Naumoff, squares to Korborg who fires low and hard past Bowerman. Bittencourt is apoplectic. SFU 5-0 VIC; RVR 1-1 CRD.
61 mins - Sitz seemingly doesn’t care about PR stunts, and lashes a shot that Sheffield has to react sharply to turn around the post. Inexplicably, a forgotten free transfer has been one of the bargains of the season. For the Harriers’ part, they seriously need to shake themselves awake - they’re sleepwalking out of UICA at this rate, though Treason’s inability to break through Chatswood is their reprieve for the moment.
62 mins - Southfell almost get a sixth, Kerrigan knocking down to Gail who breaks past the defence… but just drags her shot wide of Selkie and the goal. Safarova, normally an active, electric presence in the technical area, has slumped down in the dugout.
63 mins - GOAL! Well, well, well - look who’s come alive all of a sudden! The Moths are being pegged back deep in their own half, Johnson denied her customary flurry of service, and Robert Griffin’s done well to keep the score down. This time, though, when Tia Drenas is played through on goal again by Urso, she makes no mistake. CRI 2-0 SFM.
64 mins - Corvette against Parrhesia United has thoroughly petred out. Corvette have played with heart, but lacked the quality to recover from a genuinely abysmal run of form midway through the season. A three-year stay isn’t bad, though. The Saints, for their part, will feel entitled to expect a lot better next season from their former Premiership-winning manager. Most likely, it’ll be without Dragana.
65 mins - RED CARD! Oh dear. Claire Beresford clatters Servet Misidjan, ostensibly for a header, and leaves a fair bit of elbow in the challenge - Besler has no choice. She’s on a yellow already, she’s sent off and Chatswood are down to ten. They need at least a point. Can they hold out? Cohen goes off, replaced by the hulking Osarian destroyer, Gareth Flynn.
66 mins - It’s probably confirmation bias that suggests a disproportionate amount of keystone goals come from resoundingly unlikely sources. Still, it’s the sort of superstition that means, when the ball falls to Starling’s conservative, steady rightback, Mirko Koehler, from about thirty diagonal yards and he swings his right peg at it, there was some expectation in the air. The shot blazes twenty feet over the bar. Normality restored.
67 mins - GOAL! Another feather in the cap for Newrook City reserves, and specifically for Marcia Haskell. The lively Alessa Marconi slips her through the defence, she whirls away from McGuinness and fires home past Hartson’s near post at a deathly-acute angle. In fact, it was probably touched in off Hartson’s arm, but Haskell claims it and gets the credit. SRP 0-2 NRC.
68 mins - The big question for the Rooks is: will Bothroyd, rested today, be there next season? Newrook have a lot of decent players who were hoping for the Rooks to do better than they’ve been. Keenan’s contract expires and will likely not be renewed, and there’ll be a lot of demand for the 27-year old Valladar. An aspirational, Antonio-less Coret might be a natural fit for both club and player.
69 mins - Heh.
70 mins - GOAL! Big implications here in Treason! Rightback Belaskita Skalak came on just two minutes ago and she’s had an immediate impact, swinging a huge diagonal cross into the box - Rashkin didn’t quite deal with it, it was left to bounce in the area off his chest and in comes Igrene Cantor, absolutely battering the ball into the top corner beyond Alphonse! Treason overtake the Harriers and are now set for the Globe Cup - Chatswood, as things stand, will be relegated! CHT 0-1 TRE.
71 mins - Chatswood hit back immediately, or try to - they may only have ten, but one of the ten is Joan Vickers, a decent striker at this level, and she turns neatly in possession and rifles powerfully at goal. Ten yards closer and she’d score - as it stood, Fletcher had the time to beat it powerfully away.
72 mins - GOAL! Who saw this coming? Gerhard Thunder grimaces on the touchline as Lohengrin skins Jon Haines once again and lashes a low ball across the goalmouth. Everyone and their dog slides in, but it’s Drenas with the tap-in, and the Heelers are flying. CRI 3-0 SFM.
73 mins - If Diamondqueen get out of this, they’re going to need to erect a fucking statue to Ivan Hemeyer. A poor pass from Jeweler is snapped up by Nikolaidis whose run is immediately halted when Hemeyer flies out of nowhere to destroy him. He accepts the booking - they were looking deadly open for a second there.
74 mins - News of the Heelers’ goal reaches Brinemouth, and Lisa Amos gesticulates furiously at her squad, and the clever young midfielder Sleipnir Woodwind is brought on for the industrious but ineffective Gallagher. He’s never quite regained his form from the Golden Age, though he remains an immensely capable player, and he’s thought to be headed for the exit door post-season.
75 mins - How much longer will Serpentine keep ahold of Ishtar Fanaiyan? Surely she’s gone next season. Here she mazes past five Newrook guys like they aren’t even there, but Petra Fischer manages to guide her away from goal and forces her wide and her shot ends up tamely at Kattner.
76 mins - GOAL! Out of nowhere! But that’s what Auburn Weber gets you, moments of improvisation and cunning - Hastings hoofed the ball into midfield and she flicked it over a stunned McDonald’s head, rolled it to a side where her favoured left could twat it in, and then twats it in past a despairing Cormak Lethbridge. Hope for the Diamonds, while the Hawks slip out of the Globe Cup places, and both teams really, really need a goal. DMQ 1-1 COH.
77 mins - They will not get a goal by taking speculative efforts from around the halfway line because Karel Jonason’s stepped a bit forward from goal. Not naming any names, Trifon Draxler.
78 mins - That is not a popular substitution. Rasunda Vanderlei has been at the heart of everything good that the Spiders have done, and she’s replaced by … well, Brandon Duguid moves into defensive midfield, muscular 22-year old local Gabriel Traustram moves into defence. She doesn’t look happy about it, either.
79 mins - Svatioslav Pokrovski, a defining player of Vermillion’s recent years, is substituted off his last appearance for Vermillion. The Pasarga international’s been an iconic figure for the Rage, made more remarkable by successfully transitioning from winger to classy technical midfielder when the pace went.
80 mins - GOAL! A sigh of relief for the Harriers. The goal’s a clever one, Guiliani with a nonchalant but quick throw-in over the top past a momentarily flat-footed Bishop defence, substitute Matilda Weiss steals onto it and hooks the ball over the top into the box where Ruhl comes charging in to thunder it home. They’re secure in 6th as things stand, and you don’t imagine Brosque will exactly stretch himself to extend the lead against such a disciplined counterattacking side. CHH 1-0 BIS.
81 mins - Ten-man Chatswood just look out of ideas and out of legs at the moment. They’ve been very physical and defensively disciplined, and that’s about it. It’s hard to see them pulling one back here, let alone the two they need… but their best players are old anyway, and it’s hard to see any of them bar Vickers (maybe Beresford or Ilsander) suiting up in the Premiership again.
82 mins - If you’re wondering what’s happening in the Morningstar-Otters game? Nothing. Nothing has happened. It’s been shit.
83 mins - GOAL! Oh, shit. From a Spiders perspective, anyway, as their glass jaw shows again - a dominant passage of play from Athletic, a gap making itself known as Gabriel Traustram’s drawn out of position by Wardenier, Tanith Rainsford finds the perfect pass, Serjeant’s left stranded and 17-year old substitute striker Salavat Caszely suddenly in front of goal, and he breezily taps home his first senior goal. SFA 3-2 NLA.
84 mins - The Spiders probably thought that an obscure teenager coming on for Athletic would make things easier. But Caszely’s a genuine prospect, a proper, rough Sabrefell lad saved by all accounts from the proper noun of Bad Influences. The celebration took a long, long time as he raced across the active stand… but time’s on the Spider’s side. They’re still, unbelievably, out of danger on goal difference.
85 mins - Out of absolutely nowhere, Lorelei Neptune thrashes a shot against Markus Sheffield’s near post. Hell, Penbrooke was waiting for a comeback that would surely have levelled the scores for the Cardinals.
86 mins - And a ceremonial substitution in Serpentine, with one-club man Gareth Hartson substituted off. He hands off the armband to Emmerich, applauds the stadium and trades places with promising young local goalkeeper Brandon Connell. It was a bit lost on the Premiership, perhaps, with Hartson decidedly mediocre at this level, but the 35-year old’s a beloved figure here.
87 mins - Brilliant save from Lethbridge! Two lively substitutes combine, after Kesteren’s pass finds a brilliant run from Nomanswoman Sutton, who swings in a slightly awkward cross but Hecubah Statkis stoops to angle an excellent header into the bottom corner of the goal… but no! The big Cosumar international, somehow, is there to claw it to safety! Statkis’ head is in her hands...
88 mins - All North Laithland have got to do is hold on. Diamondqueen are a single GD behind but ahead on goals scored, the next tiebreaker. Chatswood, one suspects, is a non-factor - oh, speak of the Devil...
89 mins - RED CARD! Things go out of control in Chatswood, Misidjan launches Fraser through on goal - he jumps over one scything challenge from Machan and is then absolutely cleaned out by a horrific intervention from Darius Rashkin, already on a yellow but he’s shown a straight red, and now fans are fighting in the stands...
90 mins - GOAL! Oh my fucking God. Unclear precisely what Athletic have against North Laithland, and Chloe Rudden does look almost apologetic as she ends Dorian Kendrick’s career with yet another whiplash-inducing turn, and centres low and hard - Wardenier reaches behind her but it’s a good thing she doesn’t get contact because Salavat Fucking Caszely is there behind her, holds his nerve and slots it low past a despairing Sinstadt… SFA 4-2 NLA.
Injury time - Caszely has leapt into the active support. Spiders desperately trying to get the game restarted as they realise, as things stand, they’re now 21st on the strength of five fucking GF... proceedings draw to a close in Chenoworth and, eventually, Treason, as those two sides reach the Globe Cup. They will join Starling, who can’t quite turn flickers and sparks into fireworks in a frustrating second half against Brinemouth, meaning a rampant Crisisbless cling onto fourth. The final whistle blows in Diamondqueen, and the home crowd sit, and wait, for news in Crownsend. Gabriella Antonio gravitates towards partner Lethbridge in a solemn moment. They wait. The Spiders charge forward with their desperate last few attacks… Tsikitsiris crosses, it’s headed clear by Gerhardt. Webster takes a low, powerful shot but one of the packed legs in her way blocks it. Gazzincha takes a shot on and it sails over the bar and… that’s the final whistle. Sinstadt, not a great goalkeeper but a local, sobs in frustration, probably playing over the errors he’s made - one less, after all, and the Spiders would be clear. Another local, Vanderlei, has a face like thunder on the bench. Gazzincha chuckles and shakes his head, a crime which the Spiders fans will never forgive him. Tsikitsiris slumps to the ground - Rudden, who kept her out of regular starts when they were teammates, trots over to console her. Caszely has no such thoughts of grace - he’s back in the active support again. People slump with relief in Diamondqueen - unbelievably, they’re safe. Chatswood? Relegation, and pitch invasion. Hawke resigns in the post-match conference, and the Woodsmen seem further from their glory days than ever. But who cares about today’s results? Not the Moths, for whom this 3-0 defeat will not live long in the memory. This has been their year.

Sabrefell Athletic 4-2 North Laithland
Crisisbless 3-0 Sabrefell Moths
Chatswood 0-1 AFC Treason
Extreme Hills 1-2 Vermillion Rage
Southfell United 5-0 Violence Chariots
Diamondqueen 1-1 Coret Hawks
Brinemouth 1-1 Starling
Morningstar 0-0 Brookford Otters
Raven River 1-1 Creed United
AFC Serpentine 0-2 Newrook City
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Parrhesia United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Bishop

North Laithland (4-2-3-1): 1 - Sinstadt; 2 - Kendrick, 5 - Duguid (c), 17 - Serjeant, 3 - Riordan; 4 - Finlay, 6 - Vanderlei; 7 - Stenet, 13 - Webster, 21 - Tsikitsiris; 22 - Etheridge
Bench: 12 - Schroeder; 8 - Gazzincha, 10 - Haldenstadt, 14 - Kistler, 18 - Traustram, 19 - Parable, 34 - Maskin
Cranequin Wanderers (4-4-2): 1 - Gravesend; 2 - Pietersen, 22 - Woodpress, 6 - Jantzer, 18 - Salone; 7 - Mueller, 11 - Bismarck (c), 4 - Cavan, 16 - Theoharous; 9 - Blaylock, 14 - Evans
Bench: 12 - Pardons; 3 - Jaspen, 5 - Whyteleafe, 8 - Diebeck, 10 - Goodyouth, 13 - Rayne, 23 - Payne

The promotion playoff. is a curious event. Almost always, on paper, the relegation-threatened side is the stronger on paper, but they have been battered and bruised for forty-six agonising matches. For the Spiders in particular, slipping into 21st after just keeping their heads above water for most of the season (on goals scored!) will particularly hurt. Against them is arrayed a traditional Cranequin Wanderers side that largely fits into the mould of recent times. Voula Logothettis has a big, powerful and disciplined side, ready to take the fight to their hosts. And they have a key advantage up front, with Dakota Blaylock prolific throughout the season. Two fallen giants, or at least ogres or trolls in their heyday.

But the Spiders, who lost their three league games but held their own against the Sabrefell sides for fair stretches, start brightly. Restoring Prisca Stenet to the starting lineup puts some energy back into their sometimes placid attacking play, the dynamic winger almost immediately finds joy, played by Webster past a stranded Salone and, though Etheridge drifts free of scrutiny, taking on the shot herself. It’s hit low and hard, and though Gravesend gets down quickly it agonisingly squeezes under him for the opening goal.

Cranequin are quick to seize back initiative, if not possession. A few strong-armed challenges across the pitch, with even Juergen Evans getting in on the action by wrestling Serjeant down at a corner, unsettles a North Laithland side that don’t like it up ‘em. And it just takes one mistake… from, surprisingly, one of the Spiders’ best players. A casual touch from Vanderlei is swept up by Sroel Cavan, the Zenic international rushing forward into space and thrashing a long ball over the top. On it like a flash is Menelaus Theoharous, a breakout player of the year (even if he’s no Strongbow) and he lofts up a high cross. Evans, at the far post, nods it into the corridor of uncertainty - and Blaylock is there to drive it home.

That’s the pattern of play for the entire match, more or less - the Spiders have possession but can’t do a lot with it against a conservative Wanderers side eager to bruise them on the counterattack. It’s fitting, then, that the game ends the way it does. Cavan, star on the day, forces Sinstadt into a tidy save tipping the ball around the post. Theoharous hits in the corner and in the middle to take care of it is the big substitute midfielder, Lance Diebeck, who muscles between Serjeant and Duguid, clambers over both and powers a header into the top corner. Without a choice, the Spiders press to try and win, and Gravesend atones for his earlier error with sharp saves from Haldenstadt and Finlay. But in the end, it feels like the better side won. The Gang of Seven is now the Gang of Six.

Stenet 7’; Blaylock 32’, Diebeck 76’

Newrook City (4-3-1-2): 20 - Anghelescu; 18 - Luque, 5 - Rivello, 6 - Zagorec, 11 - Woods; 4 - Fenwick (c), 23 - Sutton, 24 - Coynborough; 8 - Marconi; 7 - Farrell, 10 - Bothroyd
Bench: 25 - Kattner; 3 - Fischer, 12 - Senturk, 14 - Polzin, 15 - Winter, 17 - Traugott, 22 - Haskell
Morningstar (4-4-2): 1 - Ceferin; 12 - Rough, 18 - Saunders (c), 13 - Keyes, 19 - Andreas; 7 - Petrosian, 6 - Seizter, 33 - Rosenthal, 11 - Vanstrattan; 21 - Kreisburg, 10 - Lopez
Bench: 20 - Hawthorn; 2 - Seluk, 3 - Whitesmith, 5 - Linstead, 15 - Kovach, 17 - Boldman, 22 - Spycer

This is not the final that the promoters wanted to see. Two sides who had only just pulled clear of relegation in the dying weeks of the season. Still, Newrook are technically proficient, experienced and cunning, and they would go into plenty of leagues around the world as favourites to win the title. It’s most likely Catheline Keenan’s last match, win or lose, and it’s her chance to go out in style - it’s definitely the last for Rooks captain Rook Fenwick, who has confirmed his retirement after the season. The Stars will count this as a major keystone of success, and a sign that they’re in the top flight to stay.

It’s Morningstar that are the better side in the first half, by a significant distance - but a hard-nosed Rooks defence, marshalled expertly by Perica Zagorec and backed up by the muscle of Rivello, is reluctant to let them pass. Petrosian, popping up at the far post for a high lofted cross from co-conspirator Vanstrattan, leaves them no choice. So the Rooks pick themselves up and go over again, wrestling for momentum that the Stars, brutal in the challenges, do not allow them. Both goalkeepers make decent saves, but it’s Ceferin the busier of the two and the more cynically minded might be minded to ask if the notoriously flaky shot-stopper was being deliberately targeted by the Rooks?

Well, it worked. Senturk, brought on just five minutes earlier to try and make the difference, shimmered into space and another substitute, Lorne Winter, found him. He turned, found his path blocked by Seizter, jinked past her and then rifled the ball into the top corner of the net. Ceferin was blameless - in truth, he hadn’t a chance. Now the Stars went for it again, full-throttle, and Anghelescu saved well from Petrosian and hten sloppily from Rosenthal, inviting substitute Boldman to follow through but Perica Zagorec miraculously picked his pocket and drove the ball away. As the game flickered into extra time, both sides just ran out of steam after the excesses of a long, dreary season. It had penalties written all over it… and so it proved.

Fenwick drills it hard into the bottom corner. 1-0.
Petrosian goes for power and it shaves the bottom of the crossbar on its way in. 1-1.
Bothroyd slams it high and central. 2-1.
Kreisburg stabs it home, without drama. 2-2.
Senturk gets a little lucky, and it brushes a sprawling Ceferin’s heels on the way in. 3-2.
Kovach gives Anghelescu the eyes, then scores. 3-3.
No mistake from Sutton, sending Ceferin the wrong way. 4-3.
Nerveless from Saunders. 4-4.
Haskell coolly drives it home. 5-4.
Rough makes it look easy, and somehow it’s 5-5. First sudden death penalties in Cup final history.
Finally, a miss! Rivello’s confident, sends Ceferin the wrong way but swings it against the post! 5-5!
Boldman has the chance to win it… but he does not live up to his name, a tentative penalty clawed away by Anghelescu! 5-5.
Winter slots home. 6-5.
Rosenthal’s sweating, she looks on edge… but sends Anghelescu the wrong way. 6-6.
Woods, a little nervy, makes it 7-6.
Whitesmith probably wasn’t expecting it to get this far... but she sidefoots home. 7-7.
Zagorec slams it home. 8-7.
Karo Vanstrattan takes her bloody time, but eventually makes it 8-8.
Luque goes for power… and drives it over the bar! 8-8!
Keyes looks confident, the goal gaping before him… but he smashes it against the post! 8-8 it remains.
Anghelescu scuffs it terribly, terribly wide! Still 8-8!
But he makes amends, when Ceferin’s conservative penalty at a comfortable height is beaten away! 8-8.
Fenwick wearily puts it away to break the string of misses for 9-8.
Petrosian calmly levels it. 9-9.
Bothroyd hits it straight at where Ceferin was standing, but he’s committed too far to one side and can only get a weak hand to it. 10-9.
Kreisburg hits it with venom, but Anghelescu goes the wrong way anyway. 10-10, somehow...
Senturk with the panenka! Ceferin looks distinctly unhappy. 11-10.
Kovach looks a little ill, but slots it home regardless. 11-11.
Sutton hits it low and hard but this time, Steffen Ceferin finally makes a save, sprawling to claw it away! 11-11!
Captain Saunders hits it confidently, but Anghelescu’s equal to the task. Saunders beats the ground in frustration. 11-11.
Haskell slams it into the net. 12-11.
And Kurtis Rough… finally, fucking, ends this, hammering the ball into near-earth orbit and staring at what might have been.
Newrook, then, have won the Cup for the second time. Eventually.

NEWROOK CITY 1-1 Morningstar (1-1 AET, 12-11 PKs)
Senturk 79’; Petrosian 19’

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:17 pm
by Nephara
Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Sabrefell Moths 46 31 9 6 124 51 +73 102
2 Sabrefell Athletic 46 30 9 7 115 55 +60 99
3 Brinemouth 46 29 7 10 96 49 +47 94
4 Crisisbless 46 26 9 11 94 61 +33 87

5 Starling 46 25 11 10 89 48 +41 86
6 Chenoworth Harriers 46 25 10 11 87 63 +24 85
7 AFC Treason 46 23 14 9 72 43 +29 83

8 Coret Hawks 46 24 9 13 86 63 +23 81
9 Raven River 46 21 10 15 71 55 +16 73
10 Bishop 46 20 10 16 59 49 +10 70
11 Vermillion Rage 46 20 8 18 72 66 +6 68
12 Creed United 46 19 9 18 62 62 +0 66
13 Brookford Otters 46 18 10 18 72 76 -4 64
14 Violence Chariots 46 17 8 21 73 93 -20 59
15 Parrhesia United 46 15 10 21 69 83 -14 55
16 Southfell United 46 15 7 24 57 82 -25 52
17 AFC Serpentine 46 13 12 21 52 75 -23 51
18 Newrook City 46 14 8 24 59 76 -17 50
19 Morningstar 46 12 10 24 45 76 -31 46
20 Diamondqueen 46 10 11 25 59 95 -36 41
21 North Laithland 46 12 5 29 54 90 -36 41
22 Chatswood 46 10 9 27 36 64 -28 39
23 Corvette Maulers 46 9 7 30 50 102 -52 34
24 Extreme Hills 46 5 6 35 42 118 -76 21
35 - Johnson (SFM)
29 - Scotti (BRI)
26 - Wardenier (SFA), Vol (SFM)
25 - Drenas (CRI)
22 - Ruhl (CHH), Antonio (COR)
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Aaliyah Johnson (SFM)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Aaliyah Johnson (SFM)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Imriel Townsend (SFM)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Evelyn Conjure (BRI)
Team of the Year: Fletcher (TRE); Rafford (CRI), Svensson (TRE), Marquon (CHH), Lohengrin (CRI); Townsend (SFM), Conjure (BRI), Coltrane (SFA), Rudden (SFA); Scotti (BRI), Johnson (SFM) - Bench: Hargrave (STA); Sorrell (COR), McNessa (STA), Soederquist (BRI), Jevdjevic-Hadsic (CRI), Meier (SFM), Wardenier (SFA)
Managers of the Year: Gerhard Thunder (SFM)

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Goodfeather FC 46 27 10 9 67 35 +32 91
2 Maximum Rovers 46 25 15 6 83 41 +42 90
3 Leichhardt 46 23 15 8 63 30 +33 84
4 Cranequin Wanderers 46 21 15 10 71 56 +15 78

5 AFC Corvistone 46 20 16 10 74 52 +22 76
6 Crisisbless United 46 22 10 14 73 52 +21 76
7 North Sabrefell 46 21 11 14 75 61 +14 74
8 South Laithland 46 20 11 15 61 43 +18 71
9 Armstrong 46 19 11 16 49 41 +8 68
10 Maximum City 46 19 10 17 52 49 +3 67
11 Cypher Town 46 17 13 16 44 47 -3 64
12 Sheridan 46 16 14 16 41 40 +1 62
13 Ritter Town 46 17 8 21 56 59 -3 59
14 East Laithland Harriers 46 16 9 21 54 73 -19 57
15 Rochford 46 14 14 18 40 47 -7 56
16 Belgrave 46 13 14 19 66 75 -9 53
17 Hackett 46 16 5 25 59 89 -30 53
18 Coret Rovers 46 14 10 22 59 67 -8 52
19 Crossroads Town 46 13 12 21 54 78 -24 51
20 Vermillion Wanderers 46 13 12 21 42 66 -24 51
21 Cranequin City 46 12 14 20 47 66 -19 50
22 West Brinemouth 46 11 15 20 35 51 -16 48
23 Iron City 46 13 7 26 35 56 -21 46
24 AFC Shale 46 9 11 26 29 55 -26 38
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Robby Stanford (CVS) & Konstanze Luitgard (MXR)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Spyridon Kolitsidakis (MXR)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Minka Kranevitter (NSF)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Ulrica Rannon (GDF)
Team of the Year: Yossarian (SLA); Muhren (CVS), Koller (LEI), Jantzer (CRW), Heisserer (LEI); Thane (MXR), Kolitsidakis (MXR), Rannon (GDF), Reiter (LEI); Blaylock (CRW), Stanford (CVS)
Managers of the Year: Providence Mitford (ELH)

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Greygate 46 25 13 8 72 35 +37 88
2 Chenoworth Rovers 46 27 7 12 66 45 +21 88
3 Pillars of Southfell 46 25 10 11 63 39 +24 85
4 Riverkey 46 24 12 10 69 38 +31 84

5 Mantlegrove 46 22 15 9 65 45 +20 81
6 Locksley 46 24 8 14 74 54 +20 80
7 The Strongest 46 22 11 13 64 51 +13 77
8 Crisisbless Athletic 46 22 7 17 80 58 +22 73
9 Stonegrave 46 20 11 15 63 41 +22 71
10 Sutcroft 46 20 11 15 54 49 +5 71
11 Iron United 46 20 11 15 56 54 +2 71
12 Southriver 46 17 15 14 58 59 -1 66
13 South Parrhesia 46 18 11 17 55 52 +3 65
14 Martella Jazz 46 18 8 20 50 57 -7 62
15 Peregrine 46 15 12 19 61 77 -16 57
16 Kommissar 46 14 9 23 47 60 -13 51
17 Dartmouth Terriers 46 14 8 24 47 65 -18 50
18 Boleyn Town 46 13 10 23 36 56 -20 49
19 Barossia United 46 12 12 22 40 56 -16 48
20 The Hanged Man 46 13 7 26 35 53 -18 46
21 Brindleton 46 11 13 22 47 66 -19 46
22 Strephonage 46 10 15 21 37 51 -14 45
23 West Hook 46 11 12 23 33 59 -26 45
24 Kensey Town 46 6 10 30 41 93 -52 28

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Gonen's Bridge 46 27 11 8 76 39 +37 92
2 Falston United 46 26 9 11 71 35 +36 87
3 Lazuli Diamonds 46 26 8 12 93 52 +41 86
4 Falston Town 46 26 7 13 92 57 +35 85

5 Chardonnay Rangers 46 24 12 10 67 32 +35 84
6 Ox River United 46 24 10 12 80 39 +41 82
7 Alliance Barossia 46 22 14 10 60 41 +19 80
8 Gridlock Rovers 46 20 14 12 75 53 +22 74
9 Long Lake 46 20 10 16 61 47 +14 70
10 Ballardine FC 46 18 15 13 59 58 +1 69
11 Rushe United 46 18 14 14 68 54 +14 68
12 Sutcroft Athletic 46 17 13 16 62 53 +9 64
13 Pravenna Saints 46 19 7 20 44 43 +1 64
14 Dross Rovers 46 17 12 17 61 64 -3 63
15 FC Seierstad 46 15 15 16 55 62 -7 60
16 Mapleford 46 16 10 20 55 76 -21 58
17 Brookway Town 46 12 17 17 58 72 -14 53
18 Gosmouth Swans 46 14 10 22 58 76 -18 52
19 Iberia Chenoworth 46 14 10 22 74 97 -23 52
20 Ringway 46 12 15 19 41 63 -22 51
21 Fenland Albion 46 12 7 27 33 62 -29 43
22 Downsparrow 46 8 11 27 42 89 -47 35
23 Bodkin Road 46 6 9 31 39 99 -60 27
24 Fischer 46 5 8 33 41 102 -61 23

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Boltcroft Thorns 38 23 9 6 77 42 +35 78
2 Corinthians No Longer 38 19 12 7 72 39 +33 69

3 Sirencall FC 38 20 8 10 71 53 +18 68
4 Fully Sick XI 38 20 7 11 71 51 +20 67
5 Gridlock 38 17 13 8 39 26 +13 64
6 Grovebank 38 16 13 9 46 40 +6 61
7 Brokenarch 38 15 14 9 55 46 +9 59
8 AFC Brackwold 38 13 16 9 53 44 +9 55
9 Capricopia Rangers 38 12 16 10 60 54 +6 52
10 Courser 38 14 10 14 47 44 +3 52
11 Harrington 38 13 11 14 49 47 +2 50
12 Swag Hill Rovers 38 13 11 14 59 59 +0 50
13 Gridlock East 38 14 8 16 42 51 -9 50
14 Bellamy 38 12 10 16 41 50 -9 46
15 Stonesthrow Town 38 9 14 15 39 47 -8 41
16 Sleetwell Rangers 38 11 8 19 51 64 -13 41
17 Norton Road 38 10 7 21 33 63 -30 37
18 Nay Town 38 7 15 16 42 59 -17 36
19 Tryst Athletic 38 7 7 24 34 73 -39 28
20 Forge Carpenters 38 4 13 21 19 48 -29 25

Promoted: Ingram Township, AFC Hellerine

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Hartford Glade 38 21 11 6 86 47 +39 74
2 Rochford Pilgrims 38 22 7 9 88 58 +30 73

3 Brunyard FC 38 20 11 7 69 44 +25 71
4 Aries Solitaire 38 21 5 12 84 47 +37 68
5 Stamper Road 38 20 8 10 69 48 +21 68
6 Corvistone City 38 17 15 6 54 31 +23 66
7 Blaze 38 17 10 11 79 47 +32 61
8 South Brill 38 17 9 12 52 43 +9 60
9 Rookwall 38 16 7 15 46 43 +3 55
10 Senway Town 38 16 7 15 67 67 +0 55
11 The Travellers FC 38 14 10 14 50 50 +0 52
12 Violence Tigers 38 13 9 16 51 51 +0 48
13 Sandrock 38 12 10 16 34 47 -13 46
14 Twelvetrees 38 14 4 20 38 54 -16 46
15 Coral Bay 38 11 12 15 54 64 -10 45
16 Mainstream Fist 38 11 7 20 55 84 -29 40
17 Corby Hubris 38 9 10 19 47 61 -14 37
18 Masculine Town 38 11 4 23 59 79 -20 37
19 Celebryant FC 38 7 9 22 44 81 -37 30
20 Lackerrun 38 8 1 29 46 126 -80 25

Promoted: AFC Burchess, Rhyburn Swifts

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:49 pm
by Nephara
Season 69 Preview


League Finish: 10th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Crossgate (23,000)
Nickname: the Bishops
Captain: Ansel Penbrooke
Top Scorers: Penbrooke (14), Neptune (13), Sitz (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Scannell; 2 - Canady, 5 - Rosenbauer, 3 - Visser, 18 - Ravett; 7 - Mersiades, 4 - Bezemer, 8 - Sitz; 12 - Coffey, 10 - Penbrooke, 13 - Neptune
In: Corinne Mersiades (Belgrave, 2.5m), Amelia Canady (East Laithland Harriers, 2m)
Promoted: Gared Kuepher (DM, 21), Andrey Myncham (CB, 20), Kirsten Shore (LB, 20), Perilous Whiteside (LW, 18)
Out: Jacqui Farlane (East Laithland Harriers, free), Monica Cunnington (Urrheddiao United, free), Ashley Kresinger (Ritter Town, free), Tomas Hammersmith (AC 317 Roses, free), Sasha Shawcroft (AC 317 Roses, free)
Retired: Rudolf Blondel (DM, 35)

First Division Champions (58)

68: Premiership; 10th, W20, D10, L16, GF59, GA49, 70 pts
67: Premiership; 12th, W17, D13, L16, GF53, GA56, 64 pts
66: Premiership; 14th, W17, D12, L17, GF50, GA48, 63 pts
65: Premiership; 15th, W15, D11, L20, GF45, GA58, 56 pts
64: Premiership; 11th, W17, D13, L16, GF49, GA48, 64 pts

Alexis Spurlock's swansong with Bishop took them to tenth, yet again punching far above their weight. They were thirteen points shy of UICA and twenty-nine shy of relegation, and were knocked out of the Cup at the first step by Parrhesia United. They were, effectively, non-factors in the season, quietly plodding along.

Unfortunately for Bishop, Lexi Spurlock was drafted up by Vermillion Rage, a deal too good to pass up. They've been able to pick up Monica Brightwater, last seen repeatedly not winning the Haerlighet Ligan with a talented Eastweald side. That said, Brightwater has a talent for rebuilding and improving teams, and she's made a strong start to that with a full-scale clearout. Bunch of veterans out, most prominently Monica Cunnington, while in comes technical midfielder Corinne Mersiades and bustling fullback Amelia Canady, second-tier talents. For the record, Canady is the daughter of former Bishop striker Daniel Canady.

Brightwater has a decent, but not brilliant, squad, a curious mixture of young and old without that much in between. A reliable, disciplined defence has been freshened up by the addition of Canady and the breakthrough of 23-year old Alcander Visser after a number of assured performances in pre-season. The concern there is that reliable goalkeeper Scannell, now 33, may not be able to sweep as efficiently behind their high line as in prior seasons. Her outstanding distribution, though, will be an undoubted boon to Brightwater's preferred buildup from the back. In midfield, Karlene Sitz is a player of genuine vision while Corinne Mersiades is a fine technician in her own right, if far less improvisational - Juliet Bezemer is a quick little terrier between them. Brightwater's possession style finds its main outlets in the homegrown wingers, the Nephara international Roxana Coffey and the Cosumar international Lorelei Neptune - they both have pace to burn and an improvisational edge that Spurlock brought the best out of. Penbrooke, at 33, remains a fine finisher, but expect to see more of yet another young, physical forward in Ulrike Jensen off the bench. They've got to make a big transition of style, and while they have what it takes on paper... that doesn't always translate to practice.

Manager: Monica Brightwater
Asst. Manager: Karl Moser
Goalkeepers: 1 - Rebecca Scannell, 20 - Connor Risdon, 25 - Julian Alderweiss
Defenders: 2 - Amelia Canady, 3 - Alcander Visser, 5 - Joscelyn Rosenbauer, 6 - Darren Crinion, 17 - Elisa Defaye, 18 - Chris Ravett, 19 - Kirsten Shore, 24 - Andrey Mincham
Midfielders: 4 - Juliet Bezemer, 7 - Corinne Mersiades, 8 - Karlene Sitz, 11 - Josef Rosenberg, 15 - Gared Kuepher, 23 - Nicki Reed
Forwards: 9 - Lysander Corsell, 10 - Ansel Penbrooke (SLL, c), 12 - Roxana Coffey, 13 - Lorelei Neptune (COS), 21 - Ulrike Jensen, 22 - Jacqui Milligan, 31 - Perilous Whiteside


League Finish: 3rd
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Portsgate (57,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Jonathan Bosetti
Top Scorers: Scotti (29), Conjure (17), Candelo (14)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Morales; 2 - Brymora, 6 - Magnozzi, 22 - Calabrese, 13 - Röènôùjýâ (c); 10 - Conjure, 21 - Soederquist, 8 - Candelo; 15 - Bartley, 9 - Scotti, 14 - Dragana
In: Jazmin Dragana (Parrhesia United, 6m), Jakob Carter (Cypher Town, 2m)
Promoted: Sven Ascalon (ST, 21), Marcin Close (LB, 19), Ilona Duerden (CM, 18), Simon Robinson (GK, 20)
Out: Dimitra Exarchopolous (Oldem Mechanical, 7m), Matt Vintner (Lajuno, 6.4m), Tessa Bayliss (Tihon Tide, 4m), Lucia Silkemark (Herzegovina Phoenix, 2m), Chase Rushden (Hoima Warriors, free), Lasse Scharnberg (New Belfast Blues, free)

5 Premiership titles (53, 54, 55, 61, 62)
NFA Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

68: Premiership; 3rd, W29, D7, L10, GF96, GA49, 94 pts, Champions Cup
67: Premiership; 5th, W24, D9, L13, GF80, GA52, 81 pts, Globe Cup
66: Premiership; 8th, W22, D8, L16, GF75, GA67, 74 pts
65: Premiership; 2nd, W27, D9, L10, GF114, GA54, 90 pts, Champions Cup
64: Premiership; 6th, W25, D12, L14, GF74, GA58, 72 pts, Globe Cup

Champions' Cup qualification was comfortably ensured by the Dockers and their riches, but they were surely aiming for the top... which remained tantalisingly out of reach. The Sabrefell sides were just too strong for them. A desperately poor Globe Cup showing did no favours, either. Still, Mescalin has the board's faith to get the job done.

This window lacked the big, splashy signings of last time around. Plenty of big sales, though largely of backup players - Matt Vintner was the exception, as the planned transition into Ceni international Morales as the undisputed starter finally goes through. Exarchopolous' departure is slightly surprising, given her clear promise, but all was made clear once the Dockers swooped for Jazmin Dragana, taking advantage of the ambitious Chromatik's acrimonious split from Parrhesia United. Jakob Carter, the 26-year old goalkeeper, gets his reward after a stellar season for the Eagles and will make for a capable backup. Of those called up from the academy, Marcin Close is the most promising, and with Roenoujya's age he should get plenty of chances to make himself known.

The Dockers are built around playing fast, assertive football with graceful technicians playing dizzying one-touch stuff. Even the goalkeeper's in on the act - Juan Pablo Morales is a genuinely modern goalkeeper, a true sweeper. Helpfully, the aggressive Magnozzi and the calm Calabrese settled into an assured partnership last season, with versatile, athletic Brymora usually on the right and veteran attacking fullback Roenoujya still having what it takes on the left. Helpfully, Brinemouth indisputably have the best midfield in the league. Conjure and Soederquist are genuinely world-class players with the industry to match, and Osman Candelo's bolstered by their presence, emboldened to play as a true playmaker with their industry behind him. Powerful, diligent Bartley and flashy Dragana flank Pablo Scotti, a pure goalscorer from any angle, anywhere. The depth is strong, with talented youths as well as international veterans such as Nkembe, Bosetti, Silkman and World Cup champion Marijana Kuralay all frequently rotated into the starting XI. Make no mistake - the Dockers are back.

Manager: Lujendra Mescalin (COS)
Asst. Manager: Werner Thayer
Goalkeepers: 1 - Juan Pablo Morales (CEN), 20 - Jakob Carter, 25 - Simon Robinson
Defenders: 2 - Danijel Brymora, 5 - Temperance Nkembe, 6 - Giorgio Magnozzi (MRC), 13 - Drê Röènôùjýâ (FFD), 18 - Axel Fauler, 19 - Moxie Crowe, 22 - Gianluigi Calabrese (OSR), 32 - Marcin Close
Midfielders: 4 - Jonathan Bosetti (VLD, c), 7 - Marijana Kuralay, 8 - Osman Candelo (VLD), 10 - Evelyn Conjure (SCT), 21 - Stig Soederquist (COS), 23 - Lacuna Harlequin, 36 - Ilona Duerden
Forwards: 9 - Pablo Scotti (VLD), 11 - Jess Silkman, 12 - Petros Mytaras, 14 - Jazmin Dragana (CMT), 15 - Kyron Bartley (OSR), 16 - Sven Ascalon, 17 - Karin Drinkwater


League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Rock (20,000)
Nickname: the Otters
Captain: Ursa Dimitar
Top Scorers: Plibersek (13), Harbour (12), Tambor (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Kilgallon; 18 - Siegrist, 2 - Vannatter, 6 - Ynoa, 13 - Heitinger; 8 - Chilton, 4 - Dimitar, 15 - Plibersek; 7 - Tambor, 9 - Harbour, 10 - Cecchini
In: Guillermo Cecchini (Coret Rovers, 2m), Sheila Kilgallon (Sabrefell Moths, 1m)
Promoted: Claudia Bohr (CB, 19)
Out: Jasper Dyer (Chenoworth Rovers, 1.5m), Isadora Caravella (Wrexton FC, free), Katrin Haubeck (Vermillion Wanderers, free)

68: Premiership; 13th, W18, D10, L18, GF72, GA76, 64 pts
67: Premiership; 16th, W15, D11, L20, GF68, GA73, 56 pts
66: Premiership; 15th, W17, D10, L19, GF79, GA81, 61 pts
65: Premiership; 5th, W23, D14, L9, GF83, GA55, 83 pts, Globe Cup
64: Premiership; 3rd, W21, D13, L12, GF69, GA46, 76 pts, Champions Cup

First-time manager Hestia Canaan was almost out on her ear after the Otters plunged into relegation a quarter of the way into the season, but eventually Brookford stabilised into the middle of the pack, well clear of relegation. Still, good luck with injuries did not unduly stretch a paper-thin squad, and while Canaan now commands the respect of her squad and of the fans, there's still work to be done.

That work needed more than buying a 26-year old winger from the lower reaches of the second tier and the Moths' 34-year old backup goalkeeper, but that is what Canaan had the budget for. Jasper Dyer went out the other way, capturing a tidy sum for a player who didn't look cut out for Premiership level, while veteran goalkeeper Caravella and seasoned defender Haubeck were released. Haubeck's form, in fairness, had dropped dramatically last season.

The Otters remain static, a solid, decent side... but that's pretty much it. They still have an experienced goalkeeper, just a different one, and are fortunate to have two skilled central defenders in the young, intelligent Vannatter and Llamanean international Ynoa. It's a shame they're so often left exposed by the rest of the side, though Ursa Dimitar does her best to lead by example by brutalising anyone who gets near. Chilton's a good playmaker, but she's missed preseason - only just recovered from an ACL tear midway through last season. Their most essential player is Danira Plibersek, who does so well to carry the ball and link defence to attack. There's a lot of pace on the flanks without much skill, but Damian Harbour up front is a big help. He gets a decent share of goals bust most important is his unselfish, athletic hold-up play, pressing high and helping squeeze the play on their opponents' back line. The depth is their main concern - it's mostly just academy guys in their early 20s - and they're just two or three key injuries away from disaster.

Manager: Hestia Canaan
Asst. Manager: Gretchen Heath
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sheila Kilgallon, 12 - Ellen Wheelock, 25 - Philoctetes Giannou
Defenders: 2 - Esther Vannatter, 3 - Erika Arweiler, 5 - Marika Brind, 6 - Emily Ynoa (SLL), 13 - Janne Heitinger, 18 - Kurtis Siegrist, 19 - Olivia Ryghseter, 31 - Claudia Bohr
Midfielders: 4 - Ursa Dimitar (c), 8 - Tanya Chilton, 15 - Danira Plibersek, 16 - Brandon Rivan, 21 - Fiona Shrewsbury, 23 - Asha Solbachen
Forwards: 7 - Sabina Tambor, 9 - Damian Harbour, 10 - Guillermo Cecchini (AUD), 11 - Perrando Albiza (ASG), 17 - Cantra Duprey, 22 - Joscelyn Monroe, 26 - Dejan Lindbeck


League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers, the Reds
Captain: Francesca Marquon
Top Scorers: Ruhl (22), Rexmont (15), Sanna (14)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Sheffield; 18 - Guiliani, 5 - Marquon (c), 2 - Armstrong, 3 - Bekkwaters; 4 - Christensen, 12 - Kutris; 7 - Crowther, 8 - Sanna, 11 - Rexmont; 9 - Ruhl
In: Brae Crowther (Kingsgrove, 8m), Reinhard Armstrong (Sabrefell Moths, 3m)
Promoted: Sequel Bathanay (ST, 20), Theold Bracewell (GK, 19), Micah Horner (CM, 21), Charybdis Kou (LAM, 19), Nike Rouphos (LB, 20)
Out: Matilda Weiss (Kirk Preston United, 2m), Peta-Gaye West (Equestrian Outcasts HC, free), Jack Churchfather (Oljestaden IF, free), Andros Diasakos (released), Ekaterina Mirzayev (AC Holmenkollen, free), Jacqui Brownlowe (Arsenal de Releinthi, free)
Retired: Cathmore Everheart (R/CB, 35), Cath Hammond (GK, 36)

First Division title (64)

68: Premiership; 6th, W25, D10, L11, GF87, GA63, 85 pts, Globe Cup
67: Premiership; 4th, W24, D10, L12, GF84, GA63, 82 pts, Champions Cup
66: Premiership; 7th, W21, D12, L13, GF88, GA70, 75 pts, Globe Cup
65: Premiership; 13th, W16, D12, L18, GF61, GA80, 60 pts
64: First Division; 1st, W25, D7, L14, GF68, GA49, 82 pts, Promoted

Despite spending most of the season hovering just outside the UICA places, the Harriers had what it took when it counted, securing 6th on the final matchday. Only two points away from the top four again, too.

First thing's first, they lost Aidan Brosque - understandably, a Crisisbless side that has felt lost and in need of an identity for years were keen to pick up a born winner who can mould teams into successes. In came John Sedder from Lammerton, dropped early last season after a bleak run of form, but don't let that fool you - he, too, can mould teams into success stories, and he's earned the backing of the board. Brae Crowther is the big signing, a flashy, dynamic, very un-Brenecian Brenecian winger from Kingsgrove, with Reinhard Armstrong her fundamental opposite - a straightforward, hulking Nepharim centre-back. Matilda Weiss, surplus to requirements, is sold for a decent bit of cash to Kirk Preston, and a bunch of players (largely in their thirties) are released or retire.

The Harriers are expected to play a similar poised physical style as last season. They aren't a beautiful side, but one that relies on pace and directness - but there are technical players where needed. Markus Sheffield is a seasoned, proven goalkeeper at this level, and he marshals a strong defence well. In the heart of it, Francesca Marquon's an experienced, intelligent player, with the hulking brick Armstrong beside. The two lack pace, which is their main weakness. At fullback, Guiliani's got pace and technique in spades while the industrious Bekkwaters is perhaps the weak link of the side. The double-pivot midfield consists of the straightforward anchor Kutris and the young, versatile Christensen, who impressed in her appearances last season and now in pre-season. From here, though, things get really spicy. Bonifacio Sanna is entrusted with the playmaking detail, the one player who can really split a defence with a pass. With Crowther on his right and the powerful, direct Rexmont to his left, he's spoiled for choice for passing options, while Airik Ruhl... is an interesting one. Brosque had rather taken the troubled forward under his wing - will Sedder be able to have the same effect, and continue getting the best out of him? There's a good mix of experienced heads (Crowe, Feist) and youth (Carroll and the extremely promising goalkeeper Mercator) on the bench, but depth at striker looks a bit thin. Ruhl needs to keep performing - if he does, then the Harriers should be able to hold firm in the top seven.

Manager: John Sedder (SCT)
Asst. Manager: Henrick Barden
Goalkeepers: 1 - Hesterine Mercator, 20 - Markus Sheffield (SLL), 30 - Theold Bracewell
Defenders: 2 - Reinhard Armstrong, 3 - Jascha Bekkwaters, 5 - Francesca Marquon (c), 6 - Dimitri Evans, 16 - Alisara Crowe, 18 - Alessandra Guiliani (OSR), 19 - Victoria Carroll, 27 - Nike Rouphos
Midfielders: 4 - Katja Christensen, 7 - Brae Crowther (BRE), 8 - Bonifacio Sanna (OSR), 11 - Steven Rexmont (SCT), 12 - Diogenes Kutris, 13 - Konrad Feist, 14 - Harriet Skiff, 15 - Micah Horner, 21 - Monica Bairstow, 31 - Charybdis Kou
Forwards: 9 - Airik Ruhl (COS), 17 - Angela Braugher, 22 - Sequel Bathanay


League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Cormak Lethbridge
Top Scorers: Antonio (22), Harper (15), Nikolaidis, Montague (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Lethbridge (c); 2 - Sorrell, 5 - Santana, 6 - Valkanis, 3 - Jeurissen; 12 - Montague, 21 - Nikolaidis, 8 - McDonald, 16 - Draxler; 9 - Henderson, 10 - Harper
In: Trinity Plantagenet (Crisisbless United, 1.75m)
Promoted: Kasmeer Jewell (ST, 19), Atalanta Skapetis (RM, 20), Beatrice Stubbs (CM, 19)
Out: Sherry Bickermann (South Laithland, free), Alexi Cattlin (Whitetail Rangers, free), Jacqui Hastifer (Sporting Ceneisis, free)
Retired: Gabriella Antonio (ST, 29)

First Division title (56)

68: Premiership; 8th, W24, D9, L13, GF86, GA63, 81 pts
67: Premiership; 13th, W18, D8, L20, GF68, GA67, 62 pts
66: Premiership; 16th, W15, D15, L16, GF63, GA64, 60 pts
65: Premiership; 10th, W22, D8, L16, GF67, GA50, 74 pts
64: Premiership; 10th, W17, D14, L15, GF55, GA61, 65 pts

So close to finally breaking into those UICA spots. They were there on the penultimate matchday after recovering from a middling start to the season. But a 1-1 draw away at Diamondqueen scuppered them at the last moment, and the Stags overtook them. They finished with 81 points, which would've been enough to win the title once in a particularly even season (64).

The window was a rough one for the Hawks. They came in with a clear mandate - no matter the price, get a replacement for the pregnant, retiring Gabriella Antonio. They came away with Crisisbless United's 26-year old backup striker. The other departures were unsurprising releases. Keep an eye on Atalanta Skapetis.

Have the Hawks missed their best shot? Probably. But football's a funny old game, hey? And there's plenty of talent here - most obviously Spider Lethbridge, 'the Brigadier' and the inspirational captain. A minority of fans resent him for impregnating their best striker, but the majority just watch the saves he makes time after time. Level-headed Valkanis and angry murderer Santana are both 31 and perhaps just not quite of Globe Cup class, but they can get the job done. Their fullbacks - Sorrell and Jeurissen - are largely identical, quick fringe Nephara internationals who attack on the overlap but know they're defenders first. McDonald and Nikolaidis make for a physically uncompromising midfield that takes no prisoners. Montague adds the touch of class on the team but on the left it was a real, belated breakout for Trifon Draxler, muscular and quick and finally learning a final product. Up front is the concern. Harper can score goals, but her limitations were occasionally showcased at crucial times last season - she's very fast, she's a semi-reliable finisher, and... ? In the absence of any new replacements, Ivana Henderson becomes her new support. She lacks Antonio's technique and is just a big, all-action, all-elbows striker. The depth is questionable, their main issue. But at least they only have the league to focus on again!

Manager: Jessica Loque
Asst. Manager: Claire Antioch
Goalkeepers: 1 - Cormak Lethbridge (COS, c), 20 - Russ Beresford, 25 - Mariam Brookhouse
Defenders: 2 - Talisca Sorrell, 3 - Isidra Jeurissen, 5 - Jorge Santana (OSR), 6 - Eva Valkanis, 17 - Amalie Sulzer, 18 - Barack Schuyler, 19 - Alexis Rudkine, 24 - Thorsten Croft
Midfielders: 4 - Spyros Achaion, 7 - Atalanta Skapetis, 8 - Jenny McDonald (SCT), 12 - Alyss Montague (CMT), 14 - Thanasi Holland, 16 - Trifon Draxler, 21 - Athanasios Nikolaidis, 33 - Beatrice Stubbs
Forwards: 9 - Ivana Henderson, 10 - Dani Harper, 11 - Trinity Plantagenet, 22 - Rho Efthimiou, 31 - Kasmeer Jewell


League Finish: 4th (First Division); won playoff 2-1 against North Laithland
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Ebony Lane (48,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Captain: Sroel Cavan
Top Scorers: Blaylock (27), Bismarck (12), Evans (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 20 - Selkie; 2 - Pietersen, 22 - Woodpress, 6 - Jantzer, 18 - Salone; 13 - Belgrave, 11 - Castellan, 4 - Cavan (c), 16 - Theoharous; 9 - Blaylock, 14 - Evans
In: Olivia Selkie (Violence Chariots, 3m), Cardinal Belgrave (Sabrefell Moths, 3m), Levin Castellan (Sabrefell Athletic, 2.5m)
Out: Sunshine Rayne (Miare CosmoStars, free), Paul Bismarck (AFC Corvistone, free)

First Division title (57)

68: First Division; 4th, W21, D15, L10, GF71, GA56, 78 pts, Promoted
67: Premiership; 21st, W12, D7, L27, GF59, GA93, 43 pts, Relegated
66: Premiership; 20th, W13, D9, L24, GF45, GA68, 48 pts
65: First Division; 3rd, W25, D14, L7, GF83, GA44, 89 pts, Promoted
64: Premiership; 21st, W15, D9, L22, GF45, GA57, 54 pts, Relegated

Last season was something of a return to the old ways for the Wanderers, as in vintage Wanderers. The Wanderers that introduced possession football to Nephara and then allowed it to choke them out of actually scoring goals... well, maybe not that bad. They did get 71. They weren't terribly convincing, in all honesty, but they limped over the line and then edged North Laithland.

Voula Logothettis remains at the helm and has been given the financial backing to beef up her team with experience. Selkie had a hit-and-miss season with the Chariots, but her lack of physicality may prove less of an issue with the hulking Jantzer in front of her. Belgrave is a proven quality but at 31 just lacked a touch of pace, while Castellan, a year older, might be more of a worry. Both rely heavily on strength and power - can they be stretched out another seasons? Out go Rayne, who never quite had the physicality to thrive in Nephara, and captain Bismarck, who visibly declined across last season.

The Wanderers are kind of a weird one - a technically adept side, yes, but one full of giants too. Selkie's one of the smallest people in the team. Their entire back line is completely forgettable apart from how fucking huge Jantzer is, and there's a lot of interchangeably decent replacements waiting in the wings too. The midfield of Cavan and Castellan might prove a weakness. Sure, maybe three years ago it'd be a strength - but both are 32 now, and neither's the pure holding player you might expect in a flat four midfield. Belgrave takes the right, and his technique offers a valuable dimension to the team, while Menelaus Theoharous is by far the team's fastest player. Juergen Evans is a decent enough striker, but the beanpole's really only there to give Dakota Blaylock, a powerful poacher, chances to strike. There's a few decent players on the bench, but it's nobody special. Nobody on this side is special. A pretty mediocre side, honestly, patched together from journeymen, and they're in a relegation battle from the start.

Manager: Voula Logothettis
Asst. Manager: Cath Sparratt
Goalkeepers: 1 - Darren Gravesend, 12 - Cedric Pardons, 20 - Olivia Selkie
Defenders: 2 - Bernadette Pietersen, 3 - Franziska Jaspen, 5 - Matthias Whyteleafe, 6 - Ciprian Jantzer, 18 - Markus Salone, 19 - Richter Clavane, 22 - Susanna Woodpress, 24 - Brindle Taukroger
Midfielders: 4 - Sroel Cavan (ZEN, c), 7 - Abigail Mueller, 8 - Lance Diebeck, 11 - Levin Castellan, 13 - Cardinal Belgrave, 15 - Emerance Sanborn, 16 - Menelaus Theoharous, 23 - Matt Payne
Forwards: 9 - Dakota Blaylock (COS), 10 - Bruin Goodyouth, 14 - Juergen Evans, 17 - Achilles Stamper, 33 - Paul Leonhardsen


League Finish: 12th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Gardengate (26,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Captain: Karena Bittner
Top Scorers: Korborg (14), Mithradates (11), Braham (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 12 - Matraxis; 2 - Dukakis, 19 - Rodrigues, 4 - Cohen, 3 - Tsicaderis; 7 - Accardi, 21 - Bittner (c), 8 - Bristoll, 11 - Braham; 9 - Vettriano, 13 - Korborg
In: Medea Tsicaderis (Chatswood, 3m), Valeria (Extreme Hills, 2m)
Promoted: Mircea Boleyn (CB, 19), Justina Donau (ST, 19), Spahi Keskin (CM, 20), Eupraxia Teuton (GK, 20)
Out: Taddeo Loredan (Starling, 12m), Soren Maaksemstad (Pelethas United, free), Ange Shackell (Reaper Kamandu, free), Elsa Livesey (Armstrong, free), Stefan Herron (Extreme Hills, free), Kurtis Rakeruth (Armstrong, free)

First Division title (61)

68: Premiership; 12th, W19, D9, L18, GF62, GA62, 66 pts
67: Premiership; 9th, W20, D9, L17, GF57, GA48, 69 pts
66: Premiership; 10th, W18, D15, L13, GF55, GA50, 69 pts
65: Premiership; 4th, W26, D7, L13, GF81, GA61, 85 pts, Champions Cup
64: Premiership; 8th, W18, D14, L14, GF57, GA48, 68 pts

Twelfth. 0 Goal Difference. The Premiership's most forgettable club.

The regression to the mean continues. United have the money, but they can't recruit players of the quality to match. Taddeo Loredan understandably hot-foots it to Starling and five players are released, including a few familiar faces. All they're able to get is a couple of the best players from relegated teams, in assured defender Valeria and pacey leftback Tsicaderis.

Tactically flexible, Catherine Locklear does settle into a traditional 4-4-2 most of the time, and can generally make the right tweaks to shift a situation. In fact, the Oathmen have a surprisingly deep pool, and it's not that easy to pick a best XI. Still, Anthoulis Matraxis did enough to nail down his place, taking full advantage when Caldwick lost his place through inconsistency - he's an excellent shot-stopper and considered a Nephara prospect. Georgia Rodrigues needed a bit of time and faith but eventually paid off with some excellent performances down the line, intelligent and athletic - Micaiah Cohen is just a standard tall, strong Nepharim beside her, with traditional overlapping fullbacks either side. The centre of midfield is something of a concern, with no creativity - Bittner's an exceptional harrier, but that's about it, and Bristoll's got all the energy in the world and usually channels it into productive late runs into the box. But the creative burden falls on the wingers - young Eastfielder Accardi, most often, as Braham's a far more direct player. Creed fans will hope she can keep up the pace at 31. Up front, preseason seems to suggest that it's finally time for young Audioslavian Valentin Vettriano to step up. He's very much a typical example of his nation, short, pugnacious, powerful and ruthless. Axel Korborg's got a lot more flair, and should complement him well. On the bench, Conan McMillan and Ulysses Mithradates are both strong impact players while 36-year old Conor Magellan often steps in in the last half-hour to calm things down. More of the same, then?

Manager: Catherine Locklear
Asst. Manager: Bryce Sharman
Goalkeepers: 1 - Byron Caldwick, 12 - Anthoulis Matraxis, 20 - Eupraxia Teuton
Defenders: 2 - Pandora Dukakis, 3 - Medea Tsicaderis, 4 - Micaiah Cohen, 5 - Valeria (USI), 17 - Agamemnon Wright, 19 - Georgia Rodrigues (SLL), 22 - Ash Reisman, 31 - Mircea Boleyn
Midfielders: 6 - Spahi Keskin, 7 - Raquel Accardi (EFL), 8 - Kurtis Bristoll, 10 - Conor Magellan (AUD), 11 - Karena Braham, 16 - Orchid Basclif, 21 - Karena Bittner (c), 23 - Conan McMillan (TLI)
Forwards: 7 - Ulysses Mithradates, 9 - Valentin Vettriano (AUD), 13 - Axel Korborg (SLL), 15 - Frey Sylvine, 34 - Justina Donau


League Finish: 4th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Isaia Urso
Top Scorers: Drenas (25), Jevdjevic-Hadsic (18), Oz. Gandhi (17)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Marciak; 2 - Rafford, 5 - Molovi, 4 - Chalobah, 3 - Lohengrin; 21 - Tedesco, 6 - Bronte; 8 - Urso (c), 11 - Swan, 15 - Jevdjevic-Hadsic; 9 - Drenas
In: Maeve Bronte (Willox Street Pirates, 12m), Andrea Molovi (Whitetail Foresters, 6m)
Promoted: Delphi Barbarouses (CM, 19), Kurtis Laiota (ST, 20), Marisha Staunton (LAM, 20), Johanna Sutton (RAM, 18), Kay Szarbach (GK, 19)
Out: Methuselah Tregajorran (Lonngeylin Coast, undisclosed), Mahe Beitar (Southfell United, 4m), Karena Hesketh (Leichhardt, 3m), Bianca Condotta (Cypher Town, free), Sante Sundu (Crystal Guard HC, free), Sabrine Portsgate (Taushiga Tauros, free), Klaus Breisgau (Callodown, free)

Premiership title (59)
3 NFA Cups (47, 61, 64)
Cup Winners’ Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

68: Premiership; 4th, W26, D9, L11, GF94, GA61, 87 pts, Champions Cup
67: Premiership; 3rd, W25, D11, L10, GF86, GA43, 86 pts, Champions Cup
66: Premiership; 2nd, W27, D8, L11, GF101, GA52, 89 pts, Champions Cup
65: Premiership; 9th, W22, D10, L14, GF74, GA58, 76 pts
64: Premiership; 13th, W17, D11, L18, GF54, GA56, 62 pts, Cup Winners

A very frustrating season for the Heelers, who were competitive with the Moths at the top until a spectacular collapse in the final stretch of the season very nearly knocked them out of the top four altogether.

Portia Thrift's contract was allowed to lapse as the Heelers swooped for an improvement. Step forward, hard-bitten Aidan Brosque - a manager who'd been able to carve the Harriers into serious contenders, finally getting his chance at a big side. A lot of players said their farewells during a gruelling, bruising off-season in which Brosque publically questioned the commitment of many of his players. As well as an influx from the academy, disciplined veteran defender Andrea Molovi and classy holding midfielder Maeve Bronte steel the spine of the team.

Brosque has a technically capable side, but first thing's first - this spine needs stiffening. Now they boast a tough, disciplined core, exemplified by Pawlo Marciak between the posts. Molovi joins Chalobah, a powerful centre-back, and they're flanked by Nephara's first-choice fullbacks in the feisty, fiery Rafford (who appears to have been beaten into line by Brosque) and the lithe, silky Lohengrin. Tedesco and Bronte are both technically adept, but make for an intimidating double pivot formation that can break down... anything. Up front, the pendulum swings back towards technique. If the Urso/Swan/Jevdjevic-Hadsic combination that's terrorised the league for years ain't broke, why fix it? Now they'll be even more liberated, with Tedesco and Bronte behind. Expect a fair bit of rotation between ruthless finisher Tia Drenas and the lanky, athletic Ozaria Gandhi. Her twin, Osmosis, remains a useful defender to have around while expect big things from young gun Marisha Staunton. It's a Crisisbless side in transition, just as it feels as though half the other big sides in the league are in transition. There's more than enough here to carve out a platform for tomorrow.

Manager: Aidan Brosque
Asst. Manager: Espen Knutsen (BYN)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Pawlo Marciak (BYN), 23 - Gerhard Hartmuth, 30 - Kay Szarbach
Defenders: 2 - Leona Rafford, 3 - Sieglinde Lohengrin, 4 - Martell Chalobah (SEM), 5 - Andrea Molovi (EQS), 13 - Osmosis Gandhi (APX), 18 - Ayn Zwayer, 19 - Amelia Warner, 22 - Kerem Korkut
Midfielders: 6 - Maeve Bronte (PCR), 7 - Birgit Snowe, 8 - Isaia Urso (OSR, c), 10 - Marisha Staunton, 11 - Allison Swan (CEN), 15 - Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic (FFD), 21 - Lauro Tedesco (OSR), 24 - Irsa Croxteth, 32 - Delphi Barbarouses, 33 - Johanna Sutton
Forwards: 9 - Tia Drenas (EFL), 14 - Ozaria Gandhi (APX), 17 - Kurtis Laiota

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:51 pm
by Nephara

League Finish: 20th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: The New Overlook (17,500)
Nickname: the Diamonds
Captain: Catherine Thackeray
Top Scorers: Weber (15), Kowalczyk (11); Fortounis (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-3-2) 1 - Britton; 2 - Abel, 4 - Pavlovic, 22 - Sanabria, 3 - Fairbairn; 7 - Thackeray (c), 13 - Hemeyer, 10 - Kesteren; 22 - Weber; 17 - Fortounis, 11 - Kowalczyk
In: Iona Britton (Vermillion Wanderers, 2.5m), Desdemona Schuster (Chatswood, 1.5m), Francesca Abel (Emerald City Harmony, 1m)
Promoted: Cornelian Stryger (ST, 19), Gareth Unworth (RB, 20)
Out: Corren Dankworth (Jinja City FC, free), Emery Hastings (AFC Corvistone, free), Rook Lange-Sturrock (Manechester City HC, free), Denisa Thirlwell (East Laithland Harriers, free), Priscilla Boyden (Maximum City, free), Marc Pressley (East Laithland Harriers, free)

First Division title (67)

68: Premiership; 20th, W10, D11, L25, GF59, GA95, 41 pts
67: First Division; 1st, W28, D11, L7, GF77, GA33, 95 pts, Promoted
66: First Division; 8th, W21, D12, L13, GF55, GA35, 75 pts
65: First Division; 14th, W15, D12, L19, GF58, GA59, 57 pts
64: First Division; 16th, W18, D7, L21, GF51, GA56, 61 pts

Stayed up, by the skin of their teeth! It seriously did not look like they'd make it, for large swathes of the season - in fact, Diamondqueen spent forty-five matches in the relegation places. Just... not the one that counted. It did mean cutting Hydrangea Dimitriades, who after a couple of bites at the cherry seems like an excellent First Division manager who just doesn't have what it takes in the top tier. Colbright was able to have a restorative effect on their fortunes, and they ducked out of trouble with Auburn Weber's late equaliser against Globe Cup-chasing Coret Hawks.

But yeah, it was pretty clear that the Diamonds needed more quality. Their very limited budget's been stretched for it, but it's not a terribly inspiring window. They badly needed a new goalkeeper and rightback, and got them in the serviceable Abel and redoubtable shot-stopper Britton. Denisa Thirlwell leaves - she's at her best when allowed to thrive, and she didn't have the space for it at Premiership level, though was still able to sparkle sporadically - and Desdemona Schuster is drafted in from Chatswood to take her backup place. A bunch of others are also axed, Hastings and Dankworth most prominently.

Tana Colbright was a goalkeeper herself, naturally, so it's obvious that her first priority would be a goalkeeper. Step forward Iona Britton, an excellent shot-stopper from the second tier. Dario Pavlovic was a surprisingly excellent signing from the fucking Legaskari, somehow, and his assured, intelligent performances more than make up for the flaky Sanabria to his left. Two tiny, attack-minded fullbacks in the seasoned Abel and the young, raw Fairbairn are vital for adding width to the side, but Colbright's sure to remind them they're defenders first. Thackeray and Kesteren, fine technical players with good engines, are complemented by Ivan 'the Haymaker' Hemeyer, a mauler with a military background who uses sport-related violence to stave off his ADHD symptoms. In the hole, Auburn Weber basically dragged the Diamonds to survival last season, looking liberated as a team's creative fulcrum. Good thing, too - the Diamonds are lacking up front, with Fortounis and Kowalczyk both seeming like players who are excellent all-around First Division goalscorers but just lack the bit of pace to be fast, the bit of muscle to be strong or the bit of ruthlessness to be reliable at this level. There's a lot of fairly capable talent waiting in the wings, but more reliable journeymen than players who can make a decisive impact on proceedings - though Hecubah Statkis' pure muscle was sometimes the shock treatment the situation required. They'll be up against it again this season, but the material is there to make another stand.

Manager: Tana Colbright
Asst. Manager: Matthias Conridge
Goalkeepers: 1 - Iona Britton, 12 - Karel Jonason, 20 - Chara Mylonas
Defenders: 2 - Francesca Abel (SLL), 3 - Valentina Fairbairn (QAD), 4 - Dario Pavlovic (PAS), 5 - Damian Barrett, 6 - Noma Sutton, 19 - Marcia Falchuk, 22 - McKinley Sanabria (AUD), 23 - Gareth Unworth
Midfielders: 7 - Catherine Thackeray (c), 8 - Desdemona Schuster, 10 - Franz Kesteren, 13 - Ivan Hemeyer (COS), 15 - Imogen Jeweler, 21 - Samael Lawrence, 22 - Auburn Weber, 24 - Christian Baylor
Forwards: 9 - Dionysius Lyritzis, 11 - Danil Kowalczyk (CSN), 16 - Hecubah Statkis, 17 - Marko Fortounis, 32 - Cornelian Stryger


League Finish: Champions (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: Steelchurch (32,500)
Nickname: the Quakers
Captain: Adrian Carradine
Top Scorers: Farrakhan (18), Rannon (14), Case (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Forster; 2 - Aviston, 18 - Bierofka, 6 - Carradine (c), 3 - East; 4 - Leitner, 8 - Schneider, 13 - Case; 11 - Rannon; 9 - Farrakhan, 7 - Sharpe
In: Anders East (Workers Union, 3m), Corona Sharpe (Maximum City, 3m), Florian Schneider (Crossroads Town, 2.5m)
Promoted: Franzi Brill (RB, 19), Viktor Key (CM, 20)
Out: Heather Garrard (Emerald City Harmony, free), Elsa Dietrich (AFC Corvistone, free), Elaine Brighton (Maximum City, free)
Retired: Adrian Crowe (RB, 36)

NFA Cup (52)
First Division title (68)

68: First Division: 1st, W27, D10, L9, GF67, GA35, 91 pts, Promoted
67: First Division; 9th, W19, D14, L13, GF64, GA51, 71 pts
66: Premiership; 22nd, W10, D7, L29, GF44, GA96, 37 pts, Relegated
65: Premiership; 20th, W12, D8, L26, GF56, GA89, 44 pts
64: First Division; 3rd, W22, D13, L11, GF56, GA35, 79 pts, Promoted

To most peoples' surprise, the unfancied Quakers not only in the promotion push but were in the thick of the title race all season, a race they would win on the final matchday when a 2-0 away win against Maximum City allowed them to overtake the Rovers.

Well, that didn't take long - Corona Sharpe's already back in the Premiership after dropping down for just a season to Maximum City. The canny little Moths youth product promptly got all their goals. Solid known quality Anders East hardens the defensive line and 28-year old journeyman midfielder Florian Schneider is the pure destroyer that this midfield needs. Three club stalwarts are released, and the veteran defender Adrian Crowe retires, moving into the assistant manager position.

Goodfeather have always, traditionally, been a very technical side. That's fine and good, but Ezra Stonewater took a sluggish, fragile side and instilled physicality, urgency and youth. At the back, the lanky Raven Forster's an acrobatic shot-stopper, very modern (that's really becoming the rule nowadays in the Premiership, not the exception...) and capable at this level. The central defence might be the main concern, with Carradine mediocre at Premiership level and Bierofka a rather flaky player. The fullbacks, vital in this formation to provide width, are on the defensive side. Aviston's turned from a fragile, callow talent to a brisk, energetic and confident player while the defensively sound, versatile Anders East is maybe the platonic ideal of a newly-promoted defensive signing. The technique of Leitner and especially the bright Falcon Case is present in the midfield, but shielded by the burly Schneider. Ulrica Rannon is another great talent, an all-action attacking midfielder who Stonewaters brought with him from Riverkey. Up front, Farrakhan and Sharpe are in the same mould - they're small, lithe, clever finishers. Maybe limited at this level, and maybe their lack of physicality will count against them, but they know how to find the net. The reserves are generally young academy players, and while none exactly stand out as gems, they should be good for a few minutes here and there at least. The front three are probably the least replaceable players - what exactly is a Tarry Hareide? Even so, if they can avoid those serious key injuries, the Quakers look a good bet to stay up.

Manager: Ezra Stonewaters
Asst. Manager: Adrian Crowe
Goalkeepers: 1 - Raven Forster, 20 - Anya Beraht, 25 - Erin Naylor
Defenders: 2 - Sylvia Aviston, 3 - Anders East (SEM), 5 - Ellen Boarspear, 6 - Adrian Carradine (c), 17 - Lewyn Harnwell, 18 - Artur Bierofka, 22 - Dane Rednic, 33 - Franzi Brill
Midfielders: 4 - Marisa Leitner, 8 - Florian Schneider, 11 - Ulrica Rannon, 13 - Falcon Case, 15 - Soren Faerstein, 16 - Tarry Hareide, 19 - Diana Lochteth, 23 - Viktor Key
Forwards: 7 - Corona Sharpe, 9 - Lexi Farrakhan, 10 - Amelia Rusmond, 21 - Johan Macruse, 24 - Hansel Fortesquire


League Finish: 3rd (First Division)
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Canaries, the Stargazers
Captain: Chiron Amarantidis
Top Scorers: Reiter (14), Nsereko (12), Fowler (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Stern; 5 - Nkembe, 2 - Koller, 6 - Amarantidis (c), 19 - Heisserer; 4 - Silverstein; 15 - Bellinghausen, 23 - Lienen, 8 - Fowler, 13 - Reiter; 11 - Auttenberg
In: Ingrid Auttenberg (Starling, 3.5m), Lara Silverstein (Corvette Maulers, 3m), Raihane Stern (North Sabrefell, 2m), Diligence Nkembe (FC Kolberg, free)
Promoted: Marisa Woodruff (LB, 18)
Out: Alyssa Cardluck (Equestrian Outcasts HC, free), Catheline Pitspurr (Rochford, free)
Retired: Elaine Koeller (GK, 38), Malachi Hawkshaw (LB, 35), Olenna Jaspenner (ST, 35)

68: First Division; 3rd, W23, D15, L8, GF63, GA30, 84 pts
67: First Division; 6th, W22, D13, L11, GF50, GA29, 79 pts
66: First Division; 6th, W22, D13, L11, GF49, GA30, 79 pts
65: First Division; 4th, W22, D16, L8, GF57, GA27, 82 pts
64: First Division; 14th, W17, D12, L17, GF50, GA48, 63 pts

Top of the table midway through the season, Leichhardt slipped away somewhat in the final stretch but still achieved promotion easily, with the best defence not only in the First Division but in any of the national leagues.

Aided by a substantial injection of cash, the Canaries have had one of the most successful transfer windows of any newly-promoted side in memory. All their weaknesses were pathced over by solid new signings. Auttenberg was surplus to requirements at Starling and the opportunity to be the main striker appealed to her, a career backup. Silverstein, a versatile defensive player with an intelligence that more than makes up for her lack of size, will slot into holding midfield and replace Alyssa Cardluck, who is good enough to ensure defensive stability at First Division level but wanted to see football abroad before her career ended. The aquiline Raihane Stern's a young, talented goalkeeper while Diligence Nkembe, as a free, might be the best pickup of the lot. The two-time Nephara cap flourished at Kolberg and has significant UICA experience as a hard-knuckled defender. Out goes Catheline Pitspurr, a journeyman rightback, while three important depth players of last season retire.

They already had the best defence in the second tier by a distance - the hulking Kozak was perhaps its one weakness, but he could deal with the shots from distance frustrated opponents peppered at him, and Stern's an improvement. But there was no need to mess with the balding bruiser, Michael Koller, and his partnership with the veteran captain Chiron Amarantidis. The midfield, Silverstein aside, is also unchanged, and why wouldn't it be? The fundamentals are fairly standard, pace on the wings and solid, hard-running power in the centre, with Miralem Fowler the best of them and the clearest link to lone forward, Auttenberg, who faces a rather thankless job but can be trusted to finish the chances she gets handed. Luna Nsereko, brilliant hold-up player and defender from the front that she was, was often profligate. Leichhardt's reserves are all young and often quite promising, if a bit slender in defence. Flashy winger Zuzana Streiss is one to watch for the future. On the whole, Leichhardt should take to the Premiership like ducks to water.

Manager: Andrea Vardalos
Asst. Manager: Elaine Koeller
Goalkeepers: 1 - Raihane Stern, 20 - Shukhrat Kozak (ISK), 25 - Joshua Stirgeon
Defenders: 2 - Michael Koller (SCT), 3 - Stavroula Portokalos, 5 - Diligence Nkembe, 6 - Chiron Amarantidis (c), 17 - Dante Carvalho (USI), 19 - Undine Heisserer, 22 - Providence Mensah, 31 - Marisa Woodruff
Midfielders: 4 - Lara Silverstein, 7 - Khatuna Voyager, 8 - Miralem Fowler, 12 - June Hartley, 14 - Olivia Sigournay, 15 - Annegret Bellinghausen, 16 - Zuzana Streiss, 18 - Concertina Reiziger, 23 - Berit Lienen
Forwards: 9 - Luna Nsereko, 11 - Ingrid Auttenberg, 21 - Jacqui Oldcastle


League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Semifinals
Stadium: Griffindon (36,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Captain: Spyridon Kolitsidakis
Top Scorers: Luitgard (29), Seeklander (18), Kolitsidakis (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Lindberg; 23 - Skalak, 2 - Lineker, 6 - Jurist, 3 - Minskai; 7 - Thane, 21 - Woodbine, 13 - Kolitsidakis (c), 11 - Moxey; 14 - Luitgard, 10 - Kreisburg
In: Belaskita Skalak (AFC Treason, 3m), Marika Kreisburg (Morningstar, 2m), Jarer Minskai (Tihon Tide, 1.5m)
Out: Alex Chapin (released), Willow Latchford (East Laithland Harriers, free), Dorian Halfpike (Riverkey, free)

68: First Division; 2nd, W25, D15, L6, GF83, GA41, 90 pts, Promoted
67: Premiership; 22nd, W10, D12, L24, GF51, GA81, 42 pts, Relegated
66: Premiership; 17th, W15, D10, L21, GF55, GA75, 55 pts
65: Premiership; 19th, W11, D13, L22, GF58, GA79, 46 pts
64: Premiership; 20th, W14, D12, L20, GF53, GA60, 54 pts

Fourth at the halfway mark with a number of nations snapping at their heels, the Rovers were leading the league with a match to go. Unfortunately for them, they were pegged back in the finale by Sharon Kitteman's equaliser against the run of play, drew 1-1 and choked the title away to Goodfeather. Still, they were promoted convincingly, and unsurprisingly.

Unfortunately, they still pretty much look like a slightly older version of the team that went down two years ago. They've released three of their veterans - captain Alex Chapin, and the fullbacks Latchford and Halfpike - and have splashed out six and a half million on reinforcements. Shiny new fullbacks will help, as will Kreisburg, who impressed last season for Morningstar.

They just... don't quite look up to it. Paige Hildebrand isn't exactly the most tactically creative manager, and a compact, physical 4-4-2 - the stereotypical kind of middling Nepharim team aesthetic - will be the mainstay. Lindberg, Lineker and Jurist are the core of their defence, and yeah, at 33, 31 and 31 they'll probably be the same level of mediocre they were last time around, if not further declined. Skalak on the right and Minskai on the left were both let go from high-flying clubs because of occasional flakiness, despite having what it takes on paper. Kurtis Woodbine has seen a lot of action at this level and even at 32 should have what it takes to break down attacks, while the industrious, inspirational Spyridon Kolitsidakis has absolutely cracked out of his shell the past couple seasons, unsurprisingly the First Division's Player of the Year as well as the Rovers' captain, charging about the place leading by example. Thane on the right flank is another impressive player, unwaveringly direct, while Drusilla Moxey's a very quick, conventional winger. Up front, Konstanze Luitgard is somewhat lightweight but knows how to find the back of the net while the strong, tough Kreisburg caught the eye with some decisive impacts last season for Morningstar. Out of those on the bench, Rouwen Seeklander offers a muscular approach up front while 22-year old midfielder Adele Rosborough saw plenty of time, either thrown on for Woodbine to chase games with her technique and endeavour or for one of the strikers to let Woodbine drop back into a more defensive position, allowing the Rovers to cling onto tight leads late on.

Manager: Paige Hildebrand
Asst. Manager: Reinhard Drake
Goalkeepers: 1 - Nicholas Lindberg (SLL), 20 - Bryce Henderson, 25 - Josef Colmeyer
Defenders: 2 - Conan Lineker, 3 - Jarer Minskai (CMT), 5 - Axiom Gaitatzis, 6 - Catheline Jurist, 17 - Colin Chaulker, 19 - Amber Steelshrift, 23 - Belaskita Skalak, 24 - Bella Scarratt
Midfielders: 7 - Julia Thane, 8 - Adele Rosborough, 11 - Drusilla Moxey, 13 - Spyridon Kolitsidakis (c), 15 - Jasmine Colindon, 16 - Vivienne Morgan, 18 - Zarathustra Raumdeuter, 21 - Kurtis Woodbine
Forwards: 9 - Rouwen Seeklander, 10 - Marika Kreisburg, 14 - Konstanze Luitgard, 22 - Allen Slayback, 26 - Sapphire Burnett


League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Runners-up
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Warriors, the Stars
Captain: Gwen Saunders
Top Scorers: Boldman (12), Lopez (9), Petrosian, Rosenthal (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Sparr; 2 - Seluk, 18 - Saunders (c), 13 - Keyes, 3 - Kuefer; 7 - Petrosian, 6 - Seizter, 15 - Kovach, 11 - Vanstrattan; 17 - Boldman, 9 - Tsiavis
In: Lukas Sparr (Corvette Maulers, 4m), Florian Kuefer (Vermillion Wanderers, 2.5m)
Promoted: Valeri Longship (RB, 18), Coridan Ryder (CM, 19), Monako Saroszi (RM, 19), Lilith Thornwood (ST, 18)
Out: Circe Rosenthal (Marionville, 5m), Marika Kreisburg (Maximum Rovers, 2m), Steffen Ceferin (Maximum City, free), Hippolyta Whitesmith (Sheridan, free), Garrett Spycer (San Marcos FC, free), Kurtis Rough (Dodge City, free)

68: Premiership; 19th, W12, D10, L24, GF45, GA76, 46 pts
67: Premiership; 18th, W15, D10, L21, GF52, GA63, 55 pts
66: First Division; 3rd, W27, D7, L12, GF92, GA49, 88 pts, Promoted
65: First Division; 7th, W22, D7, L17, GF65, GA51, 74 pts
64: First Division; 5th, W22, D6, L18, GF61, GA56, 72 pts

In serious relegation strife until strong form in the home stretch bailed them out, only a marathon penalty shootout stood between them and the NFA Cup. The difference between an average season and an unforgettable one. Still, no use crying over spilt milk, and the fans are happy enough to have stayed up again. "Second place is first loser," Emery Lineker put it bluntly after the match. "We'll move on."

Unlike last season, a lot of money has changed hands, and the side will look significantly different going into next season. For the second time in as many years, they lose their most technical midfielder - first Starling loanee Woodwind, now homegrown Circe Rosenthal, who hot-foots it to the SPL. For the second time in as many years, there's no obvious replacement brought in for the task. The longstanding weakness of goalkeeper is firmly patched up, Lukas Sparr brought in to stem the bloodflow, and young Pasargan leftback Kuefer's a clever buy. Marika Kreisburg, whose goals were vital in the home stretch for the Stars, skips town for the Rovers and guaranteed starts. As usual, a few fringe players are released, including Cup-losing goalkeeper Ceferin and former international Kurtis Rough. Keep an eye on Monako Saroszi, who impressed in every chance they got last season.

Given the transfer window, expect the Stars to be even more solid than the last two seasons... and even more dour to watch. Lukas Sparr is the most obvious upgrade, a rock-solid Premiership goalkeeper and only getting better at 30. In the heart of defence, forgettable cinderblock Keyes is complemented by Gwen Saunders, who played as a rightback most of her career and is clawing onto a starting place seemingly by sheer spite. She's a rock, day by day, but at 34 the end is in sight and this is likely her last season. The dirty Seluk and athletic Kuefer are decent fullbacks, though the latter may need time to adjust to the standard. The midfield is unchanged to the one that was promoted three years ago, the forceful Petrosian, the industrious water-carriers Seizter and Kovach, the lightning-quick Vanstrattan. Yet again, the concern is the lack of creativity that was only cured by Circe Rosenthal's introduction last season - might Saroszi replace her in spirit? Up front, Niko Boldman's a fairly limited striker at this level, but might this be the time to shine for Christos Tsiavis? The former Nephara U21 international has it all athletically, being fast, strong, tall and two-footed, and was on fire in pre-season. On the bench, a bunch of capable if unexciting defensive players, some flaky midfielders (and the thrilling Saroszi), and Henrique Lopez, Nephara's most aggressive, annoying striker. Yet again, the Stars are likely to be in a relegation battle. Yet again, they'll likely win it.

Manager: Emery Lineker
Asst. Manager: Lara Hunfeld
Goalkeepers: 1 - Lukas Sparr, 20 - Malta Hawthorn, 25 - Vicki Bassett
Defenders: 2 - Malakai Seluk, 3 - Florian Kuefer (PAS), 4 - Barak Sahar, 5 - Karl Linstead, 13 - Andrei Keyes, 18 - Gwen Saunders (c), 19 - Lothar Andreas, 31 - Valeri Longship
Midfielders: 6 - Robin Seizter, 7 - Marko Petrosian, 8 - Hecate Dransfeld, 11 - Karo Vanstrattan, 15 - Johan Kovach, 16 - Felix Stremer, 32 - Monako Saroszi, 33 - Coridan Ryder
Forwards: 9 - Christos Tsiavis, 10 - Henrique Lopez, 17 - Niko Boldman, 26 - Christine Exelby, 35 - Lilith Thornwood


League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Champions
Stadium: Anchorwright Arena (30,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Raquel Woods
Top Scorers: Bothroyd (16), Farrell (15), Fenwick (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Hesketh; 18 - Pakkanen, 5 - Rivello, 6 - Zagorec, 11 - Woods (c); 24 - Coynborough, 4 - Hedlund, 15 - Winter; 8 - Marconi; 7 - Farrell, 10 - Bothroyd
In: Mats Hedlund (Welanduz Vadshult, 4m), Karena Hesketh (Crisisbless, 3m), Ville Pakkanen (FC Kaldukosic, 3m)
Promotion: Orson Deckard (ST, 19), Markus Hyde (CM, 20), Jess Oaktree (GK, 18)
Out: Mark Polzin (Deschutes FC, free), Monroe Luque (Honeyame Anitas, free), Costin Anghelescu (AFC Lochtown, free), Lisa Summersteen (South Laithland, free), Marcia Haskell (Alnio Union, free)
Retired: Rook Fenwick (CM, 35)

2 NFA Cups (57, 68)

68: Premiership; 18th, W14, D8, L24, GF59, GA76, 50 pts, Cup Winners
67: Premiership; 19th, W14, D11, L21, GF55, GA78, 53 pts
66: Premiership; 9th, W20, D10, L16, GF64, GA67, 70 pts
65: Premiership; 17th, W14, D11, L21, GF44, GA60, 53 pts
64: Premiership; 15th, W14, D17, L15, GF56, GA47, 59 pts

Catheline Keenan's overall reign at the Rooks may have been something of a disappointment, but winning the Cup was a fitting sendoff for the young manager. Hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone for most of the season, all was forgotten when Kurtis Rough hammered his penalty into the sky to hand Newrook the trophy.

Newrook had two choices. Either succumb to their lower-midtable, looking-over-the-shoulder status, probably losing their best players in Bothroyd and Woods... orrrrr commit to their top ten ambitions. They chose the latter. A lot of seasoned players go out the door, while stalwart midfielder Rook Fenwick (formerly of Crisisbless and Eastweald) retires. In comes young, ambitious manager Andreu Bartolnicci, who oversaw a period of success as caretaker at Crawford CIty before assisting Amethyst Fegelein, and is now ready to take a leading role. He brings Ville Pakkanen with him from Cosumar, a hidden gem of the second tier whose club loyalty had perhaps held his career back, along with Crisisbless' backup goalkeeper Hesketh and shining Buyanese hope Hedlund.

The Rooks do actually have a strong and surprisingly deep squad. Bartolnicci's not had much time to really nail down a signature style, but his instinct is to be assertive, and he's got the material for it. Karena Hesketh's exactly the capable, assured goalkeeper that the Rooks have been crying out for for years, while the stalwart partnership of Rivello's steel and Zagorec's silk is well-suited to this levle. Pakkanen and Woods are both the industrious overlapping fullbacks that this system requires. The central midfield is probably the weak point, relatively speaking. Hedlund, just 20, clearly has what it takes but will need to make the step up quickly and smoothly, while Coynborough's industry never goes out of style and Lorne Winter has some way to go to justify his three-million fee after an underwhelming season. Alessa Marconi's a very... Nepharim attacking midfielder, all action and pace. Up front, Alan Bothroyd gets the goals, and that's all he needs to do - enthusiastically muscular support in Maladict Farrell hit four goals in the first match of the season and never looked back despite a couple of dry spells along the way. He ended as the Cup's top goalscorer. There's a wealth of experience on the bench - Aziz Senturk can still change games at 35, Sutton can still kill them at 34. All in all? Newrook should make top ten.

Manager: Andreu Bartolnicci (COS)
Asst. Manager: Esther Mallory
Goalkeepers: 1 - Karena Hesketh, 20 - Magda Kattner, 30 - Jess Oaktree
Defenders: 2 - Conrad Trelliston, 3 - Petra Fischer, 5 - Robert Rivello (SAN), 6 - Perica Zagorec (PAS), 11 - Raquel Woods (c), 17 - Luna Traugott, 18 - Ville Pakkanen (COS), 19 - Glenn Baumann
Midfielders: 4 - Mats Hedlund (BYN), 8 - Alessa Marconi, 12 - Aziz Senturk (COS), 13 - Rafaela Fenchel, 14 - Markus Hyde, 15 - Lorne Winter, 23 - Josie Sutton, 24 - Ifrit Coynborough
Forwards: 7 - Maladict Farrell, 9 - Stefan Jacobsen (SEM), 10 - Alan Bothroyd (VLD), 22 - Liesel Ironhewer, 31 - Orson Deckard


League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Knightsgrave (43,000)
Nickname: the Saints
Captain: Alastair Brun
Top Scorers: Uzunlar (18), Dragana (14), Berisha, Rademacher (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Koufax; 2 - Bozanic, 19 - Clinton, 6 - Steelhenge, 3 - Avery; 13 - Frei, 8 - Roiwland, 11 - Rademacher (c); 7 - Berisha, 10 - McEthinly, 14 - Feisser
In: Ingrid Feisser (Belgrave, 3.5m), Basmath Clinton (Maximum City, 3m)
Promoted: Drake Antony (LB, 20), Radu Bartok (GK, 18), Ramona Porter (LW, 19), Wynona Rampart (ST, 20), Hollin Spicer (DM, 20)
Out: Jazmin Dragana (Brinemouth, 6m), Sinan Uzunlar (Sabrefell Athletic, 5m), Olaf Womack (IFK Aldenskoett, free), Lazlo Kearney (Herzegovina City FC, free), Arda Yilmaz (North Kazama United, free), Sylvia Rouseff (Belgrave, free)
Retired: Leonhard Mixe (R/LB, 36)

First Division title (63)
2 NFA Cups (51, 59)

68: Premiership; 15th, W15, D10, L21, GF69, GA83, 55 pts
67: Premiership; 10th, W18, D12, L16, GF61, GA58, 66 pts
66: Premiership; 6th, W24, D7, L15, GF85, GA66, 79 pts
65: Premiership; 14th, W16, D10, L20, GF64, GA75, 58 pts
64: Premiership; 9th, W19, D10, L17, GF77, GA67, 67 pts

An ugly season. Stranded in lower-midtable for pretty much its duration, Miriam Aragon was unable to keep up the momentum built up under Spike Turnbull, and the Saints just haemorrhaged goals. Never under serious relegation threat, but their price is to lose two of their most important players.

An ugly window. Just as Sinan Uzunlar really finds his feet at Premiership level, Sabrefell Athletic are looking for a backup striker, and they find one. Him. Jazmin Dragana, dismayed that the upwardly-mobile move from Bishop was in fact a downwardly-mobile move from Bishop, forced a move to Brinemouth for maybe half her potential value. So does her backup, Rouseff, going to Belgrave to cover for the absence of Ingrid Feisser, because the Saints buy her to replace Dragana. Basmath Clinton, a solid, standard defender, is brought in from Maximum City. Of the other departures, Olaf Womack will hurt, but he was in a fast, hard decline last season, while the time was right for 36-year old Leonhard Mixe to hang up his boots.

Aragon will continue, you'd imagine, to try and implement her attacking style of football, emboldened by what looks like a superior defence. Not so much through personnel, though Clinton is an improvement on a clearly spent Alastair Brun (who remains captain, and at least a hardened backup), just a year's more experience in a raw defensive line. Darren Koufax had a mostly good season, generally solid, the sort of goalkeeper who just makes the saves he's expected to make. Clinton partners Dragora Steelhenge, an extremely promising defender who grew into the season as it went on, but was just under too much pressure at first and made a few errors. She looks rejuvenated, though. On the flanks, Bozanic and Avery... are fullbacks. Decent ones. In their mid-twenties. You know the drill. The midfield's more intriguing - the athletic, technically adept Rademacher and Frei have been around the block a few times by now, but Monica Rowland in between was a revelation of last season, a calm, crisp holding midfielder. Berisha and Feisser are both direct, fast-paced wingers with Quinn McEthinly more of a fast-paced pure goalscorer than Uzunlar, who could offer more hold-up play. The reserves are mostly young local players, and there lacks the kind of player who can just show up and make a real impact on the game. It's a young, shallow side, but assuming Aragon can hammer out some of last season's naivete, they will at least be clear of relegation. The fans won't be content with that, but it'll have to do for now.

Manager: Miriam Aragon
Asst. Manager: Reuben Price
Goalkeeper: 1 - Darren Koufax, 12 - Angela Spyrakis, 30 - Radu Bartok
Defenders: 2 - Marko Bozanic, 3 - Tasha Avery, 5 - Alastair Brun (APX, c), 6 - Dragora Steelhenge, 17 - Dimitra Altman, 18 - Claudia Solwood, 19 - Basmath Clinton, 22 - Drake Antony
Midfielders: 4 - Makis Kotsonis, 8 - Monica Rowland, 11 - Swabia Rademacher, 13 - Christian Frei, 16 - Saturn Mastiff, 20 - Hollin Spicer
Forwards: 7 - Swanhilda Berisha, 9 - Wynona Rampart, 10 - Quinn McEthinly (SCT), 14 - Ingrid Feisser, 15 - Kirsten Howlett, 21 - Aris Daskalakis, 31 - Ramona Porter


League Finish: 9th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Rookridge (42,000)
Nickname: River, the Ravens, the Ferrymen
Captain: Matt Bowerman
Top Scorers: Kaukenas (16); Kaskanis (13); Petkovic (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Bowerman (c); 6 - Kaeman, 2 - Caravel, 19 - Daleiden, 3 - Hateley; 21 - Leonard, 15 - Naumoff, 13 - Kaspian; 8 - Petkovic; 9 - Kaukenas, 10 - Kaskanis
In: Michi Leonard (Port Sebastian, 3.5m), Diane Hateley (North Sabrefell, 2.75m), Chuy Villaverde (free agent)
Promoted: Lysander Brandis (AM, 21), Lazarus Pepper (CB, 20)
Out: Nikolas Vikmanis (Gwinevra Barbarians, 6m), Faith Tenenbaum (Cypher Town, free), Raelene Marinello (Chenoworth Rovers, free), Adrian Corewood (Armory, free), Devante Mbukane (Canterlot Stars, free)

2 First Division titles (62, 66)
NFA Cup (60)

68: Premiership; 9th, W21, D10, L15, GF71, GA55, 73 pts
67: Premiership; 15th, W15, D12, L19, GF51, GA66, 57 pts
66: First Division; 1st, W28, D11, L7, GF93, GA41, 95 pts, Promoted
65: First Division; 5th, W24, D10, L12, GF80, GA51, 82 pts
64: Premiership; 23rd, W14, D8, L24, GF48, L71, 50 pts, Relegated

An outstanding start to the season and a pretty decent end carried River to an impressive ninth in the league, their fortunes at any given moment inversely proportionate to the size of key defender Daleiden.

This was meant to be Nikolas Vikmanis' year. Well, it still might be, just at Gwinevra instead - Bittencourt took the money for one of his best prospects in a fanbase-splitting decision. Michi Leonard, an industrious Nepharim stalwart of the SPL, arrives from Port Sebastian while young leftback Diane Hateley shores up the back line. Promising teenage rightback Villaverde's picked up on a free from Farfadillis, but it may take time for him to make his mark.

Bittencourt's excelled with a pretty capable squad, steadily building on it piece by piece and season by season, unafraid to throw youth into the deep end. They play assertive football, for the most part, but aren't shy to hold the line when they have to. Matt Bowerman, a rock-solid goalkeeper, helps with that - a captain who leads by example. The slightly ramshackle central defence of the pretty average Caravel and the flaky Daleiden, a rock at the start of the season but gradually losing fitness as the season went on, might be the weak point. Kaeman and Hateley are both in the same mould - dimunitive skirmishers who are drilled as defenders first, but need to shuttle forward to provide attacking width too. Naumoff's a harrier in the heart of midfield with Leonard a high-class water-carrier, while Lucius Kaspian still has all his technique at 34. Zivka Petkovic has bloomed into a capable playmaker who has nailed down her place in the side over the years. Up front, bruising powerhouse Povilas Kaukenas gets the most attention while Apotheosis Kaskanis is a steady, workmanlike forward. For the most part, the reserves are young, but in Dimitriades and Heffernan there's the experience available to clamp down a game. River are set for another good season.

Manager: Cheney Bittencourt
Asst. Manager: Daniella Strauss
Goalkeepers: 1 - Matt Bowerman (c), 20 - Gareth Commonstock, 25 - Althea Taliadoros
Defenders: 2 - Hannes Caravel, 3 - Diane Hateley, 5 - Zoltan Dimitriades, 6 - Jasmine Kaeman, 17 - Lazarus Pepper, 18 - Hywel Wodework, 19 - Diette Daleiden (COS), 34 - Chuy Villaverde (FFD)
Midfielders: 4 - Adrian Heffernan, 7 - Ferenc Kubala, 8 - Zivka Petkovic (PAS), 12 - Lysander Brandis, 13 - Lucius Kaspian (COS), 15 - Kaya Naumoff, 21 - Michi Leonard ,23 - Inge Wildsmith
Forwards: 9 - Povilas Kaukenas (BYN), 10 - Apotheosis Kaskanis, 11 - Jessika Donath, 16 - Fiona Norval, 22 - Joanna Chancellor

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:52 pm
by Nephara

League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Barbarossa (72,000)
Nickname: the Reds
Captain: Tanith Rainsford
Top Scorers: Wardenier (26), Bereveskos (19), Lucassen, Rudden, Coltrane (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Gautier; 2 - Morningstar, 6 - Farina, 19 - Campbell, 3 - Lovelock; 21 - Bereveskos, 15 - Coltrane, 4 - Rainsford (c), 13 - Rudden; 9 - Wardenier, 10 - Hawke
In: Estrella Hawke (Starling, 30m), Graciano Farina (North Hall, 10m), Sinan Uzunlar (Parrhesia United, 5m)
Promoted: Salavat Caszely (ST, 18)
Out: Levin Castellan (Cranequin Wanderers, 2.5m), Elsa Layland (North Spire HC, free), Linden Lucassen (FC Samotath, free)
Retired: Brigid Kestrel (D/CM, 36), Zdenek Moravec (CB, 36)

3 Premiership titles (50, 58, 67)
2 NFA Cups (50, 66)
Globe Cup (56)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (59)
Gang of Six member

68: Premiership; 2nd, W30, D9, L7, GF115, GA55, 99 pts, Champions Cup
67: Premiership; 1st, W31, D6, L9, GF94, GA50, 99 pts, Champions Cup
66: Premiership; 5th, W23, D11, L12, GF96, GA64, 80 pts, Globe Cup, Cup Winners
65: Premiership; 3rd, W25, D11, L10, GF77, GA42, 86 pts, Champions Cup
64: Premiership; 12th, W16, D15, L15, GF61, GA62, 63 pts

Tom Benedict, handed lemons (well, a defending champion side set around a 4-3-3 formation), attempted to make lemonade. This was only a partial success, and Athletic seemed out of the title running, so Benedict said fuck it and ripped the 4-3-3 template away midseason, switching to his favoured 4-4-2 (well, he calls it 4-2-2-2; the wingers play very advanced) and, what do you know, finished just three points short of the title.

Other top teams sold or consolidated. Athletic cut loose some guys in their mid-late thirties - all will be lamented after playing their part in seasons gone by, especially defensive stalwart Moravec and captain Castellan, and Lucassen deserves credit for starting most of the second half of the season - and then set to work honing a fine squad. In comes Estrella Hawke, Nephara's number nine. In comes Graciano Farina, an excellent 26-year old defender too good for the A-League. In comes Sinan Uzunlar, offering the cover at centre-forward that they needed - as does Salavat Caszely, who came off the bench on the last day of last season to score the late brace that would relegate North Laithland.

This fine squad now dances to Benedict's tune. Assertive, aggresive and constantly pressing forwards, high up the pitch. On top of that, they're solid as they come at the back - towering Eshani goalkeeper Aurelian Gautier is key to that, taking to the Premiership like a duck to water. Ahead of him, a hard-bitten pair of centre-halves in Graciano and Campbell will prove an uncompromising barricade, as well as the steady Morningstar at rightback. The entrepreneurial 29-year old leftback Ophelia Lovelock lost her place in the starting XI last season but seems to have won it back in preseason with a newfound defensive caution. Central midfield comprises Tanith Rainsford, now captain, one of the game's premier defensive midfielders, and forty-million man Oscar Coltrane, one of the game's premier players full stop. Bereveskos and Rudden are both in the same mould, all pace and directness down their flanks, and they've got the advantage of floating forward Avila Wardenier to link up with. But as a pure spearhead in this country, you'll find none better than the athletic, powerful, ruthless Estrella Hawke. And they have her. Plenty more options in depth, too, and players like Ferryman, Corvine, Gerhardt and Uzunlar have the Premiership experience to step up for an entire season in the event of disaster - no, there's no situation that could really catch Athletic out, and you'd have to call them favourites.

PREDICTION - Champions.
Manager: Tom Benedict (EUR)
Asst. Manager: Ole Oehman (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Aurelian Gautier (ESH), 12 - Daniel Fitzmarten, 20 - Alistair Swepstone
Defenders: 2 - Erika Morningstar (CMT), 3 - Ophelia Lovelock (BRE), 5 - Bronwyn Gerhardt, 6 - Graciano Farina (OSR), 17 - Robyn Lauren, 19 - Michael Campbell (PCR), 22 - Lena Iserlohn, 25 - Gareth Krane
Midfielders: 4 - Tanith Rainsford (c), 7 - Grey Meisler, 8 - Alexa Ferryman, 11 - Gareth Corvine, 13 - Chloe Rudden (SCT), 14 - Valerie Webber, 15 - Oscar Coltrane (EUR), 21 - Andrea Bereveskos
Forwards: 9 - Avila Wardenier, 10 - Estrella Hawke, 16 - Morten Crestwell, 23 - Sinan Uzunlar, 34 - Salavat Caszely


League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Farham Arena (88,000)
Nickname: the Moths
Captain: Jessica Weiss
Top Scorers: Johnson (35), Vol (26), Meier (20)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Griffin; 2 - Haines, 6 - Uenterhausen, 19 - Weiss (c), 22 - Vicelich; 7 - Townsend, 4 - Serra, 8 - Etzebeth, 11 - Meier; 14 - Vol, 10 - Johnson
In: Mark Uenterhausen (FC Jansberg, 15m)
Promoted: Glory Bellinger (RM, 18), Kodiak Grant (RB, 19), Alexis Rohrabacher (ST, 20), Tawny Shone (CM, 18), Corentin Tausig (GK, 19)
Out: Mathilda Jaeger (Felswyr Frost, 6.5m), Rona Morgantrau (Stein-los Turkish, 3m), Cardinal Belgrave (Cranequin Wanderers, 3m), Reinhard Armstrong (Chenoworth Harriers, 3m), Sheila Kilgallon (Brookford Otters, 1m)

3 Premiership titles (47, 60, 68)
2 NFA Cups (58, 65)
2 Globe Cups (64, 67)
Gang of Six member

68: Premiership; 1st, W31, D9, L6, GF124, GA51, 102 pts, Champions Cup
67: Premiership; 2nd, W25, D14, L7, GF94, GA52, 89 pts, Champions Cup
66: Premiership; 3rd, W26, D9, L11, GF101, GA58, 87 pts, Champions Cup
65: Premiership; 7th, W23, D11, L12, GF92, GA60, 80 pts, Globe Cup, Cup Winners
64: Premiership; 7th, W19, D13, L14, GF69, GA66, 70 pts, Globe Cup

In their first season at the Farham Arena, the Moths are Champions! And so convincingly, at that! The Moths swatted aside the competition and while Crisisbless threatened early and Athletic late no team was anywhere near as consistent.

It wasn't a side that needed a great deal of overhauling, but a lot of depth departs regardless for the lure of first-team football. As is the Moths way, they promote a bunch of guys from their academy to compensate - and keep an eye on diligent midfielder Tawny Shone, on the Boldsport shortlist for her age group. The big upgrade, though, comes in central defence. The Moths will splash when something warrants splashing, and the intelligent, classy and ambitious Mark Uenterhausen thoroughly warranted splashing.

The Moths are a truly Nepharim side. A big, physically menacing and powerful team in a 4-4-2 formation, but one that lunges forward and savages its opponents. They've even got the green and black, as ever. And no truly Nepharim side is complete without a goalkeeper ready to perform some heroics in a tight spot, and fortunately, commanding shot-stopper Robert Griffin is that man. Captain Weiss and new hire Uenterhausen are both in the same mould - expect a theme, here! - of being calm, intelligent defenders, each capable enough with the ball at their feet to stride forward into midfield where necessary. It's an industrious midfield unit, with Serra tending to take the game on his own shoulders more, Etzebeth more a water-carrier. Surging young fullbacks overlap Townsend and Meier, improvisational, creative wingers. Up front, Aaliyah Johnson extended her record with a fifth Iron Boot and broke her manager's goalscoring record with a faintly sickening tally of 35. Having the hulking Vol by her side - no flake in front of goal in her own right - brought out the best in them both. On the bench, seasoned defenders in Weaver and Desantis can help at the back while Pamala Croft knows where the goal is, and young Ylissa Hatherton's continued to impress. The Moths aren't favourites to defend their title - but it could well be on the cards. They sure as hell won't let their crosstown rivals take it home without a fight.

Manager: Gerhard Thunder
Asst. Manager: Audrey Carlock
Goalkeepers: 1 - Robert Griffin (EUR), 12 - Jacqui Edmond, 30 - Corentin Tausig
Defenders: 2 - Jon Haines (EUR), 3 - Theresa Desantis (ETH), 5 - Pavel Weaver, 6 - Mark Uenterhausen (SCT), 19 - Jessica Weiss (PAS, c), 22 - Lux Vicelich, 23 - Berthold Albrecht, 31 - Kodiak Grant
Midfielders: 4 - Federico Serra (OSR), 7 - Imriel Townsend (APX), 8 - Orion Etzebeth, 11 - Scheherazade Meier, 15 - Catheline Marchant, 20 - Valencia Ashburner, 21 - Ylissa Hatherton, 32 - Glory Bellinger, 33 - Tawny Shone
Forwards: 9 - Pamala Croft (NSI), 10 - Aaliyah Johnson (OSR), 14 - Solara Vol (MRN), 17 - Sigrid Eisenhauer, 24 - Alexis Rohrabacher


League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Aventurine Street (20,000)
Nickname: the Dragons
Captain: Aya Bernman
Top Scorers: Fanaiyan (11), Zalan (10), Mason (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Theoklitos; 17 - Asante, 21 - Ruarisson, 19 - Caddett, 3 - Warwick; 22 - Oij, 6 - Emmerich, 20 - Bernman (c), 13 - Reuter; 14 - Langbauer, 10 - Zalan
In: Perseus Theoklitos (Crawford City FC, 2m), Hecates Ruarisson (Uxminster Athletic, 1m), Penelope Caddett (Mytos-Turin, 1m), Oiji Nanemoru (September's Hand Iron Guild, free)
Promoted: Garrett Stijnen (LM, 20), Roxanna Strong (ST, 18)
Out: Ishtar Fanaiyan (Eastweald, 15m), Rebecca Larkland (North Sabrefell, 1m), Hannah Truiden (Mashu Hellowenia, free), Harland Kovalski (Whitetail Rangers, free), Mateo Keepton (Busukuma Force, free)
Retired: Gareth Hartson (GK, 36)

First Division title (59)

68: Premiership; 17th, W13, D12, L21, GF52, GA75, 51 pts
67: Premiership; 14th, W15, D12, L19, GF64, GA77, 57 pts
66: Premiership; 19th, W12, D16, L18, GF65, GA87, 52 pts
65: First Division; 2nd, W29, D7, L10, GF74, GA41, 94 pts, Promoted
64: First Division; 6th, W21, D8, L17, GF54, GA48, 71 pts

While not exactly convincing at any stage, it was always pretty clear that there would be four teams worse than Serpentine at every step of the way - and so it proved. They made the magical fifty-point mark, plus one, without too much effort.

Alright, elephant in the room first - they lost Fanaiyan. Ishtar Fanaiyan was easily their best player last season, and her loss is going to hurt. They have replaced Fanaiyan, already a mainstay in Cormorant squads, with some Hinodejin free transfer with reported attitude problems. Okay, then. A couple new centre-halves come in in the forms of the returning journeywoman Caddett and the hulking murderer Ruarisson (already being billed the direct response to Rook Harm going the other way many years back) and the somewhat flaky but capable Pravennan goalkeeper Perseus Theoklitos. Also departing the club, goalkeeper and captain Gareth Hartson, a one-club man in the modern era.

The Dragons remain in their traditional vein of a physically powerful side with exactly one touch of real class. Theoklitos is a decent enough goalkeeper, but nothing to set the heart racing, and he has an error or two in him. Ruarisson and Caddett should be slight upgrades in defence, though they may miss Larkland's intelligence. Asante is a short, powerful fullback who relishes surging forward on the overlap and has no compunctions about professional fouls, while the somewhat more elegant but older and less effective Warwick is in the same mould. Ranulf Emmerich is kind of a generic, kind of past-it midfielder, there to add muscle to and cover for Serpentine's best player, Aya Bernman. The Schottic's start to her Premiership career was curtailed by an awful double knee injury, but she returned last season like nothing was wrong and should continue making up for lost time this year. She’s been handed the armband. On the right, aforementioned free with attitude problems. On the left, the quick, incisive Reuter. Up front, concerns. None of Zalan (broad, strong), Langbauer (tall, classy) or Mason (stocky, determined) is really consistent enough at this level, so chances are they'll be rotated fairly liberally as the situation demands. There's a few capable stand-ins on the bench who can happily play a few games at Premiership level, most obviously right winger Lezalit Ornstein, while this could potentially be a big year for teenage striker Roxanna Strong given the sparsity of other options. The Dragons are in a relegation battle this time around, but there's enough material here to put up a real fight.

Manager: Bronwyn Sadler
Asst. Manager: Gerhard Cambridge
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gareth Hartson (c), 12 - Melissa Aspen, 25 - Brandon Connell
Defenders: 2 - Kurtis Fischer, 3 - Keziah Warwick, 5 - Orlagh McGuinness (MBT), 17 - Ruon Asante, 18 - Yehoshua Riesling, 19 - Penelope Caddett, 21 - Hecates Ruarisson (APX), 23 - Nils Armbruster
Midfielders: 6 - Ranulf Emmerich, 7 - Lezalit Ornstein, 8 - Ashley Keoman, 11 - Garrett Stijnen, 13 - Andrej Reuter, 20 - Aya Bernman (SCT, c), 22 - Oiji Nanemoru (HIN), 24 - Raphael Passlach
Forwards: 9 - Carrie Mason, 10 - Kuruc Zalan (PAS), 14 - Coraline Langbauer, 15 - Chloe Lehrer, 32 - Roxanna Strong


League Finish: 16th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Scipio Arena (38,000)
Nickname: the Tanners
Captain: Tristan Lavendor
Top Scorers: Nikas, Gail (11), Kerrigan (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-3-2) 1 - Cooper; 2 - Vercauteren, 22 - Grant, 6 - Beitar, 3 - Catterick; 8 - Lavendor (c); 4 - Heimat, 11 - Hartmann, 10 - Nikas; 9 - Marlowe, 12 - Gail
In: Mahe Beitar (Crisisbless, 4m), Chris Grant (Arkrau Klub, 3m), Erik Marlowe (Florence Boldclub, free)
Promoted: Malachi Chalk (LCM, 19), Pristine Rutten (ST, 19), Incubus Stratton (GK, 19)
Out: Raphael Bowbury (Baskita FC, free), Rafael Hythewater (Dinamo N-City, free), Gretchen Hathaway (Crossroads Town, free), Coridan Theo (Riverkey, free), Leander Fremantle (Anfanhar Dragons, free)
Retired: Hadrian Kuepper (ST, 35)

First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

68: Premiership; 16th, W15, D7, L24, GF57, GA82, 52 pts
67: First Division; 2nd, W28, D10, L8, GF89, GA40, 94 pts, Promoted
66: First Division; 10th, W19, D13, L14, GF80, GA65, 70 pts
65: First Division; 9th, W19, D14, L13, GF83, GA72, 71 pts
64: Premiership; 22nd, W15, D9, L22, GF52, GA77, 54 pts, Relegated

As expected, the Tanners - expertly marshaled by prodigal young manager Felipa Medina - weathered the loss of their best player, Aspenwood, and stood clear of the relegation fight. With unnerving consistency, they were 16th at every quarter-mark of the season.

Felipa Medina evidently believes in the direct approach to solving problems. Got a porous defence? Splash seven fucking million on two replacements. Not a small amount for a club of the Tanners' stature, but these signings will surely insulate them from relegation - a 26-year old Schottian from Semarland and Crisisbless' backup. Up front, fringe international Marlowe's a canny pickup on a free. A lot of bit players leave, and veteran striker Kuepper hangs up his boots.

The Tanners were already a decent side - this sharpening at both ends of the pitch might make them a force to really contend with. They play a very Osarian brand of football, fast and technical, never taking a backwards step. Sigrid Cooper in goal is probably the weak point of the team, just too inconsistent to really nail herself down as a Premiership-quality starter, but even so she can save points single-handed on her day. Newcomers Grant and Beitar are tall, stalwart defenders, and quick, industrious fullbacks flank them. An aggressive midfield needs a destroyer to shield it, and has it in Tristan Lavendor, 31 but seemingly only improving with age. Hartmann is a towering brute by appearance but has an unerring, featherlike touch on the ball, while Nikas and Heimat run hard and fast. Nikas proved last season he's got a hell of a shot on him, too. Erik Marlowe is a big, confident player who had the best brought out of him in Bonesea, always sure he'll get a goal from any angle, while Miranda Gail? She's fast. She's seriously fucking fast. There's a good mixture of experience and youth on the bench, and replacing a striker with the austere defensive midfielder Maria Petridis is a common maneuvre to hold a lead for the last twenty minutes or so - plenty of tools for Medina to chop and change with. It should be another good season, and they're really building towards something.

Manager: Felipa Medina (OSR)
Asst. Manager: Claire Rusland
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sigrid Cooper, 20 - Stefan Heidenreich, 30 - Incubus Stratton
Defenders: 2 - Fantine Vercauteren, 3 - Leona Catterick, 5 - Markus di Natale, 6 - Mahe Beitar, 16 - Guilhermina 'Gui' Ferreira Castro (NSI), 18 - Kylian Cholakian, 19 - Lars Blacktown, 22 - Chris Grant (SCT)
Midfielders: 4 - Yolandi Heimat, 8 - Tristan Lavendor, 10 - Vasilis Nikas, 11 - Emerick Hartmann, 13 - Maria Petridis, 23 - Olivia Schwarzer, 24 - Cato Breiburg, 35 - Malachi Chalk
Forwards: 7 - Julia Kerrigan, 9 - Erik Marlowe, 12 - Miranda Gail (CMT), 21 - Harriet Michail, 32 - Pristine Rutten


League Finish: 5th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Jade Park (24,000)
Nickname: the Passerines
Captain: Justinian Hargrave
Top Scorers: Hawke (21); Andisori (20), Padilla (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Hargrave (c); 18 - Koehler, 4 - McNessa, 6 - Loredan, 3 - Castor; 8 - Aschenbach, 21 - Gryphon; 11 - Armstrong, 13 - Padilla, 17 - Kaelin; 9 - Andisori
In: Taddeo Loredan (Creed United, 12m), Cesar Corvalan (returns from loan)
Promoted: Darren Halfhill (RAM, 21), Cezary Helmuth (LAM, 18), Dario Paterson (LB, 18), Excelsior Stroud (CM, 20)
Out: Estrella Hawke (Sabrefell Athletic, 30m), Hyacinth Surman (Lunas FC, 7m), Malachi Gallagher (Urbanista, 6.4m), Lothar Kelsen (Evesham United, 3.5m), Ingrid Auttenberg (Leichhardt, 3.5m), Helvetica Scaffell (Crossroads Crusaders, free)
Retired: Nicola Costello (CM, 36)

2 Premiership titles (63, 64)
First Division title (60)
Champions Cup (64)
Super Cup (64)

68: Premiership; 5th, W25, D11, L10, GF89, GA48, 86 pts, Globe Cup
67: Premiership; 6th, W21, D15, L10, GF83, GA55, 78 pts, Globe Cup
66: Premiership; 4th, W26, D8, L12, GF94, GA47, 86 pts, Champions Cup
65: Premiership; 6th, W23, D13, L10, GF72, GA43, 82 pts, Globe Cup
64: Premiership; 1st, W23, D10, L13, GF66, GA49, 79 pts, Champions Cup

In the Champions' Cup chase all season, Starling were denied fourth place on the last day of the season, unable to take more than a point from Brinemouth as a freefalling Crisisbless somehow thrashed the demob-happy Moths 3-0. Still, a good enough performance.

Amos doubles down on her uncompromising policy. Surman, Gallagher, Auttenberg - all faithful servants of the past, but Amos sees no need to keep them around if there's money in them for the players she wants. Unfortunately, there weren't many players she wanted to buy - though she does plug the gap in last season's squad that pretty much everyone knew was highest-priority. Seasoned centreback Loredan's picked up from Creed. Thank God. Even in the agonising sale of Estrella Hawke to direct rivals Sabrefell Athletic, Amos senses a chance to further mould the team into her image, with a single-striker system - this also makes depth striker Kelsen surplus to requirements, Scaffell is released and beloved Osarian midfielder Nicola Costello retires. Striker Cesar Corvalan returns from a good season on loan in Corvette, fifteen goals under his belt. Three came at Starling's expense. He's ready to back Andisori up.

As ever under Lisa Amos, the Passerines play an assertive, technical style, combining form and function and making it all look rather effortless. There's steel in the right places, though - Justinian Hargrave, the captain, is a rock-solid goalkeeper, while the Cosumarite central defence of feel-good story McNessa and hard-nosed Loredan should repel most anything that gets thrown at them. Mirko Koehler's a fairly cautious, defensive-minded fullback, while Lyre Castor's a somewhat more coltish but very quick fullback. The central midfield is two of a kind, really. It's a good kind. Despite being Brenecian, Gryphon is one of the world's foremost defensive midfielders, calm and unhurried in possession and a clean tackler out of it. 21-year old local Aschenbach is the same deal, just younger and not as good - she'll cover for the gap by doing most of Gryphon's running for her. A young attacking midfield lineup boasts the drifting playmaker Armstrong, the surging runs of Padilla and the slightly flaky but clearly talented Kaelin, while up front, Keira Andisori's finally free to shine on her own. A truly complete striker. Remarkably for such a high-profile club, literally everyone else in the squad was hand-reared, Corvalan the latest to join at 18 - he's an excellent ace to have up the sleeve, while versatile midfielder Sleipnir Woodwind adds a quietly capable, understated class. They might still be in a period of transition, and their modest economic means are catching up with them - but here and now, Starling remain serious contenders.

Manager: Lisa Amos (CMT)
Asst. Manager: Markus Horst
Goalkeepers: 1 - Justinian Hargrave, 12 - Reinhard Meixner, 25 - Maxi Lundgren
Defenders: 2 - Misha Symond, 3 - Lyre Castor, 4 - Deirdre McNessa (COS), 5 - Mathis Orsay, 6 - Taddeo Loredan (COS), 18 - Mirko Koehler, 24 - Calcipher Heston, 32 - Dario Paterson
Midfielders: 7 - Sleipnir Woodwind, 8 - Evangeline Aschenbach, 11 - Liam Armstrong (EUR), 13 - Mateo Padilla (VLD), 14 - Willow Creek, 15 - Excelsior Stroud, 17 - Elsa Kaelin, 21 - Catherine Gryphon (BRE), 22 - Darren Halfhill, 34 - Cezary Helmuth
Forwards: 9 - Keira Andisori (CMT), 10 - Cesar Corvalan (CEN), 16 - Erik Mevlya


League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Gauntlet (65,000)
Nickname: the Stags
Captain: Scylla Vyntra
Top Scorers: Fraser (20); Cantor (16); Tarashaj (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Fletcher; 2 - Vyntra (c), 5 - Svensson, 6 - Katskalidis, 3 - Lindgren; 7 - Woodspur, 20 - Misidjan, 8 - Tarashaj, 11 - Vesper; 9 - Fraser, 14 - Voeller
In: Amber Trahearne (returned from loan)
Promoted: Lukas Boldfont (ST, 18), Augustine Catapan (GK, 20), Aura Keynes (LM, 22), Constantine Sandor (LB, 19)
Out: Igrene Cantor (Anomalies FC, 15m), Ana Kuijer (Anomalies FC, 6.5m), Sonja Dreyer (South Saints, 4m), Belaskita Skalak (Maximum Rovers, 3m), Besart Schankelen (San Marcos FC, free)

7 Premiership titles (48, 49, 52, 56, 57, 65, 66)
NFA Cup (49)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (57)
Copa de Campeones (67)
Gang of Six member

68: Premiership; 7th, W23, D14, L9, GF72, GA43, 83 pts, Globe Cup
67: Premiership; 7th, W22, D11, L13, GF83, GA65, 77 pts, Globe Cup
66: Premiership; 1st, W32, D3, L11, GF104, GA51, 99 pts, Champions Cup
65: Premiership; 1st, W27, D10, L9, GF90, GA50, 91 pts, Champions Cup
64: Premiership; 4th, W22, D9, L15, GF69, GA50, 75 pts, Champions Cup

Only a 1-0 away win on the final matchday - and Coret's draw with Diamondqueen - kept the Stags in the top 7, and most likely kept Ben Randall in a job. They were unexceptional, overstretched, lacked a real cutting edge in front of goal and just looked... tired. They did have the best defence in the league, at least.

A painful window for the Stags, as they brought in precisely no players. Trahearne and Keynes return from a good spell in Buyan and look ready to be part of the depth, but there's no reinforcements - Randall laid out the need for a goalscorer (and unsuccessful bids were made for Ross Renshaw and Heron Kendall), left winger to help give 31-year old Vesper some relief and fullback. None arrived, Igrene Cantor compounded matters by leaving early in the window when the Stags seemed to make it clear she was being shunted out of the starting picture. Kuijer, Dreyer and Skalak, homegrown bit players last season, also depart - Kuijer joining Cantor at Anomalies.

For the first time in recent memory, the Stags do not look like title contenders. A few of the names have just been around a bit too long, a bit of the fire has gone, there's slack in the ropes. Randall has a distinct style, a compact, well-organised defence and central midfield that allows its wingers and strikers full reign to surge forward, and at least that part is working just fine lately. Fletcher is the league's best goalkeeper, one of the world's best shot-stoppers and someone who will stand tall and get the job done without fuss. The commanding Peter Svensson might well be the best defender in the world, and he's in a well-honed partnership with Calliope Katskalidis, who's admittedly fading somewhat - always reliant on her pace and power more than her limited game awareness, the World Cup winning defender is now 33, and it's showing. In the fullback positions, Vyntra is another who's just slowing a bit at 31, while Nikola Lindgren (almost sold to the Harriers over the window) is capable enough but very distinctly not international-class. Things get better in the heart of midfield, with the industrious partnership of silky Misidjan and steely Tarashaj being, well, Nephara's midfield. Woodspur is a very orthodox winger, with pace to burn - a precious commodity in a very slow-looking team, honestly - while Lienke Vesper is slowing at 31, physically fragile, but still has the ability to break through teams with a drop of the shoulder and swing of the hips. Up front... Asher Voeller? Really? The big, powerful 31-year old striker is an intimidating prospect, sure, but... well, the main goal-getter has to be Roddy Fraser once again, now 26. He dropped last season somewhat but remains the player by far most capable of a breakthrough from this side. On the bench, a lot of good, local talent, as usual. Veterans like Lopes and Labonne can calm things down, while expect Keynes and Preussler to make impacts off the bench. This could also be a big season for 22-year old defender Konrad Vornander, champing at the bit to take the next step in his career. Okay, so it's still a very strong side. But this is Treason. They should aspire higher.

Manager: Ben Randall (EUR)
Asst. Manager: Juergen Stone
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gideon Fletcher, 12 - Sigurd Rustwyth, 25 - Augustine Catapan
Defenders: 2 - Scylla Vyntra (c), 3 - Nikola Lindgren, 5 - Peter Svensson (COS), 6 - Calliope Katskalidis, 17 - Alexander Lopes (VLD), 18 - Daniel Axweald, 19 - Konrad Vornander, 34 - Constantine Sandor
Midfielders: 4 - Marcel Labonne (SEM), 7 - Mariska Woodspur, 8 - Vedran Tarashaj, 11 - Lienke Vesper, 13 - Mordecai Brandtner, 15 - Amber Trahearne, 16 - Aura Keynes, 20 - Servet Misidjan, 21 - Saskia Kantaroff
Forwards: 9 - Roddy Fraser (AUD), 10 - Matthias Bergander, 14 - Asher Voeller, 22 - Ida Preussler, 37 - Lukas Boldfont


League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: The Iron Hill (49,500)
Nickname: the Rage, the Lads
Captain: Hye Min Jeong
Top Scorers: Alemane (17), Antunovic, Paulsson (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Clement; 2 - Southers, 6 - Jeong (c), 22 - Skapoulis, 19 - Damjana, 13 - Cassadore, 8 - Tzavellas, 7 - Paulsson; 15 - Coppinger, 10 - Alemane, 11 - Nizarut
In: Brigitte Coppinger (Violence Chariots, 5m)
Promoted: Catheline Anastasiadis (RW, 19), Tomas Banks (CB, 20), Haroun Maynard (ST, 20)
Out: Joscelyn Ambrose (Seaddle Sounders, free), Christa Cruz (AFC Ruby, free), Claire Rathlinker (Ponyville Galaxy, free), Ronan Preston (Manechester City HC, free)
Retired: Svatioslav Pokrovski (CM, 35)

First Division title (50)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (62)

68: Premiership; 11th, W20, D8, L18, GF72, GA66, 68 pts
67: Premiership; 8th, W22, D10, L14, GF71, GA47, 76 pts
66: Premiership; 11th, W18, D14, L14, GF79, GA79, 68 pts
65: Premiership; 8th, W23, D11, L12, GF78, GA57, 80 pts
64: Premiership; 2nd, W23, D8, L15, GF78, GA56, 77 pts, Champions Cup

In the final year of Theresa Riether's contract, the Rage were pretty mediocre. As much as expectations have been successfully managed over the past few years, they were fifteen points away from the UICA places. It just had a vaguely testimonial feel to it.

Well, that's not going to happen this season. In comes Alexis Spurlock from Bishop, who finished directly above the Rage last season, and she's finally got her shot at a decently big job. Changes have been more tactical than personnel thus far, though five players do leave - among them Cruz and Preston, who immediately fell out with the new manager, and retiring veteran Pokrovski - and in comes Brigitte Coppinger, the lightning-quick forward from the Chariots.

Expect a tighter back line from Vermillion this season and more of an emphasis on ripping teams apart on the counterattack - that said, one of the appeals of the job for Spurlock was apparently being able to manage a more assertive style of play. Still, there's a good defensive unit in place. Orpheus Clement has actually been quietly outstanding for the past couple of seasons, and boasts excellent distribution. Commanding captain Hye Min Jeong's struck up a decent partnership at the back with muscular 23-year old Skapoulis with preseason while Spurlock is satisfied that Southers and Damjana both have the lungs to rush up and down the field all game without complaint. Marios Tzavellas destroys midfielders and just gets the ball back to people who can do things with it - for instance, clever Cassadore and the roving playmaker Paulsson. Up front is where things get really spicy. All three of Coppinger, Alemane and Nizarut boast blistering pace, and while that's basically all the latter has, the first two are both accomplished goalscorers and all three are flexible enough to find new combinations going forward in a fluid unit. The big Pasargan, Antunovic, waits on the wings for a more direct approach if that's necessary, as does the orthodox winger Madrigal, and there's decent young players across the board who should get plenty of chances given Spurlock's affinity for rotation. All in all, the future for Vermillion looks bright.

Manager: Alexis Spurlock
Asst. Manager: Ruthabell Schneider
Goalkeepers: 1 - Orpheus Clement, 12 - Cath Gilchrist, 20 - Leila Ramelow
Defenders: 2 - Adelaide Southers, 3 - Kojo Osei-Mensah (SEM), 5 - Hecia Barksdale, 6 - Hye Min Jeong (QUE, c), 17 - Daniel Sorrentine, 18 - Tomas Banks, 19 - Aysu Damjana (CMT), 22 - Leontios Skapoulis
Midfielders: 4 - Eleanora Scherer, 7 - Ryan Paulsson (VLD), 8 - Marios Tzavellas, 13 - Isabella Cassadore, 14 - Kosta Ouzoundis, 24 - Anja Spinnett
Forwards: 9 - Haroun Maynard, 10 - Corvid Alemane, 11 - Granit Nizarut, 15 - Brigitte Coppinger, 21 - Davor Antunovic (PAS), 23 - Coraline Madrigal, 36 - Catheline Anastasiadis


League Finish: 14th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Scythes (29,500)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Alexander Soarhaven
Top Scorers: Coppinger (15), Ulster (14), Klein (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Commerford; 2 - Raskin, 5 - Tarrasch, 4 - Na’Duha, 3 - Brill; 7 - Nemeth (c), 6 - Belfry, 11 - Riske; 15 - Sierra, 10 - Ulster, 16 - Neury
In: Vance Commerford (Versiaville, 5m), Anise Riske (South Laithland, 3m), Rowena Sierra (Northern Stallions, 2m), Kadija Na'Duha (Zakhoro Aces, free)
Promoted: Stefan Ermine (LW, 20), Drago Ward (ST, 19)
Out: Rusalka Klein (Crawford City FC, 6m), Brigitte Coppinger (Vermillion Rage, 5m), Roisin Carroll (Port Sebastian, 4m), Olivia Selkie (Cranequin Wanderers, 3m), Tomas Ruthven (Maximum City, 2m), Interrobang Bermond (FC Samotath, free)

2 NFA Cups (55, 63)
Globe Cup (58)
Super Cup (58)
Gang of Six member

68: Premiership; 14th, W17, D8, L21, GF73, GA93, 59 pts
67: Premiership; 11th, W17, D13, L16, GF80, GA79, 64 pts
66: Premiership; 12th, W19, D8, L19, GF78, GA70, 65 pts
65: Premiership; 11th, W20, D9, L17, GF83, GA89, 69 pts
64: Premiership; 14th, W17, D11, L18, GF78, GA85, 62 pts

Perhaps unsurprisingly after Safarova gutted her squad and relied on a bunch of young academy guys for depth, the Chariots were stuck in lower-midtable for basically the entire season. There's a growing acceptance within the fanbase that the glory days aren't coming back anytime soon - if you aren't going to make UICA, then easily staying up playing attractive football and advancing young talent is as good as it's going to get. They did concede 93 goals, and Safarova will probably want to work on that.

The turnover continues in earnest. For Rusalka Klein, the Chariots were only ever a stepping stone, and all parties accepted this - one excellent season and a three-million profit, which is enough to sign clever young replacement Anise Riske from the Southrons, marks a success. Incisive forward Coppinger, established at this level, moves to Vermillion and is replaced by 21-year old Rowena Sierra, one of the X-Factors that kept East Laithland afloat on loan last season. Long-term stalwart Carroll and last season's first-choice goalkeeper Selkie also leave, along with a couple of other homegrowns. Predictably, Safarova raids her homeland for more young stars - 25-year old goalkeeper Commerford and the free transfer Na'Duha.

The Chariots, overall, look a bit stronger at the back but weaker up front than last season, but are expected to continue playing assertive football at a breakneck pace. You need a good goalkeeper to keep that up without haemorrhaging goals, and Selkie, well, wasn't ready for the constant pressure. 25-year old Vance Commerford, looking to finally live up to his potential, should be. Two lithe, attacking fullbacks in Raskin and Brill flank tall, intelligent defenders in Tarrasch and Na'Duha. Laura Belfry proved up to the difficult task of anchoring the midfield last season, supporting two fairly similar players - Nemeth and Riske are both clever, technical players. More of the creative play is likely to come down the centre, without Carroll on the left. Instead, the wings are taken by Sierra, a clever, tricky winger, and Varga Neury, a raw powerhouse. Up front, Tarquin Ulster's finishing touch isn't always there, but he's tough and defends from the front, running tirelessly for his side. There's decent talent on the bench in the likes of Escrow, Quiverell and Sauber, and 35-year old captain Alexander Soarhaven - the oldest player in the squad by seven years - can always come on to stiffen the spine. It's going to be more of the same for the Chariots, to be honest. Not such a bad thing, is it?

Manager: Isla Safarova (COS)
Asst. Manager: Clotilde Sashary
Goalkeepers: 1 - Vance Commerford (COS), 20 - Jasper Kirkland, 25 - Stefan Bolander
Defenders: 2 - Adelaide Raskin, 3 - Alexis Brill (COS), 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch, 13 - Mirka Ceciu, 17 - Shara Lankin, 18 - Alexander Soarhaven (COS, c), 19 - Machalat Sauber
Midfielders: 6 - Laura Belfry, 7 - Valentine Nemeth, 8 - Packie Milner, 11 - Anise Riske, 21 - Inka Quiverell, 24 - Molly Cunning
Forwards: 9 - Claudia Escrow, 10 - Tarquin Ulster, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 16 - Varga Neury, 22 - Sujet Carsley, 26 - Stefan Ermine, 31 - Drago Ward

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:03 am
by Nephara
First Division Preview

1. AFC Corvistone
Home Colours: Green with white sash / green / white
Away Colours: White with terracotta sash / terracotta / white
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: The Crows
Manager: Davalei Evatee (53, CEN)
(4-3-3) 12 - Maria Kovacic (26, SLL); 2 - Katenza Muhren (24), 5 - Gerrit Tatu (30, CMT), 19 - Parvizdzhon Borrowfield (27, ISK), 3 - Daniyal Helland (24, EFL); 21 - Rain Delacruz (21, BJK), 13 - Nechtan Malley (29, BSE, c), 11 - Krista Morham (22, SCT); 7 - Chibuzo Afolayan (24, BNJ), 17 - Robby Stanford (27, ESH), 13 - Madison Rojas (26, SLL)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Soren Johan (24, SEM); 8 - DM - Elsa Dietrich (33), 10 - LW - Jack Brier (30, SCT), 14 - CM - Paul Bismarck (33), 15 - RW - Cahir Treal (30, BSE), 17 - RB - Emery Hastings (33)

Background: The most controversial and, yes, hated club in Nephara. Corvistone is the new planned capital of Nephara, projected to step into that role in a couple of years, and AFC Corvistone was made explicitly to be a club worthy of the capital. But the capital isn't fully formed and the club, which struggles to even half-fill its fantastic stadium, faces constant pressure for buying success and in all fairness it has never shied away from that, splurging money freely to drag themselves to the top flight. Their fans relish the hate, though, and the club makes the most of its siege mentality.

Summary: The Crows are now most people's reluctant favourites for the title after splashing out on yet another expensive forward in Banijan international Afolayan. Furthermore, their main weaknesses - thin reserves - have been bolstered by acquiring a bunch of recently released Premiership veterans. Dietrich, Bismarck and Hastings are all more than capable of stepping up for 10-15 starts a season. The defence is serviceable, newly reinforced by Gerrit Tatu, with Maria Kovacic an excellent acrobatic shot-stopper. The real danger, though, is in the front five - Krista Morham in particular is a star for them at just 22, new wingers Afolayan and Rojas add bite and new dimension to the attack while Robby Stanford remains the best striker in the league. Last season, sure, that was a statement of intent. This season they absolutely must take the title.

2. Cypher Town
Home Colours: All blue, red trim
Away Colours: All red, white trim
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Manager: Rivka Keaton (42)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Ruo Xiaolan (23, YZH); 2 - Sander Mears (26, SEM), 4 - Andros Hertzka (25), 5 - Constantine Beckett (35), 3 - Faith Tenenbaum (31); 21 - Catheline Stensholt (22), 6 - Bianca Condotta (34), 11 - Vuesala Frey (25, ISK); 8 - Sophia Petridis (26); 9 - Borbas Tihamer (26, PAS), 10 - Cohen Alexander (23)
Notable Substitutes: 10 - AM - Koen Hochmeister (31), 13 - CM - Elaine Brackwater (32), 15 - ST - Chufti Waters (28), 18 - LB - Angela Koufos (31), 19 - CB - Ashton Dalmshelf (35, COS, c)

Background: A large town situated on the Western Marches - the traditional border between Laithland and civilisation - Cypher hosts a fairly prominent side that has traditionally flitted between the top two tiers. Cypher is mostly noted for having attracted the unrequited rivalry of a staggering number of clubs - fellow Marcher side Serpentine has the geography to think about, its fairly extravagant livery has earned it the hilarious ire of pretty much all the true Laith clubs, while Parrhesia United (northern Vermillion and much of the northern region in general) also clashes shoulders with it.

Summary: The Eagles live in interesting times. Rivka Keaton looked at last season, which was unimpressive, and nodded, and then ripped the blueprint in half and started aggressively recruiting to make a new blueprint - hard at the core, set to fight their way out of the division, with just the right amount of class in the middle. They lost goalkeeper Jakob Carter to Brinemouth, but replaced him with Ruo Xiaolan, who has no professional experience due to the lack of any structure for women in Yuezhou, but is a flying shot-stopper with endless determination. A hard-edged defence, reinforced by Tenenbaum from River and anchored by the veteran Constantine Beckett, is further backed up by a genuine marquee at this level in Bianca Condotta, a high-class defensive midfielder at the highest level. It's handy when the highest level is, in fact, the tier above. Sophia Petridis is a pure creative fulcrum for the side, with all this physicality around her - not least hulking forwards Tihamer (fringe Pasarga international a couple years back) and Alexander. Whisper it, but... promotion might be meant to be this season.

3. North Sabrefell
Home Colours: White / black / white
Away Colours: Blue / white / blue
Stadium: Frangipani Court (16,000)
Nickname: the Bohemians
Manager: Mark Grayson (46)
(4-4-2) 1 - Jasmine Rondel (26); 2 - Meg Owley (26), 5 - Rebecca Larkland (34), 18 - Jesper Thorn (26), 3 - Brigitte Anderton (25); 15 - Minka Kranevitter (22), 14 - Cosette Espeleta (25), 8 - Ashleigh Aveline (33), 13 - Marcel Thrace (23); 9 - Milan Aubeck (31, c), 11 - Erika Wolff (22)
Notable Substitutes: 30 - GK - Sam Kerr (19, TLI); 4 - CM - Gareth Anwhistle (29), 6 - CB - Garnet Tamerlane (26), 10 - ST - Connor Scuffett (33), 16 - LM - Catherine Walker (31, APX)

Background: North Sabrefell haven't really made an impact on Nephara, traditionally speaking, but they've risen respectably of late. It's regarded, sometimes derided, as something of a bohemian wasteland full of drug-addled students, and they've embraced the nickname accordingly. They've recently had a cash injection from Brenecian mining tycoon Bruce Harker, but strict Nepharim ownership rules prevent him from taking a majority share - even so, expect him to influence the side forwards. They're rivals with nearby, more affluent Belgrave.

Summary: This could be the Bohemians' season. One of a variety of teams on the fringes of fourth place last season, Mark Grayson lost the excellent goalkeeper Raihane Stern to Leichhardt but has used those funds to improve the squad elsewhere, with the calm, defensive and professional leftback Anderton brought in from Drawkland, seasoned defender Larkland in from Serpentine and angular Locksley markswoman Erika Wolff brought in after 28 goals in the third tier. As before, the side is built around being hard to break down, uncompromising in defence and midfield, with Espeleta and Aveline exceptional at clamping down the play, fast, powerful wingers in Kranevitter and Thrace charging down the wings and, in Aubeck and Wolff, two utterly ruthless strikers. "We must strike while the iron is hot," Grayson barked in preseason. Well, that time is now.

4. North Laithland
Home Colours: Blue / white / red
Away Colours: White / blue/ white
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Manager: Leo Santander (52)
(4-3-3) 1 - Gerhard Sinstadt (28); 2 - Dorian Kendrick (24), 5 - Gabriel Traustram (23), 17 - Christian Serjeant (25), 3 - Karsten Riordan (26); 6 - Marcia Lapwing (22), 4 - Ross Finlay (26, TLI), 13 - Josie Webster (23); 14 - Rosary Kistler (28), 9 - Deborah Stokes (22), 11 - Rinat Stubbs (23)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Ophelia Rattin (23); 18 - CB - Samson Turnbull (21), 19 - LB - David Maskin (21), 22 - ST - Patricia Etheridge (24), 23 - RB - Harald Reuser (24)

Background: Premiership staples until their recent relegation, North Laithland become the first former Premiership champions to drop down a level. Unfortunately for the Spiders, that season Nephara was disqualified from UICA entry due to persistent crowd incidents. Situated, unsurprisingly, in the northern Laith, they represent the entire region and draw their fanbase from a wide variety of northwest Crownsend towns. They have a strong reputation for youth development and have produced a disproportionate amount of Cormorants, though it's been less productive in recent times. They have a friendly rivalry going with South Laithland and a decidedly unfriendly one with AFC Treason.

Summary: Shred away some of the Spiders' best players - and the losses of dangerous Tsikitsiris and clean, calming Vanderlei are going to be really painful, as is the departure of the captain, Duguid - and they just sort of look like a pretty good First Division side. They've picked up a good manager, too, in Leo Santander - freshly relegated by Corvette Maulers, but frankly, they were up for a surprisingly long time as it was. The Spiders will play his traditional high-pressing, fast-paced attacking football - former manager Kartakoullis, who took them down, arguably focused too much on technique rather than her squad's strengths. A lightning-quick attack gilded by the promise of Deborah Stokes and the experience of the sprinting Kistler, a physically resilient defence and in between, calm Lapwing and especially energetic Josie Webster, who they've somehow managed to keep ahold of for at least another season. You could see the Spiders coming straight back up, but maybe wouldn't put money on it.

5. Crisisbless United
Home Colours: Black-chequered red / black / red
Away Colours: Red-chequered white / red / white
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chequers, the Chessmen
Manager: Fay Harville (49)
(4-3-3) 1 - Andreas Sparwasser (28, BRE); 2 - Asmir Casserley (25), 19 - Jasmine Stokes (24), 5 - Astrid Curran (35, c), 3 - Ixion Stamatellis (25); 11 - Hippolyta Theophile (24), 4 - Zouheir Na'Ryibi (26, COS), 15 - Sheila Maher (29); 7 - Sigrun Rivers (21), 9 - Kaija Koppel (29, SCT), 10 - Markos Schoenauer (25)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Carla Briarman (24); 6 - DM - Uther Neubaum (34), 8 - CM - Nikolas Cadogan (33), 22 - RW - Fabula Plath (27)

Background: One of Crisisbless' secondary sides, United's deliberate study of contrasts of kit compared to the Heelers' has lead to plenty of jibes. But few people were laughing at United at their most recent return to the top flight, in which they won a lot of friends with forthright attacking football and survived for many years against the odds. Fans are optimistic of a glorious, cantering return sooner rather than later.

Summary: United will be kicking themselves - a slow start to the season saw them languishing in midtable at the halfway point, but a late surge saw them just two points out from fourth with a superior goal difference, even in with a remote chance on the final day. Still, Fay Harville's won over the fans by continuing their traditional attacking ethos, and the excellent Sigrun Rivers was thrown into the deep end and swam rather than sank. Harville's tried to go for a tougher spine in the off-season despite the loss of her best defender, Cassidy Hasek, replacing her with the very modern centre-half Jasmine Stokes from Drawkland and the tough journeyman midfielder Na'Ryibi, with experience in Kernansquillec and Cosumar. Leftback Ixion Stamatellis also enjoyed an excellent season at both ends of the pitch. Up front, the coltish Rivers will continue a fruitful partnership with the goal-getter Koppel. A hard-working, hard-hitting and high-pressing side, maturing under Harville's watch into a real threat in this division.

6. South Laithland
Home Colours: All purple with white trim
Away Colours: White / purple / white
Stadium: Covenground (27,000)
Nickname: the Southrons
Manager: Lyn Hartmann (59)
(4-4-2) 20 - Lisa Summersteen (31); 23 - Henrik Raubell (25), 5 - Martyn Schelzer (24), 6 - Darren Ferror (24), 3 - Merlyn Youabian (22, COS); 7 - Russ Cohurst (28), 8 - Sherry Bickermann (30), 24 - Andre Havranek (23, IRN), 11 - Cathy Alweather (25); 16 - Vesuvia Carrick (21), 10 - Dietrich Sorrenson (30)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Bella Yossarian (35), 12 - GK - Alastair Cavan (23); 2 - CB - Sophia Milner (35), 4 - CM - Gratia Barker (35, c), 9 - ST - Tanith Stark (34), 13 - LM - Georgia Malinder (25), 22 - LB - Alexandra Stack (32)

Background: Based, as the name suggests, in the southern Laith, South Laithland (based in the town of Dross, which is basically just the football stadium) have traditionally hovered between the bottom half of the Premiership and the top half of the First Division throughout the modern era, and really throughout their entire history. A reasonably successful and stable side, they've rarely scintillated but can be proud of a productive academy. They're friendly rivals with North Laithland, have a derby day against Cypher but expose their fiercest venom for Treason, who have a way of poaching their best players (Allbeck, Flaccus, Connacht, Morgan Ashdown...)

Summary: It could've been the Southrons' season... but instead, they fell away badly in the final stretch. Defensively sound, but not impenetrable - decent up front but without flair. Still, all in all it was about what could be expected. This season, though, they look a tougher prospect - a young side has had another year under their belts, while they've recruited cannily to fill gaps at goalkeeper and in midfield. It's a muscular, athletic side, one accustomed to running teams off the pitch more than passing them off it, but it does that effectively enough. Summersteen is a mediocre Premiership goalkeeper, but her distribution is expected to set her apart at this level, and a tough defence is gilded by the addition of young Youabian, a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist. The kinds of players you get out of Cosumarite universities... Havranek and Bickermann form a powerful, uncompromising central midfield, with two orthodox wingers, while up front big things are expected of youth product Vesuvia Carrick, the sort of forward with only contempt for opposing defences. They aren't thrilling, but they are solid, muscular, professional. It could be their time.

7. Corvette Maulers
Home Colours: Yellow and black stripes / black / yellow
Away Colours: Green / green / white
Stadium: The Bullrush (30,000)
Nickname: the Maulers
Manager: Mark Grayson (46)
(4-3-3) 1 - Russ Lazaridis (32); 2 - Barak Strauss (23), 5 - Gideon Muller (29), 6 - Levi Rainwall (33), 13 - Eloise Davison (26); 15 - Trish Plutarch (28), 14 - Vicki Coleman (22), 8 - Chris Britton (31); 10 - Prisca Stenet (30), 22 - Kamasutra Fernwood (26), 16 - Johanna Ankergren (27)
Notable Substitutes: 25 - GK - Marcia Folkhard (23); 3 - LB - Ana Laursen (28), 4 - DM - Sebastian Vassall (30), 9 - ST - Patches Rathbone (23), 11 - LW - Gabriel Haines (22), 17 - CB - Hedwig Schelin (29), 19 - RB - Con Neofitides (22), 26 - CM - Jasko Voleimann (23)

Background: The Northern Vale's second prominent club, from it's second-largest town. It's traditionally something of a yo-yo club, with three promotions to and subsequent relegations from the top flight - impressive considering a fairly small catchment and limited finances. It claims to represent the Vale as a whole - Leichhardt, a thriving large town, just represents itself, and the two sides are fierce rivals. The fans appreciate fast-paced, aggressive football, which again forms a contrast with traditionally more defensive Leichhardt. For all that, the two sides share yellow as a primary colour.

Summary: Unlike certain other clubs, the Maulers did not allow themselves to be totally cleaned out by relegation. The excellent goalkeeper Sparr, versatile holding player Silverstein and loanee striker Corvalan were inevitable losses, but reinforcements have been found. Vicki Coleman from the academy is particularly promising, and clears ground in long, gazelle strides. She'll be alongside the technique of Plutarch, who should look more comfortable with a bit more space, and the limited but hard-working Britton to form a strong midfield, while Stenet and Ankergren are two of the league's best wingers. Elsewhere, the players are mostly average, though the depth is strong. Mostly, though, the simple truth is that a relegated Premiership side missing a handful of its best players is a decent, if not earthshattering, First Division one. That's what keeps new blood flowing in, and what ensures the days of yo-yo clubs are (mostly) over.

8. Belgrave
Home Colours: All purple with white trim
Away Colours: All yellow with black trim
Manager: Meriadoc Griffiths (39, BRE)
Stadium: Cherryfields (25,000)
Nickname: the Gargoyles
(4-3-3) 1 - Portia Bittroff (27); 2 - Sansa Dreyfuss (24), 4 - Kristian Gronkjaer (33, SEM), 19 - Drusilla Naess (26), 6 - Quin Markranstadt (27); 8 - Espen Whyte (29), 17 - Sigmar Ward (24), 11 - Diana Lake (24); 10 - Sascha Dimitrius (27), 9 - Ilary Muscat (23), 13 - Sylvia Rouseff (29)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Jocasta Searle (25); 3 - CB - Milos Roth (31), 5 - CB - Dion Stepton (30), 22 - DM - Detlef Konstantin (29), 24 - LB - Cristoph Heidel (29)

Background: Belgrave represents Sabrefell's affluent northeast, not historically a socio-economic demographic that has produced good footballers. Even so, their success in recent seasons is built more on good planning than deep pockets. They embrace their reputation for affluence, rebranding it as a belief in 'sophistication', and they've historically favoured a technical, possession-focused style of football, trusting in youth to step up for them. Their willingness to snipe talented youths from across the city to play for them has only made them less popular.

Summary: Malta Falconer got the chop around midway through last season after the Gargoyles were almost sucked into relegation, but Kingsgrove's youth manager, Meriadoc Griffiths, was choppered in. Something of a left-field choice, but look at Iron City, where Proper Football Man Gareth Catalan was unable to stop their catastrophic backslide, while Griffiths - at home ordering a young, technically adept squad wearing purple - lifted them out of danger. And put their best players, Feisser and Mersiades, into the shop window, where they were snapped up by Parrhesia and the Chariots. This season is going to be consolidation, and Griffiths' crisp, assertive football - backed up by the muscle in midfield of Whyte and given bite by the incisive wingers, Dimitrius and Rouseff - should give the fans something to chew on while they build for something better. Onwards and upwards. Just not ... today.

9. Chatswood
Home Colours: Sky blue / navy / sky blue
Away Colours: White / sky blue / white
Stadium: Westcroft (28,000)
Nickname: the Woodsmen
Manager: Leigh Fletcher (48)
(4-4-2) 1 - Serdjan Aleksovic (30, COS); 2 - Julian Ilsander (24), 5 - Darius Rashkin (27), 13 - Marisa Strauss (30), 19 - Kayla Dorran (23); 7 - Matt Hephernan (22), 23 - Timo Blankman, 21 - Robyn Sabitzer (25), 11 - Reis Caulker (21); 9 - Chris Suttner (26), 10 - Abishai Vestal (22)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Baltasar Gensch (26); 18 - CB - Constantine Dahl (24), ST - 22 - Bernhard Duisberg (23), ST - 24 - Bardolph Miller (23)

Background: Treason's second club, in the West of the city. It's got a hard-nosed, physical reputation, fanned by many a successful, battling Premiership performance. After years of punching above their weight and sporadically managing UICA qualification, it seems as though the Woodsmen have come crashing down to earth. Their main rivals are AFC Treason, but the 'minor Treason derby' against Morningstar was a fiery affair last season. After quirks of fixturing lead to a series of steel vs. silk clashes on final Premiership matchdays, in which Chatswood constantly played spoiler, there's also a fierce rivalry with Brinemouth.

Summary: New manager Leigh Fletcher has come in after a season abroad and ripped everything up from the bottom. Out go many of their best players - Vickers, Machan, Tsicaderis, Corsie (don't laugh) - and even more average ones - Schuster, Alphonse, the retired Towerman, a bunch of squad players - have been shown the door. A lot of academy guys have had to step up, impressive young striker Abishai Vestal the most eye-catching, and suddenly the Woodsmen have one of the youngest sides in the division. Also, to its credit, almost entirely homegrown - new goalkeeper Serdjan Aleksovic, a philanthropic journeyman, is one of the only players from the side who isn't from Chatswood's academy. It's also one woefully inadequate for promotion. But there was a lot of dead wood at the side, and according to reports, a toxic culture to be rooted out. Big Fletch is definitely the right woman for the job. In the meantime, a tough defence will prevent disaster, while Robyn Sabitzer is their last outfielder of real Premiership quality.

10. Chenoworth Rovers
Home Colours: White / blue / white
Away Colours: Navy / navy / red
Manager: Catheline Harper (46)
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
(4-4-2) 20 - Felix Shaw (31, SLL); 19 - Adino Eliot (29), 5 - Jakob Trench (24), 6 - Karena Hartley (27, c), 3 - Lyn Partisan (28); 23 - Tormod Joiner (26), 4 - Raelene Marinello (31, USI), 13 - Mona Gentile (34, OSR), 16 - Jasper Dyer (24); 10 - Lasse Hummel (32, SEM), 21 - Autumn Starbuck (32, ISK)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Calcifer Anderson (31), 2 - RB - Camilla Arkwright (26), 8 - CM - Chris Bronzebridge (30), 9 - ST - Darren Stamford (35), 41 - CB - Mortola Teffeteller (17, COS)

Background: Chenoworth is a two-club city (for the most part), with the Harriers representing the northwest geographically and Hellenics culturally, and the Rovers Jewish, eastern and by reputation more affluent. In the early years of the modern era, both sides could regularly be seen yo-yoing wildly between the top two tiers, with seven Premiership relegations between them. Of late, however, the Harriers' fortunes have soared and the Rovers' have soured, until a recent resurgence has left them yet again eyeing the top flight.

Summary: Neither sleet nor hail nor a torrent of injuries to key personnel could stop the Rovers from promotion - though they did, ultimately, choke the title on the final day. Even so, Catheline Harper's got the squad to at least hold firm in midtable for the time being. It is... not a young squad - "here for a good time, not a long time," Harper said of new arrival Lasse Hummels - but they have the quality at all ends of the pitch to succeed. They play hard, physically uncompromising football and boast in Felix Shaw probably the league's best goalkeeper. Karena Hartley is a towering, commanding centre-half of genuine authority, and holds the side together at the back. A technically capable, if slow-moving, midfield of Marinello and Gentile is seasoned at the top level, with homegrown hulk Bronzebridge often called upon to close out games. Harper, a winger in her day, has naturally acquired some decent ones of her own - Jasper Dyer on the left gets the work done in particular. Up front, Autumn Starbuck's still a key player for them at 32 but it's the unflashy but efficient Lasse Hummel, whose record of success in Cosumar is unquestionable, who is expected to really get the ball in the net at this level. They should, when all is said and done, be well at home here.

11. Maximum City
Home Colours: White / black / red
Away Colours: Red / black / white
Stadium: Ludd's Hammer (59,000)
Nickname: the Smiths
Manager: Almuth Coppell (59)
(4-4-2) 1 - Loris Aldous (25); 5 - Ellen Mifsud (23), 2 - Tomas Ruthven (24), 19 - Meredith Napthine (27), 3 - Ash Scandard (31); 7 - Artemis Katsamatis (30), 13 - Lily Robinson (33), 10 - Elaine Brighton (31), 20 - Odette Longstocking (26); 9 - Solomon Devante (32), 15 - Ephraim Mirzian (23)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Steffen Ceferin (30); 4 - CM - Gavin Chamberlain (33, MRT), 6 - LB - Kostas Demetriou (33), 8 - CM - Sophia Moloney (32), 17 - RB - Priscilla Boyden (31)

Background: Once considered a keystone member of the Premiership, Maximum City once lead the league on the 45th matchday. But, at the last minute, they collapsed, and their fierce rivals Treason overtook them. They've arguably never recovered, with relegation coming at the end of a long, drawn-out malaise. Maximum is a polluted, hyperindustrial clump, and City claims rather grandly to represent it all - this has been less true of late with the success of their local rivals, the Rovers. Traditionally they have played an unexciting, direct and physical brand of football, and its supporters value powerful, committed veterans and winning at any cost.

Summary: The only good thing about last season is that Maximum City are now no longer laughable for being stranded here after almost winning the Premiership title, given that North Laithland are now stranded here after actually winning the Premiership title. The fare on the pitch was dreary at best, dire at worst, and they've celebrated by losing Corona Sharpe, their top scorer by a country mile. Youth product Ephraim Mirzian will have to step up, but looks an uninspiring replacement, though technical midfielder Elaine Brighton may spark things up going forward and fiery defender Ruthven does at least spice things up at the back. The mood is genuinely mutinous, few of their players are worth further mention (beyond Loris Aldous, the latest of a series of exceptional goalkeepers the club has produced) and the most intriguing thing about this coming season in which they will neither be promoted nor relegated is talks of a takeover from a consortium within the mutinous fanbase...

12. Ritter Town
Home Colours: All white, orange trim
Away Colours: All blue, orange trim
Stadium: Stableground (22,000)
Nickname: the Stallions
Manager: Brandon Laithstrider (41)
(4-4-2) 1 - Simon Ardley (30); 2 - Sapphire Riverhound (24), 5 - Gunther Shawcroft (32, c), 4 - Rudi Fallon (29), 3 - Ashley Kresinger (31); 7 - Serval Harfouch (28), 14 - Cyrus Saebener (26), 8 - Brendan Sotiropolous (28), 13 - Boney Connell (24, BSE); 10 - Ganimedes (26, DAI), 21 - Discovery Carrera (24, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 9 - ST - Cath Storrin (32), 19 - RB - Sigrun Tarragon (26, ISK)

Background: Ritter is a large town on the border of Barossia and Chardonnay, and its side has traditionally punched above its weight. It recently enjoyed a few seasons in the Premiership, but lower midtable First Division is roughly its Level, as it were. Now that they've fallen from the top flight, the management is trying to cultivate a focus on embracing youth and then selling them on at a significant profit to keep treading fiscal water.

Summary: The Stallions hovered fairly comfortably in midtable last season, with a fanbase mostly content with that as they see bigger sides (bye, Iron) plummet beneath them to the third tier. Brandon Laithstrider never promised immediate excellence, but has added a more analytic approach to a side that on paper still seems the athletic, high-intensity, low-technique side as ever. "Maximising the percentages is part and parcel of surviving as a small club," Laithstrider told the press, and while we aren't literate in Nerd here that probably means something like 'yes, going direct has a time and place'. Simon Ardley helps the defensive end, a powerful goalkeeper with Gunther Shawcroft a calm, intelligent defender who really should be back in the Premiership. Boney Connell, floating on the left wing, is a source of serious unpredictability for opponents, and absolutely cannot be trusted. Unfortunately, he can't be trusted to track back, either - Ashley Kresinger's got the lungs to overlap and to cover for him, even at 31. Up front, Carrera gets the goods, aided by the hulking Ganimedes. The Stallions shouldn't change too much. Not this season, anyway.

13. Armstrong
Home Colours: All navy with cyan/white trim
Away Colours: Yellow / navy / yellow
Stadium: Swolefens (25,000)
Nickname: the Paladins
Manager: Brun Kissinger (47)
(4-1-4-1) 12 - Constantine Yeoman (24); 2 - Garrett Leonard (30), 4 - Sauro Costabile (33, COS), 5 - Deon Martyn (29), 3 - Kurtis Rakeruth (34); 14 - Gareth Flynn (33, OSR); 22 - Majdiyya Cavazos (27, EFL), 13 - Elsa Livesey (33), 6 - Damocles Kouroglou (27), 13 - Adnan Nikolajsen (29, SEM); 9 - Atherton Telfair (34, COS)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Mako Holstad (35, SEM), 20 - GK - Yann Cawood (22); 8 - CM - Leo Rosenstiel (22), 16 - DM - Ivan Collinger (29), 19 - CB - Gary Boatman (25), 23 - ST - Jonas Busch (24), 24 - RB - Constantine Strutton (25), 25 - CM - Callum Chandler (25)

Background: A small club from Maximum, nominally. In practice Armstrong are, at least on the pitch, a match for them. Armstrong represent the industrial city's north, the poorest part of the city, and have a proud community tradition of trying to uplift the area through hard work and charity. They traditionally play a bruising, direct style, and like nothing more than making fancy tippy-tappy teams wither and die on their swamp of a pitch. Their stadium, Swolefens, was given the nickname at first by detractors of its muscular football and swampy surface, but has been adopted wholesale since in good Nepharim tradition.

Summary: Ninth pretty much throughout last season, not much else is expected this season. They're a side stranded in a holding pattern, with an aging squad - a situation not improved by the addition of Kurtis Rakeruth, Elsa Livesey and Gareth Flynn, both good players, but the latter can't replace the loss of fearless captain Catrine Kisel to Oldem Knights. They've brought in towering goalkeeper Constantine Yeoman from the third tier to loom behind a hardened defence, while inspiration going forward largely comes from incisive wingers Cavazos and Nikolajsen. Kouroglou is the heart and soul of the team, and can be found pretty much wherever something's happening, while journeyman striker Telfair's an excellent hold-up man with an eye for goal that hasn't eroded with age. They're decent. They will do fine. But another promotion seems further away than ever.

14. Sheridan
Home Colours: All dark green, orange/white trim
Away Colours: All white, dark green/orange trim
Stadium: The Peoples' Ground (30,000)
Nickname: Sherries
Manager: Perspective Merson (45)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Henna Morgan (33); 19 - Victoria Schute (29, SCT), 5 - Toriel Scarrow (28), 6 - Jasper Sorrenson (33), 3 - Hippolyta Whitesmith (33); 4 - Galen Wickham (32); 7 - Corinne Murdock (26), 10 - Kate Mullen (32, c), 8 - Luke Wintergren (31), 11 - Sharon Kitteman (26); 9 - Stacey Potenza (27, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Jack Cornthorpe (29); 2 - RB - Bastian Keller (33), 13 - RM - Madeleine Leighton (32), 19 - CB - Jane Watson (34), 22 - ST - Nikita Arbor (33), 23 - LB - Blossom Garry (29), 24 - LM - Jackie Mulberry (24)

Background: Sheridan has the poorest catchment of Sabrefell, and has a devoted, occasionally violent fanbase. Despite being broke and unfashionable, they've managed to do a job - particularly recently, managing a couple of stints in the Premiership. Sherries pride themselves on having a largely homegrown squad, all buying into an intensely physical, gruelling style - only people willing to run through walls for the club are accepted, and then loved, by the fans - and there's an uncommon number of one-club men who can't see themselves playing for any other club.

Summary: More of the same for Sherries, you'd imagine. A big, bruising side, as ever, packed with experience, as ever, hard to beat, as ever. Finishing 12th last season, which seemed about right after an excellent start to the season reverted to the mean. They've doubled down on their core principles this season, hard-bitten fullbacks in Schute and Whitesmith patching up the defence while Henna Morgan is plucked from relegated West Brinemouth to take up her place between the posts. And that's... it, really. They remain reliant on hustling counterattacks and disciplined set pieces for goals but have, in Stacey Potenza, the kind of all-action Audioslavian striker to whom the ball just... sticks, forever. And he can finish, too. Captain and spiritual centre of the team Kate Mullen only gets better every season, even in her thirties, while Corinne Murdock and her thunderous right boot is a handy ace up the sleeve. Mostly, though, it's Sheridan. You know what you're getting.

15. Greygate
Home Colours: All grey with red sash
Away Colours: All white with blue trim
Stadium: Dourhead (23,000)
Nickname: the Wardens
Manager: Kieran Schrader (45)
(4-4-2) 12 - Wotan Hornwood (24); 13 - Jari Ricketts (24), 5 - Daniel Muscat (30), 19 - Rostyn Malick (25), 18 - Rodolf Berisha (28); 7 - Jason Finmark (25), 23 - Misha Paterson (22), 4 - Solipsis Coleman (30), 11 - Corso Poulsen (27); 9 - Makhone Djite (30), 15 - Kotaro Westfield (25, USI)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Duncan Simonsen (35); 7 - RM - Scott Penclare (34), 17 - CB - Stern Chaucer (35)

Background: Greygate hope to entrench themselves as Maximum's third club. They're based in the city's north, and the titular 'Grey Gate' was the site of a few great battles in Nephara's turbulent history of civil war. In calmer times, it now represents a small but rising club, ranks swelled in recent years with dissenters from the increasingly wayward way that Maximum City's been run, to the point where they've been able to build a new stadium. As a result, they're looking forward to the chance to stick the boot into the Smiths, and the feeling is very much reciprocated.

Summary: Greygate are in danger of becoming a recognised yo-yo club between the second and third tiers, but after Kieran Schrader's side seized the title on the final day and reinforced their squad strongly, this particular vintage might actually manage to stay up. Maybe even more likely than not. Hard-working, tough-tackling and a little bit openly dirty, the Wardens will stop at absolutely nothing to get three points. On the strong base that was last relegated, Schrader has added faith in a muscular young goalkeeper, Hornwood, but kept his trust in an equally muscular back four. Jason Finmark is an inspiration on the right, excelling in very un-Nepharim flicks, tricks and occasional needless turnovers, very direct. Misha Paterson's a similar sort of player, a true street-rat with a somewhat... theatrical streak, it has to be admitted. Poulsen just needs to hit in the crosses, and that won't be hard with Big Lad Supreme Makhone Djite, a forward of... Tier 1.5 Quality, it's fair to say, and in any case a powerful asset for the side. Kotaro Westfield, who shredded the third tier last season, expects to keep up the good work this time around as well. The Wardens won't be pretty, but they will be safe.

16. Extreme Hills
Home Colours: Orange / black / orange
Away Colours: White / orange / white
Stadium: Harkerscourt (20,000)
Nickname: the Hounds
Manager: Bryony Johansen (37)
(4-4-2) 1 - Czarina Tournay (30, COS); 17 - Niko Rudan (28), 18 - Ranulf Gatcan (22), 5 - Stefan Herron (34), 3 - Brigid Eather (23); 7 - Max Asprey (28), 6 - Asa Ketelsen (27, AUD), 8 - Jess Hearn (36, c), 16 - Matti Garforth (23); 9 - Maribel Garrido (30, OSR), 11 - Coretta Rooke (21)
Notable Substitutes: 25 - GK - Jon Saullivan (22); 2 - RB - Fiete Kinnett (25), 4 - CM - Gavin Handspiker (23), 14 - ST - Nori Harcutt (23), 23 - CM - Tasha Somerstreet (28)

Background: As power gradually shifts towards the big cities, Hills have managed to buck that trend with a dynamic rise of their own. They're representative of a number of settlements across the titular Extreme Hills in the western Laith, one of the most isolated chunks of the entire country. Its people are fiercely parochial, and unsurprisingly their fans hate pretty much everyone. Fortunately for the sturdy Laithlander hillfolk, they tend to be disproportionately good at football, so Hills have traditionally done well elevating them to play key roles and be sold on. Generally they play fast, physical football.

Summary: The Hounds have just had, statistically, the worst season in Premiership history. Twenty one points, 35 defeats and a staggering -76 goal difference. Jesus. It's unsurprising that most of the team has either jumped (most prominently Barota and Vorbeck, likely their two best players) or been pushed, and Bryony Johansen's been left with a skeleton crew to try and fend off a second relegation. The young manager looks to have aged ten years in the offseason, but has at least drilled the Hounds into a side that remembers how to play assertive football. Acrobatic goalkeeper Tournay should be up to the second-tier standard, with Stefan Herron exactly the kind of tall, confident veteran defender the side needed. Jess Hearn is their main creative spark, but at 36 is likely to spend as much time on the bench as out on the pitch. Up front, Maribel Garrido knows where to find the back of the net, while Coretta Rooke shows real promise. But will it be enough to even make it into the top half?

17. Rochford
Home Colours: Blue and black stripes / black / blue
Away Colours: White / blue / white
Stadium: Fisherking's Court (11,000)
Nickname: the Owls
Manager: Warren Orwell (53)
(4-4-1-1) 1 - Chris Beasley (30); 17 - Catheline Pitspurr (31), 23 - Hector Reiss (22), 19 - Sigma Hantas (26), 18 - Cheney Ralston (33); 12 - Colette Proudfoot (27), 4 - Elaine Candlestick (28, c), 8 - Nadine Mateus (32), 11 - Nathan Proctor (26); 8 - Ruziqul Burgundy (27, ISK); 9 - Scenario Martane (27)
Notable Substitutes: 2 - RB - Ella Garner-Terry (29), 3 - LB - Vogue Hechen (31), 5 - CB - Vance Schmidt (33), 6 - CM - Silk Commoner (27)

Background: A moderately prominent town just inland of the Lazuli Coast, Rochford were a yo-yo club leading into the modern era of Nepharim football but have slipped away from prominence in more recent years, echoing the tendency of the townsfolk themselves to leave for the greener pastures of Brinemouth. Built overlooking the small lake known as the Roch, Rochford is famous for its seafood, especially its oysters.

Summary: Basically everyone underestimated the Owls last season. Badly. Admittedly, it was looking like the doom and gloom would be vindicated after the bottom fell out of their promising start to the season, a string of one win and just six goals in fourteen matches seeing them plummet into the relegation places before they managed to pull upwards again. What do they have? A tactically adept manager in Warren Orwell who has a positively Machiavellian approach to media management and an eye for a telling substitution. A tough-tackling, physical defence, now improved by Premiership-seasoned hands in Pitspurr and Ralston on its flanks. More muscle in midfield, but now with the calm authority of Nadine Mateus added, with powerful, pacy wingers, a rare dedicated playmaker in Ruziqul Burgundy and, in Scenario Martane, a rangy striker who proved that a goalscorer's a goalscorer, no matter the division. He's played and succeeded at First, Second, Third and, before all this, state league level. They should stay up again.

18. Pillars of Southfell
Home Colours: Purple / black / white
Away Colours: White / purple / white
Stadium: Vesper Road (11,000)
Nickname: the Seekers
Manager: Aurora Brunhard (44)
(4-3-2-1) 1 - Karin Costley (28); 2 - Twitter Crookwell (28), 5 - Everard Muslin (25), 19 - Eli Prosper (25), 6 - Drachma Karagounis (21); 15 - Vanessa Booker (33), 23 - Meghan Alsatian (23), 10 - Lara Cantrip (27); 21 - Elon Cisneros (22), 11 - Cornucopia Younis (25); 13 - Lachlan Cromwell (33, BRE)
Notable Substitutes: 8 - C/AM - Victor Luevano (33, OSR), 9 - ST - Tonya Redmond (30), 16 - ST - Cath Allardyce (33)

Background: Southfell is traditionally a one-club city - Southfell United, originally a factory club, serves as that. But Pillars of Southfell, originally set up by the police force for the benefit of disaffected youths, appears to have muscled in on some of United's market share of late. On the one hand, a very hands-on approach with community work and grassroots has won them favour over the comparatively more high-handed United - on the other, the financial muscle of the Crisisbless-based consortium backing them has dragged them into the second tier. Leona Rafford is their most famous product.

Summary: Tightly-disciplined and somewhat dour to watch, though not in the way you might think of a lower-league Nepharim side. No, Aurora Brunhard - former semi-professional footballer who balanced that with a career in carpentry before picking up scouting work for Sabrefell Moths lead, in a roundabout way, to overseeing Pillars' recent promotions - has kept her side under a tight leash, tackling cleanly and not leaving gaps in their brick of a defence. Goalkeeper might be the relative weak point - Karin Costley's been with them since the beginning of their rise, and was looking just above-average last season - and the defence itself lacks star power besides, perhaps, the clean-heeled young Karagounis - but it does the job, and is shielded tightly by the likes of the dogged Booker and the tireless Meghan Alsatian, daughter of Nephara international Uli. Elon Cisneros, the young Chatswood product, has been brought in to add some spark to a rather pedestrian attack - Lachlan Cromwell was far more clinical than any other third-tier striker last season, and should put away most of his chances. All in all, they're more than the already decent sum of their parts, and should hover just clear of danger.

19. Crossroads Town
Home Colours: White / red / white
Away Colours: Black / black / red
Stadium: Rider's Rest (14,000)
Nickname: the Valiants
Manager: Marcel Pellegrin (56)
(4-4-2) 1 - Rainer Burgnich (28); 18 - Ellen Penny (30), 5 - Gretchen Hathaway (31), 6 - Ferdinand Howe (31), 19 - Per Mathiasen (29, SEM, c); 13 - Gretchen Seip (30), 4 - Apostolos Iordanou (26, PRV), 8 - Kenneth Thorn (33), 16 - Mignon Vaughan (27, EFL); 9 - Jose Espalheira (23, NTN), 10 - Conrad Webber (30)
Notable Substitutes: 7 - ST - Laura Weiler (33), 22 - RM - Lowen Falkirk (33)

Background: The town of Crossroads sits, appropriately, roughly equidistant between Crisisbless, Vermillion and Maximum. A loosely-populated sprawl that has, in fact, eaten a number of small nearby hamlets over the years, it was once a crucial part of the landscape that generally came out for the worse in Nephara's various civil wars back in the city-state days, but now enjoys a reputation as a quiet retreat from the bustle of city life that has managed to become a local tourist hotspot despite a lack of any real natural landmarks. The club has spent the modern era pinging between First and Second Division, enduring three relegations but enjoying three promotions.

Summary: Indebted to a final-day 1-1 draw against Cypher Town to survive, the Valiants kept the faith in tub-thumping manager Marcel Pellegrin when many sides with less willpower would have axed him. For that, they should be commended, but it looks like another backs-against-the-wall season for a side that just lacks the cattle to be truly comfortable at this level. Too open to counter-attacks, they conceded the second-most goals in the league (more than any relegated club) and were thus grateful to secure the safe hands of Hathaway on a free, while sturdy veteran Kenneth Thorn should shore things up in the heart of midfield. Mignon Vaughan had a poor start to the season, but improving late form was probably what kept him up, and he's picked up in preseason right where he left off. Sadly, Laura Weiler looks cooked, and they've had to bring in the promising but rough talent of Espalheira, who has it all physically but will need to step up to a higher standard. Alongside him, Conrad Webber is up to the task. They're strong and they're tough and they're up for it. They should be alright.

20. Vermillion Wanderers
Home Colours: Green / green / yellow
Away Colours: Yellow / green / green
Stadium: the Falstaff Ground (23,500)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Cheney Rutherford (47)
(4-4-2) 1 - Tameka Halsall (26); 16 - Ichthys Tsekenis (27), 5 - Bella Keegan (33, c), 6 - Katrin Haubeck (34), 3 - Barrett Routledge (24); 15 - Claudia Stefans (28), 21 - Gareth Ramsay (33), 4 - Stelios Eleftheriou (30), 13 - Renat Janssen (25, SEM); 9 - Lorraine Paintblack (23), 10 - Masquerade Bryson (26)
Notable Substitutes: 7 - RM - Ambrose Sonnett (30), 22 - CB - Sandra West (35), 23 - ST - Per Martinsson (24, SEM)

Background: The Wanderers had a dramatic rise from the semi-professional levels that saw them in the Premiership for three seasons. The rise was mirrored off the pitch as well as on, and they carved out a niche for themselves as Vermillion's reasonably-respected third side, and they've had to expand their stadium capacity to match the demand. Unlike Parrhesia and the Rage, they've found something of a reputation for very route-one football. They've about found their level in the First Division.

Summary: The Wanderers only narrowly survived the drop last season, and aging manager Asmund Boon's contract was allowed to lapse as a result. Cheney Rutherford, formerly assistant at Sabrefell Athletic, has a hell of a job to do in his first season as a manager. Unhelpfully, they immediately lost their excellent goalkeeper, Britton, and fringe Pasarga international fullback Kuefer - rather average reinforcements in veteran defender Haubeck and orthodox winger Stefans will have to do, with direct replacements simply a matter of elevating backup players. Halsall's a decent goalkeeper, if strangely short at 5'8", and has a slow but efficient central defence in front of her. In midfield, the evergreen Gareth Ramsay and ... the ... Eleftheriou will have to get their hands dirty, leaving most of the creativity to Renat Janssen, who ran hot and cold last season in contrast to the entire rest of the team running cold and cold. On that note, Per Martinsson's been benched in preseason after an anaemic five goals in 41 league games - Lorraine Paintblack did capably when filling in for main threat Bryson's hamstring injury, and now the two lanky strikers are expected to partner one another. Things don't look great for the Wanderers, and may get worse before they get better.

21. Hackett
Home Colours: Red / white / red
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Bradach Avenue (18,000)
Nickname: the Merry Boys
Manager: Anders Clarke (63)
(4-3-3) 12 - Sander Sorenholm (25, SEM); 17 - Nicola Wrexham (22), 19 - Paul Allard (30), 6 - Rose Benedict (26), 3 - Iliad Tsipras (29, PRV); 14 - Sara Penford (27), 5 - Chris Margate (28), 8 - Alexis Hannaday (32); 15 - Simeon Lucan (24), 9 - Torsten Muller (30, SEM), 23 - Lyon Kalvan (27)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Chris Crowder (35); 7 - RW - Rhianna Forrest (33), 10 - ST - Yehochanan Maas (33), 11 - AM - Yelizaveta Isayeva (35, PDN), 13 - CM - Alexis Hearseman (30)

Background: Based in the western outskirts of the city of Maximum, Hackett are a sporadically notable side, but they tend to bleed into the general lower-league landscape. They are associated with a somewhat more suburban, culturally diverse landscape than the hyperindustrial, extremely Anglo-Teutonic core of the city, and the club has benefited from the recent expansion west of the city's development (though some have criticised it as 'sprawl').

Summary: Anders Clarke's still got it. A pretty mediocre side was able to stay up despite a haemorrhaging defence and being forced to hand Lyon fucking Kalvan thirty-nine goalless league appearances. They conceded more goals than anyone else in the league and had the worst goal difference, partially due to goalkeeper Sorenholm's inconsistency, partially due to the fact that unsurprisingly a 36-year old Kearney and a 35-year old Rouphos combined to make an agonisingly slow defence, so their retirement has allowed Clarke to throw in Rose Benedict - decent in her fourteen appearances last season - and Premiership-experienced Allard in their stead. The midfield is reliant on the lively Alexis Hannaday for inspiration and a touch of class, and she rarely let the team down in that regard - though at 32, perhaps age is starting to factor. Simeon Lucan's another real livewire, a homegrown lad clearly loving every moment on the pitch. He was a decisive impact substitute time after time last season, and has been rewarded with a regular starting berth late last season and now coming into this one. Up front, new signing Torsten Muller had a strong record before moving to the Legaskari, but then failed to really make an impact in the Legaskari. Chalk off the past couple of years and the athletic target man's an excellent purchase - otherwise, a liability. The difference will probably make or break the Merry Boys' season.

22. Coret Rovers
Home Colours: Blue / white / blue
Away Colours: Yellow / blue / yellow
Stadium: The Ultramarine (16,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Manager: Dorian Brindle (50)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Darroll Kewell (24, EFL); 19 - Parvana Evans (26, ISK), 5 - Logan More (29), 22 - Dave Chenoweth (24), 3 - Karlo Jozic (26, PAS); 21 - Gareth Brewer (32), 4 - Rachel Tsicaderis (32); 7 - Alastair Spinnett (22), 8 - Jozan Moreland (31), 16 - Luther Spendthrift (23); 9 - Liberty Hammond (34, c)
Notable Substitutes: 14 - CM - Bosko Roman (24, IRN)

Background: Regarded by most as the second Coret side, the Rovers will claim to all and sundry that they were there first. Which is true. They're still mad about the Hawks for relocating to Coret, still regard them as plastics and resent their history of success. The Rovers themselves have usually been relatively small-time, bouncing through the lower-professional tiers of the league. Their rivals like to smugly inform them that the Hawks' existence defines the Rovers. This is probably true.

Summary: In the relegation zone for practically all of last season, the Rovers managed to drag themselves clear on the final matchday with parting gifts from their excellent wingers, Wintergren and Cecchini, surprisingly steering them past promotion-chasing AFC Corvistone 2-0, away. Cecchini was since bought by Brookford and Wintergren has retired, and an old squad gets older. Their replacements are just their backups last season, neither particularly impressive, and so Dorian Brindle is the current favourite to be the first manager fired. There is some class in the squad - after a shaky start, Darroll Kewell matured into one of the division's better goalkeepers, the fullbacks Evans and Jozic were both consistently effective shuttling down the flanks, the exceptionally dirty Tsicaderis joins the bruising Brewer in an ugly but efficient midfield while up front time seemingly does not seem interested in slowing down their inspirational captain, Liberty Hammond. But... it's a weak side, and relegation is still likely.

23. East Laithland Harriers
Home Colours: Red / black / red
Away Colours: Green / green / white
Stadium: Clangor Row (13,000)
Nickname: the Harriers
Manager: Providence Mitford (60)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Theo Stamocostas (27); 17 - Willow Latchford (31), 22 - Amelia Breukelen (23, IRN), 6 - Istvan Kendrick (23), 16 - Joan Casemere (24); 14 - Julian Pence (27), 5 - Sebastian Hendrickshaw (29); 13 - Col Forsyth (23), 10 - Denisa Thirlwell (32), 23 - Reinaldo Bosch (23, AUD); 9 - Pato Yamaguchi (34, COS, c)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Bruce Deiler (33); 2 - RB - Jacqui Farlane (33), 7 - RAM - Arin Clarke (34), 18 - CM - Marc Pressley (32)

Background: The Harriers by and large represent the broke, disparate parts of the Laith, various small towns migrating to the medium-sized town of Drift to watch their side. Unlike many other Laithlander teams, the Harriers have traditionally struggled fiscally and on the pitch, treading water at times. Harrier fans are known as being devoted, occasionally violent, and always impassioned. They also have a bone to pick with just about everyone; their official list of rivals counts North Laithland, South Laithland, Extreme Hills, Cypher Town, Serpentine, AFC Treason (who they've never played in the league), Sutcroft, Chatswood, West Hook, Maximum Rovers...

Summary: Lightning strikes thrice, with Providence Mitford smugly at the helm. This escape act is more remarkable than most precisely because it wasn't really an escape act, because the Harriers weren't ever really mired in the bottom four, hovering confidently above the scrap and finishing the season in 14th, seven points clear. Does this mean they'll probably stay up this season? Well, yeah, but any honest ranking system still puts them odds-on to finally go down, siege mentality or not. They have a few decent players patching over a lot of poor ones - Stamocostas proved a safe pair of hands, Amelia Breukelen in the heart of defence really came of age last season, Casemere's always dangerous going forward, while Julian Pence offers both style and substance in midfield. Of the new, dynamic winger Col Forsyth really caught the eye for Brindleton last season with some sparkling performances in the Cup, but, well, Brindleton were relegated from the Second Division, with Forsyth too often inconsistent. Denisa Thirlwell is an artist at this level, though, and should be left to pull the strings her own way. Yamoguchi should be on the end of most of them, and he can get the job done. An interesting, if threadbare, side to watch, and they'll definitely put up a fight. Will it continue, stubbornly, to be enough?

24. Riverkey
Home Colours: White with purple sash/purple/white
Away colours: Green/white/green
Stadium: Southgates (14,000)
Nickname: the Seagulls
Manager: Ewan Sanderson (57)
(4-3-3) 20 - Tayfun Chester (25); 2 - Kirsten Graf-Hornburg (27, c), 4 - Paul Alnwicke (33), 27 - Terelius Giovinazzo (19, AUD), 3 - Dorian Halfpike (32); 13 - Fotoula Madonis (24), 23 - Julian Parable (30), 10 - Coridan Theo (31); 7 - Sarah Bernard (25), 9 - Arne Redstarr (30), 14 - Harrison Cruz (28, SLL)

Background: A port town just south of Vermillion, Riverkey is a settlement basically economically reliant on the sea. It's a small, often-overlooked town, though a mildly popular holiday destination for unambitious southerners, and it's host to a small, often-overlooked club. The Seagulls are tightly-woven into the fabric of the town but have traditionally had to act fast to stop kids from just supporting Vermillion or Parrhesia instead. A Conference side not long ago, their rise to the second and third tiers is relatively recent and lead to an ambitious boutique stadium in Southgates, constructed during their first season (ending in relegation) from the second tier.

Summary: Look. We like Riverkey. Everyone likes Riverkey. People were happy when they simply outlasted flakier competition to sneak into fourth. But it's really hard to see an outcome where they actually survive. Ewan Sanderson is a disciplined, intelligent manager, but one without experience at this level. The Seagulls were promoted on the strength of their defence - young goalkeeper Tayfun Chester, who seized his chance after an injury-forced promotion, is an acrobatic shot-stopper behind it. Dorian Halfpike, hitherto one-club man at the Maximum Rovers and versatile enough to play across the back, will prove a valuable reinforcement, along with physical Audioslavian Giovinazzo, and industrious midfielders in Parable and Theo are added to the sporadic brilliance of daydreaming playmaker Fotoula Madonis. Up front, Bernard and Redstarr are limited players, the former reliant on pace and the latter on strength, with Harrison Cruz, written off at Super-Lleague level, hoping to prove his doubters wrong. But the goals just aren't there.

Lower Down the Pyramid

Second Division
The biggest transfer in the third tier's history has gone down - a 36-year old Elaine Ashdown has followed what she's pledged her entire life and gone back to her beloved hometown club, Iron City, on a free. Unsurprisingly, the third tier's biggest side by a distance are among the favourites to come straight back up. It's been a good window for aging marquee midfielders, for that matter - Mantlegrove snapped up Gary Corsie from Chatswood just after the deadline. Laugh all you want, he looks genuinely rejuvenated in pre-season, though his beard has now reached Samsonesque levels. The two Ceynes sides, having just come up, might well both go back down - but they're looking to be more competitive in light of Ceynes' tentative decision to return to the CE.

Third Division
While Brindleton are mildly fancied despite the third tier having picked over their squad last season, this could well see no relegated sides bounce straight back up to the Second Division. Instead, look for Chardonnay Rangers, with the best defence in the league last season and a young, hungry squad, to be favourites for the title. Alliance Barossia should run them close, a far more traditionally physical side and one of a bevy of clubs seemingly using Maximum City's weakness as a reason to strengthen. Pravenna Saints, meanwhile, will probably still keep an eye over their shoulder despite a strong debut season seeing them comfortably safe in 13th. All four newly promoted sides look pretty well-equipped for the professional grade, with Corinthians No Longer anticipated to contend for a second consecutive promotion. Dross Rovers and Brookway Town might not be so lucky.

A fairly unremarkable Conference this season for neutrals, with the sides freshly coming up being... small town or obscure suburban sides without much history to set them apart. In the West, Sirencall are favourites, with Brokenarch set to follow, while in the East, Aries Solitaire are the standout club and likely to be joined by freshly-relegated yo-yo club Downsparrow. Look out for Mainstream Fist, who could become the first former Premiership side to be dumped into the stats leagues.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:33 pm
by Nephara
In UICA, Crisisbless manage impressive victories against Qidade Savana of Jasiyun and Schottic high-fliers Lammerton to reach the Champions’ Cup. Brinemouth aren’t so fortunate, hammered 3-0 away against Tanrisal, but recover to at least make it to the Globe Cup by edging out Endeavour. Two flaccid performances against St. George, however, see AFC Treason slump out of the Globe Cup immediately.

The Ramsey Shield is the curtain-raiser for the season, and it’s starting to feel like a real event, a genuine trophy, as both league champions Sabrefell Moths and Cup champions Newrook take very strong sides to Corvistone. In three prior editions, a Sabrefell side has always won - it becomes clear very early on, with a bullet header from Solara Vol in the 14th minute, that this will be no exception. Debutant goalkeeper Karena Hesketh impresses for Newrook and Mats Hedlund, after a difficult start, grows into the game. But eventually a hard-pressed Newrook can’t keep up, and late goals from Meier and Hatherton underline an impressive Moths victory.

Sabrefell Athletic 4-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Leichhardt
AFC Treason 2-0 Maximum Rovers
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Goodfeather FC
Violence Chariots 1-1 Crisisbless
Coret Hawks 4-0 Southfell United
Starling 5-1 Diamondqueen
Brookford Otters 1-4 Brinemouth
Creed United 0-1 Morningstar
Newrook City 3-2 Raven River
Parrhesia United 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Bishop 1-3 Chenoworth Harriers

And the season finally kicks off! It’s been a long wait, but this is the sort of week to really whet the appetite. It’s one of the lower-key matchups that produces the most complete performance, as Hawks spearhead Ivana Henderson underlines her credentials with a hat-trick - including two headers that owed much to Alyss Montague’s delivery - to sink Southfell United in a 4-0 demolition. Starling, too, show that they don’t miss Estrella Hawke - or at least that they can cover it - with a 5-1 devastation (five different goalscorers) of the Diamonds who are just all over the shop. New goalkeeper Iona Britton’s largely faultless in her first Premiership start, and looks exasperated at her lack of support. All four newly-promoted sides face defeat, albeit all away against powerful opposition - due to a quirk of fixturing, Athletic will play all four of them in sequence, and start off with a decisive 4-1 win over the Wanderers with Estrella Hawke leading the line with distinction.

Leichhardt 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Maximum Rovers 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 1-0 AFC Treason
Southfell United 0-3 Vermillion Rage
Diamondqueen 1-3 Violence Chariots
Brinemouth 1-3 Coret Hawks
Morningstar 0-2 Starling
Raven River 1-3 Brookford Otters
AFC Serpentine 2-5 Creed United
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Newrook City
Bishop 1-1 Parrhesia United

Crisisbless haven’t had an easy start to the season, but weathering the visit of the Stags represents Aidan Brosque’s first massive domestic challenge. It wasn’t a pretty game, by any means, as both sides play muscular, physical football, but Maeve Bronte is exceptional running the show in the middle of midfield. It’s her that sets up Marisha Staunton in the 87th minute, and Staunton’s cutback is stabbed home by fellow substitute Ozaria Gandhi for a late, but narrowly deserved, winner. There’s still time for Lienke Vesper’s thunderous strike to be parried by an outstanding Marciak save, but already the Heelers look genuinely resilient. That’s perhaps a quality that could not be ascribed to Brinemouth, who despite going ahead of the Hawks early when Dragana beats Lethbridge at his near post are immediately pegged straight back when Jorge Santana powers home Montague’s corner. Harper and Nikolaidis add insult to injury late on, securing a brilliant 3-1 win. AFC Serpentine are shambolic at the back, very basic attacking moves from Creed proving their undoing time and again - 5-2 is the final score, and all Bronwyn Sadler can say is; “You’d really think a Premiership centre-half could deal with a cross, wouldn’t you?” Ominous signs for the future of the brand-new Ruarisson-Caddett partnership.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Maximum Rovers
Leichhardt 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Southfell United
AFC Treason 2-0 Diamondqueen
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Brinemouth
Violence Chariots 0-0 Morningstar
Coret Hawks 1-0 Raven River
Starling 6-1 AFC Serpentine
Brookford Otters 0-5 Chenoworth Harriers
Creed United 0-2 Bishop
Newrook City 1-1 Parrhesia United

It gets worse for the Dragons, ripped apart 6-1 by Starling. Lisa Amos’ side is dizzying going forward, and the mood is set when young leftback Lyre Castor opens the scoring, drifting onto a disguised pass from Kaelin before rocketing a strike beyond Theoklitos. Aya Bernman’s goal is probably the best of the lot on the night, a 30-yard arcing chip over a complacent Hargrave, but it’s little consolation. And there’s yet another hammering in store, too - John Sedder’s Harriers roar into gear against an accommodating Brookford, and questions of whether or not he could get the best from Airik Ruhl are smoothed over as the combustible Cosumarite nets twice. The Rovers take the lead over Athletic just fifteen seconds in, a sloppy pass from Webber pounced on by Kolitsidakis, who got it to Moxey who drilled it past a flat-footed Gautier’s near post. Athletic never really recovered, but were still too good to be put down that easily - even off-balance, goals from Corvine and Wardenier gave them the scrappy win.

Goodfeather FC 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless 2-2 Maximum Rovers
Southfell United 0-1 Leichhardt
Diamondqueen 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Brinemouth 0-4 Sabrefell Moths
Morningstar 0-1 AFC Treason
Raven River 1-1 Vermillion Rage
AFC Serpentine 1-6 Violence Chariots
Chenoworth Harriers 0-2 Coret Hawks
Bishop 0-4 Starling
Parrhesia United 3-1 Brookford Otters
Newrook City 1-1 Creed United

Sadler drops Theoklitos, Warwick and Caddett, among others. It makes no difference, as the Chariots carve Serpentine open by the same 6-1 scoreline. Anise Riske has looked a little bit uncertain at Premiership level thus far - no longer, as this provides the bridging point she needed. She scores twice and lays on two assists, with Rowena Sierra also outstanding on the right wing. All four newly-promoted sides pick up points, albeit the Rovers in controversial circumstances - a late equaliser against Crisisbless, as Luitgard pokes home Moxey’s cross, was surely offside. The Quakers are the most impressive of these by a long shot, dominant in midfield against Athletic, Raven Forster producing a string of great saves, Anders East putting Bereveskos and then substitute Meisler in his pocket. Athletic take the lead anyway, Chloe Rudden cutting inside Aviston and then jabbing a strike between Forster’s legs, but goals from Case and Sharpe pull the Quakers back into a deserved lead. Hawke hits the post with a late bullet header, but they’re good value for the win. But the elephant in the room, of course, is when Brinemouth host the Moths and… well… they’re pulverised by Gerhard Thunder’s squad, simply outplayed and outpressed on every side. Johnson, Vol, Meier and Townsend get the job done within the hour, and Glory Bellinger comes on late for a classy, assured league debut.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Crisisbless
Goodfeather FC 3-2 Southfell United
Maximum Rovers 0-0 Diamondqueen
Leichhardt 2-0 Brinemouth
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Morningstar
Sabrefell Moths 4-1 Raven River
AFC Treason 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Violence Chariots 2-2 Bishop
Coret Hawks 5-0 Parrhesia United
Starling 1-1 Newrook City
Brookford Otters 2-2 Creed United

Now, football’s a funny old game. Funny enough that when Treason host Serpentine, a side that has haemorrhaged seventeen goals in their last three games, well… okay, the Stags have had trouble scoring goals this season so far, but this badly? Theoklitos, restored to the starting lineup, makes seven saves to keep the Dragons alive, two of them genuinely outstanding, while at the other end Gideon Fletcher will be filthy to have been beaten at his near post for Oiji’s first goal for the Dragons. In the marquee fixture of the round, Athletic host the new, hard-bitten Crisisbless, and while it’s not exactly an eye-catching match, it’s a tense mixture of exceptional technique, defensive discipline and decisive pace. It’s the first bit that sees Jevdjevic-Hadsic rifle in the opener off a direct free kick, it’s the third that sees Bereveskos run past Swan, Lohengrin and Chalobah before sliding it past an off-balance Marciak and it’s the bit in the middle that stops any more goals, 1-1 a fair scoreline. Leichhardt hammer a further nail in the coffin some are already building Brinemouth. They only lost three games all season in 61 to win the title - Leichhardt hand them their third loss of this season with early goals from Fowler and Auttenberg, and a resilient defensive performance. Coret, for their part, chalk up their fifth straight win to start the season with a 5-0 scoreline, albeit against a desperately poor Parrhesia. Could this finally be the Hawks’ season to break into UICA?

Southfell United 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Diamondqueen 1-0 Crisisbless
Brinemouth 2-0 Goodfeather FC
Morningstar 1-0 Maximum Rovers
Raven River 0-1 Leichhardt
AFC Serpentine 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Bishop 1-1 AFC Treason
Parrhesia United 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Newrook City 1-2 Violence Chariots
Creed United 2-2 Coret Hawks
Brookford Otters 2-1 Starling

A rather muted week for purists sees a lot of upsets. Leichhardt underline an excellent start when Ingrid Auttenberg’s flying header is the catalyst for their third straight win, 1-0 over a muted River. The Ferrymen have been poor thus far, and it’s underlined when late on Povilas Kaukenas goes down under a challenge from Koller. Incensed, Kaukenas shoves the Schottic defender and has to be seperated, gets booked, and takes a poor penalty that’s beaten away by a sharp Raihane Stern. Bittencourt looks an embattled figure on the bench. Diamondqueen edge Crisisbless, Southfell beat Athletic, Brookford beat Starling and Treason are undone by an outstanding late equaliser, Roxana Coffey’s curling strike into the top corner. Serpentine keep their second straight clean sheet in a dreary scoreless draw against Cranequin, which could have been even better had Kuruc Zalan not missed from three yards in injury time.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Diamondqueen
Southfell United 0-1 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 1-1 Morningstar
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Raven River
Maximum Rovers 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Leichhardt 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Bishop
Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Parrhesia United
AFC Treason 3-0 Newrook City
Vermillion Rage 1-3 Creed United
Violence Chariots 1-0 Brookford Otters
Coret Hawks 0-1 Starling

Raven River get their first win, albeit in a really rough match. Michi Leonard flares into life, taking the game by the scruff of the neck - indeed, she seems to catch Falcon Case in the throat with an arm as she dispossesses him. With a neat one-two with Petkovic, rejecting the options of strikers patently out of confidence she takes the shot on herself and smashes it low and hard past Forster. 1-0 it ends, thanks in large part to some excellent Bowerman saves. The Saints are also indebted to a former Smiths goalkeeper for their win. Heading over to Sabrefell to face the Moths, Federico Serra’s thunderbolt sets things going before the Osarian sets up countrywoman Johnson to be cleaned out by Basmath Clinton (also formerly of Maximum City) for a clear penalty. But Darren Koufax bails them out, sprawling to keep out Johnson’s penalty and gratefully watching Clinton hack away the rebound. Brun is forced to clear Johnson’s next shot off the line a few minutes later but the Saints grow in confidence, Monica Rowland dominant in midfield, and tidy second-half goals from Feisser and McEthinly give them the win.

Brinemouth 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Morningstar 0-1 Diamondqueen
Raven River 1-1 Southfell United
AFC Serpentine 2-4 Crisisbless
Chenoworth Harriers 0-0 Goodfeather FC
Bishop 0-3 Maximum Rovers
Parrhesia United 1-1 Leichhardt
Newrook City 4-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Creed United 0-0 Sabrefell Moths
Brookford Otters 0-2 AFC Treason
Starling 0-0 Vermillion Rage
Coret Hawks 0-0 Violence Chariots

The Rovers finally chalk up a win and in some serious style. Bishop attempt to play a more passing game, but are hoist by their own former petard as they’re charged down constantly by physical, powerful Rovers. Luitgard uses her sheer pace to tear away from the Bishop defence time and again, scoring her second and third goal of the season before unselfishly squaring for Marika Kreisburg to belatedly open her account. Athletic don’t look totally on the pace this season, and visit Brinemouth. They win a penalty early on when Rudden’s brought down by Brymora… but Rainsford’s decent spot-kick is clawed away by a flying Morales. Just three minutes later, the Dockers have their own penalty. Roenoujya sticks it away, and then with a long, floated cross somehow finds Jazmin Dragana unmarked at the far post. Athletic fight back hard in the second half, but more excellent work from Morales, defensive solidity from young Magnozzi and continued brilliance from Roenoujya ensure that Coltrane’s consolation is only that. Starling against Vermillion doesn’t feel like it should end scoreless, and yet the tireless harrying of the Rage made sure Starling couldn’t settle. Really, Vermillion should’ve won it, but excellent chances from Nizarut and Alemane were both spurned horribly.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-2 Morningstar
Brinemouth 3-0 Raven River
Diamondqueen 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Southfell United 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless 0-0 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Parrhesia United
Maximum Rovers 0-2 Newrook City
Leichhardt 2-2 Creed United
Cranequin Wanderers 3-0 Brookford Otters
Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Starling
AFC Treason 2-1 Coret Hawks
Vermillion Rage 1-0 Violence Chariots

Coret’s great early form has evaporated as suddenly as it arrived, five straight wins to start the season followed by a winless run of four. It’s never in doubt despite the tight scoreline, Ivana Henderson scrambling home a late consolation after some pinballing off Montague’s long ball, Fraser’s brace having already settled the game. Cranequin Wanderers have had a fairly poor start to the season, but they’re absolutely dominant against Brookford. Levin Castellan opens the scoring against his former club with a thumping long shot that Kilgallon ought to have been equal to, and is graceful in his muted celebration; the Sabrefell Moths connection sees Evans and Belgrave each set up a goal for the other in the second half. The marquee clash of the round sees the Moths take an early lead against Starling in bizarre circumstances, as a corner from Imriel Townsend manages to be missed by everyone, including Hargrave, as it curls directly into the net. Townsend’s denied a goal by a marginal offside call not long after that, and the Passerines take full advantage to equalise just a minute later through Keira Andisori’s strike. The match quietens down in the second half, but Gryphon finds Andisori with a drilled ball from midfield late on and the Chromatik striker makes no mistake to give Starling a late winner. Morningstar, meanwhile, make the most of their chances to down a wasteful Athletic 2-0 - new goalkeeper Lukas Sparr really shows his worth in keeping the clean sheet, and is a worthy man of the match.

Raven River 2-0 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Serpentine 7-0 Morningstar
Chenoworth Harriers 3-2 Brinemouth
Bishop 1-0 Diamondqueen
Parrhesia United 1-1 Southfell United
Newrook City 0-1 Crisisbless
Creed United 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Brookford Otters 1-0 Maximum Rovers
Starling 3-1 Leichhardt
Coret Hawks 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Violence Chariots 2-3 Sabrefell Moths
Vermillion Rage 1-2 AFC Treason

The Dragons do not want to be relegated this season. It’s a fairly quiet fixture in terms of other results - Sedder’s Harriers mount a late comeback with Rexmont and Feist scoring in injury time to beat Brinemouth 3-2, and a River side inspired by Michi Leonard hand Athletic their third straight defeat - but all eyes must be on the six-pointer between Serpentine and Morningstar. The Stars just took four points from trips to Athletic and Crisisbless, but Serpentine have mounted a lively start to the season in their own right. They burnish it with a scarcely credible win, helped along by Marko Petrosian’s ninth-minute red card for a vicious flying elbow on Keziah Warwick. Petrosian would later claim Warwick had it coming, but refused to elaborate; Serpentine, for their part, put seven goals past a beleagured and largely blameless Sparr. Coraline Langbauer had been in poor form before the game, bright until the finish and still goalless from seven starts. She scored four tonight.

Golden Eagles 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 1-5 Lexington Victory
Celtic Noviodunum 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic

A very Terranean round of fixtures. The Moths show another side to their game, defensive resilience the key against determined opposition, and with Johnson rested it falls to Sigrid Eisenhauer to force home a scruffy winner in the 17th minute. Athletic rely on Oscar Coltrane to haul them out of danger, after Michelle Stone struck early for Celtic. Coltrane’s two assists for Hawke and substitute Meisler give Athletic the points. The less said about Crisisbless the better.

San Solari FC 1-1 Brinemouth
SS Skiveness 0-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Chromatik 3-0 Starling

With Mozi and Holdenberg in a tightly-contested Group A, the Dockers might have been forgiven for wondering if this was a Champions Cup group in disguise, and after taking a hard-fought point from San Solari in the Commerce Heights through Pablo Scotti’s header, they’ll be happy enough. The Harriers try their hand at greasy churning and come through admirably well. 21-year old goalkeeper Hesterine Mercator is given a chance to impress between the posts and does so with some strong saves, while Crowther and Bairstow secure the points. Lisa Amos' return to Chromatika doesn't go to plan, as her Passerines are simply swept aside.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Raven River 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Morningstar 1-1 Bishop
Brinemouth 2-0 Parrhesia United
Diamondqueen 1-2 Newrook City
Southfell United 2-4 Creed United
Crisisbless 3-1 Brookford Otters
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Starling
Maximum Rovers 0-0 Coret Hawks
Leichhardt 2-1 Violence Chariots
Cranequin Wanderers 0-4 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 AFC Treason

Athletic won’t exactly call a 1-1 home draw against Serpentine ‘arresting the slide’, but at least Estrella Hawke’s goal seals a point despite a disjointed performance. Goodfeather secure an impressive three points, managing to outmatch Starling in midfield. Andisori pulls a moment of magic from her sleeve to give the Passerines an early lead but there’s somehow no answer to Ulrica Rannon’s rampaging runs from midfield, setting up Corona Sharpe for the first goal (and what should have been a second on the stroke of half-time, but the former Moths striker’s first touch was too heavy and allowed Hargrave to steal away the ball) and then scoring herself with a powerful strike from the edge of the area. “We’ve just got to enjoy her while she’s with us,” says Ezra Stonewaters philosophically. Leichhardt secure an important win over the Chariots thanks to two immaculate set pieces while the Rovers are content sharing scoreless points with Coret, so the Wanderers are very much the odd ones out of the newly-promoted teams, absolutely crumbling in the face of Vermillion’s high pressing. All four goals come in the first half, and some sprightly saves from Selkie are needed to stop it getting worse. The Moths, meanwhile, host Treason - and the result’s never in doubt. Three whole minutes passed before Aaliyah Johnson did what Aaliyah Johnson does, sticking out the right leg at the right time to tap in a cross from Haines. Only Gideon Fletcher kept the score down in the rest of the half, and Roddy Fraser almost saw them undeservedly level on the stroke of half-time, but Robert Griffin denied him one-on-one, kicked forward to Meier who cut back for Federico Serra to put the Moths two ahead. Local lass Sigrid Eisenhauer was sent on on her 22nd birthday, and her deflected strike made it 3-0.

Fully Sick XI 0-1 Long Lake
Ballardine FC 1-1 South Brill (1-1 AET, 5-4 PKs)
Gridlock 1-1 Alliance Barossia (1-1 AET, 3-0 PKs)
Pravenna Saints 2-1 Dross Rovers
Sirencall FC 2-3 Coral Bay
Senway Town 1-2 Masculine Town
Hartford Glade 0-2 Capricopia Rangers
Nay Town 1-1 AFC Burchess (1-1 AET, 5-3 PKs)
Bodkin Road 0-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Strephonage 0-3 FC Seierstad
Gridlock East 1-1 The Travellers FC (2-1 AET)
Courser 0-2 AFC Hellerine
Gridlock Rovers 2-0 Bellamy
Grovebank 1-2 Violence Tigers
Ox River United 4-0 Blaze
Mapleford 0-2 Kensey Town
Norton Road 2-1 Brookway Town
Brokenarch 0-5 Brindleton
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Rushe United (1-2 AET)
Swag Hill Rovers 1-2 Stonesthrow Town
Twelvetrees 1-2 Ingram Township
AFC Brackwold 3-4 Iberia Chenoworth
Harrington 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Stamper Road 2-0 Brunyard FC
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Corby Hubris
Mainstream Fist 0-4 Gosmouth Swans
Rookwall 0-2 Fenland Albion
Ringway 5-0 Rhyburn Swifts
West Hook 1-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Downsparrow 0-0 Corvistone City (0-0 AET, 5-4 PKs)
Sandrock 2-4 Corinthians No Longer
Fischer 1-0 Sleetwell Rangers

The Cup kicks off with the traditional lower-league fixtures, with few genuinely eye-catching fixtures. A luckless Alliance Barossia are vastly superior to lowly Gridlock, whose late equaliser was offside - unable to break through in extra time, Alliance then contrive to have all three of their penalties saved by 31-year old part-time interior designer Pascal Davidson. Mainstream Fist host Gosmouth Swans, who didn’t even exist when the Fist were last in the Premiership at the early end of the modern era, and are humbled 4-0. They’re a side that’s just lost momentum and relevance, a combination of the local long-time owner being priced out of the Nepharim game at a high level and losing interest, and of nearby Corvistone siphoning away the many small riverside towns that Mainstream relied upon as their catchment.

Chenoworth Harriers 3-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Bishop 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Parrhesia United 1-2 Raven River
Newrook City 1-0 Morningstar
Creed United 2-3 Brinemouth
Brookford Otters 3-1 Diamondqueen
Starling 2-0 Southfell United
Coret Hawks 1-1 Crisisbless
Violence Chariots 4-1 Goodfeather FC
Vermillion Rage 3-1 Maximum Rovers
AFC Treason 3-0 Leichhardt
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers

No team’s looked massively comfortable in the opening stretch of this season, but it’s Starling top of the table after the initial jousting, a comfortable 2-0 win over Southfell putting them ahead of the Moths (who edge Cranequin) on goal difference. Certainly, this season seems less free-scoring than the anarchic 68 campaign, with the Passerines the only team to average over two goals a game. Treason breezily put Leichhardt away 3-0 while a 1-1 draw between Coret and Crisisbless is enough to secure them at 4th and 6th respectively, Brinemouth leapfrogging Crisisbless when Karin Drinkwater manages a late winner to beat a resilient ten-man Creed. Without much fanfare at all, the Rooks are seventh following a pedestrian 1-0 win over Morningstar. Could have been more without Sparr’s interventions, but Alan Bothroyd, as he so often does, found a way through in the 71st minute. Despite defeat to Bishop, Serpentine are tenth, Goodfeather (hammered by the Chariots) and Leichhardt also secure in midtable while the Harriers will be bitterly disappointed to be 13th at this early stage, simply not consistent enough thus far.

Not nearly as disappointed, of course, as Sabrefell Athletic. The title favourites are winless in five league games after the Harriers outfight and outgunned them to a 3-0 scoreline. Ruhl, running hot and cold of late, lead the line excellently - Ophelia Lovelock, fresh off returning from a minor injury, floundered at leftback against Brae Crowther and was hauled off at half-time. They’re now 17th. Still, they’re not in real trouble. River might be, so Kaukenas’ late winner to take them past Parrhesia United was important. Morningstar and, thanks to a Plibersek-spearheaded 3-1 win over Diamondqueen, the Otters, remain three points clear of danger. This despite the Stars managing just six goals so far! Defeats for the Wanderers, Southfell, Diamondqueen and the Rovers help cement their position at the foot of the table.

Sabrefell Moths 4-0 Ulsa
Handon United 2-0 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Athletic 3-1 Namiri Forest

Crisisbless lose again, so why bother paying attention to them when other victories await? Athletic manage an impressive 3-1 win over Namiri Forest, continuing to find comfort anywhere but the Premiership, and with Wardenier off the boil so far Sinan Uzunlar presses his own case with a direct, decisive showing up front rewarded by a goal. Most striking, though, is the Moths, who host Ulsa. It’s a real marquee clash, and a lot of neutrals tune in… and they watch Gerhard Thunder’s men simply overrun Ulsa, pressing high and making sweeping forward moves. Meier, Vol, Townsend and, off a well-taken corner, Mark Uenterhausen secure a brilliant 4-0 win.

Brinemouth 0-0 KT Moreazerua
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Eintracht Trink
Starling 1-2 Eastern Stars

Brinemouth dominate possession but can’t break through a Mozi defence including Nephara international Konoval and the veteran Vann Dallara. Out west in Chenoworth, the Harriers secure a tidy 2-0 win, Mercator again keeping a clean sheet. The star of the match, though, is Charybdis Kou, the teenager getting her first senior goal after volleying home Bekkwaters’ cross. The Passerines go down to a late defeat against the Stars of Avon.

Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Riverkey
Ritter Town 1-2 Pillars of Southfell
Coret Rovers 0-4 Chenoworth Rovers
Cypher Town 1-2 Gr eygate
Crisisbless United 1-0 Extreme Hills
Sheridan 0-4 Corvette Maulers
South Laithland 1-0 North Laithland
East Laithland Harriers 2-3 Chatswood
North Sabrefell 2-0 Rochford
Maximum City 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Hackett 0-2 Crossroads Town
Belgrave 3-0 Armstrong
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Riverkey
Greygate 0-4 Ritter Town
Extreme Hills 2-1 Coret Rovers
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Cypher Town
North Laithland 2-0 Crisisbless United
Chatswood 1-1 Sheridan
Rochford 0-1 South Laithland
AFC Corvistone 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
Crossroads Town 0-0 North Sabrefell
Armstrong 1-0 Maximum City
Belgrave 4-0 Hackett
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Greygate
Riverkey 1-1 Extreme Hills
Ritter Town 1-2 Corvette Maulers
Coret Rovers 0-1 North Laithland
Cypher Town 1-2 Chatswood
Crisisbless United 2-0 Rochford
Sheridan 2-4 AFC Corvistone
South Laithland 1-0 Crossroads Town
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Armstrong
North Sabrefell 3-0 Belgrave
Maximum City 1-1 Hackett
Greygate 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Extreme Hills 1-7 Chenoworth Rovers
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
North Laithland 2-0 Riverkey
Chatswood 3-0 Ritter Town
Rochford 0-1 Coret Rovers
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Cypher Town
Crossroads Town 0-1 Crisisbless United
Armstrong 1-0 Sheridan
Belgrave 0-2 South Laithland
Hackett 3-1 East Laithland Harriers
Maximum City 1-0 North Sabrefell
Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 Extreme Hills
Greygate 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Chenoworth Rovers 2-2 North Laithland
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Chatswood
Riverkey 0-1 Rochford
Ritter Town 1-4 AFC Corvistone
Coret Rovers 2-1 Crossroads Town
Cypher Town 2-0 Armstrong
Crisisbless United 4-1 Belgrave
Sheridan 1-1 Hackett
South Laithland 1-0 Maximum City
East Laithland Harriers 1-2 North Sabrefell
Corvette Maulers 3-2 Vermillion Wanderers
North Laithland 1-0 Extreme Hills
Chatswood 2-1 Greygate
Rochford 3-1 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Crossroads Town 1-1 Riverkey
Armstrong 1-0 Ritter Town
Belgrave 2-3 Coret Rovers
Hackett 0-3 Cypher Town
Maximum City 2-1 Crisisbless United
North Sabrefell 1-0 Sheridan
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 South Laithland
Vermillion Wanderers 3-5 North Laithland
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Chatswood
Extreme Hills 3-1 Rochford
Greygate 1-4 AFC Corvistone
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Crossroads Town
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Armstrong
Riverkey 1-1 Belgrave
Ritter Town 1-1 Hackett
Coret Rovers 0-1 Maximum City
Cypher Town 2-0 North Sabrefell
Crisisbless United 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Sheridan 0-1 South Laithland
Chatswood 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Rochford 2-3 North Laithland
AFC Corvistone 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Crossroads Town 2-1 Extreme Hills
Armstrong 2-1 Greygate
Belgrave 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Hackett 2-1 Pillars of Southfell
Maximum City 1-1 Riverkey
North Sabrefell 2-0 Ritter Town
East Laithland Harriers 1-3 Coret Rovers
South Laithland 0-1 Cypher Town
Sheridan 1-0 Crisisbless United
Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Rochford
Chatswood 1-3 AFC Corvistone
North Laithland 2-1 Crossroads Town
Corvette Maulers 2-0 Armstrong
Extreme Hills 1-1 Belgrave
Greygate 0-1 Hackett
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Maximum City
Pillars of Southfell 0-2 North Sabrefell
Riverkey 2-2 East Laithland Harriers
Ritter Town 1-0 South Laithland
Coret Rovers 1-2 Sheridan
Cypher Town 2-1 Crisisbless United
AFC Corvistone 4-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Crossroads Town 0-1 Rochford
Armstrong 0-1 Chatswood
Belgrave 1-1 North Laithland
Hackett 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Maximum City 0-2 Extreme Hills
North Sabrefell 1-2 Greygate
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
South Laithland 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Sheridan 0-1 Riverkey
Crisisbless United 2-1 Ritter Town
Cypher Town 4-0 Coret Rovers
Vermillion Wanderers 0-2 Crossroads Town
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Armstrong
Rochford 2-1 Belgrave
Chatswood 1-0 Hackett
North Laithland 1-1 Maximum City
Corvette Maulers 1-2 North Sabrefell
Extreme Hills 3-4 East Laithland Harriers
Greygate 1-1 South Laithland
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Sheridan
Pillars of Southfell 0-2 Crisisbless United
Riverkey 0-0 Cypher Town
Ritter Town 4-0 Coret Rovers
Armstrong 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Belgrave 3-2 Crossroads Town
Hackett 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Maximum City 2-0 Rochford
North Sabrefell 3-1 Chatswood
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 North Laithland
South Laithland 2-1 Corvette Maulers
Sheridan 1-0 Extreme Hills
Crisisbless United 3-3 Greygate
Cypher Town 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Coret Rovers 1-2 Pillars of Southfell
Ritter Town 0-3 Riverkey

Matchday 1: The Stenet-inspired Maulers announce themselves with a 4-0 win away at Sheridan, with newly-promoted Chenoworth Rovers beating Coret Rovers by the same scoreline. Greygate stun Cypher away, Djite's headed brace accounting for both their shots on target as Hornwood makes eight saves. A dour Laithland derby, the first in the second tier, is decided by Dietrich Sorrenson's volleyed strike.

Matchday 2: Having already accounted for Armstrong 3-0, Meriadoc Griffiths' Belgrave go one better against a hapless Hackett. Greygate are unrecognisable, mauled 4-0 by Ritter at home as Ashley Kresinger stars.

Matchday 3: Belgrave's storming start ends as North Sabrefell maul them 3-0. Corvistone's early goal forces Sheridan to actually come out and attack them, Kate Mullen hauling them back to a 2-1 lead. However, the Crows punch back late on - a subdued Afolayan breaks out with two goals and an assist for Morham in the last fifteen minutes.

Matchday 4: A shambolic performance from Extreme Hills sees them torn to shreds time and again by Chenoworth Rovers, a 16th-minute red card for Asa Ketelsen ripping the spine out of their team. At the time, the score is 1-1 - after ninety minutes, Lasse Hummel has four goals in a 7-1 annihilation and Niko Rudan's followed Ketelsen down the tunnel for a spiteful elbow on Dyer.

Matchday 5: Cypher Town finally win a game, goals from Tihamer and Stensholt seeing off Armstrong. Bryony Johansen changes basically her entire squad, keeping only Maribel Garrido - who scores again - but Vermillion Wanderers come back to deservedly win 3-1 as Stefans impresses on the right wing.

Matchday 6: The Eagles finally click into gear as Sophia Petridis finally adjusts to this level. Hackett prove obliging opponents but Ruo makes an exceptional save from a second-minute Muller header, a real sliding doors moment. Vermillion Wanderers are winning 2-0 in the 82nd minute when Tameka Halsall clumsily fells Ankergren for a penalty; Corvette Maulers go on to overtake them and win the game 3-2.

Matchday 7: Yet again, the Wanderers are the antagonists in someone else's story. They can't handle the Spiders' pace on the break, the Spiders can't handle set pieces, at all. 3-3 at half-time, though, and the much-maligned Patricia Etheridge comes off the bench to make the difference with a brace. Coret Rovers pepper Loris Aldous' goal, but the young goalkeeper has an exceptional game before a piledriver from Lily Robinson steals the Smiths the points. Is Liberty Hammond in decline?

Matchday 8: Statement of intent for the Maulers. They go down a man early to Corvistone, Chris Britton somehow picking up two yellow cards within seventeen minutes, but the Crows' much-vaunted attack finds no way past the inspired Muller or ursine goalkeeper Lazaridis. Then Stenet hits them on the break, stealing a 1-0 win away against the favourites. A Maximum derby between tough, defensive sides is surprisingly end-to-end. Westfield hit first, forcing Armstrong out of their shell, but with some flaky goalkeeping from Hornwood, Telfair and Kouroglou are able to hit back.

Matchday 9: Catheline Harper spent her career with Maximum Rovers (twice) and AFC Treason, Maximum City's fiercest rivals. Now she takes her Chenoworth Rovers side to face them, and it's a bitty, ugly match with a red card either side. Autumn Starbuck misses two good opportunities to win it. Belgrave are done dirty by the referee against Extreme Hills, a phantom offside denying Rouseff a late winner, but Hills will appreciate the point and could point to an arguable penalty shout they had turned down.

Matchday 10: Hills take that momentum into a visit to Maximum City and thoroughly dominate the game, Maribel Garrido showcasing the ability to finish that the Smiths completely lack. Hounds win 2-0, the home side is booed off. The Crows utterly dominate the Wanderers in a 4-1 win, with Morham and Stanford in particular continuing to just look a step above the level at the moment. Cypher are similarly dominant, clearing out a submissive Coret 4-0.

Matchday 11: Coret lose 4-0 for the second straight match. An East Laithland derby... is that a thing now? Maybe it has to be - it's a brilliant match, Hills take a 2-0 lead to the 52nd minute before a second yellow card and conceded penalty for big defender Gatcan opens things up. Pato Yamaguchi scores the penalty and then leads the way as the Harriers race to a 4-2 lead before Henrickshaw is sent off. Hills fight back, Matti Garforth pulls a goal back but a brilliant double save from Stamocostas secures a brilliant three points for the Harriers.

Matchday 12: South Laithland concede early, just their fourth of the season, but it doesn't stop them from fighting back to force a win over the Maulers, and when Chatswood are overturned 3-1 by North Sabrefell (now fourth) they take first place. Corvistone, following a profligate 1-0 win over Hackett, are third, North Laithland (who draw East Laithland) very close by. It's very close at the bottom, but a 3-0 defeat to Riverkey underlines newfound worries for Ritter Town, while East Laithland are at the foot of the table... just two points from safety.

Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 Falston Town
Barossia United 0-2 Lazuli Diamonds
South Parrhesia 2-0 Falston United
Iron United 2-1 Gonen's Bridge
Stonegrave 0-1 AFC Shale
Boleyn Town 1-0 Iron City
Southriver 1-1 West Brinemouth
Locksley 3-0 Cranequin City
The Strongest 2-1 The Hanged Man
Dartmouth Terriers 4-0 Peregrine
Mantlegrove 1-0 Kommissar
Sutcroft 1-1 Martella Jazz
Lazuli Diamonds 4-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Falston United 0-2 Falston Town
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Barossia United
AFC Shale 2-0 South Parrhesia
Iron City 1-1 Iron United
West Brinemouth 0-2 Stonegrave
Cranequin City 2-0 Boleyn Town
The Hanged Man 2-0 Southriver
Peregrine 2-6 Locksley
Kommissar 2-1 The Strongest
Martella Jazz 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Sutcroft 2-1 Mantlegrove
Crisisbless Athletic 2-3 Falston United
Lazuli Diamonds 1-2 Gonen's Bridge
Falston Town 1-1 AFC Shale
Barossia United 1-0 Iron City
South Parrhesia 2-1 West Brinemouth
Iron United 1-2 Cranequin City
Stonegrave 1-0 The Hanged Man
Boleyn Town 1-1 Peregrine
Southriver 0-2 Kommissar
Locksley 1-0 Martella Jazz
The Strongest 2-0 Sutcroft
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Mantlegrove
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Shale 2-0 Falston United
Iron City 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
West Brinemouth 3-0 Falston Town
Cranequin City 3-0 Barossia United
The Hanged Man 1-2 South Parrhesia
Peregrine 2-1 Iron United
Kommissar 2-1 Stonegrave
Martella Jazz 3-0 Boleyn Town
Sutcroft 0-2 Southriver
Mantlegrove 0-2 Locksley
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 The Strongest
Crisisbless Athletic 3-3 AFC Shale
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Iron City
Falston United 0-3 West Brinemouth
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 Cranequin City
Falston Town 0-1 The Hanged Man
Barossia United 1-1 Peregrine
South Parrhesia 1-0 Kommissar
Iron United 0-1 Martella Jazz
Stonegrave 3-0 Sutcroft
Boleyn Town 0-2 Mantlegrove
Southriver 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Locksley 1-1 The Strongest
Iron City 2-1 Crisisbless Athletic
West Brinemouth 0-1 AFC Shale
Cranequin City 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
The Hanged Man 1-0 Falston United
Peregrine 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Kommissar 3-1 Falston Town
Martella Jazz 0-2 Barossia United
Sutcroft 2-0 South Parrhesia
Mantlegrove 0-2 Iron United
Dartmouth Terriers 2-1 Stonegrave
The Strongest 2-2 Boleyn Town
Locksley 3-0 Southriver
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 West Brinemouth
Iron City 3-1 Cranequin City
AFC Shale 0-2 The Hanged Man
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Peregrine
Falston United 1-2 Kommissar
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Martella Jazz
Falston Town 1-1 Sutcroft
Barossia United 0-5 Mantlegrove
South Parrhesia 2-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Iron United 3-0 The Strongest
Stonegrave 1-2 Locksley
Boleyn Town 1-0 Southriver
Cranequin City 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
The Hanged Man 0-1 West Brinemouth
Peregrine 0-2 Iron City
Kommissar 1-2 AFC Shale
Martella Jazz 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Sutcroft 2-0 Falston United
Mantlegrove 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Falston Town
The Strongest 1-3 Barossia United
Locksley 4-3 South Parrhesia
Southriver 3-1 Iron United
Boleyn Town 0-2 Stonegrave
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 The Hanged Man
Cranequin City 3-1 Peregrine
West Brinemouth 1-0 Kommissar
Iron City 2-1 Martella Jazz
AFC Shale 1-0 Sutcroft
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Mantlegrove
Falston United 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 The Strongest
Falston Town 1-3 Locksley
Barossia United 2-0 Southriver
South Parrhesia 0-1 Boleyn Town
Iron United 0-2 Stonegrave
Peregrine 2-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Kommissar 2-0 The Hanged Man
Martella Jazz 2-1 Cranequin City
Sutcroft 1-0 West Brinemouth
Mantlegrove 1-3 Iron City
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 AFC Shale
The Strongest 1-4 Gonen's Bridge
Locksley 1-0 Falston United
Southriver 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Boleyn Town 2-2 Falston Town
Stonegrave 0-2 Barossia United
Iron United 3-0 South Parrhesia
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Kommissar
Peregrine 2-0 Martella Jazz
The Hanged Man 0-1 Sutcroft
Cranequin City 1-1 Mantlegrove
West Brinemouth 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Iron City 1-2 The Strongest
AFC Shale 0-2 Locksley
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Southriver
Falston United 2-0 Boleyn Town
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Stonegrave
Falston Town 1-3 Iron United
Barossia United 2-0 South Parrhesia
Martella Jazz 1-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Sutcroft 0-1 Kommissar
Mantlegrove 3-1 Peregrine
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 The Hanged Man
The Strongest 2-1 Cranequin City
Locksley 5-1 West Brinemouth
Southriver 1-2 Iron City
Boleyn Town 0-1 AFC Shale
Stonegrave 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Iron United 0-2 Falston United
South Parrhesia 3-7 Lazuli Diamonds
Barossia United 3-0 Falston Town

It’s Locksley’s league to lose - they’ve dropped points just once all season, a 1-1 draw against the Strongest, and thumping West Brinemouth 5-1 helps peg back a supposed title rival. AFC Shale are ten points behind in second, and it’s very close beneath them, Lazuli Diamonds starting to close the gap after a manic 7-3 win over South Parrhesia. Cranequin City have disappointed, and are stranded in 16th. Boleyn are in the drop zone on goal difference, with the Falston sides and Peregrine a couple points apiece from safety. Falston United were particularly screwed, but chalking up back-to-back wins after a mere 1-0 defeat to Locksley has rejuvenated them.

Sutcroft Athletic 0-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Pravenna Saints 0-2 Hartford Glade
Ringway 4-3 Corinthians No Longer
Long Lake 0-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Gridlock Rovers 2-2 Kensey Town
Ballardine FC 1-1 West Hook
Ox River United 0-0 Strephonage
Mapleford 1-2 Brindleton
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Alliance Barossia 3-2 FC Seierstad
Dross Rovers 0-2 Brookway Town
Iberia Chenoworth 1-0 Rushe United
Hartford Glade 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Corinthians No Longer 5-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Boltcroft Thorns 0-0 Pravenna Saints
Kensey Town 4-2 Ringway
West Hook 0-1 Long Lake
Strephonage 2-0 Gridlock Rovers
Brindleton 0-0 Ballardine FC
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Ox River United
FC Seierstad 1-0 Mapleford
Brookway Town 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Rushe United 2-2 Alliance Barossia
Iberia Chenoworth 2-1 Dross Rovers
Sutcroft Athletic 2-4 Corinthians No Longer
Hartford Glade 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Kensey Town
Pravenna Saints 0-1 West Hook
Ringway 0-2 Strephonage
Long Lake 0-1 Brindleton
Gridlock Rovers 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Ballardine FC 2-0 FC Seierstad
Ox River United 2-2 Brookway Town
Mapleford 1-1 Rushe United
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Alliance Barossia 4-1 Dross Rovers
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Kensey Town 4-0 Corinthians No Longer
West Hook 2-2 Hartford Glade
Strephonage 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Brindleton 4-2 Pravenna Saints
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 Ringway
FC Seierstad 0-1 Long Lake
Brookway Town 4-1 Gridlock Rovers
Rushe United 1-2 Ballardine FC
Iberia Chenoworth 1-2 Ox River United
Dross Rovers 2-0 Mapleford
Alliance Barossia 3-1 Gosmouth Swans
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Kensey Town
Boltcroft Thorns 0-5 West Hook
Corinthians No Longer 2-2 Strephonage
Hartford Glade 1-0 Brindleton
Rochford Pilgrims 4-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Pravenna Saints 3-0 FC Seierstad
Ringway 1-0 Brookway Town
Long Lake 1-1 Rushe United
Gridlock Rovers 2-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Ballardine FC 1-1 Dross Rovers
Ox River United 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Mapleford 1-3 Gosmouth Swans
West Hook 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Strephonage 3-0 Kensey Town
Brindleton 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Chardonnay Rangers 4-1 Corinthians No Longer
FC Seierstad 1-0 Hartford Glade
Brookway Town 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Rushe United 2-2 Pravenna Saints
Iberia Chenoworth 5-0 Ringway
Dross Rovers 1-2 Long Lake
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Gridlock Rovers
Gosmouth Swans 1-6 Ballardine FC
Mapleford 3-2 Ox River United
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Strephonage
West Hook 1-1 Brindleton
Kensey Town 1-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Boltcroft Thorns 1-5 FC Seierstad
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Brookway Town
Hartford Glade 3-2 Rushe United
Rochford Pilgrims 6-4 Iberia Chenoworth
Pravenna Saints 1-0 Dross Rovers
Ringway 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Long Lake 3-2 Gosmouth Swans
Gridlock Rovers 0-0 Mapleford
Ballardine FC 1-0 Ox River United
Brindleton 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 Strephonage
FC Seierstad 0-1 West Hook
Brookway Town 1-3 Kensey Town
Rushe United 0-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Iberia Chenoworth 4-8 Corinthians No Longer
Dross Rovers 2-2 Hartford Glade
Alliance Barossia 3-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Gosmouth Swans 3-1 Pravenna Saints
Mapleford 1-0 Ringway
Ox River United 0-1 Long Lake
Ballardine FC 1-1 Gridlock Rovers
Sutcroft Athletic 2-4 Chardonnay Rangers
Brindleton 3-0 FC Seierstad
Strephonage 2-0 Brookway Town
West Hook 0-2 Rushe United
Kensey Town 4-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Dross Rovers
Corinthians No Longer 7-3 Alliance Barossia
Hartford Glade 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Rochford Pilgrims 0-0 Mapleford
Pravenna Saints 0-2 Ox River United
Ringway 1-0 Ballardine FC
Long Lake 2-0 Gridlock Rovers
FC Seierstad 1-3 Sutcroft Athletic
Brookway Town 1-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Rushe United 1-4 Brindleton
Iberia Chenoworth 0-2 Strephonage
Dross Rovers 0-0 West Hook
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Kensey Town
Gosmouth Swans 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Mapleford 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Ox River United 2-1 Hartford Glade
Ballardine FC 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Gridlock Rovers 2-1 Pravenna Saints
Long Lake 2-2 Ringway
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Brookway Town
FC Seierstad 1-0 Rushe United
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Brindleton 3-2 Dross Rovers
Strephonage 1-1 Alliance Barossia
West Hook 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Kensey Town 2-2 Mapleford
Boltcroft Thorns 0-3 Ox River United
Corinthians No Longer 0-3 Ballardine FC
Hartford Glade 1-2 Gridlock Rovers
Rochford Pilgrims 0-0 Long Lake
Pravenna Saints 0-1 Ringway
Rushe United 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Iberia Chenoworth 4-2 Brookway Town
Dross Rovers 2-1 FC Seierstad
Alliance Barossia 0-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Gosmouth Swans 0-0 Brindleton
Mapleford 0-2 Strephonage
Ox River United 3-2 West Hook
Ballardine FC 2-0 Kensey Town
Gridlock Rovers 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Long Lake 2-2 Corinthians No Longer
Ringway 1-0 Hartford Glade
Pravenna Saints 2-2 Rochford Pilgrims

Chardonnay Rangers lead the table by a fair margin, scoring close to three goals again and dropping just five points so far. Strephonage, Ballardine and, despite a daamging scoreless draw with Gosmouth, Brindleton are in hot pursuit, with Alliance Barossia not quite living up to their promise. Corinthians No Longer have somehow scored 33 goals and conceded 32 already. Rushe United are in real danger of slumping to a historic low in their hostory, while Pravenna Saints have lost last season’s form and Dross Rovers have a spookily identical record. Sutcroft Athletic, easily beaten by Rushe, lose their chance to overtake them and remain at rock bottom.

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Starling 12 8 2 2 28 9 +19 26
2 Sabrefell Moths 12 8 2 2 22 9 +13 26
3 AFC Treason 12 8 1 3 18 8 +10 25
4 Coret Hawks 12 6 4 2 20 7 +13 22
5 Brinemouth 12 7 1 4 21 17 +4 22
6 Crisisbless 12 5 6 1 17 10 +7 21
7 Newrook City 12 6 3 3 17 13 +4 21
8 Violence Chariots 12 5 4 3 22 13 +9 19
9 Vermillion Rage 12 5 4 3 19 12 +7 19
10 AFC Serpentine 12 5 2 5 21 26 -5 17
11 Parrhesia United 12 4 4 4 13 17 -4 16
12 Goodfeather FC 12 5 1 6 11 15 -4 16
13 Chenoworth Harriers 12 4 3 5 18 13 +5 15
14 Leichhardt 12 4 3 5 12 15 -3 15
15 Bishop 12 3 6 3 12 17 -5 15
16 Creed United 12 3 5 4 21 19 +2 14
17 Sabrefell Athletic 12 4 2 6 13 17 -4 14
18 Raven River 12 4 2 6 12 18 -6 14
19 Morningstar 12 3 4 5 6 14 -8 13
20 Brookford Otters 12 4 1 7 14 26 -12 13
21 Cranequin Wanderers 12 2 4 6 10 19 -9 10
22 Southfell United 12 2 3 7 11 23 -12 9
23 Diamondqueen 12 2 2 8 8 20 -12 8
24 Maximum Rovers 12 1 3 8 8 17 -9 6

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 South Laithland 12 9 1 2 13 4 +9 28
2 Chatswood 12 8 2 2 19 13 +6 26
3 AFC Corvistone 12 8 1 3 25 12 +13 25
4 North Sabrefell 12 8 1 3 18 8 +10 25
5 North Laithland 12 7 4 1 21 12 +9 25
6 Cypher Town 12 6 4 2 19 8 +11 22
7 Crisisbless United 12 7 1 4 18 12 +6 22
8 Armstrong 12 6 2 4 9 11 -2 20
9 Chenoworth Rovers 12 4 7 1 21 11 +10 19
10 Corvette Maulers 12 5 3 4 17 12 +5 18
11 Maximum City 12 4 4 4 9 9 +0 16
12 Rochford 12 5 0 7 11 16 -5 15
13 Hackett 12 4 3 5 10 16 -6 15
14 Belgrave 12 3 4 5 18 20 -2 13
15 Crossroads Town 12 3 3 6 12 13 -1 12
16 Riverkey 12 2 6 4 11 13 -2 12
17 Sheridan 12 3 3 6 8 15 -7 12
18 Coret Rovers 12 4 0 8 12 24 -12 12
19 Pillars of Southfell 12 3 2 7 9 16 -7 11
20 Extreme Hills 12 3 2 7 15 23 -8 11
21 Greygate 12 2 5 5 15 23 -8 11
22 Vermillion Wanderers 12 2 4 6 17 23 -6 10
23 Ritter Town 12 3 1 8 14 20 -6 10
24 East Laithland Harriers 12 2 3 7 15 22 -7 9

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Locksley 12 11 1 0 33 9 +24 34
2 AFC Shale 12 7 3 2 15 10 +5 24
3 Mantlegrove 12 7 1 4 18 11 +7 22
4 Iron City 12 7 1 4 18 12 +6 22
5 Barossia United 12 7 1 4 16 13 +3 22
6 Lazuli Diamonds 12 6 3 3 25 18 +7 21
7 Kommissar 12 7 0 5 15 12 +3 21
8 Dartmouth Terriers 12 5 4 3 15 9 +6 19
9 West Brinemouth 12 6 1 5 13 12 +1 19
10 Gonen's Bridge 12 5 3 4 13 11 +2 18
11 Stonegrave 12 5 2 5 15 11 +4 17
12 Sutcroft 12 5 2 5 10 12 -2 17
13 Iron United 12 5 1 6 17 15 +2 16
14 Crisisbless Athletic 12 4 3 5 19 18 +1 15
15 The Strongest 12 4 3 5 15 20 -5 15
16 Cranequin City 12 4 2 6 16 18 -2 14
17 The Hanged Man 12 4 1 7 9 11 -2 13
18 Martella Jazz 12 4 1 7 13 16 -3 13
19 South Parrhesia 12 4 1 7 15 25 -10 13
20 Southriver 12 3 3 6 10 15 -5 12
21 Boleyn Town 12 3 3 6 8 17 -9 12
22 Falston Town 12 2 4 6 10 20 -10 10
23 Peregrine 12 2 4 6 15 27 -12 10
24 Falston United 12 3 0 9 8 19 -11 9

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Chardonnay Rangers 12 10 1 1 33 12 +21 31
2 Strephonage 12 8 3 1 20 7 +13 27
3 Ballardine FC 12 7 4 1 20 6 +14 25
4 Brindleton 12 7 4 1 21 9 +12 25
5 Long Lake 12 6 4 2 15 11 +4 22
6 Alliance Barossia 12 5 5 2 21 19 +2 20
7 Ox River United 12 5 3 4 17 13 +4 18
8 Boltcroft Thorns 12 5 3 4 14 20 -6 18
9 West Hook 12 4 5 3 15 10 +5 17
10 Kensey Town 12 4 5 3 22 18 +4 17
11 Gosmouth Swans 12 5 2 5 16 20 -4 17
12 Ringway 12 5 2 5 14 21 -7 17
13 Brookway Town 12 5 1 6 15 17 -2 16
14 Corinthians No Longer 12 4 3 5 33 32 +1 15
15 Hartford Glade 12 4 2 6 15 15 +0 14
16 Gridlock Rovers 12 3 5 4 12 18 -6 14
17 Rochford Pilgrims 12 3 4 5 19 22 -3 13
18 FC Seierstad 12 4 0 8 12 19 -7 12
19 Iberia Chenoworth 12 4 0 8 23 31 -8 12
20 Mapleford 12 2 5 5 10 16 -6 11
21 Rushe United 12 2 4 6 14 20 -6 10
22 Pravenna Saints 12 2 3 7 12 19 -7 9
23 Dross Rovers 12 2 3 7 12 19 -7 9
24 Sutcroft Athletic 12 1 3 8 9 20 -11 6

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sirencall FC 12 8 1 3 23 15 +8 25
2 Ingram Township 12 6 5 1 15 9 +6 23
3 Capricopia Rangers 12 6 4 2 27 17 +10 22
4 Harrington 12 6 3 3 24 13 +11 21
5 Grovebank 12 6 3 3 19 10 +9 21
6 Courser 12 6 2 4 16 15 +1 20
7 Brokenarch 12 5 4 3 12 8 +4 19
8 Stonesthrow Town 12 6 1 5 12 11 +1 19
9 AFC Brackwold 12 5 3 4 26 23 +3 18
10 Swag Hill Rovers 12 5 3 4 17 14 +3 18
11 Sleetwell Rangers 12 5 2 5 16 21 -5 17
12 Bellamy 12 3 6 3 8 10 -2 15
13 Gridlock 12 4 2 6 8 12 -4 14
14 Fully Sick XI 12 2 7 3 15 15 +0 13
15 Fischer 12 3 4 5 10 14 -4 13
16 Norton Road 12 3 3 6 14 20 -6 12
17 Fenland Albion 12 2 5 5 10 13 -3 11
18 Gridlock East 12 3 2 7 11 15 -4 11
19 AFC Hellerine 12 2 3 7 14 25 -11 9
20 Nay Town 12 2 1 9 9 26 -17 7

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Bodkin Road 12 7 3 2 22 12 +10 24
2 Stamper Road 12 7 3 2 20 13 +7 24
3 Corvistone City 12 6 5 1 14 5 +9 23
4 Brunyard FC 12 6 2 4 25 17 +8 20
5 Rhyburn Swifts 12 6 2 4 27 22 +5 20
6 Aries Solitaire 12 6 2 4 17 18 -1 20
7 Blaze 12 4 7 1 16 10 +6 19
8 Sandrock 12 5 4 3 19 17 +2 19
9 Downsparrow 12 4 6 2 16 13 +3 18
10 Rookwall 12 5 2 5 13 18 -5 17
11 South Brill 12 4 4 4 18 16 +2 16
12 Twelvetrees 12 4 4 4 14 13 +1 16
13 The Travellers FC 12 5 1 6 17 23 -6 16
14 Coral Bay 12 2 8 2 15 15 +0 14
15 AFC Burchess 12 3 4 5 12 15 -3 13
16 Violence Tigers 12 2 5 5 12 18 -6 11
17 Corby Hubris 12 3 1 8 15 24 -9 10
18 Senway Town 12 2 3 7 11 16 -5 9
19 Mainstream Fist 12 2 3 7 11 20 -9 9
20 Masculine Town 12 1 3 8 12 21 -9 6

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:27 pm
by Nephara
Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Bishop
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Parrhesia United
AFC Serpentine 0-2 Newrook City
Raven River 0-0 Creed United
Morningstar 1-1 Brookford Otters
Brinemouth 1-1 Starling
Diamondqueen 2-0 Coret Hawks
Southfell United 1-1 Violence Chariots
Crisisbless 0-1 Vermillion Rage
Goodfeather FC 0-0 AFC Treason
Maximum Rovers 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Leichhardt 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers

Starling hope to defend their top spot as Brinemouth visit, but the Dockers are the better side from the first minute, simply hitting harder and faster in all areas of the pitch before finally getting a deserved opener through Kyron Bartley’s half-volley. But they keep searching for a second and the Passerines just aren’t feeling that obliging, before a scrappy equaliser from Elsa Kaelin after some pinballing in the box hands Starling one point that feels like three. It’s not three, however, and allows the Moths to take the lead as they beat a poor Rovers side, as reigning second-tier player of the year Spyridon Kolitsidakis gets them a consolation late on but looks like he just can’t fight all these fires. Heartening for them, Crisisbless lose to Vermillion after Amelia Warner’s defensive error is capitalised on by Coppinger, while Treason just can’t get the fluidity in attack to beat Goodfeather in a frustrating stalemate. Athletic also play pretty badly, and are in fact outplayed by Bishop. The difference is that Penbrooke gets four half-decent chances and misses them all (with Bishop’s goal coming from Sitz’s treacherously swerving strike) and Estrella Hawke gets two and converts both.

Parrhesia United 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Newrook City 1-1 Bishop
Creed United 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Brookford Otters 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Starling 3-1 Raven River
Coret Hawks 0-1 Morningstar
Violence Chariots 1-1 Brinemouth
Vermillion Rage 4-2 Diamondqueen
AFC Treason 2-1 Southfell United
Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Crisisbless
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Leichhardt 1-0 Maximum Rovers

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Felipa Medina loses patience with some of her underperforming Tanners - goalkeeper Sigrid Cooper is done at this level, and captain Tristan Lavendor and seasoned midfielder Emerick Hartmann also pay the price as Vercauteren returns from an injury layoff. The reward is an improved performance against Treason, and they take an early lead through Marlowe’s second goal in as many games, but even then they’re caught out at a set piece and then on the counterattack to underline their glass jaw. The Moths are held back by Aidan Brosque’s Heelers - Brosque announces his desire to “shove them into a locker,” and the way that Tedesco and Bronte halt the Moths’ supply line absolutely reflects that. Bronte in particular is brilliant, and sets up Jevdjevic-Hadsic for the winner just after half-time. On an absolutely miserable afternoon in the Vale, Maximum Rovers wilt in the blazing heat while Raihane Stern, in a rather novel broad-brimmed hat that winds up hitting Woodbine in the face during a corner, at one stage manages to hoof the ball brilliantly over the top of the entire Rovers midfield. The defence reacts sluggishly, and Auttenberg races clear to slot home her respectable fifth of the season. “Scheduling should never allow a match to be played at this heat,” Rovers manager Paige Hildebrand fumes after the match. “Maybe she wouldn’t complain if she’d bought better strikers,” Canaries manager Vardalos deadpans.

CA Paulinthal 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 1-1 Tihon
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 1860 Azoth

A strong set of performances from the Sabrefell sides. The Moths score early when Mark Uenterhausen forces home a Townsend corner, and then Johnson hits back on the break to seal a win. It’s never going to be that easy, of course, not with Ragnar Targaryen on the other side - and he rifles home a shot from a ridiculously narrow angle late on, but it’s not enough. Crisisbless manager Aidan Brosque might have to eat his words, after bullishly telling the press; “Catheline Allister could never buy a win in Nephara before; I don’t see how she’ll start now.” A win? Perhaps not, but after Crisisbless are wasteful through the first half, eventually going ahead through Staunton’s finely-angled strike, the Tihon manager oversaw a turnaround and eventually former Brinemouth fullback Bayliss absolutely cuts through Rafford before a sweetly hit cutback for marquee man Rowan Varghese to slam the equaliser into the top corner. Alyssa Haight, another Nepharim, forces a sharp save from Marciak late on. Brosque, uncharacteristically, blames the referee for an arguable penalty non-decision late on. Athletic’s 2-0 win over 1860 Azoth is far more routine, one of those matches where Rainsford just runs the show from the start and Hawke, who is very much living up to the hype, finishes things at her end.

Holdenberg 0-0 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Cednia Beach AFC
Hellinic Rouge 2-2 Starling

Holdenberg’s scoreless draw with Brinemouth is ‘one for the purists’, which is to say it’s like watching paint dry apart from the occasional entertainment of Helmut Chilmark clattering some Docker or another. “Typical Chatswood DNA,” assistant manager Werner Thayer sniffs within range of a touchline mic. The Harriers are uninspired and unable to break through a hard-nosed Cednia, ultimately losing 1-0. Starling finally pick up their first point, but Amos will be frustrated as her defence flakes away in the closing stages, handing Fox Charnwood an excellent opportunity to seal the match for Rouge against the run of play. He ends up hitting the crossbar, but the point was made, and Rouge will a point apiece is a fair result.

Lajuno 1-0 Newrook City

The Rooks can be proud of a resilient performance in Eura, where cannier and more experienced opponents dominated possession. Both goalkeepers, Coleman and Hesketh, made some fine saves, but the outstanding young Chris Ashton found a late breakthrough pass for winger Ryan Robinson to find, cut inside and fire home. Both sides will take this scoreline.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Newrook City
Parrhesia United 1-1 Creed United
Bishop 3-1 Brookford Otters
Chenoworth Harriers 2-3 Starling
AFC Serpentine 2-2 Coret Hawks
Raven River 1-1 Violence Chariots
Morningstar 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Brinemouth 0-2 AFC Treason
Diamondqueen 1-5 Sabrefell Moths
Southfell United 6-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless 2-0 Leichhardt
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Maximum Rovers

The New Firm rivalry, as it’s sporadically called, sees Brinemouth host Treason. The Stags’ star has faded somewhat, but they show without a trace of a doubt that the old steel remains at Ben Randall’s beck and call. Calliope Katskalidis rolls back the years, Svensson… well, Svensson never dropped off, and Vyntra has Dragana in her pocket all match. Brinemouth throw themselves forward, are cut open by Woodspur on the counterattack and then Svensson hammers home a corner late on to secure a great 2-0 win away for the Stags. The Moths visit the Diamonds; they are not very nice. They hit hard, fight hard, battle for every ball and convert every chance they get. Well, okay, that’s not true - Iona Britton flings herself at everything and makes some brilliant saves, but it’s not enough as the Moths score five. Imogen Jeweler’s almost sheepish as she nets her first of the season, a late consolation - though in truth it’s the best goal of the lot, a beautifully-weighted volley lofted over Griffin’s head, and she could be forgiven her little fist-pump. Cranequin, meanwhile, put together some impressive forward work but are porous at the back with an intense performance from Medina’s Tanners hammering them - it’s 4-3 by the half-time, but the Wanderers have the most recent goal and, seemingly, the momentum. “Calm things down, calm things down,” Voula Logothettis is heard in the technical area trying to soothe her players… and it works. Too well. The Wanderers are downright placid in the second half, and two incisive, flowing passing moves are finished off with gusto by Erik Marlowe to seal a 6-3 win for the beleagured Tanners.

Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Falston United
Mantlegrove 1-2 Riverkey
Corby Hubris 0-8 Chenoworth Rovers
Boltcroft Thorns 1-2 Peregrine
Sutcroft Athletic 2-3 Locksley
Masculine Town 1-4 Corvette Maulers
The Strongest 1-5 Barossia United
Crossroads Town 1-2 Hackett
Pillars of Southfell 4-0 Ox River United
Pravenna Saints 1-3 AFC Corvistone
Coral Bay 1-1 Ingram Township (1-2 AET)
Coret Rovers 1-1 North Laithland (1-1 AET, 3-1 PKs)
Ringway 0-1 Maximum City
Capricopia Rangers 1-2 Gridlock
Greygate 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers (2-2 AET, 4-5 PKs)
AFC Hellerine 0-1 Rushe United
Extreme Hills 3-0 Violence Tigers
Crisisbless United 6-0 Kensey Town
Iron United 1-1 Kommissar (1-2 AET)
Southriver 0-1 North Sabrefell
AFC Shale 2-0 FC Seierstad
Boleyn Town 1-0 Ballardine FC
Stamper Road 3-3 Downsparrow (4-3 AET)
Belgrave 2-0 South Laithland
Nay Town 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Stonesthrow Town 0-1 Gridlock Rovers
Sutcroft 2-0 Fischer
Sheridan 3-0 Corinthians No Longer
South Parrhesia 3-0 Norton Road
The Hanged Man 4-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Cranequin City 2-1 Brindleton
West Brinemouth 0-0 Ritter Town (0-1 AET)
Armstrong 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Falston Town 1-1 Chatswood (2-2 AET, 5-6 PKs)
Gridlock East 1-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Iron City 3-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Stonegrave 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Martella Jazz 0-1 Rochford
Cypher Town 2-0 Fenland Albion
Dartmouth Terriers 2-6 Long Lake

48 more sides enter to try and filter out the chaff before the real big lads arrive, and some are filtered out harder than others. Autumn Starbuck has had a torrid time in the second tier for Chenoworth Rovers, scoring just twice, but she manages a hat-trick against lowly Corby in an eventual 8-0 hammering. Away, no less. Pravenna Saints take an early league from imported Nepharim striker Vance Leckey’s header and cling onto it for an hour before Corvistone’s superior firepower finally tells. They lose 3-1, but with honour. Of the other second-tier sides, Armstrong, Crossroads and South Laithland are beaten in the 90 minutes, while Greygate and North Laithland are dumped out on penalties, all to other First Division sides. Chatswood almost follow them, but rely on sudden death penalties to down struggling third-tier Falston Town. Iron City lean on their talismanic midfielder - 2-0 down after 61 minutes, they bring on Elaine Ashdown, and the local lass wrestles back the years and, with an impeccable direct free kick, a lovely threaded shot just outside the box and a peach of an assist for Alanna Halmark’s winning volley, sees them defeat a shellshocked Lazuli Diamonds. Three Conference sides edge through, largely due to facing other Conference sides, but a 3-3 barnstormer between Stamper Road and Downsparrow ends in brilliantly semi-pro fashion - a long throw, pinball in the box and, somehow, a deflection off the luckless Downsparrow defender Niki Keneghan resulting in an own goal and victory for Road.

Newrook City 2-1 Lajuno
2-2 on aggregate. Lajuno progress on the away goals rule.

The Nepharim connection is very much up and running in Newrook. Unfortunately, it’s Gareth Westmead’s cross and Rook Branagh’s lovely, whipped finish past a despairing Hesketh in the ninth minute. The Rooks do come back from it - Coleman is forced into strong saves from Marconi and Farrell before Bothroyd and the substitute Senturk make the difference in the second half, but it’s not enough. Yet another of what seems like terrible luck in the draw of the CWC - the Rooks bow out with honour.

Creed United 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Brookford Otters 2-0 Newrook City
Starling 0-1 Parrhesia United
Coret Hawks 2-1 Bishop
Violence Chariots 0-3 Chenoworth Harriers
Vermillion Rage 0-0 AFC Serpentine
AFC Treason 1-0 Raven River
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Morningstar
Cranequin Wanderers 2-5 Brinemouth
Leichhardt 1-1 Diamondqueen
Maximum Rovers 4-2 Southfell United
Goodfeather FC 0-2 Crisisbless

Some big matches at the bottom of the table. Maximum Rovers will be particularly thrilled, an embattled Paige Hildebrand witnessing a battling performance. After a scrappy, scruffy first half, all hell breaks loose in the second but when the dust has settled, Spyridon Kolitsidakis has been sent off for a scything challenge on Petridis but it’s worth it for an impressive 4-2 win, Moxey and Kreisburg combining fruitfully. A battling performance from the Saints gets them three points against Starling. They honestly stand around like sitting ducks for the first quarter of an hour, bailed out only by Darren Koufax, but then Rademacher’s delicious inswinging free kick is glanced home off Brun. Emboldened by that, the Saints go flying in - to tackles, mostly. Crashing and bashing all across the pitch, stopping the Passerines by any means necessary - it works. Lisa Amos is livid post-match; “You seriously look at that and think you don’t have a problem with leniant refereeing in this country? Seriously?” It’s not a problem, Lisa, it’s a feature. Leichhardt and Diamondqueen hold one another to a draw, but it’s the former side that just looks… better, this season. Serpentine, for their part, keep a clean sheet against Vermillion, though largely through Rage’s profligate finishing. Corvid Alemane just hasn’t quite been at the races this season - she’s been deployed as a striker before, but never week-in, week-out before, and it’s only sporadically paying off.

Sabrefell Moths 0-2 CA Paulinthal
Tihon 2-1 Crisisbless
1860 Azoth 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic

The Moths finally drop points, the vintage item of a rare goal from Denton Tapp and the rather more commonplace goal from Targaryen seeing Paulinthal to a deserved victory. Just as the Heelers think they’ve pulled back some momentum with a resilient away performance against Tihon, former Creed United striker Danica Farrier rolls back the years with a diving header past Marciak. At least Athletic do the flag proud, Bereveskos lashing home a winner on the stroke of half-time.

Brinemouth 2-0 Holdenberg
Cednia Beach AFC 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Starling 1-1 Hellinic Rouge

Brinemouth are dominant over Holdenberg at home, wresting control of the midfield and finding finishing product through Dragana and Kuralay. The Harriers are abject in the first half against Cednia, but whatever Sedder says at the break pays off; Crowther and Ruhl lead the comeback, and Katja Christensen very nearly finished it with a curling injury-time strike that slammed against the crossbar. Starling take an early lead through Liam Armstrong’s low, hard shot that proved too hot for Knutsson to handle, and they hold firm for eighty minutes. Then Karena Foran, off the bench, centres it low and hard - Calcipher Heston scuffs the clearance and Destin Chaplin is onto it like a shot, rifling it into the top corner to silence the stadium.

Sabrefell Athletic 3-3 Brookford Otters
Creed United 3-1 Starling
Newrook City 1-1 Coret Hawks
Parrhesia United 0-2 Violence Chariots
Bishop 3-2 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Harriers 2-3 AFC Treason
AFC Serpentine 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Raven River 3-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Morningstar 1-1 Leichhardt
Brinemouth 4-0 Maximum Rovers
Diamondqueen 0-3 Goodfeather FC
Southfell United 2-1 Crisisbless

An important result for the Tanners - the catalyst is Grant’s return from a niggling injury. They host Crisisbless and, controversially, restore Cooper to the starting lineup. And yet, she’s in fine form - called into action for a few dynamic saves, but Grant and a double pivot midfield of Lavendor and Petridis inoculate most of the damage. Jevdjevic-Hadsic does eventually produce a moment of individual brilliance, but counterattacking goals from the pace of Miranda Gail have already won the game at the other end in the first half. In what is inevitably called the Alexis Spurlock derby, Bishop host Vermillion. Brightwater absolutely loses it in a press conference before the fact; “I’ve managed abroad, I’ve succeeded abroad, and I come back and everyone’s hung up on the past, on a couple bad years and of the last guy before me!” the Bishop manager snaps. Dead-set to lose? Somehow, no! Karlene Sitz runs the show from the midfield, and Ansel Penbrooke is everywhere up front. He forces Clement into a rare error, rushing the goalkeeper into a scuffed clearance that Coffey runs onto and slams home, before being in the right place at the right time to get two tap-ins. 3-2’s the final score, but an error from Scannell (who really should’ve saved a Paulsson effort) is irrelevant, and Brightwater was loving it at the end of the match. But Spurlock won the mind games stakes at the end; “Man, Monica sure talks a lot for someone who couldn’t win a trophy in a fucking egg and spoon race, hey?” Athletic stumble to a third straight draw, and look in serious need of a wakeup call - this time it’s against the Otters, at home, after an entertaining but inept 3-3. Finally, Creed United haven’t done a lot to draw attention to themselves so far, but credit is due to their disciplined defence, the goalkeeping of Matraxis and the finishing touches of their forceful strikers, Vettriano and Korborg, that fire them to a deserved 3-1 win over Starling. It’s the Passerines’ second straight defeat.

Starling 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Coret Hawks 2-1 Brookford Otters
Violence Chariots 0-3 Creed United
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Newrook City
AFC Treason 1-1 Parrhesia United
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Bishop
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Leichhardt 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Maximum Rovers 0-4 Raven River
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Morningstar
Crisisbless 1-2 Brinemouth
Southfell United 1-1 Diamondqueen

Couple of big fixtures here. First up, a misfiring Starling host a misfiring Athletic. It shows in a first half in which passes just don’t quite seem to stick - and Tanith Rainsford is worryingly seen off with a calf injury. In the second half, things open up a bit more, and Coltrane finds a way through for Athletic. The narrative almost strikes, as Estrella Hawke hits a post - but straight from the counterattack her former partner in crime, Keira Andisori, strokes home a leveller. It swings to and fro from here, and everyone knows there is no way in hell this match is finishing even. So it proves, a moment of individual brilliance from the normally more understated Woodwind settling it for the hosts. Crisisbless host Brinemouth and are, in Brosque’s post-mortem, decided to have “let Brinemouth play how they liked”. Which is to say there wasn’t nearly enough… bittiness, for the former defender’s liking. Brinemouth take a first-half lead thanks to some obliging defending and the finishing touch of Bartley and Dragana on the wings, and while a silky passing move lets Tia Drenas pull one back on the stroke of half-time, it never seems like they’ll rein Brinemouth in. Consecutive 4-0 defeats for the Rovers see the first managerial casualty of the season. The Rovers went into the season as a ‘functional’ side, and they after a while just stopped functioning. River haven’t exactly clicked reliably this season, and their central defence has been a real problem area, but they hold the line well enough here and just seem to stride through Maximum’s obliging defence. Elsewhere at the bottom of the league, Southfell and the Diamonds draw, as do Goodfeather and Morningstar, Cranequin pick up an important win over the Harriers thanks to a Blaylock brace while Leichhardt edge Serpentine through a contentious offside call that denies the Dragons’ substitute, Carrie Mason, a late would-be equaliser.

Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Golden Eagles
Lexington Victory 1-0 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Celtic Noviodunum

Tight margins across the Cup. The Moths dominate the Eagles, but thanks to determined defending from the Avonians are forced to rely on a heavily-deflected Meier strike to win, while Crisisbless almost don’t lose but do fail not to lose. Athletic drop points for the first time, and only salvage a deserved point with a late leveller from substitute youth forward Salavat Caszely’s injury-time strike. Still, they’re through.

Brinemouth 3-0 San Solari FC
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 SS Skiveness
Starling 2-3 Chromatik

Brinemouth dominate San Solari at home, with Osman Candelo running the show in midfield and getting on the scoresheet himself. It’s also a cause for cheers for 24-year old right winger Petros Mytaras, who returns from an ACL injury in the 71st minute and scores Brinemouth’s third in the 78th. The Harriers go down early to Skiveness, but in an ugly, physical churnfest (perhaps not ‘greasy’ so much as ‘oily’ considering the average Nepharim footballer’s penchant for hair product) drag themselves back to the lead thanks to Airik Ruhl taking the game by the scruff of the neck. After an intense, pulsating encounter with Chromatik, the Passerines - first seeds! - are no longer fighting for progression, but just to win a single game.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Coret Hawks
Starling 1-0 Violence Chariots
Brookford Otters 1-2 Vermillion Rage
Creed United 1-2 AFC Treason
Newrook City 2-0 Sabrefell Moths
Parrhesia United 4-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Bishop 1-0 Leichhardt
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Maximum Rovers
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Goodfeather FC
Raven River 1-0 Crisisbless
Morningstar 1-2 Southfell United
Brinemouth 1-0 Diamondqueen

The Rovers are quick to approach Rachael Weixelbraun for their vacancy, and quick to be rebuffed. Reinhard Drake, their assistant, takes on the caretaker role and at least seems to have beaten some defensive security into the team, as the defeat, to Chenoworth Harriers, is just a 1-0. Surprisingly, 21-year old third-choice goalkeeper Josef Colmeyer is preferred and belated trust given to young guns Axiom Gaitatzis and Adele Rosborough, and it pays some dividends. Colmeyer might be a step too far - he seems decidedly on edge - but the other youths impress. Cranequin, fresh off their win, are happy to see Dakota Blaylock finally blaze into gear with his fifth goal in four games, redeeming a slow start. The issue is that their defence is genuinely atrocious, as the Saints ruthlessly exploit today in a 4-1 thumping. Everyone in the world but Voula Logothettis, it seems, knew that Castellan and Cavan (fine players both) made for too soft a centre. It might cost them their league place. River find some defensive resilience from somewhere and add to Crisisbless’ woes, Daleiden slipping away from her markers at a Petkovic corner and heading it home on the hour mark. Southfell will claim some measure of moral victory to go along with their actual one - Morningstar do little productive but try and shunt and kick them, and they get a controversial (well, wrong, bluntly) opening goal when Cooper seems to claim a Saroszi cross but is bundled into the net by Boldman. It’s… generously credited to Saroszi. But when they can finally get the ball through to Erik Marlowe in the second half, the big man does the job. Newrook, meanwhile, look calm and unhurried against a breathless Moths side, as Andreu Bartolnicci makes himself known. Bothroyd and a rejuvenated Winter put the Rooks 2-0 up in the first half, and slotting Sutton into a double pivot midfield and sacrificing Farrell helps them hold onto it in the second. An important win, as the project builds momentum.

Rushe United 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Sabrefell Moths 8-1 Sutcroft
Iron City 4-0 Gridlock
Coret Rovers 2-4 Crisisbless United
Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Maximum City (2-1 AET)
Pillars of Southfell 1-2 Crisisbless
Ritter Town 0-1 South Parrhesia
Rochford 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Serpentine 4-0 Gridlock Rovers
Brookford Otters 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Creed United 0-0 Kommissar (1-0 AET)
Riverkey 6-0 Ingram Township
AFC Corvistone 3-1 Boleyn Town
AFC Treason 3-3 Brinemouth (3-3 AET, 3-2 PKs)
AFC Shale 1-0 Belgrave
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Sheridan
Newrook City 3-2 Parrhesia United
Diamondqueen 4-0 Stamper Road
Hackett 2-1 Raven River
North Sabrefell 1-3 Chenoworth Harriers
The Hanged Man 1-0 Leichhardt
Locksley 1-1 Bishop (1-1 AET, 1-3 PKs)
Coret Hawks 0-2 Morningstar
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Southfell United (1-1 AET, 3-2 PKs)
Violence Chariots 3-2 Chatswood
Barossia United 1-1 Extreme Hills (1-2 AET)
Vermillion Rage 3-2 East Laithland Harriers
Cypher Town 3-0 Peregrine
Maximum Rovers 2-0 Long Lake
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Corvette Maulers
Cranequin City 1-3 Starling

The final Conference sides are bounced out. Gridlock are slammed down 4-0 by Iron City, Ingram Township are taken apart 6-0 by Riverkey and Diamondqueen destroy Stamper Road 4-0, but all three sides will be happy to have banked lucrative cheques for away fixtures against tougher opponents. The Moths absolutely pulverise lowly Sutcroft 8-1, Boldsport youth shortlist midfielder Tawny Shone running things casually in midfield, while a valiant rearguard action from the Smiths takes Sabrefell Athletic to extra time. Once there, however, a whipped corner from Corvine allows the unlikely hero Gareth Krane, fourth-choice centre-half in his first start of the season, to power a header past Ceferin. Goodfeather FC down Southfell United on penalties, young Anya Beraht making three flying saves, while Leichhardt’s second-string found no way through against the Hanged Man after they took an early lead through an unfortunate own goal - Coretta Lash slammed a shot against the bar, the hulking Iskandrian Kozak dived in vain to keep it out and the rebound struck him and rolled in. The Rooks and the Saints both take very strong sides to one another, but it’s the former side that is dominant. Angela Spyrakis makes a number of sprightly saves, but Liesel Ironhewer and Aziz Senturk come off the bench to score late and send the Rooks through. The Hawks slink to a dull 2-0 defeat to Morningstar, while first-half goals from Hannaday and Lucan are enough to let Hackett see off River. Bishop almost join them, but they’re bailed out after a poor performance against Second Division high-fliers Locksley - Ulrike Jensen’s 91st minute header takes them to extra time before Connor Risdon’s superhuman showing in the shootout allows the Cardinals to scrape through. Highlight of the round? The Nouveau Riche rivalry of Treason vs. Brinemouth has lost a bit of spice recently as the Sabrefell giants have come to dominate the late 60s - however, the match here is a real return to form. Both sides bring strong lineups to bear, and the sides go blow for blow for the 90 minutes - Candelo equalised by Vesper, Dragana by Fraser, Trahearne by Soederquist. In the end, it came down to penalties - and Brinemouth’s decisive fifth was blasted into the sun by, of all people, the normally steadfast Soederquist. The Stags edge through.

Violence Chariots 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Coret Hawks
AFC Treason 0-4 Starling
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Brookford Otters
Cranequin Wanderers 1-4 Creed United
Leichhardt 2-3 Newrook City
Maximum Rovers 1-1 Parrhesia United
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Bishop
Crisisbless 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Southfell United 2-0 AFC Serpentine
Diamondqueen 1-0 Raven River
Brinemouth 5-1 Morningstar

And Treason celebrate their victory by getting ripped apart 4-0 by Starling. Sorry, what? But the Stags are simply outmaneuvred, made to look pedestrian and, at 2-0 and 84 minutes, have the combustible Vedran Tarashaj… combust, winning a second caution for chopping down Aschenbach. Starling capitalise, and Mateo Padilla takes full advantage of the space to score a late brace. Brinemouth display far more resilience, going to Morningstar and, even with rotating a couple of players out, have the intensity to maul Morningstar 5-1, with Marijana Kuralay coming in to battle Stars’ midfield single-handed and young, muscular leftback Marcin Close firing home his first senior goal. Meanwhile, the immutable law of the ex is muted, as Aidan Brosque’s Crisisbless side - definitely one in transition - is unable to break through a sturdy, workmanlike defensive effort from John Sedder’s Harriers is enough to deny the silk and the steel of the Heelers, a lovely individual effort from Steven Rexmont seeing them off. Diamondqueen win the Friendly Derby through the unlikely figure of Francesca Abel, who tries to deny that her winning goal was meant to be a cross and is fooling absolutely nobody. Iona Britton at the other end was downright heroic. A rather more hostile Sabrefell derby saw Athletic, winless in five, clash with the Chariots. They finally end their streak, albeit in slightly fortunate circumstances - Commerford, otherwise excellent, flaps at a cross from Meisler and a surprised Wardenier manages to flick out a leg and bundle home the winner.

Ulsa 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 2-5 Handon United
Namiri Forest 0-0 Sabrefell Athletic

The Moths canter to a confident win over Ulsa with goals from Townsend and Serra, ultimately taking first place in the group by a wide margin. Crisisbless? Well. They take a rotated side to face Handon, and Brosque even wearily warns the fans of this decision in advance over Twitter. But many loyal fans come anyway, and watch their side annihilated in the second half after a close-fought first hour. After a grinding draw with Namiri Forest, Athletic can feel good about an unbeaten group stage.

KT Moreazerua 0-1 Brinemouth
Eintracht Trink 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Eastern Stars 3-2 Starling

Pablo Scotti’s header and Morales’ clean sheet ensure that the Dockers are high and dry in first, five points ahead of… all the other teams, having only conceded a single goal. San Solari end up coming second. The Harriers are very much second-best against Zwangzug side Eintracht Trink, but they maintain hold of first place as Skiveness beat Cednia and are edged out of first on head-to-head. Cednia can consider themselves unlucky not to survive a very close group. Starling contrive to concede 27 seconds in and then in the 92nd minute to ensure that they slink out of the Globe Cup without so much as a win, Hellinic Rouge’s inability to beat them costing them progression. Fourth seeds Chromatik take the group.

Sabrefell Athletic 5-0 Vermillion Rage
Violence Chariots 0-1 AFC Treason
Coret Hawks 2-3 Sabrefell Moths
Starling 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Brookford Otters 1-1 Leichhardt
Creed United 2-2 Maximum Rovers
Newrook City 0-2 Goodfeather FC
Parrhesia United 1-2 Crisisbless
Bishop 0-1 Southfell United
Chenoworth Harriers 2-2 Diamondqueen
AFC Serpentine 1-4 Brinemouth
Raven River 0-0 Morningstar

Maximum Rovers finally appoint their replacement manager, after local hero Reinhard Drake oversees a decent two points from three matches and newfound trust in youth. Elrik Raskine’s there to watch that third match, an encouraging comeback against Creed to claw back a 2-2 draw. Raskine, last fired from Chatswood for trying and failing to establish a more constructive blueprint, is an… interesting choice, but might be the right move to take them forward. Southfell’s recovery continues, a dull affair against Bishop enlivened by an arcing 35-yard lob over Scannell, once so reliable but now regressing a week after her 34th birthday, unable to compensate for being so far off her line. The Hawks slip up late against the Moths, deserving victory on the run of play in a madly free-flowing game, but a brace of own goals from the luckless Santana turning in crosses from Townsend and Ashburner grants the Moths a 3-2 win. Most prominently, however, Athletic have returned to the taste of (domestic) victory and they like how it felt. They take Vermillion apart, 5-0 the final score, as Oscar Coltrane reminds the world how he can dominate the game at his best.

Marinos Metropolis 4-6 Sabrefell Moths

A frankly hilarious match, as both Metropolis and the Moths, two prominent sides in the world game, just sort of take the day off defensively. The Moths, however, have the forward play to really rub it in, and Thunder manages a rare smirk in the final press conference. “Yeah, well, it’s good to know we have to keep ‘em to less than seven goals at the Farham to keep ahold of the tiebreaker…”

AFC Treason 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Sabrefell Moths 5-2 Vermillion Rage
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Violence Chariots
Leichhardt 0-0 Coret Hawks
Maximum Rovers 1-5 Starling
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Brookford Otters
Crisisbless 0-0 Creed United
Southfell United 2-1 Newrook City
Diamondqueen 0-1 Parrhesia United
Brinemouth 1-1 Bishop
Morningstar 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Raven River 3-4 AFC Serpentine

Elrik Raskine’s first match in charge is an unmitigated disaster. Starling are unimpressed by the Rovers’ defence, and pick their teeth with Catheline Jurist’s bones. Julia Thane aside - she’s a constant thorn in Castor’s side, and winds up getting the Rovers’ consolation - the Rovers are abysmal. “It’s a learning process for all of us,” Raskine dithered post-match. Sure. Things aren’t looking so hot for the Diamonds, either. It’s not that they’re so bad against Parrhesia, they just look uninspired, and it was the sort of match that Auburn Weber would drag them through. She’s silenced by Monica Rowland, here, and young Ramona Porter gets her first senior goal to settle it. “There’s no cause for panic,” Tana Colbright insists, doubtless all too aware that she was parachuted in the middle of last season with the Diamonds in the bottom three. Vermillion concede another five, Spurlock’s reshuffle accomplishing absolutely nothing. Then again, it is the Moths. River and Serpentine, meanwhile, have an utterly mad 3-4 in Sabrefell, Aya Bernman chalking up a hat-trick of second-half assists to overturn a two-goal deficit and Matt Bowerman left despairing at his defence, while Estrella Hawke’s diving header salvages a point for Athletic away in Treason.

Sabrefell Moths 6-0 Marinos Metropolis
Sabrefell Moths win 12-4 on aggregate.

So, just about nobody saw that coming. The Moths run roughshod over tough Valladar opposition for the most aggregate goals a Nepharim side has ever managed in international competition.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Treason 4-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Vermillion Rage 0-1 Leichhardt
Violence Chariots 1-2 Maximum Rovers
Coret Hawks 0-0 Goodfeather FC
Starling 2-1 Crisisbless
Brookford Otters 1-1 Southfell United
Creed United 1-1 Diamondqueen
Newrook City 0-2 Brinemouth
Parrhesia United 0-1 Morningstar
Bishop 1-1 Raven River
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 AFC Serpentine

The Moths have scored seventeen goals in their last three games, won their last seven in all competitions. Athletic don’t stand a chance. Right? Wrong. Athletic produce their best domestic performance of the season, clean-heeled and disciplined, to keep the Moths from ever really getting a clear shot at Gautier. At the other end, Athletic’s star performers, Coltrane and Hawke, predictably get the job done. A point below, Starling edge out Crisisbless with decisiveness on the wings in the key moments, and Keira Andisori continuing to thrive given the sole spotlight up front. She gets two goals and is running hard for a third… until Martell Chalobah clatters her and sees her stretchered off. Amos has used all her substitutions, and the Passerines are left with ten men as Ozaria Gandhi finally pulls one back for Crisisbless, but they hold out thanks to a couple sharp saves from Hargrave. Treason annihilate Cranequin Wanderers 4-1, with Matthias Bergander impressing up front - Randall has pursued a strategy of relentless rotation ensuring that a limited but deep side produces its best every week - while Brinemouth comfortably beat Newrook 2-0. These are the title contenders and would need to be really complacent to lose their top four places - the top three are seperated by a point, with Brinemouth three beneath Starling and Treason… and a staggering 11 above Chenoworth Harriers in 5th. A point beneath the Harriers, Crisisbless, Athletic, Vermillion and Newrook are all locked on 34 points, with Coret a further point beneath. Leichhardt and Goodfeather round out the top half, and are three points out from the Globe Cup places - Leichhardt manager Andrea Vardalos confidently announces “We have secured survival!” after fringe winger Voyager’s snap-shot slips under Vermillion goalkeeper Clement and gets them a 1-0 win away.

That’s probably a bit optimistic. They’re nine points from the bottom four, but more resounding surprises have happened. With Southfell having stepped up lately, the genuine relegation fighters look like the current bottom six, though any number of lower midtable sides could be sucked into it. Serpentine, outmuscled by the Harriers in a 2-1 defeat, are in the healthiest position… as long as Aya Bernman, who has really stepped up with Fanaiyan’s departure, stays fit. Morningstar keep out of danger with a tenacious 1-0 win over the Saints in an ugly, bitty fixture - but they’ve only scored fourteen goals all season, and are reliant on Lukas Sparr at the back as 22-year old youth international Christos Tsiavis struggles for final product and Petrosian’s form has fallen off a cliff. Brookford manage a 1-1 draw with Southfell in which neither side could take their chances, and stay 21st with Hestia Canaan on the verge of losing her job. The Diamonds claw a point in Creed through an all-too-rare moment of inspiration from Weber who threads the perfect diagonal ball for Fortounis to backheel (!) home. But they’re six points from true safety. Eight and ten points away respectively, there’s little hope for either Cranequin Wanderers (who have conceded 51 goals this season) and Maximum Rovers, though goals from Luitgard and Gaitatzis give them just their third win of the season, away against the struggling Chariots.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:30 pm
by Nephara
Vermillion Wanderers 4-2 Belgrave
Armstrong 2-1 Hackett
Crossroads Town 1-3 Maximum City
AFC Corvistone 1-1 North Sabrefell
Rochford 6-1 East Laithland Harriers
Chatswood 0-1 South Laithland
North Laithland 2-0 Sheridan
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Crisisbless United
Extreme Hills 1-1 Cypher Town
Greygate 5-3 Coret Rovers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 Ritter Town
Pillars of Southfell 3-0 Riverkey
Hackett 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Maximum City 1-1 Belgrave
North Sabrefell 1-1 Armstrong
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Crossroads Town
South Laithland 2-2 AFC Corvistone
Sheridan 1-0 Rochford
Crisisbless United 4-2 Chatswood
Cypher Town 0-0 North Laithland
Coret Rovers 0-2 Corvette Maulers
Ritter Town 1-1 Extreme Hills
Riverkey 1-0 Greygate
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Vermillion Wanderers 0-3 Maximum City
Hackett 1-1 North Sabrefell
Belgrave 0-0 East Laithland Harriers
Armstrong 0-1 South Laithland
Crossroads Town 1-0 Sheridan
AFC Corvistone 3-1 Crisisbless United
Rochford 0-2 Cypher Town
Chatswood 3-0 Coret Rovers
North Laithland 1-1 Ritter Town
Corvette Maulers 2-3 Riverkey
Extreme Hills 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Greygate 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers
North Sabrefell 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Maximum City
South Laithland 0-1 Hackett
Sheridan 1-3 Belgrave
Crisisbless United 0-0 Armstrong
Cypher Town 2-1 Crossroads Town
Coret Rovers 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Ritter Town 1-0 Rochford
Riverkey 0-1 Chatswood
Pillars of Southfell 1-4 North Laithland
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Greygate 3-2 Extreme Hills
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
North Sabrefell 2-1 South Laithland
Maximum City 0-2 Sheridan
Hackett 5-0 Crisisbless United
Belgrave 1-2 Cypher Town
Armstrong 4-1 Coret Rovers
Crossroads Town 0-1 Ritter Town
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Riverkey
Rochford 3-1 Pillars of Southfell
Chatswood 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
North Laithland 2-2 Greygate
Corvette Maulers 1-2 Extreme Hills
South Laithland 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Sheridan 1-3 East Laithland Harriers
Crisisbless United 2-2 North Sabrefell
Cypher Town 2-0 Maximum City
Coret Rovers 1-0 Hackett
Ritter Town 1-1 Belgrave
Riverkey 1-2 Armstrong
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Crossroads Town
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Greygate 1-0 Rochford
Extreme Hills 1-0 Chatswood
Corvette Maulers 1-2 North Laithland
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Sheridan
South Laithland 0-2 Crisisbless United
East Laithland Harriers 1-6 Cypher Town
North Sabrefell 2-0 Coret Rovers
Maximum City 0-2 Ritter Town
Hackett 0-2 Riverkey
Belgrave 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Armstrong 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Crossroads Town 1-1 Greygate
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Extreme Hills
Rochford 2-1 Corvette Maulers
Chatswood 0-1 North Laithland
Crisisbless United 4-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Cypher Town 0-1 Sheridan
Coret Rovers 1-3 South Laithland
Ritter Town 6-1 East Laithland Harriers
Riverkey 1-0 North Sabrefell
Pillars of Southfell 0-2 Maximum City
Chenoworth Rovers 4-0 Hackett
Greygate 1-1 Belgrave
Extreme Hills 2-1 Armstrong
Corvette Maulers 4-1 Crossroads Town
North Laithland 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Chatswood 1-0 Rochford
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Cypher Town
Crisisbless United 2-1 Coret Rovers
Sheridan 1-1 Ritter Town
South Laithland 2-0 Riverkey
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
North Sabrefell 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Maximum City 3-0 Greygate
Hackett 1-0 Extreme Hills
Belgrave 1-2 Corvette Maulers
Armstrong 2-0 North Laithland
Crossroads Town 0-1 Chatswood
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Rochford
Coret Rovers 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Ritter Town 0-2 Cypher Town
Riverkey 1-2 Crisisbless United
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Sheridan
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 South Laithland
Greygate 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Extreme Hills 2-1 North Sabrefell
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Maximum City
North Laithland 2-0 Hackett
Chatswood 0-1 Belgrave
Rochford 1-0 Armstrong
AFC Corvistone 4-0 Crossroads Town
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Ritter Town
Coret Rovers 0-1 Riverkey
Cypher Town 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Crisisbless United 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Sheridan 1-0 Greygate
South Laithland 2-2 Extreme Hills
East Laithland Harriers 6-0 Corvette Maulers
North Sabrefell 0-1 North Laithland
Maximum City 0-1 Chatswood
Hackett 2-0 Rochford
Belgrave 3-1 AFC Corvistone
Armstrong 0-0 Crossroads Town

Matchday 13: Rochford annihilate East Laithland 6-1, with the Owls rampant against the Harriers. Burgundy is simply allowed to do as she likes despite theoretically being outnumbered in midfield, and they manage to slam the fragile Harriers with pace and power every time. Greygate and Coret Rovers exchange blows in a similarly rambunctious 5-3, with Ricketts, Jozic and, after taunting the Rovers' crowd after scoring Greygate's fourth, Makhone Djite all sent off. Cromwell, Cisneros and Karagounis hit Riverkey hard in a 3-0 win for Pillars of Southfell, not normally a free-flowing side but made to look it by inferior opponents.

Matchday 14: Let it never be said that second-tier clubs don't learn tactical lessons. After witnessing Burgundy's demolition act against the Harriers, Sheridan midfielder Galen Wickham slams through her twice, in the 9th and 14th minutes. He's booked both times, sent off... but Burgundy follows, on a stretcher. 10 men or not, Sheridan snatch the win through a direct free kick from Mullen. South Laithland's grit sees them match the Crows. A brilliant volley from Stanford and a stylish, mazy goal from Delacruz are answered by a simple goal off a corner from Ferror and a scruffy tap-in from substitute Tanith Stark.

Matchday 15: "The Pillars result was a wake-up call," concedes Ewan Sanderson, and a resilient performance at the back keeps a rampant Corvette Maulers to two goals while a counterattack, a set piece and a penalty, with Coridan Theo tying everything together, ensures a 3-2 win away against a promotion contender - Riverkey's second straight win. Weirdly, towering Maximum City rightback Ellen Mifsud manages her first two goals of the season in a 3-0 win over Vermillion Wanderers.

Matchday 16: Most of the attention's on a spicy inter-Sabrefell match between rugged, down-to-earth Sheridan and fancy-dan Belgrave. Potenza puts Sherries up early, but Meriadoc Griffiths has instilled a real backbone into the Gargoyles. Ilary Muscat has a goal chalked off for offside and then goes one better just minutes later, before Whyte and Rouseff finish the job in the second half as Sigmar Ward's forceful approach in holding midfield gives Sheridan a welcome taste of its own medicine.

Matchday 17: Hackett are the story of the day, continuing to defy their gloomy predictions. Torsten Muller's really retaken his best form this season, and notches up a hat-trick in a 5-0 demolition of Crisisbless United. Chequers manager Fay Harville is left bemoaning refereeing decisions that were largely irrelevant to the fact that they were played off the park.

Matchday 18: A sparkling showing from Josie Webster hauls the Spiders past Corvette as she's dropping enthusiastic forward passes on willing recipients all match, though Gerhard Sinstadt - unrecognisable from the callow figure of last season - deserves credit for some sharp saves as well in an eventual 2-1 win. Corvistone take 90 minutes to break down Chenoworth Rovers, but tragically, after an exemplary performance, Adino Eliot... passes straight to Stanford, who calmly slots home. Harper in the technical area is... displeased.

Matchday 19: Arkwright replaces Eliot for the Rovers in their 1-1 draw with Armstrong. Visiting the Crows, Extreme Hills sponge up all the pressure, constantly breaking but never broken. Well, once broken - Jack Brier comes off the bench to produce something special to put them ahead, but not long afterwards Coretta Rooke is played through and just... keeps running, half the length of the pitch, rounds Kovacic and slides the ball home. Cypher smack down East Laithland 6-1, Petridis really something special at this level, Tihamer notching a hat-trick.

Matchday 20: This time, Ritter Town cruise to a 6-1 thrashing of the Harriers, who are possibly just bad. "This is not the season we finally go under," Providence Mitford vows. In fairness, they're not alone in getting hammered - Chenoworth Rovers splatter Hackett 4-0, the Maulers put four past a diffident Crossroads and Crisisbless United smash Vermillion 4-1. Not for the first time this season, Sheridan shut down the team that just had a massive win - this time it's Cypher, and by the same method of targeting Petridis for 'special treatment' from the bruising Wickham before snatching a goal against the run of play from Murdock.

Matchday 21: Mitford's vow gets some traction. Yet again, East Laithland score a goal, a brisk passing move finished off by Forsyth. This time, however, Stamocostas keeps a clean sheet, and they beat Pillars 1-0. Leigh Fletcher continues to do the best she can with a paper-thin squad, and her Chatswood side prevents Crossroads from taking so much as a shot on target in a clinical 1-0 win of their own.

Matchday 22: Now it's time for Afolayan to shine out from the pack of Corvistone's forwards as he dominates Mathiasen en route to a 4-0 win over Crossroads, a beleagured Marcel Pellegrin supposedly inching closer to the sack. He's beaten to quickest, though, as Coret Rovers give Dorian Brindle the flick as they slump to a late 2-1 defeat to Vermillion at home in a key relegation six-pointer. They lead through an increasingly rare Liberty Hammond goal in the eleventh minute... they were dropped in the 89th and 93rd minute to a defeat you just knew was coming since they sincerely cannot defend.

Matchday 23: A top seven's beginning to settle down, certainly a top nine you could call in the promotion race. Cypher Town sit at the top, beating Pillars and watching Corvistone fall 3-1 to Belgrave, with the Laithland sides filling out the top four. Despite that win, Belgrave are very definitely not in it. As for the relegation candidates, Hackett are surprisingly not among them, sitting pretty in 11th. They get there in part with a 2-0 win over Rochford, who still haven't drawn a match halfway into the season. In 21st, Crossroads are still misfiring but at least keep Armstrong to a scoreless draw - even so, Vermillion leapfrog them with Bryson's brace over Ritter - while a scarcely credible 6-0 win from East Laithland over Corvette sees the Harriers rising above the chaff. That chaff would be Pillars and Coret, who both lose 1-0.

Crisisbless Athletic 4-0 Sutcroft
Martella Jazz 0-0 Mantlegrove
Kommissar 3-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Peregrine 1-0 The Strongest
The Hanged Man 3-1 Locksley
Cranequin City 1-1 Southriver
West Brinemouth 1-0 Boleyn Town
Iron City 1-2 Stonegrave
AFC Shale 2-0 Iron United
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 South Parrhesia
Falston United 2-0 Barossia United
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 Falston Town
Mantlegrove 2-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Dartmouth Terriers 2-1 Sutcroft
The Strongest 1-3 Martella Jazz
Locksley 3-1 Kommissar
Southriver 1-3 Peregrine
Boleyn Town 1-0 The Hanged Man
Stonegrave 1-0 Cranequin City
Iron United 0-1 West Brinemouth
South Parrhesia 1-0 Iron City
Barossia United 0-2 AFC Shale
Falston Town 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 Falston United
Crisisbless Athletic 3-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Mantlegrove 1-1 The Strongest
Sutcroft 0-3 Locksley
Martella Jazz 3-1 Southriver
Kommissar 0-0 Boleyn Town
Peregrine 1-2 Stonegrave
The Hanged Man 2-0 Iron United
Cranequin City 5-1 South Parrhesia
West Brinemouth 1-0 Barossia United
Iron City 2-0 Falston Town
AFC Shale 1-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Falston United
The Strongest 2-5 Crisisbless Athletic
Locksley 2-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Southriver 1-1 Mantlegrove
Boleyn Town 1-2 Sutcroft
Stonegrave 1-0 Martella Jazz
Iron United 0-0 Kommissar
South Parrhesia 1-1 Peregrine
Barossia United 1-0 The Hanged Man
Falston Town 1-2 Cranequin City
Lazuli Diamonds 0-3 West Brinemouth
Falston United 1-1 Iron City
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 AFC Shale
Crisisbless Athletic 1-4 Locksley
The Strongest 3-4 Southriver
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Boleyn Town
Mantlegrove 1-0 Stonegrave
Sutcroft 0-0 Iron United
Martella Jazz 3-1 South Parrhesia
Kommissar 6-3 Barossia United
Peregrine 1-1 Falston Town
The Hanged Man 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Cranequin City 3-1 Falston United
West Brinemouth 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Iron City 1-1 AFC Shale
Southriver 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Boleyn Town 1-1 Locksley
Stonegrave 2-1 The Strongest
Iron United 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
South Parrhesia 1-1 Mantlegrove
Barossia United 0-0 Sutcroft
Falston Town 2-5 Martella Jazz
Lazuli Diamonds 3-2 Kommissar
Falston United 1-0 Peregrine
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 The Hanged Man
AFC Shale 1-0 Cranequin City
Iron City 2-1 West Brinemouth
Crisisbless Athletic 5-2 Boleyn Town
Southriver 1-0 Stonegrave
Locksley 2-0 Iron United
The Strongest 5-0 South Parrhesia
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Barossia United
Mantlegrove 4-0 Falston Town
Sutcroft 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Martella Jazz 2-1 Falston United
Kommissar 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Peregrine 1-0 AFC Shale
The Hanged Man 0-1 Iron City
Cranequin City 2-0 West Brinemouth
Stonegrave 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Iron United 3-0 Boleyn Town
South Parrhesia 2-2 Southriver
Barossia United 0-1 Locksley
Falston Town 0-1 The Strongest
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Falston United 0-1 Mantlegrove
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Sutcroft
AFC Shale 1-1 Martella Jazz
Iron City 2-0 Kommissar
West Brinemouth 4-1 Peregrine
Cranequin City 0-1 The Hanged Man
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Iron United
Stonegrave 2-0 South Parrhesia
Boleyn Town 2-0 Barossia United
Southriver 2-0 Falston Town
Locksley 3-1 Lazuli Diamonds
The Strongest 1-0 Falston United
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Mantlegrove 1-1 AFC Shale
Sutcroft 0-0 Iron City
Martella Jazz 2-1 West Brinemouth
Kommissar 0-3 Cranequin City
Peregrine 2-0 The Hanged Man
South Parrhesia 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Barossia United 0-5 Iron United
Falston Town 2-1 Stonegrave
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Boleyn Town
Falston United 2-0 Southriver
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Locksley
AFC Shale 3-0 The Strongest
Iron City 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
West Brinemouth 3-1 Mantlegrove
Cranequin City 2-2 Sutcroft
The Hanged Man 1-0 Martella Jazz
Peregrine 3-3 Kommissar
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 Barossia United
South Parrhesia 1-6 Falston Town
Iron United 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Stonegrave 0-0 Falston United
Boleyn Town 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Southriver 1-1 AFC Shale
Locksley 0-1 Iron City
The Strongest 1-3 West Brinemouth
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Cranequin City
Mantlegrove 1-1 The Hanged Man
Sutcroft 2-1 Peregrine
Martella Jazz 3-3 Kommissar

Locksley continue to dominate the league while West Brinemouth muscle their way into the picture and Iron City maintain the course - beneath them, it’s anyone’s game, three teams level on 40 and Shale on 39. Falston Town demolish South Parrhesia 6-1 away, the Vermillion side’s third straight defeat, but Town remain in the bottom four regardless along with rivals United and a hapless Boleyn Town, though Southriver, the Strongest and Peregrine could all potentially drop into it, all safe by four points.

Sutcroft Athletic 1-3 Iberia Chenoworth
Rushe United 2-5 Dross Rovers
Brookway Town 1-1 Alliance Barossia
FC Seierstad 2-2 Gosmouth Swans
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Mapleford
Brindleton 1-1 Ox River United
Strephonage 1-0 Ballardine FC
West Hook 2-0 Gridlock Rovers
Kensey Town 1-0 Long Lake
Boltcroft Thorns 0-3 Ringway
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Pravenna Saints
Hartford Glade 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Dross Rovers 3-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Alliance Barossia 3-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Rushe United
Mapleford 2-0 Brookway Town
Ox River United 2-0 FC Seierstad
Ballardine FC 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Gridlock Rovers 0-1 Brindleton
Long Lake 0-1 Strephonage
Ringway 0-1 West Hook
Pravenna Saints 1-1 Kensey Town
Rochford Pilgrims 0-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Hartford Glade 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Dross Rovers 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Iberia Chenoworth 1-1 Mapleford
Rushe United 1-0 Ox River United
Brookway Town 4-2 Ballardine FC
FC Seierstad 1-1 Gridlock Rovers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Long Lake
Brindleton 3-0 Ringway
Strephonage 1-0 Pravenna Saints
West Hook 0-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Kensey Town 1-0 Hartford Glade
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Mapleford 0-0 Alliance Barossia
Ox River United 4-1 Dross Rovers
Ballardine FC 2-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Gridlock Rovers 1-0 Rushe United
Long Lake 1-0 Brookway Town
Ringway 0-2 FC Seierstad
Pravenna Saints 1-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Rochford Pilgrims 0-0 Brindleton
Hartford Glade 0-2 Strephonage
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 West Hook
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Kensey Town
Sutcroft Athletic 3-2 Mapleford
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Ox River United
Alliance Barossia 3-2 Ballardine FC
Dross Rovers 0-3 Gridlock Rovers
Iberia Chenoworth 1-3 Long Lake
Rushe United 4-2 Ringway
Brookway Town 1-3 Pravenna Saints
FC Seierstad 0-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Hartford Glade
Brindleton 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Strephonage 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
West Hook 3-0 Kensey Town
Ox River United 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Ballardine FC 2-0 Mapleford
Gridlock Rovers 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Long Lake 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Ringway 1-0 Dross Rovers
Pravenna Saints 3-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Rushe United
Hartford Glade 4-0 Brookway Town
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 FC Seierstad
Boltcroft Thorns 4-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Kensey Town 2-0 Brindleton
West Hook 1-0 Strephonage
Sutcroft Athletic 4-3 Ballardine FC
Ox River United 3-1 Gridlock Rovers
Mapleford 1-1 Long Lake
Gosmouth Swans 3-0 Ringway
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Pravenna Saints
Dross Rovers 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Iberia Chenoworth 6-1 Hartford Glade
Rushe United 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Brookway Town 1-4 Boltcroft Thorns
FC Seierstad 3-2 Kensey Town
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 West Hook
Brindleton 1-1 Strephonage
Gridlock Rovers 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Long Lake 1-4 Ballardine FC
Ringway 1-0 Ox River United
Pravenna Saints 0-1 Mapleford
Rochford Pilgrims 3-0 Gosmouth Swans
Hartford Glade 1-3 Alliance Barossia
Corinthians No Longer 1-4 Dross Rovers
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Kensey Town 2-1 Rushe United
West Hook 3-2 Brookway Town
Strephonage 3-0 FC Seierstad
Brindleton 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Sutcroft Athletic 3-1 Long Lake
Gridlock Rovers 2-0 Ringway
Ballardine FC 0-1 Pravenna Saints
Ox River United 0-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Mapleford 0-0 Hartford Glade
Gosmouth Swans 2-4 Corinthians No Longer
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Dross Rovers 0-2 Kensey Town
Iberia Chenoworth 0-1 West Hook
Rushe United 0-2 Strephonage
Brookway Town 0-2 Brindleton
FC Seierstad 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Ringway 0-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Pravenna Saints 0-0 Long Lake
Rochford Pilgrims 2-1 Gridlock Rovers
Hartford Glade 1-1 Ballardine FC
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Ox River United
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Mapleford
Kensey Town 3-0 Gosmouth Swans
West Hook 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Strephonage 1-0 Dross Rovers
Brindleton 5-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Rushe United
FC Seierstad 3-1 Brookway Town
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Pravenna Saints
Ringway 1-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Long Lake 1-1 Hartford Glade
Gridlock Rovers 1-3 Corinthians No Longer
Ballardine FC 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Ox River United 0-1 Kensey Town
Mapleford 1-1 West Hook
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Strephonage
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Brindleton
Dross Rovers 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Iberia Chenoworth 2-1 FC Seierstad
Rushe United 0-1 Brookway Town

Despite a 2-0 defeat to Gosmouth, Strephonage remain six points clear at the top - beneath them, it’s anyone’s game, though the smart money’s on Alliance Barossia and Chardonnay Rangers who underline their credentials with confident wins. Despite a 1-1 draw with Mapleford, a club so forgettable this journalist had literally forgotten it existed and had to go look up records to make sure they hadn’t just spawned out of nowhere, West Hook maintain a two-point buffer in fourth. At the bottom of the table… it’s fucking anyone’s game, Hartford Glade in 17th and Iberia Chenoworth in 22nd separated by one whole point. Dross Rovers are one beneath them and Rushe two beneath them, but anything could happen.

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sabrefell Moths 23 16 2 5 45 23 +22 50
2 Starling 23 15 4 4 51 21 +30 49
3 AFC Treason 23 15 4 4 36 20 +16 49
4 Brinemouth 23 14 4 5 47 27 +20 46

5 Chenoworth Harriers 23 10 5 8 36 26 +10 35
6 Crisisbless 23 9 7 7 27 20 +7 34
7 Sabrefell Athletic 23 9 7 7 35 30 +5 34

8 Vermillion Rage 23 9 7 7 34 32 +2 34
9 Newrook City 23 9 7 7 30 28 +2 34
10 Coret Hawks 23 8 9 6 31 21 +10 33
11 Leichhardt 23 8 7 8 22 24 -2 31
12 Goodfeather FC 23 8 7 8 21 23 -2 31
13 Creed United 23 6 12 5 38 29 +9 30
14 Southfell United 23 8 6 9 32 38 -6 30
15 Bishop 23 6 10 7 26 31 -5 28
16 Parrhesia United 23 7 7 9 24 29 -5 28
17 Raven River 23 7 6 10 26 31 -5 27
18 Violence Chariots 23 6 8 9 30 29 +1 26
19 AFC Serpentine 23 7 5 11 33 45 -12 26
20 Morningstar 23 5 9 9 14 27 -13 24
21 Brookford Otters 23 5 7 11 28 44 -16 22
22 Diamondqueen 23 4 6 13 19 39 -20 18
23 Cranequin Wanderers 23 3 7 13 25 51 -26 16
24 Maximum Rovers 23 3 5 15 19 41 -22 14

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cypher Town 23 14 6 3 39 14 +25 48
2 AFC Corvistone 23 14 5 4 45 21 +24 47
3 North Laithland 23 13 7 3 36 20 +16 46

4 South Laithland 23 14 3 6 26 15 +11 45
5 Chatswood 23 14 2 7 29 21 +8 44
6 North Sabrefell 23 12 5 6 32 18 +14 41
7 Crisisbless United 23 12 4 7 36 29 +7 40
8 Corvette Maulers 23 11 3 9 33 29 +4 36
9 Armstrong 23 10 6 7 22 20 +2 36
10 Chenoworth Rovers 23 7 10 6 32 21 +11 31
11 Hackett 23 9 4 10 23 29 -6 31
12 Maximum City 23 8 6 9 23 21 +2 30
13 Belgrave 23 7 8 8 34 33 +1 29
14 Ritter Town 23 8 5 10 31 30 +1 29
15 Extreme Hills 23 7 7 9 29 35 -6 28
16 Riverkey 23 7 6 10 21 27 -6 27
17 Rochford 23 9 0 14 23 30 -7 27
18 Sheridan 23 7 6 10 18 27 -9 27
19 Greygate 23 5 9 9 29 40 -11 24
20 Vermillion Wanderers 23 6 5 12 30 42 -12 23
21 Crossroads Town 23 5 6 12 19 30 -11 21
22 East Laithland Harriers 23 5 6 12 31 46 -15 21
23 Pillars of Southfell 23 4 6 13 17 32 -15 18
24 Coret Rovers 23 5 1 17 21 49 -28 16

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Locksley 23 17 3 3 53 21 +32 54
2 West Brinemouth 23 14 1 8 33 21 +12 43
3 Iron City 23 13 4 6 30 18 +12 43
4 Crisisbless Athletic 23 12 4 7 46 31 +15 40

5 Lazuli Diamonds 23 12 4 7 42 33 +9 40
6 AFC Shale 23 11 7 5 28 20 +8 40
7 Stonegrave 23 12 3 8 27 18 +9 39
8 Mantlegrove 23 10 7 6 32 22 +10 37
9 Gonen's Bridge 23 10 7 6 23 16 +7 37
10 Martella Jazz 23 10 4 9 35 29 +6 34
11 Kommissar 23 9 5 9 33 32 +1 32
12 Cranequin City 23 9 4 10 34 28 +6 31
13 Dartmouth Terriers 23 8 7 8 26 24 +2 31
14 Iron United 23 9 3 11 27 25 +2 30
15 The Hanged Man 23 9 3 11 18 18 +0 30
16 Sutcroft 23 7 7 9 18 28 -10 28
17 Barossia United 23 8 4 11 21 33 -12 28
18 Southriver 23 6 7 10 25 33 -8 25
19 The Strongest 23 7 4 12 31 42 -11 25
20 Peregrine 23 6 7 10 30 42 -12 25
21 Falston United 23 6 3 14 18 31 -13 21
22 Falston Town 23 5 5 13 24 42 -18 20
23 Boleyn Town 23 5 5 13 15 33 -18 20
24 South Parrhesia 23 5 4 14 23 52 -29 19

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Strephonage 23 16 4 3 33 11 +22 52
2 Alliance Barossia 23 13 7 3 40 25 +15 46
3 Chardonnay Rangers 23 14 3 6 46 25 +21 45
4 West Hook 23 13 6 4 30 15 +15 45

5 Brindleton 23 12 7 4 36 17 +19 43
6 Boltcroft Thorns 23 12 4 7 34 32 +2 40
7 Kensey Town 23 11 6 6 38 28 +10 39
8 Ballardine FC 23 10 6 7 38 24 +14 36
9 Gosmouth Swans 23 11 3 9 30 34 -4 36
10 Corinthians No Longer 23 9 6 8 48 45 +3 33
11 Ox River United 23 9 5 9 28 22 +6 32
12 Long Lake 23 8 8 7 24 26 -2 32
13 Gridlock Rovers 23 8 6 9 25 30 -5 30
14 Rochford Pilgrims 23 7 8 8 29 30 -1 29
15 FC Seierstad 23 8 4 11 25 32 -7 28
16 Ringway 23 8 3 12 22 39 -17 27
17 Hartford Glade 23 6 5 12 25 33 -8 23
18 Brookway Town 23 7 2 14 26 42 -16 23
19 Pravenna Saints 23 5 7 11 23 31 -8 22
20 Mapleford 23 4 10 9 18 28 -10 22
21 Sutcroft Athletic 23 6 4 13 24 36 -12 22
22 Iberia Chenoworth 23 7 1 15 39 54 -15 22
23 Dross Rovers 23 6 3 14 27 36 -9 21
24 Rushe United 23 5 4 14 25 38 -13 19

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Grovebank 23 14 5 4 38 20 +18 47
2 Sirencall FC 23 13 4 6 45 28 +17 43

3 Harrington 23 12 5 6 40 28 +12 41
4 Brokenarch 23 10 9 4 33 18 +15 39
5 Capricopia Rangers 23 11 6 6 36 24 +12 39
6 Ingram Township 23 9 10 4 25 22 +3 37
7 Fischer 23 9 7 7 32 28 +4 34
8 Stonesthrow Town 23 10 4 9 26 25 +1 34
9 Gridlock 23 10 4 9 18 19 -1 34
10 Sleetwell Rangers 23 10 3 10 31 37 -6 33
11 Fully Sick XI 23 8 8 7 37 26 +11 32
12 Swag Hill Rovers 23 8 7 8 36 33 +3 31
13 Courser 23 8 7 8 25 24 +1 31
14 Nay Town 23 8 2 13 23 44 -21 26
15 Fenland Albion 23 5 10 8 20 21 -1 25
16 AFC Brackwold 23 6 6 11 33 39 -6 24
17 Gridlock East 23 6 4 13 21 30 -9 22
18 AFC Hellerine 23 5 5 13 24 42 -18 20
19 Norton Road 23 5 5 13 25 46 -21 20
20 Bellamy 23 4 7 12 17 31 -14 19

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Aries Solitaire 23 15 4 4 47 29 +18 49
2 Corvistone City 23 13 8 2 30 12 +18 47

3 Stamper Road 23 14 5 4 45 30 +15 47
4 Brunyard FC 23 13 4 6 51 29 +22 43
5 Bodkin Road 23 13 4 6 44 27 +17 43
6 Downsparrow 23 11 8 4 42 24 +18 41
7 Rookwall 23 12 4 7 32 28 +4 40
8 Rhyburn Swifts 23 9 5 9 44 43 +1 32
9 South Brill 23 8 7 8 36 33 +3 31
10 Blaze 23 7 10 6 30 30 +0 31
11 Sandrock 23 8 6 9 29 32 -3 30
12 The Travellers FC 23 8 4 11 32 45 -13 28
13 Twelvetrees 23 6 7 10 22 31 -9 25
14 Corby Hubris 23 7 3 13 31 47 -16 24
15 Mainstream Fist 23 6 4 13 27 46 -19 22
16 Senway Town 23 5 6 12 26 32 -6 21
17 Coral Bay 23 4 9 10 25 32 -7 21
18 Violence Tigers 23 4 8 11 23 36 -13 20
19 AFC Burchess 23 4 8 11 23 36 -13 20
20 Masculine Town 23 3 6 14 23 40 -17 15

PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:01 pm
by Nephara
Rushe United 0-5 South Parrhesia
Brookford Otters 1-0 AFC Serpentine
AFC Corvistone 0-3 Bishop
AFC Shale 1-9 Corvette Maulers
Hackett 2-0 Morningstar
Creed United 1-1 The Hanged Man (2-1 AET)
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Cypher Town 0-1 Maximum Rovers
Sabrefell Athletic 0-1 Violence Chariots
Iron City 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Extreme Hills 2-4 Newrook City
Starling 0-3 Diamondqueen
Goodfeather FC 3-2 Crisisbless United
Riverkey 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Vermillion Rage 4-3 AFC Treason

Before Corvistone visit Bishop, Crows manager Davalei Evatee confidently announces; “This is our audition for the Premiership!” That pretty single-handedly makes the game’s hype, and an inordinate amount of attention is paid… as Bishop play them off the park, the intensity of their forwards pummelling Corvistone’s slightly fragile defence, tidy finishes from Neptune, Jensen and Mersiades and a clean sheet from Connor Risdon under pressure ensuring a comfortable victory for the Cardinals. Brightwater couldn’t resist a dig at her opponents; “I reckon we showed them how far they’ve got to go.” Other First Division sides have more luck at home - Sara Penford and the veteran forward Rhianna Forrest see Hackett cruise past reigning runners-up Morningstar, while Julian Parable finally looks like a Premiership player as he shuts down the Harriers with Harrison Cruz’s brace securing a 2-0 win for Riverkey. Cypher Town might have hoped to beat a poor Maximum Rovers, especially as they rest captain and star Kolitsidakis, but an assured performance from Cup goalkeeper Colmeyer and a first goal of the season for Allen Slayback give the Rovers a 1-0 win. A vicious rather than artful East Sabrefell derby sees the Chariots beat Sabrefell Athletic 1-0. A match in Vermillion played at blistering pace sees seven goals and two red cards, and it’s the Rage who come out ahead 4-3 over high-flying AFC Treason. Ben Randall fumes on the sidelines, with young defender Daniel Axweald flunking his first start of the season - same with promising goalkeeper Rustwyth. Out of basically nowhere, Diamondqueen come to Starling and come away with a 3-0 win, with their second-string side no less! With Weber looking jaded, perhaps Desdemona Schuster - two assists and a goal, here - can step up to the plate? There’s somehow not just one, but two Crisisbless derbies. Crisisbless vs. Athletic doesn’t quite live up to the hype, despite a full-strength Heelers side - centre-half Tristan Young is colossal for Athletic, and winger Leon Rinehart slams a shot against the post late on, but ultimately Tia Drenas finishes it with a silky run through three defenders and a neatly-slotted finish. The other sees United come to Goodfeather, and the high-intensity, high-octane approach of the Chessmen pays immediate dividends, Kaija Koppel scoring within just nineteen seconds. Rannon hits back, but is then replied by Rivers before Koppel has a potential third chalked off for a marginal offside. In the second half, though, the transformed Quakers sweep United aside, playing them off the park and finding belated end product through seasoned striker Amelia Rusmond, who nets a brace as Goodfeather win 3-2.
South Parrhesia, bottom-feeders of the Second Division, are matched against Rushe United, bottom-feeders of the Third. It’s not exactly a glamour tie, and both sides offer second-strings, but Souths come away with a 5-0 win regardless. Largely passing beneath notice, Serpentine are beaten 1-0 by the Otters. Creed United, meanwhile, rely on an extra-time winner from the veteran Conor Magellan to beat The Hanged Man. Finally, in Shale, the Golems’ defensive approach crumbles under pressure. The Second Division promotion chasers are slammed 9-1 at home by Corvette, young piebald striker Patches Rathbone scoring her second, third, fourth and fifth goals of the season.

Cranequin Wanderers 1-4 Sabrefell Athletic
Leichhardt 3-3 Sabrefell Moths
Maximum Rovers 1-3 AFC Treason
Goodfeather FC 2-3 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless 2-1 Violence Chariots
Southfell United 1-3 Coret Hawks
Diamondqueen 1-2 Starling
Brinemouth 2-1 Brookford Otters
Morningstar 2-0 Creed United
Raven River 2-0 Newrook City
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Parrhesia United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Bishop

The Moths stumble at the summit, despite taking a 2-0 lead within half an hour over Leichhardt. With a newly-promoted, defensive-minded team like that, you might think that’d be job done. No. Andrea Vardalos’ side can stretch to pull goals back when they need, and they prove it. Bellinghausen is bundled in the box by Desantis for a penalty that Miralem Fowler dispatches easily, before Ingrid Auttenberg manages an aerial one-two to set up Felix Reiter to equalise on the stroke of half-time. Not only that, Leichhardt take the lead against the run of play just before the hour mark, Michael Koller heading home Fowler’s arcing free kick. The Moths do eventually equalise through Townsend, but wins for Treason - predictably, over Maximum Rovers - and Starling - getting immediate revenge against Diamondqueen - see them slip to third. Levin Castellan is respectful as he scores against Sabrefell Athletic, declining to celebrate as he arrives late in the box to smash home Theoharous’ cutback. He may as well have done. Athletic put four past Selkie in reply. Things aren’t looking great for the Wanderers.

Sabrefell Athletic 4-3 Leichhardt
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Maximum Rovers
Sabrefell Moths 3-3 Goodfeather FC
AFC Treason 2-1 Crisisbless
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Southfell United
Violence Chariots 2-1 Diamondqueen
Coret Hawks 1-1 Brinemouth
Starling 3-0 Morningstar
Brookford Otters 1-1 Raven River
Creed United 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Newrook City 1-5 Chenoworth Harriers
Parrhesia United 0-1 Bishop

Big matches at the top and bottom of the league. Treason, challenged by Crisisbless, overturn a first-half deficit the old-school way - two long balls, two Asher Voeller knock-downs, two Roddy Fraser finishes. Brosque, an old-school man himself, is unimpressed at his defence. At the bottom, Cranequin Wanderers are undone by the pace on the break of Maximum Rovers, all the patient possession in the world undone by long balls over the top and Konstanze Luitgard’s searing pace. 2-0 to the Rovers it finishes, a major boost to Elrik Raskine’s squad. Largely passing underneath the notice of most of the league, Newrook have lost five matches straight. People are paying attention after the last one, because the Harriers absolutely dominate them, putting five past Hesketh with just one from Ironhewer (Bothroyd is injured, which isn’t helping) in reply. What does Andreu Bartolnicci do? “It was hard for us to play against twelve men tonight,” he bitches to the press. John Sedder responds with laughter. The exact same sequence happens between Leichhardt and a Sabrefell giant as happened last match… with one exception. This time, Athletic don’t just equalise - they’re able, thanks to a scuffed clearance from a tired Amarantidis, to win it as Avila Wardenier, in dubious form this season, manages to glide in and shove the ball home. The Moths are embroiled in another 3-3, this time dominant at 3-1 with an hour gone before Orion Etzebeth is sent off for a harsh second yellow and then the floodgates open in midfield, Falcon Case doing whatever he wants - as it happens, scoring and setting up former Moths youth product Corona Sharpe for the equaliser. She celebrates whole-heartedly for about four seconds before realising Tradition and stopping, but it’s too late - she’s booed resoundingly by the fans. So she responds, reasonably, by reverting to openly taunting them. When you’ve already got eleven goals for the campaign, Corona, you can do whatever you want.

Maximum Rovers 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Goodfeather FC 0-2 Leichhardt
Crisisbless 3-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Southfell United 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
Diamondqueen 2-2 AFC Treason
Brinemouth 3-0 Vermillion Rage
Morningstar 0-2 Violence Chariots
Raven River 0-1 Coret Hawks
AFC Serpentine 0-3 Starling
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Brookford Otters
Bishop 2-0 Creed United
Parrhesia United 1-1 Newrook City

It’s always refreshing to have a matchday where no result is terribly unexpected or momentous. It gives a reason to look at relatively lower-profile sides and players that might not always make it into a league post. Ivana Henderson, for instance, a quiet success story of the season. With a typically Nepharim mixture of muscle, guile and directness, she manages to break the deadlock against a resilient River side by pressing Kaeman into an error, racing onto the rebounding ball, careering left before Caravel so quickly she actually skids and slips in the grass… gets to her feet and just before Daleiden thunders into her, thumps the ball into the net past a flat-footed Bowerman. Brookford have a similarly impressive signing of their own, Guillermo Cecchini having stepped up admirably to the challenge of the top flight, and today manages a direct corner that sneaks straight into the net, though it could perhaps have been avoided with Sheffield not going missing in the melee. As for the Chariots, they’re hypothetically near the drop zone… but Isla Safarova knows what she’s doing. Today was one of those days where her approach pays dividends, Rowena Sierra having more flair and spark than the entire Morningstar club, pretty much moving and shimmying at will through the defence. She probably should have a goal or two to her name, but a couple of cutbacks after all the hard work does at least get Ulster and Anise Riske on the scoresheet.

Sabrefell Athletic 6-0 Goodfeather FC
Maximum Rovers 3-2 Crisisbless
Leichhardt 2-0 Southfell United
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Diamondqueen
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Brinemouth
AFC Treason 2-0 Morningstar
Vermillion Rage 5-0 Raven River
Violence Chariots 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Coret Hawks 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Starling 1-1 Bishop
Brookford Otters 2-0 Parrhesia United
Creed United 0-3 Newrook City

Sabrefell Athletic ruthlessly put Goodfeather to the sword in a 6-0 demolition, just one of those days where anything they did from any angle of the pitch seemed to find a way past Raven Forster, who does not have her finest hour. Vermillion are just as destructive to Raven River, Spurlock’s policy of a high-pressing midfield forcing turnovers unsurprisingly hard-countering a River side determined to press high in defence and make bad passes. Five goals are put past Bowerman in the first forty minutes before in the second half Bittencourt decides discretion is the better part of valour, replaces Kaukenas with Heffernan and sits deep, ensuring that it remains 5-0 in a placid second half. “Kept half a clean sheet, at least,” Bittencourt says drily. Konstanze Luitgard, the second tier’s equal-top scorer last season, scores her fifth and sixth goals in four games in the first half… against Crisisbless. Apoplectic, Aidan Brosque forces a second-half comeback with three changes at the interval. And it works! Goals from Croxteth and Staunton haul Crisisbless level, and they pepper Nicholas Lindberg’s goal with shots, but the Llamanean’s equal to the task… and then, totally against the run of play, Julia Thane spots Pawlo Marciak off his line (as he should be, sweeping behind the defence) and arcs a beautiful ball over his head from just ahead of the halfway line. 3-2, and… could the Rovers actually do it? As Starling are held by Bishop, the Moths claw back some points as they face Brinemouth in a tightly-contested fixture. It could have turned out so differently. 1-1 half an hour in and Jon Haines clatters Dragana in the box, Pablo Scotti steps up for the penalty… and Robert Griffin, with a mighty leap and possibly stepping forward off his line just before the shot was taken, sprawls to save it. The wind is battered out of Brinemouth’s sails, and the Moths are dominant from there, two goals in the second half ensuring they take the points.

Riverkey 2-0 Violence Chariots
Vermillion Rage 4-5 Brookford Otters
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Diamondqueen (0-0 AET, 3-1 PKs)
South Parrhesia 0-2 Crisisbless
Newrook City 1-1 Maximum Rovers (1-1 AET, 3-2 PKs)
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 4-1 Sabrefell Moths
Hackett 1-1 Creed United (1-2 AET)

A scalp is taken, goals from Cruz and Madonis enough for a resilient Riverkey side to fight off the disorganised, scattered Chariots. Hackett take Creed to extra time, but Raquel Accardi comes off the bench to secure the victory for the Oathmen with a blistering drive too hot for Sorenholm to handle. Corvette can't find a way through against Bishop, and predictably, third-tier bottom-feeders South Parrhesia are easily beaten 2-0 at home by Crisisbless' second string, leaving Riverkey the last lower-league side left. Vermillion against Brookford is the pick of the round for a neutral, two sides who excel at hitting on the counter and are vulnerable to the counter unsurprisingly hammering each other. At no point does either side ratchet up a two-goal lead, and when the dust settles, the Otters have won 5-4. Credit to Goodfeather most of all, though, for utterly outplaying the Moths. Corona Sharpe notches up two goals against her hometown club on the way to a decisive 4-1 win.

Crisisbless 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Southfell United 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Diamondqueen 5-1 Maximum Rovers
Brinemouth 2-1 Leichhardt
Morningstar 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Raven River 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Serpentine 1-2 AFC Treason
Chenoworth Harriers 3-1 Vermillion Rage
Bishop 1-1 Violence Chariots
Parrhesia United 1-0 Coret Hawks
Newrook City 0-2 Starling
Creed United 3-1 Brookford Otters

Crisisbless play Athletic in the ‘teams frustrated at being locked out of the top four’ derby, and it’s a great game. Crisisbless dominate early doors, but Athletic go ahead with one of those chances that Estrella Hawke just snatches up. The Heelers overextend forward in reprisal and are immediately hit on the break by Chloe Rudden’s pace, still close to intact at 30. But finally, finally, the Heelers display the resilience Aidan Brosque wants. Andrea Molovi finds Jevdjevic-Hadsic’s corner and heads it cleanly into the top corner before, in the second half, a scything diagonal pass from Bronte sees Isaia Urso peel away from Rainsford, cut back inside to wrongfoot Lauren and then rifle low and hard beyond Gautier for the equaliser. Far more one-sided, Diamondqueen just steamroll Maximum Rovers 5-1 as Auburn Weber chalks up a hat-trick of assists in 66 minutes and is then subbed off to a standing ovation. “We got complacent,” admits a disgusted Kolitsidakis - a staggering confession for one of the worst teams in the league. Speaking of the worst teams in the league, Cranequin Wanderers, desperate for an upturn in results, visit Morningstar - but the Stars have absolutely nothing going forward. Darren Gravesend is given a shot between the posts, and the veteran former Treason goalkeeper keeps a clean sheet - but he’s barely tested, with Saroszi injured for Morningstar early on with a scything Salone tackle and nobody else stepping up. Dakota Blaylock, the Wanderers’ lifeline up front, produces a flying header to win the game in stylish fashion late on - it’s deserved.

Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Revolutionaries

An intense match between the Moths and Revolutionaries in what seems almost like a final, down at a packed Farham Arena. The Moths are in hot form, and show their teeth to take an early lead - a bouncing, raking diagonal ball from Townsend is deftly flicked over the top of Couch on the volley by Aaliyah Johnson in the ninth minute. The Revolutionaries press high and hard, and as things progress the game gets progressively more bitter, but Rozenthal is well-marked down and a couple of powerful shots from distance by Eisenhower come the closest to beating Griffin. Still, it’s far from over.

Sabrefell Athletic 6-0 Southfell United
Crisisbless 2-0 Diamondqueen
Goodfeather FC 0-2 Brinemouth
Maximum Rovers 0-0 Morningstar
Leichhardt 2-1 Raven River
Cranequin Wanderers 3-1 AFC Serpentine
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Treason 2-1 Bishop
Vermillion Rage 4-1 Parrhesia United
Violence Chariots 2-0 Newrook City
Coret Hawks 3-0 Creed United
Starling 2-1 Brookford Otters

For the second time in three matches, Sabrefell Athletic pump a hapless midtable team 6-0 - this time, it’s Southfell, who have no answer to the midfield, or forwards, or really anything of the Reds. Sigrid Cooper doesn’t cover herself in glory, either. “We just have to move on after that,” says Felipa Medina philosophically. “Like it never happened,” which comes off more as denial. Cranequin Wanderers, amazingly, manage to concede just a single goal against Serpentine thanks to the Dragons’ well-documented issues finishing their chances, and yet again good work going forward from Blaylock, Belgrave and Theoharous ensure their second straight win. A Vermillion derby has a very definite winner almost from the start, Parrhesia unnerved by the high press and constantly falling afoul of it. A sloppy pass from Bozanic is briskly fired home first-time by Alemane, a rare error from Rowland allows Paulsson to double their lead and a Jeong penalty after Coppinger is felled see the Rage to a 3-0 lead in the first half. Feisser pulls one back in the second half, but it never quite looks on for the Saints - Davor Antunovic comes off the bench to finish them off. The injury-hit Hawks thrash the inconsistent Creed United 3-0, with Alyss Montague taking responsibility in the centre of the park while young gun Skapetis is a constant thorn in the side down the right wing. Most importantly, backup striker Trinity Plantagenet triples her tally for the season with two cleanly-taken strikes, a sigh of relief for the Hawks fans who had questioned her signing.

Revolutionaries 3-3 Sabrefell Moths
Sabrefell Moths win 4-3 on aggregate.

Now this is a totally different beast to the first match, and it’s a credit to the Revolutionaries for making it so. Given more space at home, Rozenthal and Wyatt fire the hosts to a 2-0 lead in the first half, and a would-be Moths goal against the run of play is disallowed for a marginal offside. But it’s a testament to the mental (and physical) strength of the Moths under Thunder that they recover. A penalty from Johnson is followed up by a deft flicked header from Solara Vol, and while a blistering strike from Jurgen Eisenhower puts the hosts back in front the Revolutionaries still need another goal, and his more Teutonic near-namesake, Sigrid Eisenhauer, comes off the bench to fire home a late equaliser. The Moths scrape through 4-3.

Diamondqueen 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Brinemouth 3-1 Southfell United
Morningstar 1-0 Crisisbless
Raven River 2-0 Goodfeather FC
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Maximum Rovers
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Leichhardt
Bishop 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Parrhesia United 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Newrook City 1-3 AFC Treason
Creed United 1-2 Vermillion Rage
Brookford Otters 1-3 Violence Chariots
Starling 1-0 Coret Hawks

Morningstar don’t usually score, but when they do… well, you can get a chance against anyone with Lukas Sparr in the form he’s been in. While Gwen Saunders’ form has fallen off a cliff, she’s been replaced by nominal leftback Lothar Andreas alongside Keyes in central defence and they’ve managed to hold the line somewhat. Even so, Crisisbless really should win, but no matter the changes Brosque makes, nothing sticks… except Christos Tsiavis breaking a long goal drought. Saroszi bursts down the right past Lohengrin and lashes a cross across the face of goal, and it’s the 22-year old striker who gets onto it and smashes it into the roof of the net. Maximum Rovers take another step towards safety with their own goalkeeping heroics from Nicholas Lindberg, who has steadily redeemed himself from a shaky start to the season. Vivienne Morgan’s exceptional cross finds Marika Kreisberg unmarked at the far post… and she rattles the header against the crossbar, but Ruarisson responds by putting two studs through Rosborough as she attempted to finish off the rebound. She’s stretchered off, Spyridon Kolitsidakis dispatches the penalty. While the top four win, they’re made to work for it - Athletic most of all, as a ten-man Diamondqueen cling onto a fifth-minute Kesteren goal right up until the dying minutes of the game. Heartbreakingly, Iona Britton drops a cross and Hawke, inevitably, is there to slam it home. Adding insult to injury. Sanabria gives up a penalty for Rainsford to convert for the winner in the 92nd minute.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Brinemouth
Diamondqueen 0-0 Morningstar
Southfell United 3-3 Raven River
Crisisbless 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Goodfeather FC 0-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Maximum Rovers 0-2 Bishop
Leichhardt 2-0 Parrhesia United
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Newrook City
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Creed United
AFC Treason 4-0 Brookford Otters
Vermillion Rage 2-0 Starling
Violence Chariots 0-0 Coret Hawks

Brinemouth aren’t quite at the front of the title race, but they have the opportunity to make a real statement with a visit to a Sabrefell Athletic side that just haven’t lived up to the billing (domestically, at least). The Dockers play silky football through the middle but find Tanith Rainsford a constant barrier, and it’s the skipper who leads by example with a long ball over the top. Wardenier tries to chip Morales under pressure, but it hits the post - not to worry, because Estrella Hawke is there to bundle it over the line. But Brinemouth constantly put Gautier to the test and after a number of exceptional saves he is found wanting at a set piece, the towering goalkeeper lost in the crowd as Candelo picks out Soederquist at the far post. “It was pretty clutch stuff there at the end, you know, not the kind of great flowing soccer on the field we like to play,” he said, extremely Cosumarily, but closed with the very Nepharim; “But at least we got the job done.” Brookford are stabilising somewhat, but Treason run roughshod over them, 4-0 the final score as Ursa Dimitar does her sporadic thing of getting a totally senseless red card for trying to murder Misidjan. Belatedly, Cranequin Wanderers axe Voula Logothettis after a limp 2-0 defeat to Newrook. Logothettis is displeased - “We’d just managed back to back wins, I got this bloody team promoted with a plan, and they axe me for some geriatric?” But Anders Clarke has done an excellent job with Hackett lately, and having taken the second tier relegation battlers to the top half declares his job done and makes his move to finally, at 64, manage in the Premiership. He’s got his work cut out for him.

Morningstar 0-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Raven River 1-6 Brinemouth
AFC Serpentine 1-4 Diamondqueen
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Southfell United
Bishop 0-2 Crisisbless
Parrhesia United 2-1 Goodfeather FC
Newrook City 4-2 Maximum Rovers
Creed United 0-2 Leichhardt
Brookford Otters 3-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Starling 0-0 Sabrefell Moths
Coret Hawks 0-1 AFC Treason
Violence Chariots 1-1 Vermillion Rage

Brinemouth recover from that relative disappointment by whetting their swords on River, bombarding Matt Bowerman’s goal and the River captain doesn’t have his best game. A bad day goes to worse when he injures himself failing to save Bartley’s goal, Brinemouth’s fourth, so on comes Althea Taliadoros for thirty minutes of a league debut, a baptism of fire. It ends 6-1 to the Dockers, with the Ferrymen shellshocked and disorganised. Crisisbless, missing Leona Rafford after an injury sustained on international duty, rely on Ayn Zwayer at rightback - the young fullback gets the job done nicely, scoring a cracking volley in a breezy 2-0 win over Bishop. Big matches at the top and bottom of the table. Starling face the Moths in a surprisingly pedestrian scoreless draw, both sides managing high, assertive pressing to break the other side’s passing but neither managing a breakthrough of their own. Brookford and Cranequin is far more exciting, because neither team can defend and their goalkeepers are both bad - sorry, Sheila Kilgallon, but at 35 you’re showing your age and should have saved both parts of Sroel Cavan’s brace from outside the box. The Otters should win, but Sabina Tambor, a bright spot for them, contrives to miss from four yards in injury time. A decent first result for Anders Clarke. Nothing close to as close in the southern Laith, though, as Serpentine are demolished 4-1 by the Diamonds as the inconsistent Franz Kesteren really gets the job done.

Revolutionaries 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Tihon 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic

Rematch! The Revolutionaries are eager for payback against a closely-matched Moths side, and come out of the gates by far the stronger side. Robert Griffin is besieged back in his home city, and only a single snap-shot from Rhys Griffiths through a sea of legs slips by him. Still, as ever, goals change games. Against the run of play, Meier goes on a run, turns Salume inside out and then rifles a shot past Bram Couch’s near post. Emboldened, the Moths press back and match the hosts step for step, almost claiming it late on when Tawny Shone’s blistering strike is fingertipped onto the post by Couch. The Revolutionaries will regard this as a missed opportunity. Meanwhile, Tihon face another Nepharim opponent, but these ones put up more of a fight than Crisisbless did. It’s not a thrilling match, Catheline Allister’s side’s physicality muscling Athletic out of their rhythm, and second-half goals from Alyssa Haight and Chloe Rudden leave the tie finely-poised.

Somer City and Surrounds 1-1 Brinemouth
RGS Athletic 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers

Somer City hold Brinemouth to a high-intensity, low-quality match, and it takes a touch of class from 18-year old Ilona Duerden off the bench who scores a brilliant, soaring strike late on to bail the Dockers out in her first UICA match. Against RGS, a shanked clearance from Armstrong allows Bevan to take possession and slide the ball to Brenecian poacher Ursula Rankin, who makes it 1-0 just ten minutes in. But the Harriers fight back, and hard - Rexmont’s goal on the stroke of half-time is a gamechanger, before Crowther closes the deal late on after Ruhl forced a brilliant but ultimately pointless reflex save from Nepharim goalkeeper Jason Petratos.

Sabrefell Athletic 4-0 Raven River
Morningstar 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Brinemouth 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Diamondqueen 0-1 Bishop
Southfell United 0-0 Parrhesia United
Crisisbless 1-1 Newrook City
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Creed United
Maximum Rovers 0-3 Brookford Otters
Leichhardt 0-2 Starling
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Coret Hawks
Sabrefell Moths 4-2 Violence Chariots
AFC Treason 6-1 Vermillion Rage

Cheney Bittencourt loses patience with Diette Daleiden, but has few alternatives. Adrian Heffernan is thrown into central defence, a position he can play, but it’s not the number 4’s first choice. He’s certainly not the sort of player you want to throw into the deep end against, say, Estrella Hawke and Sinan Uzunlar, a forceful duo of forwards who do whatever they want as Athletic romp to a 4-0 win. Serpentine look as though they’re about to secure a first win in fucking forever, as Oiji rifles home their first goal against Morningstar. And Morningstar don’t score goals, right? They hold out, thanks in part to some strong saves from Theoklitos, until Malakai Seluk slips in a cross of such quality that not even Christos Tsiavis can spoon it wide in his current form. 1-1, as Serpentine flounder… and Bronwyn Sadler becomes the latest managerial casualty of the season. They wind up with… Voula Logothettis, just axed from Cranequin Wanderers. Maximum Rovers pass up a golden opportunity to claw themselves away from trouble - hell, they don’t just pass it up, they’re flattened by the Otters, 3-0 at home. Even Kolitsidakis, who just looks jaded, is outpaced and outfought in an outnumbering midfield, with Tanya Chilton orchestrating affairs, Player of the Match without even getting a goal or an assist. Vermillion have done well for themselves, but it’s no context against Treason, a side who just has the confidence to damn their press, not to panic but to play through the high line and smash them, 6-1 the final score.

Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Revolutionaries
Revolutionaries win 2-1 on aggregate.
Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 Tihon
1-1 on aggregate. Sabrefell Athletic win on away goals.

“That was fucking box office,” Gerhard Thunder spat after the match. “I hate fucking box office.” But of course, after eighty-six drab minutes enlivened by sporadic acrobatic saves from Couch, the ancient John Spartan - very nearly older than his boss, Dalton - is thrown on and does the business with a thunderbolt of a strike. Athletic, across town, do better. It’s not a great match, by any means, and the Reds look tired and jaded. But at the end of the day, Tihon find no way through, and that’s enough to scrape through on away goals.

Brinemouth 2-0 Somer City and Surrounds
Brinemouth win 3-1 on aggregate.
Chenoworth Harriers 2-2 RGS Athletic
Chenoworth Harriers win 4-3 on aggregate.

Brinemouth have a far easier time of things at home, and first-half goals from Bartley and Scotti see them through. An assured performance from Marcin Close emphasises his readiness to take over sooner rather than later. The Harriers almost let things slip - they, too, race to a 2-0 lead through Airik Ruhl’s brace. He hasn’t had the same consistency this season as last, but he still produces moments. Unfortunately, he fails to track the burly Nepharim Gareth Austine at a corner, who heads one back for RGS, before a spectacular strike from Ybarra leaves Sheffield motionless. Sheffield has to intervene to stop Soria, Rankin and Bevan late on before Crowther rifles a shot against the post, and all in all the Harriers can consider themselves slightly fortunate, if ultimately deserving, to scrape through.

AFC Serpentine 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Raven River
Bishop 2-0 Morningstar
Parrhesia United 1-3 Brinemouth
Newrook City 1-1 Diamondqueen
Creed United 1-0 Southfell United
Brookford Otters 3-1 Crisisbless
Starling 1-3 Goodfeather FC
Coret Hawks 1-1 Maximum Rovers
Violence Chariots 2-0 Leichhardt
Vermillion Rage 3-2 Cranequin Wanderers
AFC Treason 1-2 Sabrefell Moths

A genuine top-of-the table clash! Not one for the purists, Treason vs. the Moths is pretty bish-bash-bosh, big smile on your face, big personalities and hard tackles stuff. Not route one, but direct and fast-paced. Jon Haines has a brilliant match from rightback, scoring and then assisting for Johnson (of course), before Treason have a supposed Fraser goal narrowly chalked off for offside. Fraser goes one better with an actual goal early in the second half before Johnson wins and then - gasp! - misses a penalty outright. Treason are emboldened and charge on for the last twenty-five minutes, but there’s no way past Griffin in goal, and the Moths take top spot from Treason. Starling slip up, surprisingly beaten 3-1 by Goodfeather who take them on in a passing game and win. Brinemouth beat Parrhesia comfortably to stay 4th. Athletic, despite a miserable 1-1 draw against Serpentine when even Estrella Hawke off the bench seems off her game, are 5th - they can’t make it into the top four, but they’re nine point secure in the Globe Cup places. Vermillion are also well-placed while a Crisisbless side that stubbornly refuses to score goals (Brookford in 17th have more, after beating them 3-1 with a throwback performance from Damian Harbour) cling to 7th. Remarkably, Leichhardt are just a point out.

Creed United, after Valentine Vettriano’s opportunistic tap-in sees them beat Southfell 1-0, sit in a remarkable vantage point in 14th. Everyone above them is in the Globe Cup battle, five points behind at most. Everyone beneath them is in the relegation battle, at most seven points out of 21st. Even so, some look far worse than others, and River (who lose their third straight) are in a worrying freefall. Morningstar have somehow managed only to score twice in their last ten games, and a typically turgid performance against Bishop sees them turned over 2-0. Southfell are winless in twelve. Somehow, four teams remain even worse than them. Serpentine are winless in twelve as well, but the other three teams in the bottom four have been there for a while. Diamondqueen, in 21st, hang in the balance - and rely on Auburn Weber yet again to equalise against Newrook City, securing a decent point for them. Maximum Rovers also manage a 1-1 draw, and seem to be on the upturn, if in a likely too-little too-late way. The only team in the bottom four who do not draw 1-1 are Cranequin Wanderers, as ever undone by their glass jaw by a Vermillion side that inconveniently kept asking questions of their terrible defence. Injury hasn’t helped, and Richter Clavane is starting at leftback for them, which is genuinely just cruel. They have a regular goalscorer in Dakota Blaylock, but seem to be managing to plunge back down where they came from regardless.

Riverkey 3-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Ritter Town
Chenoworth Rovers 2-2 Coret Rovers
Greygate 0-2 Cypher Town
Extreme Hills 3-2 Crisisbless United
Corvette Maulers 2-0 Sheridan
North Laithland 1-2 South Laithland
Chatswood 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Rochford 2-2 North Sabrefell
AFC Corvistone 3-1 Maximum City
Crossroads Town 1-2 Hackett
Armstrong 0-2 Belgrave
Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 Pillars of Southfell
Riverkey 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Ritter Town 2-1 Greygate
Coret Rovers 0-1 Extreme Hills
Cypher Town 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Crisisbless United 6-1 North Laithland
Sheridan 1-2 Chatswood
South Laithland 3-1 Rochford
East Laithland Harriers 1-4 AFC Corvistone
North Sabrefell 1-0 Crossroads Town
Maximum City 0-1 Armstrong
Hackett 0-1 Belgrave
Chenoworth Rovers 4-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Greygate 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Extreme Hills 1-1 Riverkey
Corvette Maulers 8-5 Ritter Town
North Laithland 1-1 Coret Rovers
Chatswood 0-2 Cypher Town
Rochford 0-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Sheridan
Crossroads Town 0-2 South Laithland
Armstrong 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
Belgrave 0-3 North Sabrefell
Hackett 0-6 Maximum City
Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Greygate
Chenoworth Rovers 3-1 Extreme Hills
Pillars of Southfell 4-4 Corvette Maulers
Riverkey 0-2 North Laithland
Ritter Town 1-1 Chatswood
Coret Rovers 3-0 Rochford
Cypher Town 2-0 AFC Corvistone
Crisisbless United 4-0 Crossroads Town
Sheridan 0-0 Armstrong
South Laithland 3-1 Belgrave
East Laithland Harriers 2-4 Hackett
North Sabrefell 0-0 Maximum City
Extreme Hills 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Corvette Maulers 0-2 Greygate
North Laithland 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Chatswood 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Rochford 0-0 Riverkey
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Ritter Town
Crossroads Town 1-1 Coret Rovers
Armstrong 1-1 Cypher Town
Belgrave 1-0 Crisisbless United
Hackett 2-0 Sheridan
Maximum City 1-1 South Laithland
North Sabrefell 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Vermillion Wanderers 2-2 Corvette Maulers
Extreme Hills 4-1 North Laithland
Greygate 0-2 Chatswood
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Rochford
Pillars of Southfell 0-3 AFC Corvistone
Riverkey 0-1 Crossroads Town
Ritter Town 2-2 Armstrong
Coret Rovers 0-5 Belgrave
Cypher Town 1-2 Hackett
Crisisbless United 0-1 Maximum City
Sheridan 0-2 North Sabrefell
South Laithland 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
North Laithland 7-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Chatswood 1-3 Corvette Maulers
Rochford 0-3 Extreme Hills
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Greygate
Crossroads Town 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Armstrong 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Belgrave 4-1 Riverkey
Hackett 1-1 Ritter Town
Maximum City 0-2 Coret Rovers
North Sabrefell 0-1 Cypher Town
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Crisisbless United
South Laithland 0-2 Sheridan
Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Chatswood
North Laithland 1-1 Rochford
Corvette Maulers 0-2 AFC Corvistone
Extreme Hills 0-3 Crossroads Town
Greygate 0-0 Armstrong
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Belgrave
Pillars of Southfell 1-2 Hackett
Riverkey 0-1 Maximum City
Ritter Town 2-0 North Sabrefell
Coret Rovers 5-0 East Laithland Harriers
Cypher Town 1-0 South Laithland
Crisisbless United 0-2 Sheridan
Rochford 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Chatswood
Crossroads Town 0-3 North Laithland
Armstrong 1-2 Corvette Maulers
Belgrave 1-1 Extreme Hills
Hackett 3-1 Greygate
Maximum City 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
North Sabrefell 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Riverkey
South Laithland 3-1 Ritter Town
Sheridan 0-0 Coret Rovers
Crisisbless United 2-2 Cypher Town
Vermillion Wanderers 0-6 AFC Corvistone
Rochford 1-2 Crossroads Town
Chatswood 1-0 Armstrong
North Laithland 1-1 Belgrave
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Hackett
Extreme Hills 1-0 Maximum City
Greygate 1-1 North Sabrefell
Chenoworth Rovers 4-1 East Laithland Harriers
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 South Laithland
Riverkey 0-1 Sheridan
Ritter Town 2-1 Crisisbless United
Coret Rovers 1-1 Cypher Town
Crossroads Town 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Armstrong 1-0 AFC Corvistone
Belgrave 1-0 Rochford
Hackett 1-1 Chatswood
Maximum City 2-2 North Laithland
North Sabrefell 1-2 Corvette Maulers
East Laithland Harriers 4-3 Extreme Hills
South Laithland 3-2 Greygate
Sheridan 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Crisisbless United 4-0 Pillars of Southfell
Cypher Town 3-0 Riverkey
Coret Rovers 0-2 Ritter Town

Matchday 24: A Laithland derby at the sharp end of the competition, and it's an impressive, end-to-end affair that underlines the increasing skill of the second tier, as a top-32-quality league in its own right. North Laithland pass quickly confidently around the field, but can't pick many holes in a resilient South, and any long shots are saved by Summersteen. In the second half, Summersteen's big goalkick over the top is smashed home by the explosive Carrick, and when a North Laithland passing move is finally converted by Kistler the Southrons hit right back, a beautiful counterattack finished by, again, Carrick. 2-1 to the South. Rochford have their first draw of the season, an exciting 2-2 with North Sabrefell.

Matchday 25: Things go from bad to worse for North Laithland, who played well against the Southrons but are utterly swept off the board by an inconsistent but sporadically brilliant Crisisbless United, 6-1 the final score. Chenoworth Rovers are bailed out late on against a resilient, terrier-like Riverkey thanks to a late header from captain Karena Hartley, one of the league's outstanding defenders and very much in the shop window.

Matchday 26: A frankly insane matchday - as if a disciplined Vermillion being taken apart 4-1 by Chenoworth wasn't enough, or Belgrave being turned over 3-0 at home by North Sabrefell, or Maximum City putting six unanswered goals past Sorenholm away from home... Corvette Maulers 8-5 Ritter Town. Ritter forward Discovery Carrera comes away with the match ball after a brace, but remarks that "I'd rather have the three points, if all's the same to you."

Matchday 27: While a notably more cautious Ritter manages a 1-1 draw with Chatswood, Corvette are utterly insane again, a straightforward visit to struggling, conservative Pillars ending... 4-4, somehow. The confident start of Russ Lazaridis in goal has evaporated. At the bottom of the table, Coret Rovers manage a surprisingly easy 3-0 win over Rochford; at the top, Cypher dominate Corvistone en route to a 2-0 victory. Borbas Tihamer is on fire, as is goalkeeper Ruo Xiaolan.

Matchday 28: Perhaps nothing summarises Crisisbless United's season better than today. They have 56% possession against a technically classy Belgrave. Away. But they have one penalty saved, a second missed (given for a handball on the line by Gronkjaer), and then get blitzed on the break by Ilary Muscat as the ten-man Gargoyles steal the points. Corvette finally stop the bleeding, just two goals flying past backup goalkeeper Folkhard. Trouble is, they forget to score in retaliation against Greygate.

Matchday 29: Hackett have rallied after that 6-0 home thrashing by the Smiths with three straight wins. The last comes... against Cypher Town, somehow, as Alexis Hannaday runs the show and Torsten Muller finishes things off. Coret Rovers are utterly annihilated by Belgrave, 5-0 the final score as Ilary Muscat steamrolls them and they can't find any traction in midfield. Extreme Hills hand North Laithland a 4-1 thrashing, as Bryony Johansen's useful work keeping them afloat continues - the clinical Maribel Garrido makes the difference with a hat-trick.

Matchday 30: Freshly signed by Cranequin Wanderers, Anders Clarke leaves Hackett on a decently high note, very much safe and with a 1-1 draw against Ritter. North Laithland recover from their East Laith defeat to take the fight to Vermillion Wanderers, putting seven goals past a side hit by injury and two red cards. An insipid Rochford get turned over 3-0 at home by Extreme Hills, raising questions as to whether they'll slip into the relegation picture after all.

Matchday 31: The Wanderers score two again, but this time concede seven fewer goals, which helps them to a 2-0 win over Chatswood. Coret Rovers claw back some hope for themselves - and try to take some away from their rivals - with a 5-0 win over East Laithland that sees Liberty Hammond flare back into life at just the right moment. In just his fourth start of the season, Bosko Roman adds athleticism to the midfield - is he the key?

Matchday 32: After a deserved late equaliser for Chenoworth against Maximum City from Hummel, Harper taunts the home crowd with a variety of vulgar but admittedly very creative hand gestures, and is slapped with a three-game touchline ban for her troubles. Sheridan are up to their usual spoiling tricks again - Coret are on fire? They smash down the production line to her, grind out a scoreless draw and appear happy enough just to be spiteful, out of the relegation battle. Good points for both sets of Rovers, anyway.

Matchday 33: For the second time in recent memory Vermillion Wanderers are utterly crushed by superior opposition, Barrett Routledge proving a vastly inferior stand-in for last season's Kuefer as he's made look like an amateur by Afolayan as Corvistone crush them 6-0. "A bad day at the office," Cheney Rutherford somehow says with a straight face after the game. Chenoworth Rovers have succumbed to too many draws after letting tight leads slip this season, but they get the job done with a 4-0 lead within 36 minutes against a hapless East Laithland. It ends just 4-1, but a point is proven.

Matchday 34: Corvistone slip up at the top after a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Armstrong, and Cypher and South Laithland both win. The three are at least eight points clear, and look likely to seal promotion. North Laithland, despite being pegged back late by a rare Mirzian goal against Maximum City, hold fourth, ahead of Chatswood (who draw Hackett) on goal difference. Corvette beat the Bohemians 2-1, the two dark horses who round out the real promotion candidates. At the bottom of the table, Pillars are cleaned out 4-0 by Crisisbless United, underlining why they're at the bottom of the table - just without the quality to succeed. Coret Rovers and Greygate also lose, while East Laithland's thrilling 4-3 triumph over the Hounds sees them rise to 21st. Crossroads, Rochford, Vermillion and Riverkey look over their shoulders - none of them win.

Falston Town 0-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Lazuli Diamonds 4-2 Barossia United
Falston United 2-1 South Parrhesia
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Iron United
AFC Shale 2-0 Stonegrave
Iron City 2-0 Boleyn Town
West Brinemouth 3-0 Southriver
Cranequin City 1-0 Locksley
The Hanged Man 1-1 The Strongest
Peregrine 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Kommissar 2-1 Mantlegrove
Martella Jazz 1-0 Sutcroft
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Falston Town 3-0 Falston United
Barossia United 2-3 Gonen's Bridge
South Parrhesia 0-0 AFC Shale
Iron United 4-0 Iron City
Stonegrave 1-1 West Brinemouth
Boleyn Town 1-2 Cranequin City
Southriver 0-0 The Hanged Man
Locksley 2-2 Peregrine
The Strongest 7-1 Kommissar
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Martella Jazz
Mantlegrove 1-2 Sutcroft
Falston United 1-4 Crisisbless Athletic
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
AFC Shale 1-0 Falston Town
Iron City 1-2 Barossia United
West Brinemouth 1-1 South Parrhesia
Cranequin City 0-0 Iron United
The Hanged Man 0-0 Stonegrave
Peregrine 2-1 Boleyn Town
Kommissar 1-2 Southriver
Martella Jazz 0-2 Locksley
Sutcroft 0-0 The Strongest
Mantlegrove 0-1 Dartmouth Terriers
AFC Shale 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Iron City 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
West Brinemouth 1-0 Falston United
Cranequin City 0-1 Lazuli Diamonds
The Hanged Man 2-0 Falston Town
Peregrine 2-1 Barossia United
Kommissar 4-1 South Parrhesia
Martella Jazz 2-2 Iron United
Sutcroft 2-2 Stonegrave
Mantlegrove 2-0 Boleyn Town
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Southriver
The Strongest 0-3 Locksley
The Hanged Man 0-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Peregrine 1-0 Cranequin City
Kommissar 1-2 West Brinemouth
Martella Jazz 1-3 Iron City
Sutcroft 1-1 AFC Shale
Mantlegrove 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Dartmouth Terriers 4-0 Falston United
The Strongest 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Locksley 2-0 Falston Town
Southriver 2-3 Barossia United
Boleyn Town 1-3 South Parrhesia
Stonegrave 0-2 Iron United
Crisisbless Athletic 4-0 Peregrine
The Hanged Man 0-0 Kommissar
Cranequin City 6-2 Martella Jazz
West Brinemouth 1-2 Sutcroft
Iron City 1-1 Mantlegrove
AFC Shale 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Gonen's Bridge 2-4 The Strongest
Falston United 2-1 Locksley
Lazuli Diamonds 3-3 Southriver
Falston Town 3-2 Boleyn Town
Barossia United 0-2 Stonegrave
South Parrhesia 1-1 Iron United
Kommissar 2-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Martella Jazz 2-0 Peregrine
Sutcroft 1-1 The Hanged Man
Mantlegrove 1-1 Cranequin City
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 West Brinemouth
The Strongest 1-3 Iron City
Locksley 2-0 AFC Shale
Southriver 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Boleyn Town 1-4 Falston United
Stonegrave 2-4 Lazuli Diamonds
Iron United 1-0 Falston Town
South Parrhesia 1-3 Barossia United

Locksley’s lead narrows slightly … to a mere eleven points and 26 goal difference, with Iron City and Crsisibless Athletic looking reasonably secure in the other places and West Brinemouth five points clear in fourth, despite losing their last two games. After two wins on the bounce, a remarkable 2-1 win over Locksley and a 4-1 thumping over the ghosts of Boleyn Town, Falston United have hauled themselves out of immediate danger, level with the Hanged Man (who have scored and conceded less than a goal a match) and the Strongest on 40 points. Peregrine currently have their heads just beneath water, South Parrhesia and Falston Town are almost definitely sunk, Boleyn Town are a distant memory at nineteen points from safety.

Rochford Pilgrims 0-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Hartford Glade 0-3 Pravenna Saints
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Ringway
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Long Lake
Kensey Town 3-2 Gridlock Rovers
West Hook 1-0 Ballardine FC
Strephonage 2-0 Ox River United
Brindleton 4-4 Mapleford
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
FC Seierstad 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Brookway Town 3-1 Dross Rovers
Rushe United 5-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 FC Seierstad
Chardonnay Rangers 3-2 Brookway Town
Brindleton 2-1 Rushe United
Strephonage 2-0 Iberia Chenoworth
West Hook 2-1 Dross Rovers
Kensey Town 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Gosmouth Swans
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Mapleford
Hartford Glade 0-1 Ox River United
Rochford Pilgrims 0-6 Ballardine FC
Pravenna Saints 3-1 Gridlock Rovers
Ringway 1-2 Long Lake
Brookway Town 3-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Rushe United 4-0 FC Seierstad
Iberia Chenoworth 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Dross Rovers 0-3 Brindleton
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Strephonage
Gosmouth Swans 0-0 West Hook
Mapleford 1-2 Kensey Town
Ox River United 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Ballardine FC 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Gridlock Rovers 1-2 Hartford Glade
Long Lake 0-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Ringway 0-2 Pravenna Saints

Strephonage still have a comfortable if not insurmountable lead on their rivals, a 0-0 draw against third-placed Alliance Barossia providing Chardonnay the perfect chance to narrow the gap to four points at the top. Instead they blow it, beaten 2-0 by an Iberia Chenoworth side desperate to get away from the drop zone. The top three are comfortable enough, but it’s a mad scramble for fourth place that Brindleton currently lead. Similarly, pretty much anything could happen at the bottom - Rochford, despite an impressive win away over Long Lake, are currently in 21st, and Rushe inexplicably hammer FC Seierstad 4-0. Their goal difference of -10 is better than 13th-placed Gosmouth. Defeats for Ringway and Dross put them at the bottom of the table. With four matches to play in the regional leagues, Brokenarch and Harrington are in the drivers’ seat of a chaotic Conference West, while Bodkin Road and Aries Solitaire are all but locked-in for promotion from the Conference East.

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sabrefell Moths 34 24 5 5 70 35 +35 77
2 AFC Treason 34 24 5 5 64 30 +34 77
3 Starling 34 22 6 6 68 29 +39 72
4 Brinemouth 34 22 6 6 73 37 +36 72

5 Sabrefell Athletic 34 16 11 7 67 40 +27 59
6 Vermillion Rage 34 15 9 10 57 52 +5 54
7 Crisisbless 34 14 9 11 44 34 +10 51

8 Chenoworth Harriers 34 14 8 12 51 38 +13 50
9 Leichhardt 34 14 8 12 40 38 +2 50
10 Coret Hawks 34 12 13 9 43 29 +14 49
11 Bishop 34 12 13 9 39 38 +1 49
12 Violence Chariots 34 12 11 11 48 40 +8 47
13 Newrook City 34 12 10 12 44 47 -3 46
14 Creed United 34 9 13 12 46 47 -1 40
15 Parrhesia United 34 9 10 15 32 46 -14 37
16 Goodfeather FC 34 9 10 15 32 48 -16 37
17 Brookford Otters 34 9 9 16 45 63 -18 36
18 Raven River 34 9 8 17 36 56 -20 35
19 Southfell United 34 8 11 15 40 61 -21 35
20 Morningstar 34 7 13 14 18 38 -20 34
21 Diamondqueen 34 7 9 18 36 53 -17 30
22 AFC Serpentine 34 7 8 19 40 65 -25 29
23 Maximum Rovers 34 6 7 21 31 63 -32 25
24 Cranequin Wanderers 34 5 8 21 36 73 -37 23

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cypher Town 34 20 10 4 56 21 +35 70
2 AFC Corvistone 34 20 8 6 67 28 +39 68
3 South Laithland 34 21 5 8 45 26 +19 68

4 North Laithland 34 16 12 6 57 40 +17 60
5 Chatswood 34 18 6 10 41 33 +8 60
6 Corvette Maulers 34 17 6 11 59 49 +10 57
7 North Sabrefell 34 15 9 10 43 29 +14 54
8 Crisisbless United 34 15 7 12 56 42 +14 52
9 Belgrave 34 14 10 10 52 42 +10 52
10 Hackett 34 15 6 13 41 46 -5 51
11 Armstrong 34 13 10 11 30 30 +0 49
12 Extreme Hills 34 13 9 12 49 51 -2 48
13 Chenoworth Rovers 34 10 15 9 48 33 +15 45
14 Ritter Town 34 12 9 13 50 50 +0 45
15 Maximum City 34 11 10 13 36 32 +4 43
16 Sheridan 34 10 10 14 24 35 -11 40
17 Crossroads Town 34 9 8 17 31 46 -15 35
18 Rochford 34 10 5 19 30 46 -16 35
19 Vermillion Wanderers 34 9 8 17 47 70 -23 35
20 Riverkey 34 8 10 16 28 43 -15 34
21 East Laithland Harriers 34 7 11 16 46 72 -26 32
22 Greygate 34 6 13 15 37 56 -19 31
23 Coret Rovers 34 8 6 20 36 62 -26 30
24 Pillars of Southfell 34 5 9 20 26 53 -27 24

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Locksley 34 24 5 5 77 31 +46 77
2 Iron City 34 20 6 8 49 29 +20 66
3 Crisisbless Athletic 34 19 8 7 71 39 +32 65
4 West Brinemouth 34 18 5 11 45 30 +15 59

5 Lazuli Diamonds 34 16 6 12 62 51 +11 54
6 Stonegrave 34 16 6 12 42 33 +9 54
7 AFC Shale 34 14 12 8 35 26 +9 54
8 Gonen's Bridge 34 14 10 10 39 31 +8 52
9 Dartmouth Terriers 34 14 10 10 42 35 +7 52
10 Mantlegrove 34 13 10 11 42 34 +8 49
11 Barossia United 34 15 4 15 38 48 -10 49
12 Iron United 34 13 9 12 41 32 +9 48
13 Cranequin City 34 13 6 15 46 39 +7 45
14 Martella Jazz 34 13 6 15 46 51 -5 45
15 Kommissar 34 12 7 15 46 52 -6 43
16 Southriver 34 10 11 13 43 48 -5 41
17 Sutcroft 34 10 11 13 31 44 -13 41
18 The Hanged Man 34 10 10 14 26 30 -4 40
19 The Strongest 34 11 7 16 46 54 -8 40
20 Falston United 34 12 4 18 33 47 -14 40
21 Peregrine 34 9 11 14 41 60 -19 38
22 South Parrhesia 34 7 9 18 38 73 -35 30
23 Falston Town 34 8 5 21 33 60 -27 29
24 Boleyn Town 34 5 6 23 22 57 -35 21

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Strephonage 34 23 7 4 49 17 +32 76
2 Chardonnay Rangers 34 21 6 7 62 34 +28 69
3 Alliance Barossia 34 19 10 5 53 33 +20 67
4 Brindleton 34 17 11 6 52 30 +22 62

5 West Hook 34 17 11 6 39 22 +17 62
6 Ballardine FC 34 17 9 8 71 34 +37 60
7 Kensey Town 34 17 9 8 53 39 +14 60
8 Boltcroft Thorns 34 18 5 11 50 43 +7 59
9 Long Lake 34 14 11 9 38 32 +6 53
10 Ox River United 34 13 8 13 39 28 +11 47
11 Mapleford 34 11 13 10 38 38 +0 46
12 Corinthians No Longer 34 11 12 11 60 58 +2 45
13 Gosmouth Swans 34 13 5 16 44 59 -15 44
14 Brookway Town 34 12 5 17 46 58 -12 41
15 Sutcroft Athletic 34 10 8 16 39 50 -11 38
16 Pravenna Saints 34 9 10 15 35 41 -6 37
17 Hartford Glade 34 10 7 17 39 53 -14 37
18 FC Seierstad 34 10 6 18 33 52 -19 36
19 Gridlock Rovers 34 9 8 17 37 50 -13 35
20 Iberia Chenoworth 34 11 2 21 54 80 -26 35
21 Rochford Pilgrims 34 8 8 18 35 53 -18 32
22 Rushe United 34 9 4 21 45 55 -10 31
23 Ringway 34 9 4 21 26 58 -32 31
24 Dross Rovers 34 8 5 21 40 60 -20 29

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brokenarch 34 17 12 5 55 29 +26 63
2 Harrington 34 19 5 10 57 43 +14 62

3 Grovebank 34 17 8 9 55 41 +14 59
4 Sirencall FC 34 17 7 10 67 45 +22 58
5 Gridlock 34 16 8 10 30 24 +6 56
6 Ingram Township 34 13 13 8 35 30 +5 52
7 Fischer 34 14 9 11 46 44 +2 51
8 Stonesthrow Town 34 14 8 12 35 33 +2 50
9 Sleetwell Rangers 34 14 6 14 46 52 -6 48
10 Capricopia Rangers 34 12 11 11 44 37 +7 47
11 Fully Sick XI 34 12 10 12 50 43 +7 46
12 Swag Hill Rovers 34 12 10 12 47 44 +3 46
13 Fenland Albion 34 10 12 12 33 31 +2 42
14 AFC Brackwold 34 10 10 14 49 54 -5 40
15 Courser 34 10 9 15 37 44 -7 39
16 Gridlock East 34 10 8 16 33 38 -5 38
17 Bellamy 34 10 8 16 32 46 -14 38
18 AFC Hellerine 34 9 9 16 45 58 -13 36
19 Nay Town 34 10 5 19 35 63 -28 35
20 Norton Road 34 7 6 21 33 65 -32 27

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Bodkin Road 34 22 5 7 67 33 +34 71
2 Aries Solitaire 34 22 5 7 66 38 +28 71

3 Brunyard FC 34 20 4 10 72 42 +30 64
4 Downsparrow 34 18 9 7 63 35 +28 63
5 Corvistone City 34 16 14 4 37 18 +19 62
6 Stamper Road 34 18 8 8 58 45 +13 62
7 Rookwall 34 17 6 11 43 39 +4 57
8 Rhyburn Swifts 34 16 6 12 68 57 +11 54
9 Blaze 34 13 12 9 48 43 +5 51
10 South Brill 34 12 8 14 46 44 +2 44
11 Coral Bay 34 10 10 14 42 46 -4 40
12 Corby Hubris 34 12 4 18 41 59 -18 40
13 Twelvetrees 34 9 11 14 32 40 -8 38
14 Mainstream Fist 34 10 7 17 42 63 -21 37
15 Senway Town 34 9 8 17 37 49 -12 35
16 The Travellers FC 34 10 5 19 45 68 -23 35
17 AFC Burchess 34 8 10 16 31 44 -13 34
18 Sandrock 34 8 8 18 34 48 -14 32
19 Violence Tigers 34 7 10 17 37 56 -19 31
20 Masculine Town 34 5 6 23 29 71 -42 21

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:10 pm
by Nephara
Riverkey 1-2 Brookford Otters
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Crisisbless
Newrook City 0-0 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Creed United

And then there were eight; one from the lower reaches of the second tier, two relegation battlers from the top tier, Newrook in with a shot of retaining their title. The Otters are off to a strong start with a combative performance away in Riverkey, first-half goals from Tambor and Harbour seeing them off to a good start. Riverkey have the better of the second half as Ursa Dimitar is subbed off for the Otters, but a strong goalkeeping performance from Philoctetes Giannou and poor finishing from the Seagulls lets them off. Until suddenly it doesn’t as Julian fucking Parable suddenly bursts through the centre of midfield, finds a lot of space, sizes up the shot and slams it into the top corner. There wasn’t much pressure, but to be fair, it was Julian fucking Parable, walking meme. A lifeline, perhaps, but they’ll still be up against it. No other match is nearly as interesting - Crisisbless are vastly better than a weakened Wanderers side, the other four sides grind out tightly-contested draws.

Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Phalanx AF

An intense match between good sides at the business end of the CdC - though that’s what tends to happen, given how many of the strongest leagues are in Rushmore, and that the tournament is between champions alone. Catheline Stockinger gets a great reception back in Nephara but is, well, old, and cut apart by Townsend who slams the opener past Johansson’s near post. Just three minutes later, though, a lethal free kick from former North Laithland midfielder Rhodes finds the top corner. The Moths press harder and higher, eventually wrest the momentum in the 70th minute or so and find a belated winner, from Serra, in the 89th.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Bishop
Raven River 1-1 Parrhesia United
Morningstar 0-3 Newrook City
Brinemouth 2-0 Creed United
Diamondqueen 1-1 Brookford Otters
Southfell United 2-3 Starling
Crisisbless 1-2 Coret Hawks
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Violence Chariots
Maximum Rovers 0-2 Vermillion Rage
Leichhardt 0-4 AFC Treason
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Sabrefell Moths

A well-rotated Sabrefell Moths side arrives at Cranequin while the main squad are rested for the trip to Ceni, but they’re unable to find a way through Anders Clarke’s newly-disciplined Wanderers. This is in large part because they set up in a 4-5-1 block of muscle, Gravesend resolute in goal, and indeed a snap-shot from Sanborn smashes against a post late on that could’ve stolen it for the hosts. The rest of the top four all win, Treason very convincingly smashing Leichhardt 4-0, while Starling rely on a last-minute winner from Willow Creek lashed against the inside of the post after a see-sawing match against an eventually 10-man Southfell.

1. Treason - 80, 38
2. Moths - 78, 35
3. Starling - 75, 40
4. Brinemouth - 75, 38
15. Parrhesia - 38, -14
16. Goodfeather - 37, -17
17. Brookford - 37, -18
18. River - 36, -20
19. Southfell - 35, -22
20. Morningstar - 34, -23
21. Diamondqueen - 31, -17
22. Serpentine - 30, -25
23. Maximum - 25, -34
24. Cranequin - 24, -37

Brookford Otters 1-1 Riverkey
Brookford Otters win 3-2 on aggregate.
Crisisbless 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless win 3-2 on aggregate.
Bishop 4-2 Newrook City
Bishop win 4-2 on aggregate.
Creed United 0-2 Goodfeather FC
Goodfeather FC win 3-1 on aggregate.

Riverkey take the lead against a weakened Brookford side just four minutes in, a speculative diagonal ball over the top not dealt with by teenage centre-half Bohr and very definitively dealt with by lurking winger Sarah Bernard. Riverkey do need a second, and don’t seem too eager to overextend in search of it - in the end, they’re undone with a solo effort from Asha Solbachen who seals the deal for the hosts. Crisisbless, similarly, reasonably figure they don’t need their regular starters against a dreadful Wanderers side they already beat 2-0 away. Man, is there egg on their faces when after 56 minutes they’re down 2-0 at home, with Blaylock’s brace hauling the Wanderers into relevance. Ozaria Gandhi, though, manages to slip home the winner on a deadly-accurate counterattack. Bishop vs. Newrook sparks suddenly and decisively for like, two clubs with little else to play for and the undoubted tie of the round. The difference is a badly-timed terrible performance from Kattner, who lets three savable shots slip through her gloves - it ends 4-2. Goodfeather clinch a slightly fortunate 2-0 win away at Creed - their first goal came from a debatable penalty, the second was inarguably slightly offside and Creed were the better team on the whole - but the result was convincing, the defending excellent, and they progress.

Phalanx AF 2-2 Sabrefell Moths
Sabrefell Moths win 4-3 on aggregate.

The second leg is a fiercely see-sawing match with no clear dominant side. Despite this, Baudello and Hansen put Phalanx ahead in the first half with a couple of crisp finishes after concerting passing moves, before in the second half the Moths hit back through Vol and Meier through typically direct, assertive moves. “It could have ended either way,” Thunder shrugs after the final whistle. “But you make your own luck, in this game.” So they did - 2-2 is enough to take them through.

Bishop 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Parrhesia United 0-3 Chenoworth Harriers
Newrook City 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Creed United 1-0 Raven River
Brookford Otters 1-1 Morningstar
Starling 1-1 Brinemouth
Coret Hawks 0-1 Diamondqueen
Violence Chariots 1-1 Southfell United
Vermillion Rage 2-2 Crisisbless
AFC Treason 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Maximum Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Leichhardt

Treason slip up at the summit, laid low by a cracking late strike from Falcon Case. Not that Goodfeather didn’t deserve their point - they held their ground in midfield and always have the quality to hurt opponents. Following Parrhesia’s 3-0 unravelling at home by the Harriers, the Saints and Quakers now have an identical record, right down to Goals Scored. The Moths, meanwhile, take top spot on Goals Scored after an almost accidental 3-0 pummelling of the hapless Rovers. Five points below both of them, Starling and Brinemouth face off, and the Passerines just look… jaded. Depth was always a problem, and so many of their key players looked tired. Not, crucially, Hargrave, who makes some spectacular saves to keep out the Dockers. Not much he can do when Scotti scores from the spot, and the Dockers think that’s enough right up until a hitherto silent Armstrong slams the ball into the top corner in injury time. Things get really interesting at the danger area as Brookford and Morningstar grind out an uninspiring draw, allowing narrow away wins for Diamondqueen (not Weber, this time, but Schuster!) and Serpentine (who start Carrie Mason through a Langbauer injury and are rewarded amply by the forward) to close the gap some way.

1. Moths - 81, 38
2. Treason - 81, 38
3. Starling - 76, 40
4. Brinemouth - 76, 38
=15. Parrhesia - 38, -17
=15. Goodfeather - 38, -17
17. Brookford - 38, -18
18. River - 36, -21
19. Southfell - 36, -22
20. Morningstar - 35, -23
21. Diamondqueen - 34, -16
22. Serpentine - 33, -24
23. Maximum - 25, -37
24. Cranequin - 24, -38

Brinemouth 1-1 Yuba United
SS Skiveness 2-3 Chenoworth Harriers

After an early flurry of goals, Yuba’s opener answered by Dragana, Brinemouth play United to a standstill. Less than optimal, for a home leg. Katanga also kicks things off early for Skiveness, the Daineri centrehalf smashing home a corner just three minutes in against the Harriers. Fortunately, the Harriers are able to take control from there, and strikes from Christensen and Crowther guide them to the lead by half-time. They keep up the brave high line and Jose Enrique makes them pay for it after Bekkwaters slips up in possession, but the Harriers retake the lead through substitute striker Angela Braugher, who makes her presence felt with a towering header to meet a beautiful Rexmont cross.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 Parrhesia United
Bishop 1-1 Newrook City
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Creed United
AFC Serpentine 4-4 Brookford Otters
Raven River 0-1 Starling
Morningstar 2-1 Coret Hawks
Brinemouth 2-3 Violence Chariots
Diamondqueen 1-4 Vermillion Rage
Southfell United 2-1 AFC Treason
Crisisbless 3-0 Sabrefell Moths
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Maximum Rovers 2-0 Leichhardt

The last season ended with Crisisbless pulping a victorious Sabrefell Moths 3-0. This rematch ends the same way, Maeve Bronte running the show from midfield - easily the Heelers’ most impressive player in an inconsistent season. A finishing touch is added by Drenas, Urso and Jevdjevic-Hadsic. “Why haven’t we been playing like this all season?” Brosque laments after the fact. Truth be told, the struggles have been unexpected, and accusations of the Peter Principle at work have hit him hard. Treason, then, retake the lead, if only by default after a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Southfell, and Brinemouth lose too, the Chariots putting them down in a virtuoso performance where Anise Riske really made herself known. Starling scraping victory over River thanks to a single moment of joint distilled magic from Aschenbach and Corvalan was as good as it got - they’re the big winners of this matchday. It’s a big occasion at the bottom, too, with Serpentine facing the Otters. A convincing victory for the Dragons would lift them out of the bottom four, and the recent Indian summer of 32-year old Carrie Mason (thought to be leaving at the end of the season) is a boon to them. She starts the match with a neatly angled header off Oiji’s cross to put the Dragons 1-0 up, before Aya Bernman’s free kick through an inadequate Brookford wall sets them to the good. Or… does it? Tambor’s knocked down by Warwick in the box for a penalty, converted by Plibersek, who then sets up a goal for Cecchini. Then Asante’s cross is converted by Tambor - but was Harbour impeding Theoklitos? An apoplectic Logothettis thinks so, but the fourth official blanks her, and the Otters are 3-2 up at half-time. Still, she manages to steel her squad for the second half and does, through shots outside the box from understudy winger Garrett Stijnen and then Keoman, retake the lead. It looks like they’ll add to it! When Oiji is sent off for a vicious elbow on Heitinger in the 81st minute. Serpentine’s momentum dies there and then, and the collapse is inevitable despite some determined defending - a cross from Siegrist, a mysterious gap in the defence and suddenly Plibersek is charging through it to hammer home the equaliser. Though it feels very much like a winner, and the Otters are five points from danger; the Dragons, two from safety. The Rovers beat Leichhardt 2-0 with Rosborough unleashed in an attacking midfield role, and are suddenly just six points away from 21st and a chance at salvation.

1. Treason - 81, 37
2. Moths - 81, 35
3. Starling - 79, 41
4. Brinemouth - 76, 37
15. Goodfeather - 39, -17
16. Parrhesia - 39, -17
17. Brookford - 39, -18
18. Southfell - 39, -21
19. Morningstar - 38, -22
20. River - 36, -22
21. Diamondqueen - 34, -19
22. Serpentine - 34, -24
23. Maximum - 28, -35
24. Cranequin - 25, -38

Yuba United 2-2 Brinemouth
3-3 on aggregate. Brinemouth progress on away goals.
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 SS Skiveness
Chenoworth Harriers win 4-3 on aggregate.

Things look bad for Brinemouth an hour in, and the crowd are… displeased with the addition of Jonathan Bosetti. Bosetti is a defensive midfielder. More to the point, Bosetti is 35 fucking years old. And replacing a jaded-looking Stig Soederquist, one of the Dockers’ best players. But his addition, as a pure holding player, allows… pretty much the entire rest of the Dockers to surge forward looking for a way back into the match, and lo and behold, an unleashed Conjure and Candelo combine to find them. It ends 2-2, and the Dockers are through on away goals. The Harriers manage to calm things down against a lively Skiveness, an early strike from Bairstow calming nerves around the Keel. Skiveness do eventually level through Masschelin, but all in all it goes to show the advantage of winning the away leg, for the confident defending the Harriers produce.

Newrook City 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Creed United 1-0 Parrhesia United
Brookford Otters 1-1 Bishop
Starling 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Coret Hawks 4-0 AFC Serpentine
Violence Chariots 1-2 Raven River
Vermillion Rage 0-2 Morningstar
AFC Treason 3-4 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Moths 7-1 Diamondqueen
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Southfell United
Leichhardt 0-2 Crisisbless
Maximum Rovers 3-4 Goodfeather FC

Some big happenings this matchday, big enough that some momentous events are going to need to be glossed over. Starling are beaten by the Harriers, Brookford take a point from a visiting Bishop while Southfell, Morningstar and River all pick up important wins. Treason and Brinemouth face off, an intense fixture, but the Stags are drawn into playing Brinemouth’s game after an early goal from Jazmin Dragana is slammed past a flat-footed Fletcher’s post. They do an admirable job of it, and twice manage to equalise, but in the second half the Dockers have tired them out and just run rings around a weary defence. Two goals for Pablo Scotti in the last fifteen minutes hand Brinemouth a deserved win, though Tarashaj hits back late on to make things tense. That means that the Moths have a chance to break away against an aspirational Diamondqueen in search of a win to keep up. They… do not get it. It’s 5-1 by the time the dust has cleared at the end of the first half, and the dazed, disjointed Diamonds manage to concede a couple more by the end. Not that the Moths really want to turn the screw, but Aaliyah Johnson wants another Iron Boot, and completes her hat-trick. Serpentine have the chance to overtake them, but are swatted aside 4-0 by Coret instead. Can the Rovers capitalise, hosting Goodfeather? Not after a late collapse - a predictable red card to Woodbine for mauling Falcon Case seven minutes from the end give the opening for Farrakhan and Lochteth to turn a 3-2 defeat into 4-3 victory. The bottom four are now five points from safety, at best.

1. Moths - 84, 41
2. Treason - 81, 36
3. Starling - 79, 40
4. Brinemouth - 79, 38
15. Goodfeather - 42, -16
16. Southfell - 42, -20
17. Morningstar - 41, -20
18. Brookford - 40, -18
19. Parrhesia - 39, -18
20. River - 39, -21
21. Diamondqueen - 34, -25
22. Serpentine - 34, -28
23. Maximum - 28, -36
24. Cranequin - 25, -39

Sabrefell Athletic 4-1 Creed United
Newrook City 6-0 Brookford Otters
Parrhesia United 0-2 Starling
Bishop 0-3 Coret Hawks
Chenoworth Harriers 3-0 Violence Chariots
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Raven River 1-0 AFC Treason
Morningstar 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
Brinemouth 1-4 Cranequin Wanderers
Diamondqueen 2-0 Leichhardt
Southfell United 5-0 Maximum Rovers
Crisisbless 1-0 Goodfeather FC

“We can’t get complacent,” Hestia Canaan insists steadfastly. “We need to assume that the bottom four haven’t given up, that they’ll keep fighting, that we still need to fight to keep our heads above water.” She might very well think that, but the message evidently doesn’t filter through to her Otters, who are devoured 6-0 at the hands of a ravenous Newrook side under Andreu Bartolnicci’s hawkish guidance. Danira Plibersek, who left Newrook for Brookford back when that looked like a slightly upward career move, looks nauseated. Treason slip to a third straight defeat in a dismal performance against River, who look to be saving their best for when their back is against the wall. Narrative klaxons blaring, it’s Treason academy reject Michi Leonard who rifles home the only goal of the game in the 36th minute. Starling overtake them with a convincing win over the Saints, the Moths pulverise Morningstar 4-1. The bottom four rally to their task… mostly. Diamondqueen claw the gap down to two points after a decisive 2-0 win over Leichhardt, Serpentine manage a point in a tense match against Vermillion, largely saved by goalkeeper Theoklitos and a cracking volley from unassuming water-carrier Passlach. Brinemouth, reasonably, rest some key players against the floundering Wanderers… and are torn open just four minutes in. Cavan loops a ball over the top, Nkembe doesn’t deal with it, Blaylock does, 1-0. Theoharous loops a ball over the top, Evans manages a diving header to pull the ball back across goal, Blaylock sticks out a leg to stab it home, 2-0. A thundering drive from Belgrave makes it 3-0 within half an hour, and in the fifty-third minute it’s 4 as Morales flaps at a corner and the giant Ciprian Jantzer effortlessly heads it home. It’s an inexplicable collapse, and the home fans are booing, with little patience even for Karin Drinkwater’s late consolation. Maximum Rovers do not get to join the party. Maximum Rovers get their heads kicked in 5-0 by Southfell. They and the Wanderers are now nine points from even potential salvation, and by this stage you can probably call Southfell safe.

1. Moths - 87, 44
2. Starling - 82, 42
3. Treason - 81, 35
4. Brinemouth - 79, 35
15. Southfell - 45, -15
16. Goodfeather - 42, -17
17. River - 42, -20
18. Morningstar - 41, -23
19. Brookford - 40, -24
20. Parrhesia - 39, -20
21. Diamondqueen - 37, -23
22. Serpentine - 35, -28
23. Cranequin - 28, -36
24. Maximum - 28, -41

Brookford Otters 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Starling 2-0 Creed United
Coret Hawks 0-1 Newrook City
Violence Chariots 1-1 Parrhesia United
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Bishop
AFC Treason 0-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin Wanderers 1-2 Raven River
Leichhardt 2-0 Morningstar
Maximum Rovers 1-2 Brinemouth
Goodfeather FC 2-2 Diamondqueen
Crisisbless 2-2 Southfell United

And you thought Crisisbless’ late title choke last season was bad? Treason go down in a toothless 2-0 defeat to the Harriers on home soil - their scarcely-believable fourth straight defeat. Brinemouth aren’t taking any chances this time, and Mescalin brings a stronger side to bear against the Rovers. It’s another brave performance from Elrik Raskine’s squad, and they do take a first-half lead through a mazy run and tidy finish from Konstanze Luitgard, but they just don’t have the cattle. Late in the game, the Dockers can call upon 28-year old Nephara international Jess Silkman from the bench. The Rovers can call upon… Jasmin Colindon. The difference is clear, and two assists from Silkman lead to goals from Conjure and Bartley to win the game. The Moths pummel Serpentine 3-0, Starling keep up the pace with a 2-0 win over Creed. River manage a third straight win to help lift them away from danger. The Wanderers play expansively and energetically against the Ferrymen, and that is to be commended, but they’re hit twice on the break by the hugely impressive Fiona Norval, for whom this has been a real breakthrough season. Diamondqueen salvage a late equaliser against Goodfeather in an intense 2-2 draw, as Auburn Weber bails them out yet again with a thundering drive past Forster.

1. Moths - 90, 47
2. Starling - 85, 44
3. Brinemouth - 82, 36
4. Treason - 81, 33
15. Southfell - 46, -15
16. River - 45, -19
17. Goodfeather - 43, -17
18. Brookford - 43, -23
19. Morningstar - 41, -25
20. Parrhesia - 40, -20
21. Diamondqueen - 38, -23
22. Serpentine - 35, -31
23. Cranequin - 28, -37
24. Maximum - 28, -42

Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Tanrisal

A tightly-contested match between Athletic and their prestigious Pasargan opposition. After eighty minutes of fruitless jousting, both sides having everything but that final ball, Estrella Hawke - who has been fairly quiet of late - breaks the deadlock more or less on her own. Gautier hits one over the top, Hawke takes it on the chest and drags it neatly past Schroeder and then just… keeps running, momentum taking her past Towers before she slams it decisively past Armand. Adam Pinto, one of those strikers who, like Hawke, can change the game from nowhere, has the ball in the net just three minutes later when he heads home Coveny’s cross… but it’s chalked off for a marginal, but correct, offside call.

Cazadores Cathair 4-2 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Harriers 0-2 Carter FC

Caza vs. Brinemouth. The tone of the match is set from the very start, when Caza’s Nepharim manager Rook Cathar dislocates three of Mescalin’s venerable fingers in a crunching handshake. “We will crush them,” he had predicted before the game, “hard enough the second leg won’t fucking matter.” Dragana strikes first on the break, but Caza don’t adjust their attacking, front-foot approach, and by the hour mark Morales had made five saves… and picked the ball out of the net four times. A flying knee-height challenge from Caza centre-half Vergan Seghers-Verduzco promptly floors Kyle Bartley for the crime of jinking inside of Ingold, taking him out for the rest of the season and resulting in a straight red. Candelo pulls back a goal straight from the free kick, but they can’t add to it, and at 4-2 things look grim. Mescalin, weirdly, dodges the handshake at the end. Sadly, a flat, weary performance from the Harriers sees Carter roll them 2-0 in Chenoworth, and it looks like their journey might be coming to a close.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-1 Starling
Brookford Otters 1-1 Coret Hawks
Creed United 2-1 Violence Chariots
Newrook City 1-2 Vermillion Rage
Parrhesia United 1-1 AFC Treason
Bishop 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
Chenoworth Harriers 3-1 Cranequin Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Leichhardt
Raven River 2-0 Maximum Rovers
Morningstar 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Brinemouth 1-2 Crisisbless
Diamondqueen 3-2 Southfell United

You’d imagine Athletic fans aren’t too upset to see Tom Benedict field a weakened team against Starling, ostensibly to focus on the trip to Tanrisal to come (which probably is a factor, in all fairness). An uninspired Starling do eventually get past a determined Gautier - causing Athletic supporters to put up sarcastic ‘OH NO!’ banners - thanks to an Andisori tap-in, as the Moths slip up to Bishop, the irrepressible Sitz and the evergreen Penbrooke. Treason manage to … not lose a game, and at least Asher Voeller’s first goal in eight games can equalise against Parrhesia. The Saints do well considering the mutinous atmosphere, and well might the home fans be concerned. Diamondqueen, after a chaotic 3-2 win over Southfell, draw level with them on points. Carrie Mason’s come alive for Serpentine, her tap-in enough to beat a demob-happy Leichhardt, while Monako Saroszi basically single-handedly sinks Goodfeather, left free to roam down the right and ultimately scoring the winner in the 76th minute. The Quakers are now in genuine trouble too, despite a great start to the season. River, meanwhile, lift themselves away from trouble with a straightforward 2-0 win at home over the Rovers, and they can probably call themselves safe.

1. Moths - 90, 46
2. Starling - 88, 45
3. Brinemouth - 82, 35
4. Treason - 82, 33
15. River - 48, -17
16. Southfell - 46, -16
17. Brookford - 44, -23
18. Morningstar - 44, -24
19. Goodfeather - 43, -18
20. Parrhesia - 41, -20
21. Diamondqueen - 41, -22
22. Serpentine - 38, -30
23. Cranequin - 28, -39
24. Maximum - 28, -44
15 points left to play.

Tanrisal 5-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Tanrisal win 5-1 on aggregate.


Brinemouth 0-1 Cazadores Cathair
Cazadores Cathair win 5-2 on aggregate.
Carter FC 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Carter FC win 3-0 on aggregate.

Two limp defeats for Nepharim sides, too, albeit less humiliating ones. “We’re going to shove them into a locker,” announced Rook Cathar before the game, and then railed at Mescalin for refusing him a handshake after the small matter of him breaking his hand. Mescalin snubs him again, sending assistant manager Werner Thayer to shake hands instead. Thayer’s knuckles are white, and one of them pops out of place too. It sets the tone for the game, with the aging Yong Mendiolgaray turning back the years with an assured finish. If only anything nearly as exciting had happened as the Harriers are beaten 1-0 in Carter. With that, the Nepharim are all eliminated. A decent performance as a nation, if lacking an individual breakthrough.

Coret Hawks 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Violence Chariots 5-2 Starling
Vermillion Rage 1-0 Brookford Otters
AFC Treason 0-0 Creed United
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Newrook City
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Parrhesia United
Leichhardt 1-0 Bishop
Maximum Rovers 4-3 Chenoworth Harriers
Goodfeather FC 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Crisisbless 2-0 Raven River
Southfell United 0-0 Morningstar
Diamondqueen 0-2 Brinemouth

The Chariots are the stars of the show, a dazzling performance running roughshod over Starling. They don’t let the fact that Starling get the first goal, Andisori scoring an impressive backheel flick. Goals change games, right? This one doesn’t. The Chariots keep on straight where they left off, and fire five goals past Hargrave, interrupted by a single Corvalan goal on the break. With Treason held to a scoreless draw by Creed, it’s a good time for the Moths to capitalise, which they only barely manage to do. With heroic performances from Hesketh, Zagorec and Hedlund, the Rooks hold their ground firmly, but in the 87th minute Aaliyah Johnson finds a way through as she so often does anyway. A barnstorming match between Maximum Rovers and the rather jaded Harriers is another eyecatcher of the round, where the Rovers open with an utterly dominant first half. They force their way to a 3-0 lead in the first half, the pick of the goals Jarer Minskai’s curling strike from the edge of the area, and John Sedder on the touchline looks like a man getting the Clockwork Orange treatment. They turn it around in the second half, though, a triple substitution freshening things up. Airik Ruhl is hooked for Angela Braugher, and the homegrown striker leads by example, scoring two scrappy goals seemingly through force of will alone. Charybdis Kou, the 19-year old winger, squeezes a shot past Lindberg’s near post at the narrowest of angles, and it’s just a shame that by then Catheline Jurist has headed in a straightforward corner that the Harriers just forgot to defend, at all. A big victory for the Rovers, but is it too late? Probably.

1. Moths - 93, 47
2. Starling - 88, 42
3. Brinemouth - 85, 37
4. Treason - 83, 33
15. River - 48, -19
16. Southfell - 47, -16
17. Goodfeather - 46, -17
18. Morningstar - 45, -24
19. Brookford - 44, -24
20. Parrhesia - 41, -21
21. Diamondqueen - 41, -24
22. Serpentine - 38, -31
23. Cranequin - 31, -38
24. Maximum - 31, -43
12 points left to play.

Sabrefell Athletic 5-1 Violence Chariots
Coret Hawks 2-3 Vermillion Rage
Starling 2-1 AFC Treason
Brookford Otters 0-3 Sabrefell Moths
Creed United 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Newrook City 2-0 Leichhardt
Parrhesia United 2-4 Maximum Rovers
Bishop 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Crisisbless
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Southfell United
Raven River 2-0 Diamondqueen
Morningstar 4-0 Brinemouth

It is… entirely too late for the Rovers, bless their hearts, but they chalk up a second straight win and put four goals past a hapless Parrhesia side that have not been able to weather a few injuries. When Kirsten Howlett, scorer of the Saints’ first goal, is pulled for Aris Daskalakis, the crowd chants vehemently that Miriam Aragon doesn’t know what she’s doing. Things have turned toxic, they’re winless in ten, and they’re looking over their shoulder. The match ends 4-2 to the Rovers. The Wanderers get their second straight win, too, Dakota Blaylock dragging them over the line against Creed, but both sides’ chances of survival are very much… mathematical. There’s a key clash at the top of the league, Starling facing Treason. The Stags, despite poor recent form, do get the opener when Aura Keynes manages to streak past three different players before cutting the ball back across goal. Roddy Fraser, of course, is in the right place at the right time to convert. But Starling immediately take control of the game with a very… Treasonish level of uncompromising defense, pressing hard and being unafraid to snap into challenges. Keira Andisori manages to take a long ball from Gryphon on the chest before quickly swivelling past Svensson and shooting past Fletcher for the equaliser before, on the stroke of half-time, Liam Armstrong lashes home the winner for Starling. The second half is marked by discipline and weary physicality, with some sharp saves from Hargrave preserving the Passerines’ lead. Can Brinemouth capitalise? No. Brinemouth get wiped out 4-0 by Morningstar, as Christos Tsiavis has, in this closing stage of the seasn, steadily justified the trust Emery Lineker has put into him as he chalks up a complete hat-trick in the second half. “Breaking Docker hearts yet again!” Lineker cackles after the match. “That’s what I do best!” The Moths sweep the Otters away 3-0 to retain their five-point lead, and now the Dockers and Stags have slipped out of contention. But it’s not seemly to get too caught up in the stories of the grand and the terrible - other events can’t be overlooked. The Chariots are fresh off devouring Starling, Athletic not far off being shredded 5-0 in Pasarga. In the fiery East Sabrefell derby? It’s clear to say which way the wind is blowing, and this is reflected within the first ten minutes, Neury shanking a would-be tap-in wide from eight yards before Rowena Sierra does one better, racing to the end of Riske’s pass and almost caressing it beyond a sprawling Gautier. Athletic strike back not long after, Hawke knocking down a cross to… herself, volleying the rebound into the ceiling of the net. The Chariots want their lead back… perhaps a little too much, as Laura Belfry puts her studs through Tanith Rainsford. The World Cup winner is stretchered off, Belfry sent off, and now Athletic are angry. Coltrane, silent to that point, leads by example, and while Commerford’s saves keep the Chariots in the game in the first half, two goals and two assists for Coltrane in the second sees the Chariots swept aside. Bragging rights to the Reds, for the time being.

1. Moths - 96, 50
2. Starling - 91, 43
16. Southfell - 50, -15
17. Goodfeather - 47, -17
18. Morningstar - 47, -20
19. Brookford - 44, -27
20. Parrhesia - 41, -23
21. Diamondqueen - 41, -26
22. Serpentine - 38, -32
23. Cranequin - 34, -38
24. Maximum - 34, -43
9 points left to play.

Brookford Otters 0-1 Crisisbless
Bishop 0-0 Goodfeather FC

Crisisbless’ priorities are clear, and they bring a strong squad to bear against the Otters. Brookford’s got the pace to be a banana skin against any team, so the Heelers are tight in defence and, while uninspired going forward, Marisha Staunton eventually finds a breakthrough, cutting through Siegrist like he’s not even there and then just gently finding the far corner past a sprawling Wheelock. Bishop against Goodfeather is just ninety paralytically dreary minutes of stifling possession.

Vermillion Rage 1-0 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Treason 4-4 Violence Chariots
Sabrefell Moths 5-0 Coret Hawks
Cranequin Wanderers 2-3 Starling
Leichhardt 4-0 Brookford Otters
Maximum Rovers 2-2 Creed United
Goodfeather FC 1-5 Newrook City
Crisisbless 3-1 Parrhesia United
Southfell United 1-0 Bishop
Diamondqueen 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Brinemouth 3-1 AFC Serpentine
Morningstar 1-0 Raven River

The Moths steal the show today. With Starling hot on their tail, the Moths take no chances against the Hawks. It’s not that Coret are so bad, but the hosts convert seemingly every chance they get. Johnson manages a brace, Vol manages a brace and a moment of magic from Imriel Townsend from 30 yards finishes them off. The match of the round, though, is a chaotic draw between the Stags and Chariots in which Treason show the resolve that’s dragged them this far. The Chariots cantered to a 4-2 lead by the hour mark, then exacerbated by Treason midfielder Vedran Tarashaj smashing through Riske and getting a second yellow card. Somehow, the ten-man Stags then drag the match back through an unlikely star of the season, Asher Voeller - first he angles a header from a fine Keynes cross into the ceiling of the net under pressure from two defenders and Commerford, before an impressive knockdown under similar pressure sees the ball bounce across the face of goal for Fraser to stab home the equaliser. Goodfeather and Brookford are struggling, and helpfully showcase exactly why as they’re cleaned out 4-0 by Leichhardt (who the fuck concedes four goals to Leichhardt?) and 5-1 at home by Newrook respectively. Lower-key, Morningstar grind out a 1-0 win over River, thanks to a Saroszi goal but more notably Lukas Sparr’s fourth consecutive clean sheet. They’re now officially safe from relegation, as are Southfell after a 1-0 win over Bishop. Cranequin Wanderers fight desperately to keep in the relegation battle, twice taking the lead against Starling… but their glass jaw betrays them, and late goals off the bench from Woodwind and Corvalan ensure that they are the first team to go down this season. Maximum Rovers are all but mathematically following them due to a prohibitive goal difference, despite a third unbeaten match in a row - 2-2 against Creed not quite enough.

1. Moths - 99, 55
2. Starling - 94, 44
18. Goodfeather - 47, -21
19. Diamondqueen - 44, -25
20. Brookford - 44, -31
21. Parrhesia - 41, -25
22. Serpentine - 38, -34
23. Maximum - 35, -43
6 points left to play.

Crisisbless 1-2 Brookford Otters
2-2 on aggregate. Brookford Otters win on away goals.
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Bishop
1-1 on aggregate. Bishop win on away goals.

Crisisbless will be wondering how exactly they fucked that one up. Nevertheless, it happened - Ozaria Gandhi missing two one-on-ones within the first fifteen minutes, Ellen Wheelock saving Urso’s penalty, before Brookford hit back on the stroke of halftime through Sabina Tambor. Tambor doubled her team’s advantage in the 53rd minute, a neat one-two with Harbour playing her through Crisisbless’ line before firing between Hartmuth’s legs, and Crisisbless could only get the one goal back through Snowe’s lashed strike. They crash out on away goals, which is also what Goodfeather vs. Bishop came to after a fairly dry 1-1. Goodfeather were the better team and lead most of the game, but some excellent saves from Connor Risdon kept their heads above water before Mersiades lashed a shot against the post from forty yards with Beraht motionless. Unfortunately for the Quakers, it was Penbrooke who reacted fastest to put the rebound in the net.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 AFC Treason
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Violence Chariots 2-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Coret Hawks 1-3 Leichhardt
Starling 1-0 Maximum Rovers
Brookford Otters 1-3 Goodfeather FC
Creed United 1-2 Crisisbless
Newrook City 1-0 Southfell United
Parrhesia United 2-0 Diamondqueen
Bishop 1-3 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Morningstar
AFC Serpentine 1-2 Raven River

It’s the longest ninety minutes for the Passerines. The Rovers are already, surely, dead and gone - so why won’t they roll over and die? The ball just will not go in, with Lindberg flying, Padilla hitting both posts, a brilliant Gryphon corner falling to Loredan who awkwardly chests it just wide… it takes 87 minutes for the breakthrough that finally puts the Rovers down. This time Gryphon just sticks it straight in from a free kick, Lindberg without a chance. Eyes turn to the Vermillion vs. Moths match that’s already had a half played, with the Rage leading 1-0 through Corvid Alemane’s strike. But just three minutes after the restart, Serra’s allowed too much room in midfield, picks out the pass to split Vermillion’s defence, Solara Vol cuts it across goal and there, inevitably, is Aaliyah Johnson to sweep home the equaliser. 1-1 it stays, the Moths scrape to a century of points, and though it’s not yet official - they do need to avoid being pasted 10-0 on the final matchday - the title is within their grasp. Brinemouth and Treason round out the confirmed top four, Vermillion secure in fifth. The Globe Cup fight comes down to three teams fighting over two spaces. The Harriers are the most secure after a 2-0 win over Morningstar, Crisisbless clinging to seventh after a late winner from Staunton (who’s starting to have a knack for these things) takes them past Creed, Athletic’s energetic but technically deficient scoreless draw with Treason miring them in eighth. The title favourites. Tom Benedict’s job is under some serious pressure.

The Diamonds have a chance to ensure their safety at the Saints’ expense, but Parrhesia finally win a game, outplaying them in a weirdly assured performance - or are the Diamonds weirdly timid? In any case, Quinn McEthinly breaks a long scoring drought and Mastiff finishes them off with a deflected strike late on, 2-0 the final score. That puts the pressure on the Otters. After three straight goalless defeats, Brookford do at least get on the scoresheet within eight minutes against Goodfeather. It’s just a shame about the rest of the match, as Falcon Case takes the game by the scruff of the neck and, with two assists and a goal, ensures the Quakers’ survival (which was all but mathematical, anyway). The bottom three are now mathematically confirmed, after Serpentine fall to a 2-1 defeat to River (their fourth straight), the Wanderers managing a pointless but stirring comeback win against Violence and the Rovers now at the foot of the table. Not much left to play for in the final matchday… but three teams will fight over half a relegation place, another three over two Globe Cup places. It’s… something?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:11 pm
by Nephara
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Armstrong
Crossroads Town 2-0 Belgrave
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Hackett
Rochford 0-3 Maximum City
Chatswood 0-0 North Sabrefell
North Laithland 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Corvette Maulers 1-0 South Laithland
Extreme Hills 1-2 Sheridan
Greygate 1-0 Crisisbless United
Chenoworth Rovers 1-4 Cypher Town
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Coret Rovers
Riverkey 2-2 Ritter Town
Belgrave 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Hackett 1-4 Armstrong
Maximum City 1-0 Crossroads Town
North Sabrefell 0-3 AFC Corvistone
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Rochford
South Laithland 3-0 Chatswood
Sheridan 0-1 North Laithland
Crisisbless United 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Cypher Town 4-0 Extreme Hills
Coret Rovers 1-3 Greygate
Ritter Town 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Riverkey 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Hackett
Belgrave 2-1 Maximum City
Armstrong 1-0 North Sabrefell
Crossroads Town 0-0 East Laithland Harriers
AFC Corvistone 2-1 South Laithland
Rochford 0-1 Sheridan
Chatswood 2-0 Crisisbless United
North Laithland 0-1 Cypher Town
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Coret Rovers
Extreme Hills 1-1 Ritter Town
Greygate 0-0 Riverkey
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Maximum City 7-0 Vermillion Wanderers
North Sabrefell 1-0 Hackett
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Belgrave
South Laithland 1-1 Armstrong
Sheridan 1-1 Crossroads Town
Crisisbless United 0-0 AFC Corvistone
Cypher Town 5-2 Rochford
Coret Rovers 1-1 Chatswood
Ritter Town 4-1 North Laithland
Riverkey 2-3 Corvette Maulers
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Extreme Hills
Chenoworth Rovers 4-1 Greygate
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 North Sabrefell
Maximum City 0-0 East Laithland Harriers
Hackett 0-0 South Laithland
Belgrave 1-1 Sheridan
Armstrong 1-1 Crisisbless United
Crossroads Town 1-2 Cypher Town
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Coret Rovers
Rochford 0-1 Ritter Town
Chatswood 1-0 Riverkey
North Laithland 3-0 Pillars of Southfell
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Extreme Hills 5-3 Greygate
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
South Laithland 0-1 North Sabrefell
Sheridan 2-0 Maximum City
Crisisbless United 2-1 Hackett
Cypher Town 4-1 Belgrave
Coret Rovers 2-0 Armstrong
Ritter Town 0-1 Crossroads Town
Riverkey 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Rochford
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Chatswood
Greygate 1-3 North Laithland
Extreme Hills 2-1 Corvette Maulers
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 South Laithland
East Laithland Harriers 0-0 Sheridan
North Sabrefell 2-0 Crisisbless United
Maximum City 1-1 Cypher Town
Hackett 1-2 Coret Rovers
Belgrave 6-4 Ritter Town
Armstrong 1-0 Riverkey
Crossroads Town 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Corvistone 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Rochford 1-0 Greygate
Chatswood 0-0 Extreme Hills
North Laithland 0-0 Corvette Maulers
Sheridan 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Crisisbless United 1-0 South Laithland
Cypher Town 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Coret Rovers 1-1 North Sabrefell
Ritter Town 1-1 Maximum City
Riverkey 0-1 Hackett
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Belgrave
Chenoworth Rovers 0-2 Armstrong
Greygate 1-3 Crossroads Town
Extreme Hills 3-0 AFC Corvistone
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Rochford
North Laithland 2-0 Chatswood
Vermillion Wanderers 2-2 Crisisbless United
Sheridan 0-2 Cypher Town
South Laithland 1-2 Coret Rovers
East Laithland Harriers 3-0 Ritter Town
North Sabrefell 3-1 Riverkey
Maximum City 2-2 Pillars of Southfell
Hackett 3-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Belgrave 0-1 Greygate
Armstrong 4-1 Extreme Hills
Crossroads Town 1-4 Corvette Maulers
AFC Corvistone 3-0 North Laithland
Rochford 1-1 Chatswood
Cypher Town 5-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Coret Rovers 1-2 Crisisbless United
Ritter Town 1-1 Sheridan
Riverkey 1-0 South Laithland
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Chenoworth Rovers 0-3 North Sabrefell
Greygate 0-1 Maximum City
Extreme Hills 4-3 Hackett
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Belgrave
North Laithland 1-1 Armstrong
Chatswood 2-0 Crossroads Town
Rochford 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 Coret Rovers
Cypher Town 2-0 Ritter Town
Crisisbless United 2-0 Riverkey
Sheridan 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
South Laithland 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
East Laithland Harriers 3-2 Greygate
North Sabrefell 2-0 Extreme Hills
Maximum City 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Hackett 0-1 North Laithland
Belgrave 2-2 Chatswood
Armstrong 0-0 Rochford
Crossroads Town 0-5 AFC Corvistone

Matchday 35: Kieran Schrader is melting down. "I am a good manager," rails the 46-year old. "I'll put my record, for a young manager, against anyone's - I'll be proud of it. And we will stay up this season!" Injuries, admittedly, haven't helped the cause, and they're forced to start 35-year old winger Scott Penclare for a sixth straight game. He does actually do well with his one cross, knocked down by the massive Djite and converted by Westfield, and Greygate hold out for the win. Rochford roll over and expose their vulnerable underbellies to the predatory Smiths, who take full advantage. Ephraim Mirzian's gradually grown to fill their need for a striker this season, while Rochford look worryingly brittle.

Matchday 36: Lara Winter's appointment at Hackett to replace Clarke was a controversial one. A young manager to replace the old, the board accepted that Hackett were safe this season and that they needed to transition to a new era. Getting pumped 4-1 at home by Armstrong is just part of that, but a sceptical, nervous home crowd is already restless. They're hardly alone in getting hammered, anyway - Cypher dunk Extreme Hills 4-0, a Hills side that Bryony Johanson has drilled into respectability, while South Laithland underline their promotion push with a decisive 3-0 win over Chatswood with the hugely impressive Vesuvia Carrick continuing to prove her worth. North Sabrefell, for their part, meekly surrender to the Crows and are turned over 3-0, and the home crowd are starting to sour on Mark Grayson after his promised revolution's starting to melt.

Matchday 37: North Sabrefell haven't won in eight games - haven't scored in three, after Telfair sets Armstrong off to a 1-0 win as Constantine Yeoman isn't even really challenged. Corvistone edge South Laithland 2-1, with Afolayan stretching out a leg to convert Brier's cross late on... but he's offside. It's not noticed by the referee, but conspiracy is rife; "The NFA gets the result they wanted!" is the refrain of the day, both from the away end and then, bitterly, from the mouth of captain Gratia Barker, who is promptly handed a five-match ban in her last season as a professional footballer.

Matchday 38: The Bohemians crowd is starting to turn on Mark Grayson, but they do finally break their streaks with a grinding 1-0 win over Hackett. Cypher's 5-2 thumping of Rochford underlines the different directions the two teams are headed. Maximum City handing Vermillion a 7-0 thrashing doesn't really underline anything except that the Wanderers are crap and, even the home crowd have to admit, that Mirzian - who nets a hat-trick on his 24th birthday - is growing into the kind of striker that can haul them to promotion, and that other locals - Aldous, Mifsud - are rising to the occasion. So naturally Aldous has been strongly linked with Southfell United, assuming the Tanners stay up.

Matchday 39: The Hills and Greygate slug it out in one of those matches that a dominant team that can't defend produces every once in a while, a real treat for the neutrals. The Hounds dictate the terms of the match, taking the fight to a cautious Greygate and breaking them down through two early goals. What they can't do is stop the bleeding at the back - 2-0 becomes 2-2 through Djite's brace, becomes 4-2 before the half is over. Rooke's goal on the hour mark looks to have secured it, with the home fans rapturous at their squad, before Tournay somehow contrives to leap up to catch a corner, fall awkwardly, overbalance and stagger into the net for Greygate's third. It is, very generously, credited to Paterson.

Matchday 40: Cypher Town are just on another level this season. That was expected to be Corvistone, but the Crows are beaten 2-1 by Riverkey with Julian fucking Parable shutting them down and seasoned forward Redstarr with a brace. Cypher, though, thrash Belgrave 4-1, goals coming from all over the park in a dominant display, and it's their seventh straight win. They're cruising to the title, particularly as a defensive mix-up hands Riverkey's Redstarr a late winner against Corvistone, a crucial and unexpected three points for them.

Matchday 41: Say what you will about Pillars, they're still fighting, flying in the face of mathematics. A 2-0 away win over Crossroads is practically pedestrian considering how inferior they are. Cypher's run of wins stops with a draw in maximum, but the Crows are unable to capitalise, outbattled by Harper's Chenoworth Rovers, goals from Dyer and Hummel and some flying saves from Felix Shaw. In fact, as the Spiders and Maulers draw and South Laithland stall to a 1-1 draw in Vermillion, the only real winners near the top are North Sabrefell, a stoic defensive showing and second-half goals from Aubeck and Kranevitter seeing Crisisbless United off. Most neutral eyes, though, are on an unassuming fixture pitting Belgrave against Ritter Town. After 90 utterly insane minutes, more from good attacking than bad defending (though there's some of that, too), the dust settles at 6-4, Ritter blowing a 4-3 lead over the last half-hour, Ilary Muscat lethal in front of goal. "I told Ila to give it a rest for the last stretch of the match," says a cheerful Griffiths after the fact. "She's got enough Premiership interest in her as it is. Guess she didn't listen!"

Matchday 42: Corvistone slip to a third straight defeat, this in conclusive fashion. Bryony Johanson was predicted as being set to preside over consecutive relegations, but the young manager's done wonders to restore respectability back to Harkerscourt. This is the new vintage for her, a confident, front-foot performance, and the Crows fold in the face of it, Jess Hearn leading the way to a 3-0 win. Rochford let slip of a valuable point against Corvette in the cruelest possible fashion. After Proctor had put them ahead in the 50th minute, the Maulers hit back just seventeen seconds after the restart, Ankergren slamming home the equaliser past a stunned Rochford defence. Worse still, Owls goalkeeper Chris Beasley looks to have grasped Plutarch's free kick, the last kick of the match... until it squirrels under his armpit, slips away from him and is slammed home by an opportunistic Gideon Muller. The Maulers win 2-1 and now Rochford have a lot to be worried about.

Matchday 43: Are East Laithland going to pull it off? Again? After a dominant performance from Denisa Thirlwell, the sour-faced magician of the Laith, they really stamp a boot on Ritter's face, seemingly forever. In the event, it's just ninety minutes, with Simon Ardley providing a few scrambling saves to keep the score down to 3-0. They aren't alone in notching up a crucial result near the bottom - a dour Greygate defence and a set piece converted by big centre-half Malick ensures a 1-0 win, with Malick colossal in defence as well. And Pillars, though they're unable to maintain their recent resolute defensive record, snatch a point from Maximum City in the 90th minute slightly dodgy circumstances - not for the actual equaliser, which was struck beautifully into the top corner by Cisneros from 25 yards, but the first, as Loris Aldous maintains to the end that Lachlan Cromwell basically just kicked at the ball in his grasp to stumble it over the line after it had been claimed.

Matchday 44: Cypher secured the title a while back but they aren't letting it slow them down, hammering five past Vermillion Wanderers. South Laithland are edged out 1-0 by Riverkey, and sort of lowkey have undergone a bruising seven-match winless run. Coinciding exactly with Vesuvia Carrick's scoreless streak. It's as if nobody else has a killing edge on the team? A feisty Maximum derby between Greygate - who count no small number of ex-City fans - and City ends 1-0 to the Smiths, but with two red cards on each side after no less than three scuffles erupted over the course of the game. Greygate actually end with eight players - Gavin Chamberlain headbutts the luckless Jason Finmark, injuring him above the eye and forcing him off with no substitutions. Chamberlain's given a ten-match ban, but shrugs. "I'm retiring at the end of the year anyway, and besides, he shouldn't've said what he did about my sister. I don't even have a sister."

Matchday 45: As Cypher cruise to a 2-0 win over Ritter through goals from Alexander and Petridis, they've absolutely scorched their way to the title with eleven wins from their last twelve matches. Corvistone have easily secured promotion as well, underlining it with a 5-0 away win over Crossroads in which Stanford makes sure of his Iron Boot with a complete hat-trick in the first half before being subbed off on the hour to a standing ovation from the away end. Not that there's much of an away end, it's Corvistone, but still. North Laithland fans sigh in relief in the 89th minute when Hackett, in control of the match but unable to find a final product, succumb to a late slip from Wrexham chasing a pedestrian through-ball from Webster. Stubbs runs onto it and centres it for Stokes to tap home, a winner that ensures the Spiders need just a point on the final day. South Laithland beat Chenoworth Rovers when Merlyn Youabian scores from leftback in an otherwise pedestrian game, and Corvette have a 1-0 win of their own over Maximum City to stay in the chase. North Sabrefell, with a 2-0 win over Extreme Hills, stay in the chase for fourth, but Chatswood slip to a late equaliser from Ilary Muscat to ensure that a prohibitive goal difference locks them out of the promotion picture.

At the bottom of the table, East Laithland Harriers complete another motherfucking Great Escape, Pato Yamaguchi's second-half brace overturning the deficit against a Greygate side that has absolutely collapsed. Another six-pointer sees Vermillion Wanderers outmuscle Coret to a 3-1 win, ensuring neither escapes the relegation picture for now - Crossroads Town, thanks to their pulverisation, could be sucked into 21st as well. Riverkey, beaten 2-0 by Crisisbless United, will need a win on the final matchday to be in with a shot of survival - but if they do get that win, one of the three in front of them will probably obligingly slip up. Greygate, Rochford (who are held by Armstrong to a limp scoreless draw) and, regrettably, the Pillars of Southfell Cinderella story (beaten 1-0 by pantomime villains Sheridan, breaking a late run of three wins and two draws) all have their relegations confirmed.

Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Martella Jazz
Kommissar 1-1 Sutcroft
Peregrine 1-2 Mantlegrove
The Hanged Man 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Cranequin City 0-0 The Strongest
West Brinemouth 0-1 Locksley
Iron City 3-0 Southriver
AFC Shale 0-1 Boleyn Town
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Stonegrave
Falston United 0-1 Iron United
Lazuli Diamonds 3-0 South Parrhesia
Falston Town 0-1 Barossia United
Sutcroft 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Mantlegrove 2-2 Martella Jazz
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Kommissar
The Strongest 1-1 Peregrine
Locksley 2-0 The Hanged Man
Southriver 1-2 Cranequin City
Boleyn Town 0-1 West Brinemouth
Stonegrave 1-1 Iron City
Iron United 0-0 AFC Shale
South Parrhesia 1-2 Gonen's Bridge
Barossia United 0-1 Falston United
Falston Town 1-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Crisisbless Athletic 4-0 Mantlegrove
Sutcroft 3-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Martella Jazz 0-1 The Strongest
Kommissar 1-2 Locksley
Peregrine 1-1 Southriver
The Hanged Man 0-1 Boleyn Town
Cranequin City 1-0 Stonegrave
West Brinemouth 1-1 Iron United
Iron City 4-1 South Parrhesia
AFC Shale 0-0 Barossia United
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Falston Town
Falston United 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Dartmouth Terriers 2-2 Crisisbless Athletic
The Strongest 0-4 Mantlegrove
Locksley 1-1 Sutcroft
Southriver 2-3 Martella Jazz
Boleyn Town 3-2 Kommissar
Stonegrave 4-3 Peregrine
Iron United 1-1 The Hanged Man
South Parrhesia 0-1 Cranequin City
Barossia United 2-2 West Brinemouth
Falston Town 1-0 Iron City
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 AFC Shale
Falston United 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 The Strongest
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Locksley
Mantlegrove 1-0 Southriver
Sutcroft 0-2 Boleyn Town
Martella Jazz 1-2 Stonegrave
Kommissar 0-3 Iron United
Peregrine 1-2 South Parrhesia
The Hanged Man 1-0 Barossia United
Cranequin City 6-1 Falston Town
West Brinemouth 0-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Iron City 0-0 Falston United
AFC Shale 1-2 Gonen's Bridge
Locksley 2-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Southriver 1-1 The Strongest
Boleyn Town 0-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Stonegrave 2-0 Mantlegrove
Iron United 1-2 Sutcroft
South Parrhesia 2-2 Martella Jazz
Barossia United 0-1 Kommissar
Falston Town 3-0 Peregrine
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 The Hanged Man
Falston United 1-2 Cranequin City
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 West Brinemouth
AFC Shale 0-2 Iron City
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Southriver
Locksley 2-0 Boleyn Town
The Strongest 3-1 Stonegrave
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Iron United
Mantlegrove 1-0 South Parrhesia
Sutcroft 3-2 Barossia United
Martella Jazz 2-0 Falston Town
Kommissar 0-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Peregrine 3-0 Falston United
The Hanged Man 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Cranequin City 0-1 AFC Shale
West Brinemouth 0-2 Iron City
Boleyn Town 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Stonegrave 2-1 Southriver
Iron United 0-2 Locksley
South Parrhesia 1-1 The Strongest
Barossia United 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Falston Town 2-0 Mantlegrove
Lazuli Diamonds 2-0 Sutcroft
Falston United 1-2 Martella Jazz
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Kommissar
AFC Shale 0-0 Peregrine
Iron City 0-1 The Hanged Man
West Brinemouth 1-1 Cranequin City
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Stonegrave
Boleyn Town 1-1 Iron United
Southriver 2-1 South Parrhesia
Locksley 5-0 Barossia United
The Strongest 2-1 Falston Town
Dartmouth Terriers 3-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Mantlegrove 5-1 Falston United
Sutcroft 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Martella Jazz 1-0 AFC Shale
Kommissar 2-2 Iron City
Peregrine 1-3 West Brinemouth
The Hanged Man 0-1 Cranequin City
Iron United 2-4 Crisisbless Athletic
South Parrhesia 0-2 Stonegrave
Barossia United 0-1 Boleyn Town
Falston Town 1-2 Southriver
Lazuli Diamonds 1-2 Locksley
Falston United 1-2 The Strongest
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
AFC Shale 4-2 Mantlegrove
Iron City 2-0 Sutcroft
West Brinemouth 1-3 Martella Jazz
Cranequin City 2-1 Kommissar
The Hanged Man 0-2 Peregrine
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 South Parrhesia
Iron United 4-0 Barossia United
Stonegrave 2-0 Falston Town
Boleyn Town 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Southriver 0-2 Falston United
Locksley 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
The Strongest 2-0 AFC Shale
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Iron City
Mantlegrove 1-0 West Brinemouth
Sutcroft 0-0 Cranequin City
Martella Jazz 1-1 The Hanged Man
Kommissar 0-2 Peregrine

There is almost no intrigue left in the Second Division. Top of the roost is Locksley by a country mile, on the strength of an eleven-match undefeated streak. Sure, they eventually let it slip to Gonen’s Bridge, but who cares by then? Iron City, Crisisbless Athletic and Gonen’s Bridge have also secured moves to the top flight - in Bridge’s case for the first time in their history, very much the second tier’s smallest team next season. How did West Brinemouth, five points clear in fourth just eleven matches ago, somehow wind up in ninth, twelve points away from promotion? It is a mystery, centred around them being bad at football. Boleyn, Falston Town and South Parrhesia are down, predictably, after being dreadful all season. Any of four sides could go down with them, a desperate 2-0 win for Falston United away against Southriver keeping them in the fight for now. Just.

Sutcroft Athletic 0-0 Rushe United
Brookway Town 2-2 Iberia Chenoworth
FC Seierstad 3-0 Dross Rovers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Brindleton 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Strephonage 0-0 Mapleford
West Hook 0-2 Ox River United
Kensey Town 7-3 Ballardine FC
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Gridlock Rovers
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Long Lake
Hartford Glade 0-1 Ringway
Rochford Pilgrims 2-0 Pravenna Saints
Iberia Chenoworth 1-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Dross Rovers 1-6 Rushe United
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Brookway Town
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 FC Seierstad
Mapleford 1-4 Chardonnay Rangers
Ox River United 0-0 Brindleton
Ballardine FC 4-0 Strephonage
Gridlock Rovers 1-1 West Hook
Long Lake 0-0 Kensey Town
Ringway 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Pravenna Saints 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
Rochford Pilgrims 2-4 Hartford Glade
Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 Dross Rovers
Iberia Chenoworth 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Rushe United 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Brookway Town 2-0 Mapleford
FC Seierstad 2-0 Ox River United
Chardonnay Rangers 4-1 Ballardine FC
Brindleton 1-1 Gridlock Rovers
Strephonage 0-1 Long Lake
West Hook 2-0 Ringway
Kensey Town 2-0 Pravenna Saints
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Corinthians No Longer 3-1 Hartford Glade
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Dross Rovers
Mapleford 0-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Ox River United 1-1 Rushe United
Ballardine FC 3-3 Brookway Town
Gridlock Rovers 0-1 FC Seierstad
Long Lake 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Ringway 1-2 Brindleton
Pravenna Saints 0-0 Strephonage
Rochford Pilgrims 1-3 West Hook
Hartford Glade 2-1 Kensey Town
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Alliance Barossia 2-1 Mapleford
Dross Rovers 1-0 Ox River United
Iberia Chenoworth 0-4 Ballardine FC
Rushe United 3-0 Gridlock Rovers
Brookway Town 1-0 Long Lake
FC Seierstad 1-4 Ringway
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Pravenna Saints
Brindleton 3-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Strephonage 0-1 Hartford Glade
West Hook 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Kensey Town 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Mapleford 1-4 Sutcroft Athletic
Ox River United 2-2 Gosmouth Swans
Ballardine FC 3-1 Alliance Barossia
Gridlock Rovers 3-0 Dross Rovers
Long Lake 1-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Ringway 0-1 Rushe United
Pravenna Saints 0-0 Brookway Town
Rochford Pilgrims 2-1 FC Seierstad
Hartford Glade 0-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Brindleton
Boltcroft Thorns 0-0 Strephonage
Kensey Town 1-0 West Hook
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Ox River United
Mapleford 0-0 Ballardine FC
Gosmouth Swans 3-0 Gridlock Rovers
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Long Lake
Dross Rovers 2-1 Ringway
Iberia Chenoworth 1-2 Pravenna Saints
Rushe United 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Brookway Town 3-1 Hartford Glade
FC Seierstad 2-2 Corinthians No Longer
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Brindleton 2-0 Kensey Town
Strephonage 1-1 West Hook
Ballardine FC 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Gridlock Rovers 1-2 Ox River United
Long Lake 0-0 Mapleford
Ringway 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Pravenna Saints 0-0 Alliance Barossia
Rochford Pilgrims 4-0 Dross Rovers
Hartford Glade 2-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Rushe United
Boltcroft Thorns 4-1 Brookway Town
Kensey Town 2-1 FC Seierstad
West Hook 0-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Strephonage 1-0 Brindleton
Sutcroft Athletic 4-0 Gridlock Rovers
Ballardine FC 5-1 Long Lake
Ox River United 2-2 Ringway
Mapleford 2-1 Pravenna Saints
Gosmouth Swans 3-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Alliance Barossia 2-2 Hartford Glade
Dross Rovers 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Iberia Chenoworth 2-5 Boltcroft Thorns
Rushe United 3-1 Kensey Town
Brookway Town 2-0 West Hook
FC Seierstad 0-2 Strephonage
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Brindleton
Long Lake 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Ringway 1-1 Gridlock Rovers
Pravenna Saints 0-1 Ballardine FC
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Ox River United
Hartford Glade 1-0 Mapleford
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Kensey Town 6-1 Dross Rovers
West Hook 5-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Strephonage 2-2 Rushe United
Brindleton 2-1 Brookway Town
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 FC Seierstad
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Ringway
Long Lake 3-0 Pravenna Saints
Gridlock Rovers 0-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Ballardine FC 2-1 Hartford Glade
Ox River United 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Mapleford 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Kensey Town
Alliance Barossia 1-1 West Hook
Dross Rovers 2-1 Strephonage
Iberia Chenoworth 0-1 Brindleton
Rushe United 2-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Brookway Town 0-1 FC Seierstad

Strephonage somehow managed to choke their seven point lead to cede the title to Chardonnay Rangers a match early. Both sides are promoted at least, along with Alliance Barossia - all three fail to win. Ballardine have won their last three games, Brindleton their last two - these two sides will fight over fourth in the finale. At the bottom, a fine run of form from Rushe United has whisked them out of danger as even their defence has sharpened up. Gridlock, Dross and Iberia are going down, the lattermost of these conceding over a hundred goals in the process, while Rochford Pilgrims will look to overtake the utterly toothless Pravenna Saints. Brokenarch, Sirencall, Aries Solitaire and Bodkin Road will be taking their places next season. Southern Sabrefell side Solitaire look the strongest of these by a distance.

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sabrefell Moths 45 31 7 7 98 43 +55 100
2 Starling 45 30 7 8 87 42 +45 97
3 Brinemouth 45 28 7 10 94 57 +37 91
4 AFC Treason 45 25 10 10 79 47 +32 85

5 Vermillion Rage 45 22 12 11 76 63 +13 78
6 Chenoworth Harriers 45 22 9 14 75 48 +27 75
7 Crisisbless 45 21 11 13 65 45 +20 74

8 Sabrefell Athletic 45 19 16 10 82 50 +32 73
9 Newrook City 45 18 11 16 65 55 +10 65
10 Leichhardt 45 19 8 18 51 52 -1 65
11 Coret Hawks 45 15 15 15 58 47 +11 60
12 Violence Chariots 45 15 14 16 68 65 +3 59
13 Bishop 45 13 18 14 48 54 -6 57
14 Raven River 45 15 9 21 48 65 -17 54
15 Southfell United 45 13 14 18 57 72 -15 53
16 Creed United 45 12 15 18 55 64 -9 51
17 Morningstar 45 12 15 18 30 51 -21 51
18 Goodfeather FC 45 12 14 19 46 65 -19 50
19 Parrhesia United 45 10 14 21 40 63 -23 44
20 Diamondqueen 45 11 11 23 49 76 -27 44
21 Brookford Otters 45 10 14 21 56 89 -33 44
22 AFC Serpentine 45 9 11 25 50 85 -35 38
23 Cranequin Wanderers 45 9 10 26 51 88 -37 37
24 Maximum Rovers 45 9 8 28 47 89 -42 35

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cypher Town 45 30 11 4 87 28 +59 101
2 AFC Corvistone 45 26 10 9 87 38 +49 88
3 North Laithland 45 22 14 9 71 50 +21 80

4 South Laithland 45 23 8 14 53 36 +17 77
5 Corvette Maulers 45 22 10 13 74 59 +15 76
6 North Sabrefell 45 21 11 13 57 37 +20 74
7 Chatswood 45 21 11 13 51 44 +7 74
8 Crisisbless United 45 19 11 15 67 53 +14 68
9 Belgrave 45 18 14 13 68 58 +10 68
10 Armstrong 45 18 14 13 46 39 +7 68
11 Extreme Hills 45 17 12 16 67 72 -5 63
12 Hackett 45 18 8 19 54 64 -10 62
13 Maximum City 45 15 14 16 53 41 +12 59
14 Sheridan 45 15 14 16 34 42 -8 59
15 Chenoworth Rovers 45 13 18 14 61 50 +11 57
16 Ritter Town 45 14 14 17 65 69 -4 56
17 East Laithland Harriers 45 11 14 20 55 81 -26 47
18 Crossroads Town 45 12 10 23 40 64 -24 46
19 Vermillion Wanderers 45 12 10 23 59 94 -35 46
20 Coret Rovers 45 12 9 24 49 78 -29 45
21 Riverkey 45 10 13 22 37 58 -21 43
22 Greygate 45 9 14 22 50 77 -27 41
23 Rochford 45 11 7 27 38 65 -27 40
24 Pillars of Southfell 45 8 15 22 37 63 -26 39

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Locksley 45 32 7 6 97 38 +59 103
2 Iron City 45 25 9 11 65 36 +29 84
3 Crisisbless Athletic 45 23 13 9 89 51 +38 82
4 Gonen's Bridge 45 23 11 11 57 38 +19 80

5 Stonegrave 45 22 7 16 58 45 +13 73
6 Lazuli Diamonds 45 21 7 17 78 62 +16 70
7 Cranequin City 45 20 9 16 62 45 +17 69
8 Mantlegrove 45 19 11 15 60 50 +10 68
9 West Brinemouth 45 20 8 17 54 45 +9 68
10 Dartmouth Terriers 45 17 16 12 55 46 +9 67
11 AFC Shale 45 17 15 13 42 36 +6 66
12 Martella Jazz 45 18 10 17 64 64 +0 64
13 Iron United 45 16 14 15 56 44 +12 62
14 The Strongest 45 16 12 17 60 65 -5 60
15 Sutcroft 45 14 14 17 43 58 -15 56
16 Barossia United 45 16 7 22 43 66 -23 55
17 The Hanged Man 45 13 14 18 32 39 -7 53
18 Southriver 45 12 14 19 54 66 -12 50
19 Peregrine 45 12 14 19 56 76 -20 50
20 Kommissar 45 13 10 22 56 73 -17 49
21 Falston United 45 14 6 25 42 66 -24 48
22 Boleyn Town 45 11 8 26 33 65 -32 41
23 Falston Town 45 11 5 29 43 80 -37 38
24 South Parrhesia 45 9 11 25 48 93 -45 38

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Chardonnay Rangers 45 27 10 8 83 42 +41 91
2 Strephonage 45 25 12 8 56 28 +28 87
3 Alliance Barossia 45 23 16 6 67 42 +25 85
4 Brindleton 45 23 13 9 64 37 +27 82

5 Ballardine FC 45 23 12 10 97 51 +46 81
6 Kensey Town 45 22 12 11 75 53 +22 78
7 West Hook 45 21 14 10 54 35 +19 77
8 Boltcroft Thorns 45 22 11 12 69 55 +14 77
9 Long Lake 45 17 15 13 46 43 +3 66
10 Gosmouth Swans 45 19 8 18 60 67 -7 65
11 Ox River United 45 17 13 15 52 38 +14 64
12 Corinthians No Longer 45 16 14 15 74 72 +2 62
13 Sutcroft Athletic 45 15 11 19 52 55 -3 56
14 Brookway Town 45 16 8 21 61 73 -12 56
15 Mapleford 45 12 18 15 44 53 -9 54
16 Hartford Glade 45 15 8 22 54 68 -14 53
17 Rushe United 45 14 8 23 66 66 +0 50
18 FC Seierstad 45 14 8 23 46 67 -21 50
19 Ringway 45 14 6 25 41 70 -29 48
20 Pravenna Saints 45 11 13 21 39 53 -14 46
21 Rochford Pilgrims 45 12 9 24 50 73 -23 45
22 Gridlock Rovers 45 10 12 23 45 68 -23 42
23 Dross Rovers 45 11 5 29 48 89 -41 38
24 Iberia Chenoworth 45 11 4 30 61 106 -45 37

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brokenarch 38 19 12 7 57 34 +23 69
2 Sirencall FC 38 20 7 11 73 49 +24 67

3 Harrington 38 20 6 12 63 51 +12 66
4 Gridlock 38 19 8 11 33 25 +8 65
5 Grovebank 38 18 9 11 59 48 +11 63
6 Stonesthrow Town 38 17 8 13 43 36 +7 59
7 Ingram Township 38 15 13 10 38 33 +5 58
8 Fischer 38 15 11 12 57 50 +7 56
9 Sleetwell Rangers 38 16 7 15 54 54 +0 55
10 Capricopia Rangers 38 14 12 12 48 42 +6 54
11 Fully Sick XI 38 14 10 14 57 47 +10 52
12 Swag Hill Rovers 38 13 10 15 54 58 -4 49
13 Courser 38 12 11 15 45 47 -2 47
14 Fenland Albion 38 11 13 14 37 35 +2 46
15 Gridlock East 38 12 9 17 38 41 -3 45
16 AFC Brackwold 38 11 11 16 53 58 -5 44
17 Nay Town 38 11 8 19 40 67 -27 41
18 AFC Hellerine 38 10 10 18 50 67 -17 40
19 Bellamy 38 10 8 20 33 56 -23 38
20 Norton Road 38 8 7 23 37 71 -34 31

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Aries Solitaire 38 26 5 7 78 38 +40 83
2 Bodkin Road 38 23 6 9 72 36 +36 75

3 Brunyard FC 38 22 5 11 77 46 +31 71
4 Stamper Road 38 21 8 9 69 48 +21 71
5 Downsparrow 38 20 10 8 71 39 +32 70
6 Corvistone City 38 18 15 5 39 21 +18 69
7 Rookwall 38 19 8 11 47 40 +7 65
8 Rhyburn Swifts 38 18 6 14 75 60 +15 60
9 Blaze 38 15 14 9 57 49 +8 59
10 South Brill 38 15 9 14 51 46 +5 54
11 Coral Bay 38 10 13 15 44 51 -7 43
12 Twelvetrees 38 10 11 17 34 48 -14 41
13 Mainstream Fist 38 11 8 19 46 68 -22 41
14 Corby Hubris 38 12 5 21 44 66 -22 41
15 Senway Town 38 10 9 19 39 55 -16 39
16 The Travellers FC 38 11 6 21 50 76 -26 39
17 AFC Burchess 38 9 11 18 35 49 -14 38
18 Sandrock 38 8 9 21 36 57 -21 33
19 Violence Tigers 38 7 11 20 38 65 -27 32
20 Masculine Town 38 7 7 24 33 77 -44 28

PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:46 pm
by Nephara
There’s not much that still needs settling below the top two leagues. Brindleton’s 2-0 win over fellow promoted side Alliance Barossia is enough to hold fourth, but even had they failed, Ballardine were beaten down 2-0 by Boltcroft. All eyes are on Rochford, anyway, who greet Ringway. If the 21st-placed Pilgrims win, they will overtake their opponents and seal survival, whether at Ringway’s expense or Pravenna Saints’. A desperate win for the Saints sees the offshore side scramble to safety, but Rochford think they’re home free. Right up until their Brenecian journeyman goalkeeper, Gerry Dougall, lets a long shot from Arran Cleish slip underneath his armpit for a late Ringway equaliser. “Guess that’s my career done here then,” Dougall sighs after the match, and is unsurprisingly released two days later. In the Second Division, the top four are all wrapped up. Falston United try desperately to force a late winner against Stonegrave, fail to get it and look above them to realise that all their direct competitors to avoid relegation won anyway.

Barossia United 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Falston Town 0-3 South Parrhesia
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Iron United
Falston United 1-1 Stonegrave
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Boleyn Town
AFC Shale 0-1 Southriver
Iron City 1-0 Locksley
West Brinemouth 2-1 The Strongest
Cranequin City 3-1 Dartmouth Terriers
The Hanged Man 0-1 Mantlegrove
Peregrine 3-2 Sutcroft
Kommissar 1-0 Martella Jazz
Pravenna Saints 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Ringway
Hartford Glade 0-1 Long Lake
Corinthians No Longer 3-0 Gridlock Rovers
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Ballardine FC
Kensey Town 2-2 Ox River United
West Hook 3-0 Mapleford
Strephonage 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Brindleton 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Chardonnay Rangers 3-0 Dross Rovers
FC Seierstad 2-3 Iberia Chenoworth
Brookway Town 0-0 Rushe United

Going into the final matchday, 4th place remained up for grabs due to South Laithland’s poor recent form. They would have to visit South Laithland, while Corvette welcomed East Laithland - fresh off another miraculous survival. North Sabrefell was in with a chance as well, but it was the most remote of them, and they had to visit North Laithland. At the bottom of the table, Vermillion Wanderers and Crossroads Town were reprieved on one factor - fourth-last Riverkey would host fifth-last Coret Rovers. The loser - or the hosts, in the event of a draw - would go down. “We’ve beaten Premiership opposition this season,” roared Ewan Sanderson before the match, “and we’re still in the fight when everyone wrote us off before the season. We can beat the Rovers.”
They’re off to a good start, Harrison Cruz almost immediately released by Madonis, slipping through the defence and forcing a fine save from Kewell, tipping it onto the bar. Meanwhile, in the Laith, Mark Grayson could ruefully reflect that the Milan Aubeck of the past two seasons would have taken the chance he got. Unfortunately, played through by Kranevitter, Aubeck’s touch was lamentably heavy, smothered by Sinstadt who was given a spiteful dig in the ribs by the 32-year old striker. The referee misses it, but karma, evidently, is watching - just two minutes later, Lapwing’s shot takes a heavy deflection to beat Rondel, and the Spiders are 1-0 up.

By this stage, there’s already been two goals in the Vale, Prisca Stenet twice breaking through the Harriers’ shaky defence through sheer pace alone. But Istvan Kendrick answers them, a powerful defender’s header off a great corner from Thirlwell, before the former Diamondqueen playmaker notches up a goal of her very own, conjuring up a moment of magic to get past Coleman, smashing a shot… into Rainwall’s face, but as the stricken defender falls to the ground she just lofts the rebound over a stranded Folkhard. Maulers manager Konrad Evans is unimpressed. The first half ends with one important goal and one other noteworthy for its own reasons in injury time. First, Cathy Alweather slips in through the defence and places the ball into Tournay’s far corner to put South Laithland 1-0 ahead. Second, bottom of the table Pillars go 1-0 up against Cypher Town after Meghan Alsatian clatters Petridis, hoofs the ball forward to Cromwell, who can only fire it into Ruo’s shins. From there, though, it rebounds to Younis, who sidefoots into an empty net with the composure she so clearly lacked throughout the season.

The second half opens with Riverkey set for relegation and South Laithland clinging to 4th, status quo maintained. But the Seagulls are rampant over the Rovers at the moment, just lacking that final touch, exacerbating the fans’ thoughts they they were a striker away from a comfortable survival after yet another Redstarr miss. But the lively Harrison Cruz helps out his team in the best way possible - by falling over, to the protests of Coret rightback Parvana Evans. No pressure, then, for Coridan Theo, who goes up to take the penalty. The midfielder’s never short of confidence. He can’t back it up, and a mediocre penalty at a comfortable height is anticipated by Eastfielder goalkeeper Kewell and beaten confidently away with both palms!

Not long afterwards, drama in the Laith. North Laithland concede a penalty, stuck confidently away by Aubeck - over a third of his goals this season have been penalties, though by that token he’s yet to miss from the spot - and a forceful shot from Hounds playmaker Jess Hearn, brought on after 50 minutes in her last match before retirement, skims perilously across the ground. Summersteen, at full stretch, only gets fingertips to it - not enough to dissuade the strike from the far corner. North Sabrefell’s slim hopes evaporate further when Deborah Stokes, a revelation of the season, is slipped through on goal by Webster and makes no mistake one-on-one with Rondel before a direct free kick from Webster is slammed into the top corner. 3-1 to North Laithland it would stay - the Bohemians out of contention.

All eyes, then, on Corvette - indeed, the picture had developed further there, both sides scoring once more to leave things perilously tight at 3-3. Then, the dynamic sours for South Laithland yet again. Vesuvia Carrick, so impressive in the first three-quarters of the season, such a frustrated figure in the final stretch, breaks clear of Herron’s grasp and lashes a strike… against the crossbar. Herron, who normally has the turning circle of a crane, manages to stick out a leg to sweep the ball away… to the rightback Kinnett, who sprints forward, gets the ball to Hearn who turns and smashes the ball over the top of South Laithland’s defence. Coretta Rooke comes streaking past the Bohemians’ defence like a bat out of hell and sticks out a boot to tap the ball insolently past Rondel, and the Hounds are ahead 2-1! The dynamic changes in Coret, too - after the penalty save, the Rovers have really grown into the game. It’s Liberty Hammond’s last match before retirement, and despite a quiet, isolated performance to that point, after Chester weakly punches Spendthrift’s cross aside and Riverkey can’t deal with the rebound… there she is, to sidefoot the ball home, and the Rovers lead.

The fight has not left Riverkey, but they just look… tired, a thin squad stretched to their limits. They do fall to defeat, and to relegation, but they can hold their heads high. Despite the introduction of Osarian veteran Victor Luevano in the 76th minute and the sending-off of Osarian veteran Victor Luevano in the 79th minute, Pillars have kept ahold of their lead as young leftback Drachma Karagounis continues her audition for better teams with an assured performance. Cypher can’t be too unhappy - they won the league by twelve clear points in a year predicted to be Corvistone’s from the start. North Sabrefell’s spirit is broken, and Grayson’s job hangs in the balance as South Laithland winger Malinder is denied by a sharp save from Tournay. Still, they have kept the margin to one… and that’s enough to see off Corvette’s challenge, if only on goal difference.

Right up until, in the 92nd minute, mercurial substitute Jasko Voleimann tests his range from thirty yards out… and finds the top corner. The Maulers win 4-3, and at the last moment, steal the playoff berth for their own.

Ritter Town 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Riverkey 0-1 Coret Rovers
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Cypher Town
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Crisisbless United
Greygate 0-0 Sheridan
Extreme Hills 2-1 South Laithland
Corvette Maulers 4-3 East Laithland Harriers
North Laithland 3-1 North Sabrefell
Chatswood 0-1 Maximum City
Rochford 3-2 Hackett
AFC Corvistone 2-2 Belgrave
Crossroads Town 1-1 Armstrong

All over bar the shouting at the top of the league, though there’ll be plenty of that in a Sabrefell derby that’s sure to be a heated affair, Athletic trying to fight off the malaise of a season gone horribly wrong. Crisisbless will be in a similar state of frustration against Starling, and it’s really a shame that the Passerines don’t have just one more point for a real title race. As it stands, both Athletic and Crisisbless are vying for the top seven place they’ll need to get a C- for the season, as the Harriers face far easier opposition in relegated Serpentine. At the bottom of the table, Parrhesia visit Morningstar, Diamondqueen host Creed and Brookford visit Southfell, all locked on 44 points. In terms of other considerations; the Moths have a regional final against CA Paulinthal awaiting them, and are resting a small handful of key personnel - Vol, Serra, Townsend and Haines. Johnson, however, remains in the side, and is currently locked on 26 goals with Pablo Scotti. Brookford have the Cup final to contest, as do the skeleton crew arrayed against Raven River currently masquerading as Monica Brightwater’s Bishop. And Anders Clarke, rather awkwardly, has to go and accept the award for First Division Manager of the Year just two days after he finishes being relegated with the Wanderers.

Things get off to the perfect start for Crisisbless. Starling put together a lovely, flowing twelve-pass move that is brutally cut out by Maeve Bronte smashing the ball down the flank. Staunton is there, already sprinting, and hits the ball across the face of goal - Drenas coolly gets ahead of Orsay and sidefoots home. Also in the Good Starts club, Serpentine, of all clubs - the Harriers may have thought they got the easy draw against the Dragons, but nine minutes in, Roxanna Strong - with her first start of the season - ducks to head home a pinpoint Andrej Reuter cross. At the bottom of the table, Diamondqueen find themselves in trouble, first through Vettriano’s goal as he’s played through a compliant Diamondqueen defence, and then Kurtis Bristoll bursts through the defence to put a second goal past the exposed Iona Britton. Tana Colbright chews her nails on the touchline. By the end of the first half, though, they’re out of immediate danger at the very least, when Erik Marlowe slams a volley past a scrambling Wheelock. Maximum Rovers, in their supposed last stand, are 3-0 down against the Chariots.

As soon as the second half begins, Brookford hit back. They’re clearly revitalised by a half-time team talk from Hestia Canaan, looking defiant in the technical area, and she looks like the weight of the world’s been lifted from her shoulders when a stooping header from, of all people, deputy leftback Erika Arweiler popping up at the far post sets things level for the Otters. This good cheer lasts six whole minutes, and two shots beaten away by Heidenreich, until the moment that the slightly mental Ursa Dimitar decides a flying tackle into Yolandi Heimat’s knee was an appropriate reaction to a slightly promising forward run. Heimat’s off on a stretcher, Dimitar’s off with a red and Erik Marlowe, whose free kick technique is more or less to lamp it into the top corner, manages his fourth free kick goal of the season by, well, lamping it into the top corner. Canaan, in need of a win, doesn’t immediately replace the defensive midfielder, and just four minutes later Southfell make it 3-1 when Gail scores on the break.

The Sabrefell derby, meanwhile, has been broken open on a contentious penalty. Wardenier, who has not had the best of seasons, has her heels clipped by Weiss - but is it inside the box? Is she falling before the impact? No matter, the penalty is given and, by Rainsford, converted - and the Moths’ victory party looks to be souring. Starling fail to capitalise, going down 2-0 and then 3-0 in quick succession. Parrhesia, who are also in the relegation battle, are helped by the fact that Morningstar have absolutely no ambition to go forward. It’s a paralytically dull match that appears to be dragging to a scoreless conclusion. Diamondqueen pull one back against Creed, Fortounis with a neatly angled header, and then Brookford concede a fourth to the young gun, Malachi Chalk. While Diamondqueen go on to lose 3-1, it’s still conclusively over at the bottom.

The Moths hit back against Athletic, through the inevitable Aaliyah Johnson equaliser. She now stands alone on 27, with Scotti one behind. The Harriers’ fightback against Serpentine isn’t going as planned, and they continue to flounder 2-1 down, with Perseus Theoklitos seemingly on a one-man spite-fuelled mission to deny the Harriers a Globe Cup place. And they are, in the event, overtaken when Estrella Hawke, with her back to goal, chests down a long ball from Coltrane, cuts Weiss inside out before slamming the ball into the net for Athletic’s late winner. That’s their place secure, along with Crisisbless, while rubbing salt into the wound, Pablo Scotti notches up a late brace against Newrook to ensure that Aaliyah Johnson will not extend her tally of five Iron Boots. Not this year, at least. Thus, things end - Morningstar and Parrhesia remain goalless, the Chariots pound the Rovers 5-0 and Tarquin Ulster gets a hat-trick. For the second time in a row, the Moths have lost the last game of the season. For the second time in a row, it hasn’t mattered. Lost the battle, won the war - and for all that Athletic might claim to hold the bragging rights, try telling that to Jessica Weiss as she strides to the top of the platform and lofts the trophy above her head. For Serpentine, Cranequin Wanderers and Maximum Rovers, the shame of relegation awaits as they are driven back to the second tier. Serpentine, of these, added the most to the league but were unable to cope with the loss of Ishtar Fanaiyan, while the Wanderers and Rovers are drifting dangerously into yo-yo territory.

Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 AFC Treason
Leichhardt 0-1 Vermillion Rage
Maximum Rovers 0-5 Violence Chariots
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless 3-0 Starling
Southfell United 4-1 Brookford Otters
Diamondqueen 1-3 Creed United
Brinemouth 2-1 Newrook City
Morningstar 0-0 Parrhesia United
Raven River 1-1 Bishop
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers

The promoters might have hoped for a free-flowing game between two open, attacking sides, with two of the world’s leading strikers in Aaliyah Johnson and Ragnar Targaryen having a shootout, but that wasn’t quite what happened. What did happen was the other side of the Moths’ game, uncompromising physicality - Etzebeth and Tapp instead of Johnson and Targaryen. It was Tapp, in the event, who forced home the winning goal in scrappy fashion from a corner. The Moths, to their credit, recover well to dominate the last 30 minutes, but the veteran Sebastian Naumann lets nothing pass him by in what could be his swansong. A disappointment for the Nepharim who as is so often the case look tired and jaded by the end of the season. Excuses aside, Paulinthal deserved their win.
CA Paulinthal 1-0 Sabrefell Moths

The Otters are put in the same situation as the Wanderers a couple seasons back, landed with three key matches in succession weeks. They aim to not follow the Wanderers’ footsteps by blowing all three. The Maulers, who have made it to fourth place under Konrad Evans’ guidance in his first season in charge (having taken over from Leo Santander, promoted from managing the reserves) have proven their doubters wrong. They continue proving their doubters wrong in the fourth minute, when Johanna Ankergren cuts inside Siegrist and lamps her shot past Wheelock. Unfortunately, the Otters are a side that are doomed to lose much of their structure without Ursa Dimitar, and by the nature of Ursa Dimitar are doomed to lose her to suspension often. Trish Plutarch, a fairly middling midfielder by Premiership standards, is given too much space by the eager but raw Rivan in the 71st minute and places a shot high past Wheelock, and that’s game over. The Otters do launch a late fightback, but when a scything counterattack is foiled by Folkhard’s inelegant but remarkable double save, fate seems to have had its say. The final whistle blows, and the Otters slump to relegation - the fourth consecutive time that the First Division’s representative has won.
Brookford Otters 0-2 Corvette Maulers

How does a team bounce back from such a sorry relegation? The cues are in the technical area, where Hestia Canaan is stoic as anything in her last match, and on the field, where Ursa Dimitar spends ninety minutes screaming bloody murder. In fact, the Otters are unrecognisable, a team rallying for a last moment of glory. Bishop, as they’ve done smoothly and capably under Monica Brightwater’s tenure, pass confidently and calmly… but not incisively. Dimitar is ever-present in midfield, Vannatter and Ynoa rallying in defence. Any errors are seized upon quickly, from either side - Bishop still have that pace up front to damage teams, and hearts are in Brookford mouths when Ansel Penbrooke is picked out six yards from goal… and his slightly heavy first touch is swept on by Wheelock. The young goalkeeper gets to her feet, rifles the ball with impeccable aim down the flank to find Tambor, and now Bishop are on the ropes. Tambor’s cross is headed away, albeit unconvincingly, by Crinion, and Harbour awkwardly half-volleys it back into the mixer. Again it’s cleared, again not strongly, and who rushes into the box at that moment to sweep the rebound past the sea of legs and Risdon? Ursa Dimita- don’t be stupid, the narrative isn’t that powerful. It’s Danira Plibersek, one of the players you’d imagine would have little difficulty picking up a top-flight contract after this season, and thanks to twenty more minutes of desperate defending (Siegrist, notably, sliding back to hook the ball off the line in injury time when everyone in the world thought Coffey had scored) the Cup is Brookford’s. Worth it for relegation? Well… who will remember a league season in twenty years? These moments are timeless.
Brookford Otters 1-0 Bishop

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sabrefell Moths 46 31 7 8 99 45 +54 100
2 Starling 46 30 7 9 87 45 +42 97
3 Brinemouth 46 29 7 10 96 58 +38 94
4 AFC Treason 46 26 10 10 80 47 +33 88

5 Vermillion Rage 46 23 12 11 77 63 +14 81
6 Crisisbless 46 22 11 13 68 45 +23 77
7 Sabrefell Athletic 46 20 16 10 84 51 +33 76

8 Chenoworth Harriers 46 22 9 15 76 50 +26 75
9 Newrook City 46 18 11 17 66 57 +9 65
10 Leichhardt 46 19 8 19 51 53 -2 65
11 Violence Chariots 46 16 14 16 73 65 +8 62
12 Coret Hawks 46 15 16 15 58 47 +11 61
13 Bishop 46 13 19 14 49 55 -6 58
14 Southfell United 46 14 14 18 61 73 -12 56
15 Raven River 46 15 10 21 49 66 -17 55
16 Creed United 46 13 15 18 58 65 -7 54
17 Morningstar 46 12 16 18 30 51 -21 52
18 Goodfeather FC 46 12 15 19 46 65 -19 51
19 Parrhesia United 46 10 15 21 40 63 -23 45
20 Diamondqueen 46 11 11 24 50 79 -29 44
21 Brookford Otters 46 10 14 22 57 93 -36 44
22 AFC Serpentine 46 10 11 25 52 86 -34 41
23 Cranequin Wanderers 46 9 10 27 51 89 -38 37
24 Maximum Rovers 46 9 8 29 47 94 -47 35
28 - Scotti (BRI)
27 - Johnson (SFM)
25 - Hawke (SFA), Andisori (STA)
24 - Fraser (TRE)
22 - Vol (SFM), Alemane (VRR)
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Pablo Scotti (BRI)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Scheherazade Meier (SFM)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Mats Hedlund (SFM)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Mark Uenterhausen (SFM)
Team of the Year: Griffin (SFM); Brymora (BRI), Uenterhausen (SFM), Svensson (TRE), Lohengrin (CRI); Armstrong (STA), Bronte (CRI), Conjure (BRI), Meier (SFM), Scotti (BRI), Hawke (SFA) - Bench: Fletcher (TRE), Damjana (VRR), Loredan (STA), Gryphon (STA), Coppinger (VRR), Dragana (BRI), Johnson (SFM)
Managers of the Year: Andrea Vardalos (LEI)

Pos Team                         P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cypher Town 46 30 11 5 87 29 +58 101
2 AFC Corvistone 46 26 11 9 89 40 +49 89
3 North Laithland 46 23 14 9 74 51 +23 83
4 Corvette Maulers 46 23 10 13 78 62 +16 79

5 South Laithland 46 23 8 15 54 38 +16 77
6 North Sabrefell 46 21 11 14 58 40 +18 74
7 Chatswood 46 21 11 14 51 45 +6 74
8 Crisisbless United 46 19 12 15 68 54 +14 69
9 Belgrave 46 18 15 13 70 60 +10 69
10 Armstrong 46 18 15 13 47 40 +7 69
11 Extreme Hills 46 18 12 16 69 73 -4 66
12 Maximum City 46 16 14 16 54 41 +13 62
13 Hackett 46 18 8 20 56 67 -11 62
14 Sheridan 46 15 15 16 34 42 -8 60
15 Chenoworth Rovers 46 13 19 14 62 51 +11 58
16 Ritter Town 46 14 15 17 65 69 -4 57
17 Coret Rovers 46 13 9 24 50 78 -28 48
18 Crossroads Town 46 12 11 23 41 65 -24 47
19 East Laithland Harriers 46 11 14 21 58 85 -27 47
20 Vermillion Wanderers 46 12 11 23 59 94 -35 47
21 Riverkey 46 10 13 23 37 59 -22 43
22 Rochford 46 12 7 27 41 67 -26 43
23 Pillars of Southfell 46 9 15 22 38 63 -25 42
24 Greygate 46 9 15 22 50 77 -27 42
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Robby Stanford (CVS)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Krista Morham (CVS)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Giselher Ruskin (HCT)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Ruo Xiaolan (CYT)
Team of the Year: Ruo (CYT); Kendrick (NLA), Larkland (NSF), Strauss (CHT), Youabian (SLA); Afolayan (CYS), Condotta (CYT), Morham (CYS), Ankergren (CVM); Stanford (CVS), Stokes (NLA)
Manager of the Year: Anders Clarke (HCT)

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Locksley 46 32 7 7 97 39 +58 103
2 Iron City 46 26 9 11 66 36 +30 87
3 Crisisbless Athletic 46 24 13 9 90 51 +39 85
4 Gonen's Bridge 46 24 11 11 58 38 +20 83

5 Stonegrave 46 22 8 16 59 46 +13 74
6 Lazuli Diamonds 46 22 7 17 79 62 +17 73
7 Cranequin City 46 21 9 16 65 46 +19 72
8 Mantlegrove 46 20 11 15 61 50 +11 71
9 West Brinemouth 46 21 8 17 56 46 +10 71
10 Dartmouth Terriers 46 17 16 13 56 49 +7 67
11 AFC Shale 46 17 15 14 42 37 +5 66
12 Martella Jazz 46 18 10 18 64 65 -1 64
13 Iron United 46 16 14 16 56 45 +11 62
14 The Strongest 46 16 12 18 61 67 -6 60
15 Sutcroft 46 14 14 18 45 61 -16 56
16 Barossia United 46 16 7 23 43 67 -24 55
17 The Hanged Man 46 13 14 19 32 40 -8 53
18 Southriver 46 13 14 19 55 66 -11 53
19 Peregrine 46 13 14 19 59 78 -19 53
20 Kommissar 46 14 10 22 57 73 -16 52
21 Falston United 46 14 7 25 43 67 -24 49
22 Boleyn Town 46 11 8 27 33 66 -33 41
23 South Parrhesia 46 10 11 25 51 93 -42 41
24 Falston Town 46 11 5 30 43 83 -40 38

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Chardonnay Rangers 46 28 10 8 86 42 +44 94
2 Strephonage 46 26 12 8 58 29 +29 90
3 Brindleton 46 24 13 9 66 37 +29 85
4 Alliance Barossia 46 23 16 7 67 44 +23 85

5 Ballardine FC 46 23 12 11 97 53 +44 81
6 West Hook 46 22 14 10 57 35 +22 80
7 Boltcroft Thorns 46 23 11 12 71 55 +16 80
8 Kensey Town 46 22 13 11 77 55 +22 79
9 Long Lake 46 18 15 13 47 43 +4 69
10 Ox River United 46 17 14 15 54 40 +14 65
11 Corinthians No Longer 46 17 14 15 77 72 +5 65
12 Gosmouth Swans 46 19 8 19 61 69 -8 65
13 Brookway Town 46 16 9 21 61 73 -12 57
14 Sutcroft Athletic 46 15 11 20 52 57 -5 56
15 Mapleford 46 12 18 16 44 56 -12 54
16 Hartford Glade 46 15 8 23 54 69 -15 53
17 Rushe United 46 14 9 23 66 66 +0 51
18 FC Seierstad 46 14 8 24 48 70 -22 50
19 Pravenna Saints 46 12 13 21 41 53 -12 49
20 Ringway 46 14 7 25 42 71 -29 49
21 Rochford Pilgrims 46 12 10 24 51 74 -23 46
22 Gridlock Rovers 46 10 12 24 45 71 -26 42
23 Iberia Chenoworth 46 12 4 30 64 108 -44 40
24 Dross Rovers 46 11 5 30 48 92 -44 38

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brokenarch 38 19 12 7 57 34 +23 69
2 Sirencall FC 38 20 7 11 73 49 +24 67

3 Harrington 38 20 6 12 63 51 +12 66
4 Gridlock 38 19 8 11 33 25 +8 65
5 Grovebank 38 18 9 11 59 48 +11 63
6 Stonesthrow Town 38 17 8 13 43 36 +7 59
7 Ingram Township 38 15 13 10 38 33 +5 58
8 Fischer 38 15 11 12 57 50 +7 56
9 Sleetwell Rangers 38 16 7 15 54 54 +0 55
10 Capricopia Rangers 38 14 12 12 48 42 +6 54
11 Fully Sick XI 38 14 10 14 57 47 +10 52
12 Swag Hill Rovers 38 13 10 15 54 58 -4 49
13 Courser 38 12 11 15 45 47 -2 47
14 Fenland Albion 38 11 13 14 37 35 +2 46
15 Gridlock East 38 12 9 17 38 41 -3 45
16 AFC Brackwold 38 11 11 16 53 58 -5 44
17 Nay Town 38 11 8 19 40 67 -27 41
18 AFC Hellerine 38 10 10 18 50 67 -17 40
19 Bellamy 38 10 8 20 33 56 -23 38
20 Norton Road 38 8 7 23 37 71 -34 31

Pos Team                   P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Aries Solitaire 38 26 5 7 78 38 +40 83
2 Bodkin Road 38 23 6 9 72 36 +36 75

3 Brunyard FC 38 22 5 11 77 46 +31 71
4 Stamper Road 38 21 8 9 69 48 +21 71
5 Downsparrow 38 20 10 8 71 39 +32 70
6 Corvistone City 38 18 15 5 39 21 +18 69
7 Rookwall 38 19 8 11 47 40 +7 65
8 Rhyburn Swifts 38 18 6 14 75 60 +15 60
9 Blaze 38 15 14 9 57 49 +8 59
10 South Brill 38 15 9 14 51 46 +5 54
11 Coral Bay 38 10 13 15 44 51 -7 43
12 Twelvetrees 38 10 11 17 34 48 -14 41
13 Mainstream Fist 38 11 8 19 46 68 -22 41
14 Corby Hubris 38 12 5 21 44 66 -22 41
15 Senway Town 38 10 9 19 39 55 -16 39
16 The Travellers FC 38 11 6 21 50 76 -26 39
17 AFC Burchess 38 9 11 18 35 49 -14 38
18 Sandrock 38 8 9 21 36 57 -21 33
19 Violence Tigers 38 7 11 20 38 65 -27 32
20 Masculine Town 38 7 7 24 33 77 -44 28

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:35 pm
by Nephara
Season 70 Preview


League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Runners-up
Stadium: Crossgate (23,000)
Nickname: the Bishops
Captain: Ansel Penbrooke
Top Scorers: Neptune (13), Penbrooke (11), Sitz, Coffey (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 20 - Risdon; 2 - Canady, 5 - Rosenbauer, 3 - Visser, 18 - Bronwyne; 7 - Mersiades, 4 - Bezemer, 8 - Sitz; 12 - Coffey, 10 - Penbrooke (c), 11 - Longstocking
In: Odette Longstocking (Stahlburg City, 2.5m), Lithe Bronwyne (BSC Vargas, 2m)
Promoted: Chloe Asquith (DM, 19), Alyss Driver (CM, 20), Kearney Smith (RB, 19)
Out: Lorelei Neptune (AFC Treason, 8.5m), Elisa Defaye (Gonen's Bridge, free), Chris Ravett (Lorentine Lions, free), Josef Rosenberg (Ritter Town, free)

First Division Champions (58)

69: Premiership; 13th, W13, D19, L14, GF49, GA55, 58 pts
68: Premiership; 10th, W20, D10, L16, GF59, GA49, 70 pts
67: Premiership; 12th, W17, D13, L16, GF53, GA56, 64 pts
66: Premiership; 14th, W17, D12, L17, GF50, GA48, 63 pts
65: Premiership; 15th, W15, D11, L20, GF45, GA58, 56 pts

After a somewhat shaky start under a new manager, Bishop stabilised to reach a perfectly solid midtable finish. Theirs was an uneventful season.

As soon as star winger Lorelei Neptune was in the Stags' sights, the move was a foregone conclusion. Their best player gone at a pretty penny, a... vastly inferior but more or less adequate replacement in the fast, orthodox Longstocking was procured, as was the clever little fullback Bronwyne from the SuperLleague. Ravett, who she replaces, was just not quite up to the task this season, and is released along with rotational veterans Defaye and Rosenberg.

Former Eastweald manager Monica Brightwater came home after a chastening and frustrating stint in Cosumar, but as always brought her strong penchant for reform and restructuring with her. On the solid defensive foundation established by Alexis Spurlock before her has been an attempt to play a more patient, possession-based style than the breathless counterattack play of before.

With Neptune gone, much of the burden now falls on the slim shoulders of Roxana Coffey. Not the most disciplined forward, Coffey always carries the vague sense of making things up as she goes along and yet... it works. She usually sets up other forwards more than she goes for goal herself, but her blistering pace alone makes her a threat in her own right.

Alcander Visser is actually older than either of last season's star wingers, but at 24 has only recently not so much burst into prominence as slid quietly and capable into Bishop's back line. He played every minute in the league last season, a steady, calming presence in the centre of defence.

After a staggering wave of debauchery in the offseason, Karlene Sitz has somehow been better than ever in preseason. She makes things tick in midfield. Ansel Penbrooke up front is always good for a goal or two, even at 35 - by this stage of his career he'll likely be rotated with the promising homegrown forward Jensen, inconsistent but sporadically promising last season.

Bishop face one burning question: has Neptune's departure, and the advancing years of Penbrooke, blunted them up front? The defensive pieces and organisation are all there for another season of midtable security, but if the goals dry up, they could potentially be sucked into the relegation battle.

Manager: Monica Brightwater
Asst. Manager: Karl Moser
Goalkeepers: 1 - Rebecca Scannell, 20 - Connor Risdon, 25 - Julian Alderweiss
Defenders: 2 - Amelia Canady, 3 - Alcander Visser, 5 - Joscelyn Rosenbauer, 6 - Darren Crinion, 18 - Lithe Bronwyne, 19 - Kirsten Shore, 24 - Andrey Mincham, 33 - Kearney Smith
Midfielders: 4 - Juliet Bezemer, 7 - Corinne Mersiades, 8 - Karlene Sitz, 13 - Alyss Driver, 15 - Gared Kuepher, 23 - Nicki Reed, 32 - Chloe Asquith
Forwards: 9 - Lysander Corsell, 10 - Ansel Penbrooke (SLL, c), 11 - Odette Longstocking, 12 - Roxana Coffey, 21 - Ulrike Jensen, 22 - Jacqui Milligan, 31 - Perilous Whiteside


League Finish: 3rd
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Portsgate (57,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Jonathan Bosetti
Top Scorers: Scotti (28), Conjure (20), Dragana (17)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Morales; 2 - Brymora, 6 - Magnozzi, 5 - Windtide, 3 - Close; 12 - Montague, 21 - Soederquist (c), 10 - Conjure; 15 - Bartley, 9 - Scotti, 14 - Dragana
In: Miri Windtide (Eastern Stars, 8.5m), Alyss Montague (Coret Hawks, 8m), Iori Saitou (Wakaba Houndooms, 5m)
Promoted: Banquo Chrysler (RW, 19)
Out: Karin Drinkwater (Crossroads Crusaders, 5m), Temperance Nkembe (Newrook City, 4.5m), Marijana Kuralay (Felswyr Frost, 3m), Petros Mytaras (Farrenton Athletic, 3m)

5 Premiership titles (53, 54, 55, 61, 62)
NFA Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

69: Premiership; 3rd, W29, D7, L10, GF96, GA58, 94 pts, Champions Cup
68: Premiership; 3rd, W29, D7, L10, GF96, GA49, 94 pts, Champions Cup
67: Premiership; 5th, W24, D9, L13, GF80, GA52, 81 pts, Globe Cup
66: Premiership; 8th, W22, D8, L16, GF75, GA67, 74 pts
65: Premiership; 2nd, W27, D9, L10, GF114, GA54, 90 pts, Champions Cup

It can now officially be called a title drought. Brinemouth did well to ensconce themselves in the top four all season, with a spookily near-identical record to the season before, and that's not to be sniffed at considering the failures of Sabrefell Athletic and Treason. But silverware, surely, has to follow.

Not flashy, but Brinemouth already has flashy down. Reinforcement was sought and acquired through the spine, the level-headed Miri Windtide rocking up from Eastern Stars and Alyss Montague a surprising acquisition from Coret, while young striker Iori Saitou replaces the ambitious Drinkwater as backup. Nkembe and Kuralay were veterans of the side who both sought starting places, as did the homegrown winger Mytaras.

Lujendra Mescalin, formerly and most famously of Real Azuris, has the personnel, there's no question of that. He just has to make them click. It's a squad built around dominance, both of possession and of territory, willing to play out from the back and determined to use a frankly absurdly strong midfield trio to its best ability. A fast, direct line of three forwards finish the job. Just pass and move.

False modesty is for nerds. Evelyn Conjure is arguably the world's greatest player, certainly one of the finest creative midfielders the world has ever seen. She's always in the right place at the right time, making the right pass with the right weight on it, then making the right run to receive possession again to rifle the right shot into the top corner from twenty-five yards. Then sprints back halfway across the pitch to slide in for the perfect tackle. And she makes it all look easy.

The leftback signing many expected to replace Roenoujya (now 34) never materialised. Instead, Mescalin did the brave thing and has shown faith in a strong local youth, 20-year old Marcin Close, a defender who marries Brinemouth's technical focus to a finely-honed defensive instinct that belies his years. A thoroughly different beast to Roenoujya, and he can be somewhat guileless going forward, but... watch this space.

Stig Soederquist is a mix of old-school midfield enforcer and charging box-to-box midfielder. He usually drops deepest of the three, but is more than capable of roaming forward in possession and doing damage. Jazmin Dragana is an ambitious, fearless winger, most at home making direct, hard-hitting diagonal runs with a knack for making the right moves at the right time. Up front, Pablo Scotti, reigning Iron Boot champion, is a fine athlete but, more importantly, he rams the ball into the net. Constantly.

No excuses anymore. Brinemouth must win the title. Of course it's not going to be that easy, but time's ticking for Mescalin.

PREDICTION - Champions.
Manager: Lujendra Mescalin (COS)
Asst. Manager: Werner Thayer
Goalkeepers: 1 - Juan Pablo Morales (CEN), 20 - Jakob Carter, 25 - Simon Robinson
Defenders: 2 - Danijel Brymora, 3 - Marcin Close, 5 - Miri Windtide (CEN), 6 - Giorgio Magnozzi (MRC), 13 - Drê Röènôùjýâ (FFD), 18 - Axel Fauler, 19 - Moxie Crowe, 22 - Gianluigi Calabrese (OSR)
Midfielders: 4 - Jonathan Bosetti (VLD, c), 8 - Osman Candelo (VLD), 10 - Evelyn Conjure (SCT), 12 - Alyss Montague (CMT), 21 - Stig Soederquist (COS), 23 - Lacuna Harlequin, 36 - Ilona Duerden
Forwards: 9 - Pablo Scotti (VLD), 11 - Jess Silkman, 14 - Jazmin Dragana (CMT), 15 - Kyron Bartley (OSR), 16 - Sven Ascalon, 17 - Iori Saitou (HIN), 32 - Banquo Chrysler


League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers, the Reds
Captain: Francesca Marquon
Top Scorers: Ruhl (19), Rexmont, Sanna (14), Crowther (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Sheffield; 18 - Guiliani, 19 - Carroll, 2 - Armstrong, 3 - Bekkwaters; 4 - Christensen, 12 - Kutris (c); 7 - Crowther, 8 - Sanna, 11 - Rexmont; 9 - Loeher
In: Nikita Loeher (Rozelle, 2.5m), Leonard Patterson (Shamrock Cathair, 1m)
Promoted: Matthew Braylock (CB, 20), Soren Coleman (RAM, 19)
Out: Airik Ruhl (Crisisbless, 18m), Konrad Feist (Crossroads Crusaders, 4m), Dimitri Evans (Corinthian Spirits, free), Hesterine Mercator (Hinode Supernova, loan)

First Division title (64)

69: Premiership; 8th, W22, D9, L15, GF76, GA50, 75 pts
68: Premiership; 6th, W25, D10, L11, GF87, GA63, 85 pts, Globe Cup
67: Premiership; 4th, W24, D10, L12, GF84, GA63, 82 pts, Champions Cup
66: Premiership; 7th, W21, D12, L13, GF88, GA70, 75 pts, Globe Cup
65: Premiership; 13th, W16, D12, L18, GF61, GA80, 60 pts

The Harriers recovered from a slow start to join the chasing pack for the top seven, but slipped up to defeat at the hands of already-relegated Serpentine to drop out on the final day.

The window was awful for the Harriers. No sooner had the window opened but Crisisbless had slammed down an offer they couldn't refuse for troublesome forward Ruhl, then allowed Konrad Feist to leave (for a fair price) and allowed likely future number 1 Mercator to go out on loan. With this money, they failed to buy Vega Zeale-Riddick, panic-bought a 33-year old Nikita Loeher instead and snapped up a backup goalkeeper.

The Harriers are built around playing fast and loose football up front, with the now-standard high pressing. Every player must do their bit for the team, as Sedder insists on full commitment and defensive workrate. Square pegs go in square holes, and then move forward with pace and power.

The best of the Harriers' forward play inevitably goes through Steven Rexmont, a key piece of the puzzle on the left wing. No pushover for fullbacks, Rexmont matches his iron lungs with pace, and can sprint and press for the full ninety minutes. He has a way of finding the right pass at the right time, but he's got a decent shot on him too.

Brae Crowther is becoming a force to be reckoned with. A mazy, tricky winger, Crowther will get past her man by fair means or foul and even a marked tendency to look for contact can't dull her popularity in the eyes of the fans. Sometimes she can be too clever for her own good, but on her day she's the spark of the attack.

Markus Sheffield isn't letting the hype for Mercator bring him down - at 33, he's more solid and reliable than ever. Diogenes Kutris is an intelligent, decisive holding midfielder, yet another uncomplicated but efficient player. Up front, Nikita Loeher was a lethal marksman at this level... in her twenties. But she's only ever been a pure goalscorer, left Rozelle under a cloud due to off-field clashes and has big boots to fill.

This looks to be a lean year for the Harriers. They'll still hold aspirations of a Globe Cup finish, and if Loeher - or Braugher - can step up to the mark, could make it happen. Even if not, you'd still put them as a top ten side.

Manager: John Sedder (SCT)
Asst. Manager: Henrick Barden
Goalkeepers: 12 - Leonard Patterson (AUD), 20 - Markus Sheffield (SLL), 30 - Theold Bracewell
Defenders: 2 - Reinhard Armstrong, 3 - Jascha Bekkwaters, 5 - Francesca Marquon (c), 6 - Matthew Braylock, 16 - Alisara Crowe, 18 - Alessandra Guiliani (OSR), 19 - Victoria Carroll, 27 - Nike Rouphos
Midfielders: 4 - Katja Christensen, 7 - Brae Crowther (BRE), 8 - Bonifacio Sanna (OSR), 11 - Steven Rexmont (SCT), 12 - Diogenes Kutris, 13 - Charybdis Kou, 14 - Harriet Skiff, 15 - Micah Horner, 21 - Monica Bairstow, 35 - Soren Coleman
Forwards: 9 - Nikita Loeher, 17 - Angela Braugher, 22 - Sequel Bathanay
Out on Loan: 1 - Hesterine Mercator


League Finish: 12th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Cormak Lethbridge
Top Scorers: Montague (14), Henderson (13), Harper (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Lethbridge (c); 2 - Sorrell, 17 - Sulzer, 6 - Valkanis, 3 - Tsicaderis; 7 - Skapetis, 21 - Nikolaidis, 8 - McDonald, 16 - Draxler; 9 - Henderson, 15 - Ulster
In: Tarquin Ulster (Violence Chariots, 5m), Medea Tsicaderis (Creed United, 4m)
Promoted: Leila Crowford (RM, 19)
Out: Alyss Montague (Brinemouth, 8m), Isidra Jeurissen (Cornellians, 7m), Rho Efthimiou (Armstrong, 1.75m)

First Division title (56)

69: Premiership; 12th, W15, D16, L15, GF58, GA47, 61 pts
68: Premiership; 8th, W24, D9, L13, GF86, GA63, 81 pts
67: Premiership; 13th, W18, D8, L20, GF68, GA67, 62 pts
66: Premiership; 16th, W15, D15, L16, GF63, GA64, 60 pts
65: Premiership; 10th, W22, D8, L16, GF67, GA50, 74 pts

After a strong start, the Hawks fell victim to the Globe Cup race massively heating up in the last stages of the season and ultimately fell away to a disappointing twelfth.

Things got worse for them in the offseason as they were reminded of their diminished stature, key creative midfielder Alyss Montague courted by clubs abroad before being picked up by Brinemouth, then leftback Isidra Jeurissen heading off for Cornellians. Efthimiou, a young local striker, is irrelevant by comparison. Still, Tarquin Ulster brings consistent goals, and Tsicaderis - with her third switch in as many years - is a capable leftback. At least the Hawks aren't paupers.

Coret do have the cattle. They're a team built around a few standout strong players, who Loque likes to give both freedom and a steady foundation. That midfield four is legitimate Globe Cup level quality, and despite the formation the Hawks can legitimately dominate the centre of the park on a good day. They usually prefer to play on the front foot, but Loque is pragmatic.

Jenny McDonald is the engine of the team. She's everywhere she needs to be, even at 31, and has proven herself at the highest international level. She doesn't often get the plaudits for her work but the simple fact is that after an unfortunate injury run last season it was clear that the Hawks were a sad, diminished side without her. What greater compliment is there than that?

"You'll have forgotten Montague after five matches of the new season," Atalanta Skapetis confidently declared - a bold claim for the 21-year old set to take up her customary position on the right wing, and a far more orthodox player. Lanky, flashy and coltish to the point of constantly seeming like she's about to fall over in flight, Skapetis never takes a step backwards - it's all about making the magic happen.

Cormak Lethbridge, the Brigadier, 'Spider' - call him what you will, the Hawks' towering goalkeeper is a rock at the back for them and the backbone of their dressing room. Eva Valkanis is a steady, austere centre-half who doesn't mess about, lacking in pace but making up for it in grace. Ivana Henderson is big, strong and clever, and even if she's not a natural ruthless finisher she always imprints herself on a game.

It would almost be funny if this, somehow, was the season they managed to fulfil their Globe Cup ambitions. More likely, midtable purgatory awaits.

Manager: Jessica Loque
Asst. Manager: Claire Antioch
Goalkeepers: 1 - Cormak Lethbridge (COS, c), 12 - Mariam Brookhouse, 20 - Russ Beresford
Defenders: 2 - Talisca Sorrell, 3 - Medea Tsicaderis, 5 - Jorge Santana (OSR), 6 - Eva Valkanis, 17 - Amalie Sulzer, 18 - Barack Schuyler, 19 - Alexis Rudkine, 24 - Thorsten Croft
Midfielders: 4 - Spyros Achaion, 7 - Atalanta Skapetis, 8 - Jenny McDonald (SCT), 14 - Thanasi Holland, 16 - Trifon Draxler, 21 - Athanasios Nikolaidis, 25 - Beatrice Stubbs, 31 - Leila Crowford
Forwards: 9 - Ivana Henderson, 10 - Dani Harper, 11 - Trinity Plantagenet, 15 - Tarquin Ulster, 22 - Kasmeer Jewell


League Finish: 4th (First Division); won playoff 2-0 against Brookford Otters
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Bullrush (30,000)
Nickname: the Maulers
Captain: Trish Plutarch
Top Scorers: Fernwood (18), Ankergren (17), Stenet (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Lin; 2 - Strauss, 5 - Muller, 18 - Fallon, 13 - Davison; 15 - Plutarch (c), 14 - Coleman, 8 - Darke; 7 - Dimitrius, 22 - Fernwood, 16 - Ankergren
In: Sascha Dimitrius (Belgrave, 2.5m), Rudi Fallon (Ritter Town, 1.5m), Olenna Darke (Urbanista, 1.4m), Michael Lin (1940 Asure, 1.25m)
Out: Jacqui Commerce (Extreme Hills, 1.5m), Chris Britton (Extreme Hills, free), Russ Lazaridis (Iskara Daii, free), Hedwig Schelin (FC Harpoon, free)

69: First Division; 4th, W23, D10, L13, GF78, GA62, 79 pts, Promoted
68: Premiership; 23rd, W9, D7, L30, GF50, GA102, 34 pts, Relegated
67: Premiership; 20th, W12, D11, L23, GF62, GA93, 47 pts
66: Premiership; 18th, W13, D13, L20, GF62, GA76, 52 pts
65: First Division; 1st, W30, D5, L11, GF79, GA34, 95 pts, Promoted

After South Laithland slipped up on the last matchday, the Maulers completed their recovery from a poor first half of the season to snatch fourth before beating Brookford 2-0 in the playoff. Straight back up, to the surprise of most.

Dimitrius arrives as a somewhat left-field signing late in the window, but has experience of the top tier - as does Olenna Darke, once of Sabrefell Athletic, now 34. Rudi Fallon, at 30, is yet to experience top-flight football and will need to adapt quickly. Michael Lin comes in from a chastening campaign with 1940, the Maulers' third different recognised starting goalkeeper in as many years. They sell a fairly promising backup winger in Commerce down a tier, with somewhat daring releases for three of their veterans.

Konrad Evans has had one season's experience as a senior manager, and has a 100% record of securing top four finishes. He demands full commitment from his players, with a full-throttle, never-a-backward-step style of breathless high-pressing football, getting it direct for the forwards to finish the job. It's a strong, athletic side, too. All the while, their utterly dismal defensive unit will just hopefully never be meaningfully tested.

Sascha Dimitrius was, with Belgrave's last and only brief stint in the Premiership, a lanky winger with a world of promise but insufficient end product to back it up. She's now 28, and while she might not have her old pace that was never her strength so much as poise and control. After a few years cutting her teeth on First Division defences, will she be ready this time to make the difference?

Vicki Coleman was an unlikely heroine for the Maulers last season, a homegrown defensive midfielder who became a fan favourite for the way she bustled about the midfield with long, savannah-prey strides and quickly, efficiently seized back possession before moving it forward. Not a fancy player, but at this end of the table, you need water-carriers who relish the challenge.

Gideon Muller was frequently terrible in his last season in the Premiership, but cut a far more assured presence last season and has significant top-flight experience (albeit in Brenecia). Which Muller will show up this season? Olenna Darke will hope to add composure and simple technique to the midfield when breathlessness isn't what's needed, while Sutra Fernwood will really need to evolve from the capable but basic poacher she's generally shown at Premiership level into the flexible, needling, incisive presence up front she mostly was last season.

The Maulers could stay up this season, much as pigs could fly or unicorns could exist. More likely, they will go down again with honour, a decent if inadequate side, but there's always the chance of a horrific capitulation instead.

Manager: Konrad Evans
Asst. Manager: Oskar Healy
Goalkeepers: 1 - Michael Lin (SLL), 12 - Marcia Folkhard, 25 - Acatha Feldman
Defenders: 2 - Barak Strauss, 3 - Ana Laursen, 5 - Gideon Muller, 6 - Levi Rainwall, 13 - Eloise Davison, 18 - Rudi Fallon, 19 - Con Neofitides, 24 - Rook Goodharvest
Midfielders: 4 - Sebastian Vassall, 8 - Olenna Darke, 14 - Vicki Coleman, 15 - Trish Plutarch (c), 20 - Narcissus Milligan, 21 - Jasko Voleimann
Forwards: 7 - Sascha Dimitrius, 9 - Patches Rathbone, 10 - Prisca Stenet, 11 - Gabriel Haines, 16 - Johanna Ankergren, 17 - Aristomenios Karnezis, 22 - Sutra Fernwood


League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: the Crows
Captain: Nechtan Malley
Top Scorers: Stanford (27), Afolayan (17), Morham (16)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Veloz; 2 - Muhren, 5 - Tatu, 19 - Borrowfield (c), 3 - Helland; 23 - Pangallo, 6 - Lekea, 11 - Morham; 7 - Afolayan, 17 - Stanford, 20 - Haight
In: Alyssa Haight (Tihon Tide, 4m), Seth Veloz (Eletti Valligiani, 3.5m), Ivan Pangallo (Cazadores Cathair, 2m), Indartsu Lekea (Barbury Town, 2m), Bryson Vilna (free agent)
Promoted: Ilyana Brosch (CB, 19)
Out: Catric Pennon (Vermillion Wanderers, 1.5m), Elsa Dietrich (Riverside Crew, free), Soren Johan (released)
Retired: Corren Staines (ST, 36)

69: First Division; 2nd, W26, D11, L9, GF89, GA40, 89 pts, Promoted
68: First Division; 5th, W20, D16, L10, GF74, GA52, 76 pts
67: Second Division; 3rd, W22, D18, L6, GF72, GA37, 84 pts, Promoted
66: Second Division; 11th, W20, D8, L18, GF87, GA62, 68 pts
65: Third Division; 4th, W23, D13, L10, GF88, GA49, 82 pts, Promoted

Well, the much-maligned Crows with their hideous crest didn't canter to the title as many feared, but were still in the top three pretty much all season with the most goals scored in the league.

While they were unable to acquire the planned centre-half, the Crows were prolific in securing other talent from across the multiverse. Alyssa Haight, a direct and dangerous forward formerly of South Laithland and Marionville, is finally set to make her Premiership bow, along with proven Audioslavs in Veloz and Pangallo and the slightly left-field signing of Astograthi Indartsu Lekea to slot into the midfield.

Corvistone is a team built to dominate. At least in the second tier they were able to set up to just run roughshod over whoever they faced. They range forward with fearsome power, pace and trickery, and they are uncompromising in taking any edge to get one over their opponents. Their primary weakness? They have a flimsy-looking defence, and it's a surprise they haven't bolstered it in the offseason. Still, with a front three that cost a collective 15 million pounds...

Eshani international striker Robby Stanford surprised many when he was swept up by Corvistone, who paid a league record 5.5 million for him. He's more than repaid that already, a complete striker whose balance, poise and ruthlessness make him a terror in front of goal, and whose fluid, clever runs ensure that he can always be found by his compatriots in dangerous space.

It's telling that Krista Morham has already flirted with the fringes of the Schottic national team without having played in the Premiership yet. She's a keystone member of the midfield, a driving runner and constant harrier through the spine, and the team looks sluggish and flat without her.

Seth Veloz was meant to be Audioslavia's number 1 by now. Instead, at 30, he's a smart pickup for a goalkeeper, and can hopefully, belatedly, find form. Fellow Audioslav Pangallo, who boasts a league title to his name even as a depth player, will get the chance to stamp down his authority as a playmaker. Chibuzo Afofalayan, meanwhile, is a forceful, direct winger, whose ambition is plain in every menacing stride he takes towards goal.

If Corvistone go down it would be absolutely hilarious. Chances are, though, they'll stay up, and some of the more optimistic fans harbour quiet hopes of a UICA berth. Chances are, they'll be somewhere in the middle when the dust settles.

Manager: Davalei Evatee (CEN)
Asst. Manager: Jess Carragher
Goalkeepers: 1 - Seth Veloz (AUD), 12 - Maria Kovacic (SLL), 30 - Bryson Vilna (EFL)
Defenders: 2 - Katenza Muhren, 3 - Daniyal Helland (EFL), 4 - Cyan Keylor, 5 - Gerrit Tatu (CMT), 18 - Emery Hastings, 19 - Parvizdzhon Borrowfield (ISK), 22 - Morgan Halfhill, 34 - Ilyana Brosch
Midfielders: 6 - Indartsu Lekea (AST), 11 - Krista Morham (SCT), 13 - Nechtan Malley (BSE, c), 14 - Paul Bismarck, 21 - Rain Delacruz (BJK), 23 - Ivan Pangallo (AUD)
Forwards: 7 - Chibuzo Afolayan (BNJ), 9 - Markus Kaufmann, 10 - Jack Brier (SCT), 15 - Cahir Treal (BSE), 16 - Madison Rojas (SLL), 17 - Robby Stanford (ESH), 20 - Alyssa Haight


League Finish: 16th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Gardengate (26,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Captain: Karena Bittner
Top Scorers: Korborg (14), Vettriano (13), Accardi (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 12 - Matraxis; 2 - Dukakis, 19 - Rodrigues, 4 - Cohen, 3 - Reisman; 7 - Accardi, 21 - Bittner (c), 8 - Bristoll, 16 - Theoharous; 9 - Vettriano, 13 - Korborg
In: Menelaus Theoharous (Cranequin Wanderers, 2.5m)
Promoted: Sophia Beckner (CM, 20), Kristian Comiskey (ST, 18), Arran Marr (LB, 19)
Out: Medea Tsicaderis (Coret Hawks, 4m), Orchid Basclif (Ferdullaele, free), Frey Sylvine (Umbar Monkeys, free)
Retired: Conor Magellan (CM, 38)

First Division title (61)

69: Premiership; 16th, W13, D15, L18, GF58, GA65, 54 pts
68: Premiership; 12th, W19, D9, L18, GF62, GA62, 66 pts
67: Premiership; 9th, W20, D9, L17, GF57, GA48, 69 pts
66: Premiership; 10th, W18, D15, L13, GF55, GA50, 69 pts
65: Premiership; 4th, W26, D7, L13, GF81, GA61, 85 pts, Champions Cup

Creed are the Premiership's most forgettable team. It feels like they came up only yesterday for all the nothing in particular they've achieved. More of the same last time around, mired in midtable the whole time.

The Oathmen had their leftback poached by a reeling Coret, but have a fine enough understudy in Reisman. Conor Magellan, a veteran Audioslavian midfielder, hangs up the boots after some distinguished service for the club. Their one signing was Theoharous, an energetic conventional winger who distinguished himself with the Wanderers.

Catherine Locklear's not a complicated manager, at least not by default. A young squad, generally set into a 4-4-2 but flexible depending on opponent, playing a generically Nepharim style - strong in the challenge, high in the press, forward in movement. Adjustments made on the fly can trip up her opponents, though they do sometimes backfire.

Axel Korborg is their best striker, and knows it. The Llamanean is a flair player, with the steel to back it up. Very much a confidence player, when he's on song he can rip teams apart single-handed, and even on an off-day can usually swing out a toe or a thigh to fluke in a tap-in here and there.

Raquel Accardi might feel aggrieved at not winning the Young Player of the Year award, ultimately coming second in the running to the Buyanese Hedlund. Fact is that the nippy Eastfielder winger is Creed's X-Factor, sometimes guilty of fading out of games but on her day she can swing the pendulum single-handedly with bursts of sudden pace and flair.

Anthoulis Matraxis was an eyecatching recent pickup for Creed, already a fringe Nephara international. An acrobatic and athletic goalkeeper, the 23-year old just needs to iron the last few errors out of his game. Micaiah Cohen came out of basically nowhere to be a rock at the back for the Oathmen, cautious and steady. Karena Bittner, the captain, is not the best player you'll see at this level by any standard but makes up for it with relentless midfield harrying.

Not good enough to reach the UICA places, too good to go down. It will just be a foundation for future seasons, barring a Cup run.

Manager: Catherine Locklear
Asst. Manager: Bryce Sharman
Goalkeepers: 1 - Byron Caldwick, 12 - Anthoulis Matraxis, 20 - Eupraxia Teuton
Defenders: 2 - Pandora Dukakis, 3 - Ash Reisman, 4 - Micaiah Cohen, 5 - Valeria (USI), 17 - Agamemnon Wright, 19 - Georgia Rodrigues (SLL), 22 - Mircea Boleyn, 32 - Arran Marr
Midfielders: 6 - Spahi Keskin, 7 - Raquel Accardi (EFL), 8 - Kurtis Bristoll, 11 - Karena Braham, 15 - Sophia Beckner, 16 - Menelaus Theoharous, 21 - Karena Bittner (c), 23 - Conan McMillan (TLI)
Forwards: 7 - Ulysses Mithradates, 9 - Valentin Vettriano (AUD), 10 - Justina Donau, 13 - Axel Korborg (SLL), 33 - Kristian Comiskey


League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Semifinals
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Isaia Urso
Top Scorers: Drenas (19), Jevdjevic-Hadsic (14), Swan (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Marciak; 2 - Rafford, 5 - Molovi, 13 - Gandhi, 3 - Lohengrin; 11 - Swan, 6 - Bronte; 8 - Urso (c), 15 - Jevdjevic-Hadsic, 10 - Staunton; 14 - Ruhl
In: Airik Ruhl (Chenoworth Harriers, 18m), Lienke Vesper (AFC Treason, 4m)
Promoted: Henrik Parrish (CB, 19)
Out: Martell Chalobah (Semar Reclamation, undisclosed), Ozaria Gandhi (Klyde, 11m)

Premiership title (59)
3 NFA Cups (47, 61, 64)
Cup Winners’ Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

69: Premiership; 6th, W22, D11, L13, GF68, GA45, 77 pts, Globe Cup
68: Premiership; 4th, W26, D9, L11, GF94, GA61, 87 pts, Champions Cup
67: Premiership; 3rd, W25, D11, L10, GF86, GA43, 86 pts, Champions Cup
66: Premiership; 2nd, W27, D8, L11, GF101, GA52, 89 pts, Champions Cup
65: Premiership; 9th, W22, D10, L14, GF74, GA58, 76 pts

Last season did not go to plan, at all. It was meant to be a season of revival, but Crisisbless struggled under the culture shock of Brosque's brusque approach.

Some positives, some negatives. Most obviously, the acquisition of Airik Ruhl from the Harriers, a striker who had struggled somewhat last season under the more laissez-faire guidance of John Sedder but will hopefully be back to his marauding best under Brosque. Lienke Vesper also comes in as a slightly desperate rotation signing - at 32, she isn't the winger she once was. The unexpected hitch? They lost their best defender, Martell Chalobah, with no clear replacement. Ozaria Gandhi, surplus to requirements despite being an excellent striker, departs for Cosumar.

Brosque likes his team to be forceful, hard-edged and to play on the edge, but with the technique to break through defences. For every brutish battering ram like Ruhl, there need to be skilful midfielders like Jevdjevic-Hadsic to find him. It's this combination of a fluid, talented attack and a rock-solid foundation, knitted together by a hard work ethic, that makes a Brosque side tick.

Maeve Bronte combines all aspects of these into one determined, classy holding midfielder. She's always the first to the scene when things look to be falling apart, clean in the tackle and the pass, with a brilliant instinct and footballing intellect. Silk backed with steel, Bronte is the heartbeat of the team.

An issue last season was the lack of pace on the wings. The solution was sort out found late on with the emergence of Marisha Staunton, a homegrown winger in the classical style whose lung-busting runs and pure dedication to the team were infinitely worth a poor first touch and slightly flaky decision-making. Now 21, she's nailed on as a starter and set to get better and better.

Sieglinde Lohengrin, who was almost sold in the window, remains the spiritual centre of the side at leftback, a striding, statuesque presence in attack and defence. On the other flank, Leona Rafford's a quick, chippy and sporadically dirty presence on the right, but no less gifted an overlapping fullback for it. Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic, meanwhile, looks to be the side's central playmaker after a slight case of too many cooks spoiling the broth last season. It is a task the Farfish midfielder should relish.

Perhaps Brosque - a proven manager at this level, and seemingly the panacea the club needed - will get it together a season ahead of schedule, and last season was just a blip. They're probably not realistic title contenders, but should be in the race for the top four. Then again, if more goes wrong, will they be left scrambling just for a Globe Cup place? Would that be fatal to Brosque?

Manager: Aidan Brosque
Asst. Manager: Espen Knutsen (BYN)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Pawlo Marciak (BYN), 23 - Gerhard Hartmuth, 25 - Kay Szarbach
Defenders: 2 - Leona Rafford, 3 - Sieglinde Lohengrin, 5 - Andrea Molovi (EQS), 13 - Osmosis Gandhi (APX), 18 - Ayn Zwayer, 19 - Amelia Warner, 22 - Kerem Korkut, 31 - Henrik Parrish
Midfielders: 4 - Irsa Croxteth, 6 - Maeve Bronte (PCR), 7 - Birgit Snowe, 8 - Isaia Urso (OSR, c), 10 - Marisha Staunton, 11 - Allison Swan (CEN), 15 - Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic (FFD), 16 - Lienke Vesper, 20 - Delphi Barbarouses, 21 - Lauro Tedesco (OSR), 33 - Johanna Sutton
Forwards: 9 - Tia Drenas (EFL), 14 - Airik Ruhl (COS), 17 - Kurtis Laiota

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:47 pm
by Nephara

League Finish: Champions (First Division)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Captain: Bianca Condotta
Top Scorers: Tihamer (23), Alexander (15), Petridis (14)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Ruo; 2 - Hamilton, 4 - Hertzka, 22 - Bajnok, 3 - Anderton; 21 - Stensholt, 6 - Condotta (c), 11 - Frey; 8 - Petridis; 9 - Tihamer, 7 - Nygård
In: Kósa Bajnok (Rene Skae Colonels, undisclosed), Olivia Nygård (Club ESF, 3m), Brigitte Anderton (North Sabrefell, 2m), Mei Hamilton (Na'Ilee Mariners, 1.25m)
Promoted: Kari Bardiche (LB, 19)
Out: Faith Tenenbaum (Crossroads Crusaders, 2m), Sander Mears (Semar Reclamation, undisclosed), Angela Koufos (Royal Issington, free), Chufti Waters (Rhoni Giants, free)
Retired: Ashton Dalmshelf (CB, 36)

69: First Division; 1st, W30, D11, L5, GF87, GA29, 101 pts, Promoted
68: First Division; 11th, W17, D13, L16, GF44, GA47, 64 pts
67: First Division; 7th, W20, D13, L13, GF59, GA38, 73 pts
66: First Division; 11th, W19, D12, L15, GF53, GA51, 69 pts
65: First Division; 13th, W16, D15, L15, GF39, GA45, 63 pts

First Division title (69)

Slow out of the gates, it took five matches for the Eagles to register a win, but Cypher recovered to put themselves on top by the end of the season, and were practically invincible in the final run-in.

Most of the effort goes to the defence, with aggressive, chippy Hamilton, quietly professional Anderton and, well, Farfish Bajnok injecting the back four with youth and skill. Up front, 21-year old Olivia Nygard needed a place where she could flourish - she hopes Cypher can be that place. Faith Tenenbaum leaves under acrimonious circumstances following a disagreement with Rivka Keaton, who didn't rate her... a little too publically.

Cypher Town are battlers to the core. Oh, sure, there's technique through the side, you don't get promoted without it - certainly, Petridis, a pure playmaker, is a luxury the rest of the team's guts can carry - but with disciplined defence and tight marking, every goal counts. Direct or short passing as the situation demands, but either way, Tihamer and Nygard can finish the job from there.

Bianca Condotta, even at 35, is the heart and soul of the team. Sure, she can't run, but that's not her job - her job is to be in the right place at the right time, her stitches in time saving nine. Not flashy, though she's certainly capable of a sweeping diagonal switch here or there. She just clicks into place, and keeps the side ticking over.

In Ruo Xiaolan's first - yes, first - season of professional football, she stamped down her place as the First Division's best goalkeeper. A flying acrobatic goalkeeper, somewhat unorthodox at times but capable of the truly spectacular, she has forced her way into Yuezhou's national side. But how will she cope with Premiership pace and physicality?

Kosa Bajnok is probably the biggest name in the side, a Farf international brimming with confidence and poise. "Can he cut it in a cold night in Treason?" If you can stand out as a centre-half in Farfadillis, you can do it anywhere. Catheline Stensholt is a pure athlete, all pace and power, a forceful presence in midfield. Fringe Pasarga international Borbas Tihamer is a towering bruiser of a centre-forward, somewhat selfish at first but Rivka Keaton has beaten team ethic and workrate into him - he now works tirelessly for the team.

The Eagles should stay up, but you can't take anything for granted. And they won't, of course.

Manager: Rivka Keaton
Asst. Manager: Ruby Vermillion
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ruo Xiaolan (YZH), 12 - Jacqui Gambeson, 25 - Brendan Fallowland
Defenders: 2 - Mei Hamilton (COS), 3 - Brigitte Anderton, 4 - Andros Hertzka, 5 - Constantine Beckett, 17 - Barth Krueger, 18 - Agate Whitespire, 22 - Kósa Bajnok (FFD), 31 - Kari Bardiche
Midfielders: 6 - Bianca Condotta (c), 8 - Sophia Petridis, 10 - Koen Hochmeister, 11 - Vuesala Frey, 13 - Elaine Brackwater, 15 - Toni Bliss, 19 - Caspar Madine, 21 - Catheline Stensholt
Forwards: 7 - Olivia Nygård (VAL), 9 - Borbas Tihamer (PAS), 14 - Cohen Alexander, 16 - Synod Blake, 23 - Branko Kurz


League Finish: 20th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The New Overlook (17,500)
Nickname: the Diamonds
Captain: Catherine Thackeray
Top Scorers: Weber (11), Fortounis (10), Kesteren (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-3-2) 1 - Britton; 2 - Abel, 4 - Pavlovic, 13 - Hartley, 6 - Sutton; 7 - Thackeray (c), 5 - Hemeyer, 15 - Jeweler; 22 - Weber; 17 - Fortounis, 10 - Blaylock
In: Dakota Blaylock (Cranequin Wanderers, 5m), Karena Hartley (Chenoworth Rovers, 1.6m)
Promoted: Mercedes Reeve (DM, 20), Yolanda Sparrow (CM, 19)
Out: Franz Kesteren (Raven River, 4.5m), Damian Barrett (Vallen United, free), Samael Lawrence (Crisisbless Athletic, free), Hecubah Statkis (IFK Aldenskoett, free)

First Division title (67)

69: Premiership; 20th, W11, D11, LF24, GF50, GA79, 44 pts
68: Premiership; 20th, W10, D11, L25, GF59, GA95, 41 pts
67: First Division; 1st, W28, D11, L7, GF77, GA33, 95 pts, Promoted
66: First Division; 8th, W21, D12, L13, GF55, GA35, 75 pts
65: First Division; 14th, W15, D12, L19, GF58, GA59, 57 pts

A close-run thing. The Diamonds struggled badly last season, but Tana Colbright managed to wrench them to safety late on.

Hits and misses. The loss of Franz Kesteren, a quietly gifted, hard-working midfielder, is damaging, but they've compensated by sharpening up front and at the back. Blaylock got the job done even for a weak Cranequin side, while Hartley has it all as a centre-half apart from pace, even some Premiership experience.

A clean, fairly technically proficient side, Tana Colbright prioritises fearlessness in possession and a willingness to press over all else, and while she's fairly tactically flexible she will rarely go for the long ball. Everything goes through Weber, generally, with roving fullbacks providing the team with width but also a key defensive weakness.

As cliche as it is to nominate a side's attacking midfielder... look, Diamondqueen is Auburn Weber. Her moments of inspiration lift the side going forward and at times she finds herself carrying the team on her back. An intelligent, crafty playmaker, but more than willing to put in a defensive shift for her team - but that could be her downfall. 31 now, she showed sporadic signs of fatigue last season.

After a few injury-hit seasons, this could finally be the time for Nomanswoman 'Noma' Sutton to assert herself for the Diamonds. A diminutive, dynamic attacking fullback, she's grown sturdier since promotion and looks ready for the defensive rigours of the top flight. Can she reclaim her early, shining promise?

Dario Pavlovic is a quietly capable, reassuring presence at the back, but with the muscle to back it up. Ivan 'the Haymaker' Hemeyer is a true beast, definitely the sort of guy you want on your side rather than against you. Thackeray, the reliable, clean-heeled captain, is just the sort of technically proficient all-round midfielder you need to just put steady 7/10 performances in day-in and day-out.

A club of Diamondqueen's size will always struggle to keep afloat in the top flight. Yet again, they seem to have enough about them to keep their heads above water. If they do get pulled in, though, they have a plan, and should be able to weather the second tier.

Manager: Tana Colbright
Asst. Manager: Matthias Conridge
Goalkeepers: 1 - Iona Britton, 12 - Karel Jonason, 20 - Chara Mylonas
Defenders: 2 - Francesca Abel (SLL), 3 - Valentina Fairbairn (QAD), 4 - Dario Pavlovic (PAS), 6 - Noma Sutton, 13 - Karena Hartley, 18 - McKinley Sanabria (AUD), 19 - Marcia Falchuk, 23 - Gareth Unworth
Midfielders: 5 - Ivan Hemeyer (COS), 7 - Catherine Thackeray (c), 8 - Desdemona Schuster, 15 - Imogen Jeweler, 21 - Mercedes Reeve, 22 - Auburn Weber, 24 - Christian Baylor, 33 - Yolanda Sparrow
Forwards: 9 - Dionysius Lyritzis, 11 - Danil Kowalczyk (CSN), 16 - Hecubah Statkis, 16 - Cornelian Stryger, 17 - Marko Fortounis


League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Semifinals
Stadium: Steelchurch (32,500)
Nickname: the Quakers
Captain: Adrian Carradine
Top Scorers: Sharpe (10), Rannon, Case (7), Farrakhan (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Forster; 2 - Aviston, 18 - Bierofka, 6 - Carradine (c), 3 - Eather; 4 - Leitner, 8 - Schneider, 13 - Case; 11 - Rannon; 10 - Jewel, 7 - Sharpe
In: Aurora Jewel (Owabrok Speed, 3m), Brigid Eather (Extreme Hills, 2.5m)
Promoted: Catheline Durren (ST, 19)
Out: Anders East (Semar Reclamation, undisclosed), Johan Macruse (Wirr Tsi Shock, free), Amelia Rusmond (Hamilton Sandstorm, free)

NFA Cup (52)
First Division title (68)

69: Premiership; 18th, W12, D15, L19, GF46, GA65, 51 pts
68: First Division: 1st, W27, D10, L9, GF67, GA35, 91 pts, Promoted
67: First Division; 9th, W19, D14, L13, GF64, GA51, 71 pts
66: Premiership; 22nd, W10, D7, L29, GF44, GA96, 37 pts, Relegated
65: Premiership; 20th, W12, D8, L26, GF56, GA89, 44 pts

After an excellent first half to the season, the Quakers' form dropped markedly in the second and they were even in the relegation picture in the home stretch of the season. Even so, when a newly-promoted side never actually spends any time inside the bottom four? You'll take that.

Aurora Jewel is the biggest signing for any Nepharim club this window, which is to say she's a 7' metahuman of a... generous build. Eather, a pretty good 24-year old leftback, shows up too, though she is a downgrade from East (who returns to Semarland). A couple of obsolete strikers are released.

Goodfeather are built on technique, short passing and meaningful possession, brave design for a yo-yo club designed to break a cycle. In, you know, a good way. Ezra Stonewaters forged the side in his own image, a disciplined, well-drilled side but one that knows when to let slip the dogs of war. The acquisition of Jewel for some meat up front will give them some actual hold-up play, too.

Ulrica Rannon was their best player last season, and the season before that, too, the tall, broad and athletic playmaker Stonewaters brought with him from his last job. She's not a calm, intellectual playmaker, but a breathless, driving force in attacking midfield always moving forward and searching tirelessly for an opening to exploit.

Falcon Case - freshly poached by the Brenecian FA, always looking for an edge - was brilliant last season, combining muscle with the sort of calm passing that you need to get into this midfield and adding to that a ferocious shot. Still rough edges to be polished, but most of the time Case will very quietly make the team better until it's time for a very loud contribution indeed.

Goodfeather don't have the strongest defence, but Raven Forster is someone you can trust, a long-limbed, modern goalkeeper with excellent distribution and capable of some heroic performances. Sylvia Aviston was quietly capable last season, always putting in her defensive shift but with shuttling runs down the right to give a narrow side vital width in attack. And all this technical play doesn't count for a thing until you can get the ball in the net, and former Moths poacher Corona Sharpe absolutely does that.

A young side's had another year to acclimatise to the Premiership, and should at least equal the efforts of last season. But complacency would prove fatal, especially if injuries start to bite into a thin squad - the Quakers could easily be in the relegation picture if things go wrong.

Manager: Ezra Stonewaters
Asst. Manager: Adrian Crowe
Goalkeepers: 1 - Raven Forster, 20 - Anya Beraht, 25 - Erin Naylor
Defenders: 2 - Sylvia Aviston, 3 - Brigid Eather, 5 - Ellen Boarspear, 6 - Adrian Carradine (c), 17 - Lewyn Harnwell, 18 - Artur Bierofka, 22 - Dane Rednic, 24 - Franzi Brill
Midfielders: 4 - Marisa Leitner, 8 - Florian Schneider, 11 - Ulrica Rannon, 13 - Falcon Case, 15 - Soren Faerstein, 16 - Tarry Hareide, 19 - Diana Lochteth, 23 - Viktor Key
Forwards: 7 - Corona Sharpe, 9 - Lexi Farrakhan, 10 - Aurora Jewel (DRK), 24 - Hansel Fortesquire, 32 - Catheline Durren


League Finish: 10th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Canaries, the Stargazers
Captain: Chiron Amarantidis
Top Scorers: Auttenberg (16), Reiter (8), Koller (5)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Stern; 5 - Nkembe, 2 - Koller, 6 - Amarantidis (c), 19 - Heisserer; 4 - Silverstein; 15 - Bellinghausen, 23 - Lienen, 13 - Hatherton, 16 - Streiss; 11 - Auttenberg
In: Ylissa Hatherton (Sabrefell Moths, 5m)
Out: Olivia Sigournay (Westgreen & Trent Albion, free)

69: Premiership; 10th, W19, D8, L19, GF51, GA53, 65 pts
68: First Division; 3rd, W23, D15, L8, GF63, GA30, 84 pts
67: First Division; 6th, W22, D13, L11, GF50, GA29, 79 pts
66: First Division; 6th, W22, D13, L11, GF49, GA30, 79 pts
65: First Division; 4th, W22, D16, L8, GF57, GA27, 82 pts

Leichhardt had just come up, so survival was the hope - indeed they were never in the relegation battle at all. They were very legitimate Globe Cup contenders until the far bigger guns finally stepped up the race in the home stretch of the season, but finishing 10th still won Andrea Vardalos the Manager of the Year award.

If it ain't broke... Leichhardt just needed a creative, driving midfielder, you sensed, as 32-year old Miralem Fowler can't last forever. So they picked up Ylissa Hatherton from the Moths, a 24-year old who stood up to the test whenever called upon but was understandably looking to be the star.

Leichhardt aren't rich by Premiership standards, nor are they a traditional 'big club', so they have to be shrewd and traditionally, as now, this has meant caution both on and off the pitch. Vardalos builds her teams from a strong foundation, to avoid conceding goals first off

He's got no hair, but we don't care; it's Big Michael Koller. A grave, aquiline figure in the heart of defence for the Stargazers, Koller was almost omnipresent last season, someone who showed absolutely no fear graduating to Premiership forward and bullied them just the same as the second-tier guys last season. A true egalitarian, that way.

Zuzana Streiss has the flash hair - normally in an eyesearing peroxide. She has the rings and jewelry off the pitch, and the flash car. And she is incredibly fucking fast. Streiss' decision-making may not be the best, but she can guarantee one thing for sure - she tries shit. She runs at defenders. She makes things happen. And she knows she can make things tick for this side.

Raihane Stern proved herself a goalkeeper of unflappable nerve, soft-spoken but always, always reliable and calm under pressure. And there was a lot of pressure, because there sure as hell wasn't much possession. Lara Silverstein's something of a journeywoman by this stage but she continues to hold her own as a tidy holding midfielder, converted from the back line. Up front, Ingrid Auttenberg has a thankless task... you'd think. But she relishes her work, pressing tirelessly from the front and doing a pretty good job feeding on scraps.

Leichhardt don't look like one-season wonders, and should stay up comfortably again even if a repeat top ten finish is unlikely. But then, when do one-season wonders ever look like one-season wonders? They can't afford to get complacent.

Manager: Andrea Vardalos
Asst. Manager: Elaine Koeller
Goalkeepers: 1 - Raihane Stern, 20 - Shukhrat Kozak (ISK), 25 - Joshua Stirgeon
Defenders: 2 - Michael Koller (SCT), 3 - Stavroula Portokalos, 5 - Diligence Nkembe, 6 - Chiron Amarantidis (c), 17 - Dante Carvalho (USI), 19 - Undine Heisserer, 22 - Providence Mensah, 31 - Marisa Woodruff
Midfielders: 4 - Lara Silverstein, 7 - Khatuna Voyager, 8 - Miralem Fowler, 12 - June Hartley, 13 - Ylissa Hatherton, 15 - Annegret Bellinghausen, 16 - Zuzana Streiss, 18 - Concertina Reiziger, 23 - Berit Lienen
Forwards: 9 - Luna Nsereko, 11 - Ingrid Auttenberg, 21 - Jacqui Oldcastle


League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Warriors, the Stars
Captain: Johan Kovach
Top Scorers: Tsiavis (9), Boldman (6), Vanstrattan (5)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Sparr; 2 - Seluk, 18 - Ynoa, 13 - Keyes, 3 - Kuefer; 22 - Saroszi, 6 - Seizter, 15 - Kovach (c), 11 - Vanstrattan; 10 - Lennox, 9 - Tsiavis
In: Jessica Lennox (Z'ai'ai Mountaineers, 2.75m), Emily Ynoa (Brookford Otters, 2m)
Out: Henrique Lopez (West Gundar, free)
Retired: Gwen Saunders (R/CB, 35)

69: Premiership; 17th, W12, D16, L18, GF30, GA51, 52 pts
68: Premiership; 19th, W12, D10, L24, GF45, GA76, 46 pts
67: Premiership; 18th, W15, D10, L21, GF52, GA63, 55 pts
66: First Division; 3rd, W27, D7, L12, GF92, GA49, 88 pts, Promoted
65: First Division; 7th, W22, D7, L17, GF65, GA51, 74 pts

The Warriors managed to keep relegation just about at arm's reach all season, but it was absolutely miserable on the fans. No relegated team scored less than a goal a game. Parrhesia, the second-least prolific team in the league, got forty. Morningstar... scored thirty.

It was patently obvious that Morningstar needed a new striker and a creative midfielder, someone like Woodwind or Rosenthal who lifted the pedestrian mulch at the centre of the park to something better. The former arrived in the form of Jessica Lennox, a Schottic forward fresh off a prolific season in Chromatika. The latter... did not. Instead, Emily Ynoa arrives from relegated Brookford to replace the retired captain, Gwen Saunders.

It's a Lineker side, but without the craft of her best Chatswood teams, and even more graft. A nasty, bitty, fighty side, that is there to dominate physically from the first whistle and pick up cards - fewer than they warrant, too, by cleverly rotating fouls among the whole squad. When they do score goals, it's generally fairly direct fare, and they're expertly drilled in set pieces.

When you average the least possession in the league, you'd better hope your goalkeeper is up to scratch. Lukas Sparr is most definitely up to scratch. He's been a consistently good shot-stopper despite never really getting a chance with a top-half club, but while he arguably lacks ambition, he gets the job done on the pitch.

Monako Saroszi might be the team's best player at just 20, and Brinemouth reportedly have their eye on them. Long-limbed and utterly fearless, with more than a little capacity for violence, Saroszi's breathtaking runs down the right were basically the only constant attacking spark, a constant danger for opposing sides. They will need to step up their burden yet further this season.

Florian Kuefer was a quietly impressive, consistent defender all season, never flashy, but looking at ease in the top flight. Beyond him, it wasn't the best year for winger Karo Vanstrattan, whose searing pace and devilish hooked crosses tormented Premiership defences in her first couple of seasons and needs to find that flair again. Up front, the burden can't all fall on Lennox - Christos Tsiavis alongside her has everything a striker could ask for but final product. Now 23, he needs to find that final product.

This could be it for the Warriors. A strong contingent of sides have just been promoted, sides who can actually score goals. But Lineker's a canny enough manager to get out of something like this.

Manager: Emery Lineker
Asst. Manager: Lara Hunfeld
Goalkeepers: 1 - Lukas Sparr, 20 - Malta Hawthorn, 25 - Vicki Bassett
Defenders: 2 - Malakai Seluk, 3 - Florian Kuefer (PAS), 4 - Barak Sahar, 5 - Karl Linstead, 13 - Andrei Keyes, 18 - Emily Ynoa (SLL), 19 - Lothar Andreas, 31 - Valeri Longship
Midfielders: 6 - Robin Seizter, 7 - Marko Petrosian, 8 - Hecate Dransfeld, 11 - Karo Vanstrattan, 14 - Coridan Ryder, 15 - Johan Kovach (c), 16 - Felix Stremer, 22 - Monako Saroszi
Forwards: 9 - Christos Tsiavis, 10 - Jessica Lennox (SCT), 17 - Niko Boldman, 26 - Christine Exelby, 35 - Lilith Thornwood


League Finish: 9th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Anchorwright Arena (30,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Raquel Woods
Top Scorers: Bothroyd (18), Farrell (13), Marconi (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Hesketh; 18 - Pakkanen, 5 - Nkembe, 6 - Zagorec, 11 - Woods (c); 24 - Coynborough, 4 - Hedlund, 15 - Winter; 8 - Marconi; 7 - Farrell, 10 - Bothroyd
In: Temperance Nkembe (Brinemouth, 4.5m)
Promoted: Tatiana Brandis (ST, 19), Isobel Foster (AM, 20), Aries Kohler (LB, 19)
Out: Petra Fischer (Duke of the North, free), Robert Rivello (Qet Eagles, free), Stefan Jacobsen (released)
Retired: Aziz Senturk (AM, 36)

2 NFA Cups (57, 68)

69: Premiership; 9th, W18, D11, L17, GF66, GA57, 65 pts
68: Premiership; 18th, W14, D8, L24, GF59, GA76, 50 pts, Cup Winners
67: Premiership; 19th, W14, D11, L21, GF55, GA78, 53 pts
66: Premiership; 9th, W20, D10, L16, GF64, GA67, 70 pts
65: Premiership; 17th, W14, D11, L21, GF44, GA60, 53 pts

Andrea Bartolnicci, in his first full season of senior management, dragged the Rooks kicking and screaming into the top ten. They were very much in the UICA chase for the first half of the season, too.

Quiet but efficiently targeted. Despite the retirement of Aziz Senturk - let us all pay our respects to one of the most mercurial and sporadically brilliant playmakers of the Premiership's history - they've shifted out the old and stale for the young and fresh, and then picked up reliable 29-year old defender Temperance Nkembe. Nkembe may not have been the consistent Nephara international he was meant to become, but he's still a strong centre-half.

Bartolnicci does not take a backwards step, and he demands the same fearless energy from his players. Short passing through the centre is the key, and a tireless aggression to win back lost balls, as well as industrious fullbacks to keep the flanks secure and offer attacking width. Backup plan? "The only Plan B is a better Plan A," Bartolnicci declared. Guess not, then.

Try to overlook the fact that she's been handed the number 11 despite being a leftback - Raquel Woods is the soul of the team. A seasoned 28-year old who has the physicality to drop wingers in the flash, Woods always covers her defensive shift but is breathtaking to watch in flight down the left. Always finds a new dimension to add to the attack.

This is a young, ambitious side, but Mats Hedlund stands out - first for being a youth amongst youths, a key player at 20 last season and ultimately voted Young Player of the Season, but also for his humility and willingness to do the dirty work. A true team player and a model professional, and the benefits of that are clear on the pitch day after day.

Arguably loyal to a fault to his previous club, Kaldukosic, Ville Pakkanen finally took to top-flight football like a duck to water and gave everything to the cause. Already a fan favourite here. Alessa Marconi doesn't play cautious, she bolts forward and tries things, even if they don't all work out. Up front, Alan Bothroyd provides the goals, plain and simple.

A Globe Cup push? Maybe even... the top four? It's hard to say, but one thing's for sure, slipping back out of the top half would be a bad look.

Manager: Andreu Bartolnicci (COS)
Asst. Manager: Esther Mallory
Goalkeepers: 1 - Karena Hesketh, 20 - Magda Kattner, 30 - Jess Oaktree
Defenders: 2 - Conrad Trelliston, 5 - Temperance Nkembe, 6 - Perica Zagorec (PAS), 11 - Raquel Woods (c), 17 - Luna Traugott, 18 - Ville Pakkanen (COS), 19 - Glenn Baumann, 32 - Aries Kohler
Midfielders: 4 - Mats Hedlund (BYN), 8 - Alessa Marconi, 13 - Rafaela Fenchel, 14 - Markus Hyde, 15 - Lorne Winter, 21 - Isobel Foster, 23 - Josie Sutton, 24 - Ifrit Coynborough
Forwards: 7 - Maladict Farrell, 9 - Orson Deckard, 10 - Alan Bothroyd (VLD), 22 - Liesel Ironhewer, 34 - Tatiana Brandis


League Finish: 3rd (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Captain: Ross Finlay
Top Scorers: Webster (21), Stokes (20), Stubbs (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Fairweather; 2 - Kendrick, 5 - Traustram, 17 - Serjeant, 3 - Riordan; 8 - Sabitzer, 4 - Finlay (c), 13 - Webster; 7 - Pell, 9 - Stokes, 11 - Stubbs
In: Kosovare Fairweather (New Llama Capitals, 4m), Robyn Sabitzer (Chatswood, 3.5m), Tess Pell (Treftadaeth Alliance, 2m)
Out: Lukas Antelmi (Crisisbless United, 2m), Rosary Kistler (South Laithland, 1.5m)

69: First Division; 3rd, W23, D14, L9, GF74, GA51, 83 pts, Promoted
68: Premiership; 21st, W12, D5, L29, GF54, GA90, 41 pts, Relegated
67: Premiership; 17th, W15, D11, L20, GF52, GA68, 56 pts
66: Premiership; 13th, W19, D7, L20, GF69, GA80, 64 pts
65: Premiership; 12th, W18, D7, L21, GF68, GA74, 61 pts

Premiership title (51)
NFA Cup (67)

It was a pretty good season for the Spiders, as Leo Santander took them back up to the top flight at the first attempt. "This is where we belong," he announced, and he's not wrong.

Pretty positive for the Spiders, who sell a couple of fringe players but pick up much-needed upgrades. Kosovare Fairweather returns from the SuperLleague, a thoroughly modern goalkeeper, with driving midfielder Sabitzer finally stepping back up to the top flight (where, really, she's always been good enough for) and Tess Pell, an exceptionally fast, dangerous journeywoman winger, set to make her Premiership debut.

Santander is one of those managers where, well, you know what you get. Married to his fluid, high-pressing 4-3-3, he compensates a deficit in technique with intensity, heart and pace. Defence is optional, though a good goalkeeper helps - it's all about goals going in at the other end.

How exactly was Josie Webster permitted to languish in the First Division last season? Well, the Premiership's loss is very definitely the Spiders' gain, as they retain their creative fulcrum. Everything they do goes through Webster, as she feeds the forward line and takes forceful shots herself, even does the defensive yards in a way that lesser playmakers often skimp on.

Will Deborah Stokes have what it takes at Premiership level? The long-boned striker, who'd shown some promise in prior seasons, really stamped down her place at the spearhead of this side with some dominant performances. Sure, she's big enough to be an aerial threat, sure she can finish, but it's her clever runs, strong hold-up play and, subtly, light touch on the ball that really make her a striker for the modern era.

Dorian Kendrick was outstanding at rightback last season. Muscular and pugnacious, a little too quick to pick up cards but combined defensive stability with attacking prowess. Ross Finlay may not have lived up to his billing for the side, but seems to have found his way in a more defensive role. Tess Pell on the right has done it in UICA, in the A-League but struggled to impose herself in Cosumar with a weak Treftadaeth - can she redeem herself this season?

North Laithland will be in the relegation battle this season, but ought to keep their heads above water. Failure, though, might be a disaster - you sense, if they slip up a second time in three years, they may not be back for some time.

Manager: Leo Santander
Asst. Manager: Soren Brand
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gerhard Sinstadt, 12 - Kosovare Fairweather, 20 - Ophelia Rattin
Defenders: 2 - Dorian Kendrick, 3 - Karsten Riordan, 5 - Gabriel Traustram, 17 - Christian Serjeant, 18 - Samson Turnbull, 19 - David Maskin, 23 - Harald Reuser, 31 - Raimund Anderson
Midfielders: 4 - Ross Finlay (TLI, c), 6 - Marcia Lapwing, 8 - Robyn Sabitzer, 13 - Josie Webster, 16 - Koloman Reaves, 22 - Beck Pruttan
Forwards: 7 - Tess Pell, 9 - Deborah Stokes, 11 - Rinat Stubbs, 14 - Lexander Varney, 15 - Erinys Hart, 22 - Patricia Etheridge, 32 - Griffin Kendall


League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Knightsgrave (43,000)
Nickname: the Saints
Captain: Alastair Brun
Top Scorers: McEthinly (9), Feisser (8), Rademacher (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Koufax; 6 - Symond, 5 - Brun (c), 18 - Strauss, 3 - Avery; 13 - Frei, 8 - Kisel, 11 - Rademacher; 7 - Berisha, 10 - McEthinly, 14 - Feisser
In: Misha Symond (Starling, 3m), Marisa Strauss (Chatswood, 1.5m), Catrine Kisel (Oldem Knights, 1.2m)
Out: Basmath Clinton (Myana Islanders, 10m), Monica Rowland (Bastion, 9m), Claudia Solwood (Mucusia, free)

First Division title (63)
2 NFA Cups (51, 59)

69: Premiership; 19th, W10, D15, L21, GF40, GA63, 45 pts
68: Premiership; 15th, W15, D10, L21, GF69, GA83, 55 pts
67: Premiership; 10th, W18, D12, L16, GF61, GA58, 66 pts
66: Premiership; 6th, W24, D7, L15, GF85, GA66, 79 pts, Globe Cup
65: Premiership; 14th, W16, D10, L20, GF64, GA75, 58 pts

The Saints looked thoroughly mediocre all season until a catastrophic twelve-match winless run pulled them into the relegation battle and, briefly, into the bottom three itself. They stayed up by a whisker in the end, and unsurprisingly sacked Miriam Aragon, who retired a spent force.

They've celebrated their survival with the controversial tactic of selling their two best players and replacing them with 31-year olds. Admittedly, Kisel is a good player, proven at this level and cut-price only after falling out with Axe the Dominant at Oldem, but even so. The diminutive Symond, Starling's backup rightback, is a shrewd enough pickup on the side, but it doesn't look pretty.

Benjamin Nyao's come in from Depri Lanar, the second Chromatik to manage on these shores, and he could soon have the exciting opportunity of becoming the first Chromatik to manage in the First Division without pulling some miracles. He's a motivator at heart who draws the best out of his players, and injecting some energy into the lethargic Saints could be exactly what they need.

Darren Koufax is a great shot-stopper at this level, never an elegant goalkeeper but one who will throw out any extremity to intercept the ball from the net. Just offers consistency week after week, and has more recently put in the hard yards to improve his previously dismal distribution, an important thing in a side looking to play the counterattack.

This could be a breakthrough season for Gabrielle Reinhardt, a tall, angular centre-half currently behind the experienced Strauss and Brun in the pecking order. She's confident with the ball at her feet, confident in the air, confident in the tackle... really, she just never doubts herself, and in a side that looked shot of confidence late last season, that could be more important than anything.

Catrine Kisel is something of a gamble as a signing given her recent history, but she does have a long record of success at this level and is the sort of assertive, type-A personality to bring the best from her teammates. Christian Frei is a technically solid, long-boned midfielder who makes his presence felt in midfield, striding around the place and thumping powerful long shots. Meanwhile, if Ingrid Feisser just did fewer tricks and flicks and more shots and cutbacks, there's a deadly winger at this level waiting to emerge.

Staying up would be a success. Relegation would not. The board have stated that they will keep ahold of Nyao even if they go down, and when you give your manager a vote of confidence even before the season starts...

Manager: Benjamin Nyao (CMT)
Asst. Manager: Matt Sebastian
Goalkeeper: 1 - Darren Koufax, 12 - Angela Spyrakis, 30 - Radu Bartok
Defenders: 2 - Marko Bozanic, 3 - Tasha Avery, 5 - Alastair Brun (APX, c), 6 - Misha Symond, 17 - Dimitra Altman, 18 - Marisa Strauss, 19 - Gabrielle Reinhardt, 22 - Drake Antony
Midfielders: 4 - Makis Kotsonis, 8 - Catrine Kisel, 11 - Swabia Rademacher, 13 - Christian Frei, 16 - Saturn Mastiff, 20 - Hollin Spicer
Forwards: 7 - Swanhilda Berisha, 9 - Wynona Rampart, 10 - Quinn McEthinly (SCT), 14 - Ingrid Feisser, 15 - Kirsten Howlett, 20 - Ramona Porter, 21 - Aris Daskalakis

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:49 pm
by Nephara

League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Rookridge (42,000)
Nickname: River, the Ravens, the Ferrymen
Captain: Matt Bowerman
Top Scorers: Kaukenas (13), Petkovic (10), Kaskanis (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Bowerman (c); 6 - Kaeman, 2 - Caravel, 19 - Daleiden, 3 - Hateley; 21 - Leonard, 15 - Naumoff, 13 - Kesteren; 8 - Petkovic; 9 - Kaukenas, 16 - Norval
In: Franz Kesteren (Diamondqueen, 4.5m), Istvan Kendrick (East Laithland Harriers, 2.5m)
Promoted: Thea Longhurst (ST, 20), Frieda Pearce (GK, 19)
Out: Lucius Caspian (Cassandra Cosmopolitan, undisclosed), Joanna Chancellor (Depri Lanar Red Hawks, free), Gareth Commonstock (Racing Ragu, free)
Retired: Zoltan Dimitriades (CB, 36)

2 First Division titles (62, 66)
NFA Cup (60)

69: Premiership; 15th, W15, D10, L21, GF49, GA66, 55 pts
68: Premiership; 9th, W21, D10, L15, GF71, GA55, 73 pts
67: Premiership; 15th, W15, D12, L19, GF51, GA66, 57 pts
66: First Division; 1st, W28, D11, L7, GF93, GA41, 95 pts, Promoted
65: First Division; 5th, W24, D10, L12, GF80, GA51, 82 pts

Flirtation with the drop zone proved only that. River were fine, in a slightly disappointing season.

Reported interest in Kaya Naumoff from the Moths proved to be just that, so the Ferrymen were allowed to build in peace. Amid a few departures, Bittencourt made two major signings, both set to play key roles this season. Kesteren is the instant starter, a long-boned, athletic midfielder who can match his graft with smooth technique and a powerful shot, while stalwart defender Kendrick is ready for whenever Daleiden starts to decline - which could well come this season.

River's midfield is very visibly the best part of their squad, so why squander it with the direct approach? A prolific striker in his playing days, Bittencourt encourages an energetic short-passing approach, traditional Nepharim physicality married to an insistence on just... pass and move, the core of the game.

Kaya Naumoff is tiny. Do not let that fool you - she will hack your shins out given half an excuse. A fearless, ferocious terrier in the centre of the park who's tidy enough with the ball at her feet, players like Naumoff are a necessary evil for any team that hopes to win a midfield battle, certainly in this league.

Chuy Villaverde, a teenage Farf rightback plucked from obscurity, has come along in leaps and bounce since seven appearances marked by naivete and a lack of muscle last season. Now, his honed attacking instincts are being matched by hours in the gym, and he looks fresh and ready to bear more of the burden this season.

33-year old Diette Daleiden inexplicably remains a defensive fixture, having dealt with her notorious weight issues in the offseason... for now, at least. Zivka Petkovic is not the traditional languid attacking midfielder but a roving, probing, razor-sharp dasher. Up front, Povilas Kaukenas is fucking mental. But, hey, he gets the goals.

Best-case scenario, it's not impossible to see River competing for the Globe Cup places, even if it's a battle they will definitely lose - and they're definitely one of the sides who should devote everything to winning the Cup. Could they go down? Probably not. ... Probably.

Manager: Cheney Bittencourt
Asst. Manager: Daniella Strauss
Goalkeepers: 1 - Matt Bowerman (c), 20 - Althea Taliadoros, 30 - Frieda Pearce
Defenders: 2 - Hannes Caravel, 3 - Diane Hateley, 6 - Jasmine Kaeman, 17 - Lazarus Pepper, 18 - Hywel Wodework, 19 - Diette Daleiden (COS), 22 - Istvan Kendrick, 34 - Chuy Villaverde (FFD)
Midfielders: 4 - Adrian Heffernan, 7 - Ferenc Kubala, 8 - Zivka Petkovic (PAS), 12 - Lysander Brandis, 13 - Franz Kesteren, 15 - Kaya Naumoff, 21 - Michi Leonard, 23 - Inge Wildsmith
Forwards: 9 - Povilas Kaukenas (BYN), 10 - Apotheosis Kaskanis, 11 - Jessika Donath, 16 - Fiona Norval, 26 - Thea Longhurst


League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Barbarossa (72,000)
Nickname: the Reds
Captain: Tanith Rainsford
Top Scorers: Hawke (25), Coltrane (17), Wardenier, Bereveskos (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Gautier; 2 - Morningstar, 6 - Farina, 19 - Campbell, 3 - Jaentti; 21 - Bereveskos, 15 - Coltrane, 4 - Rainsford (c), 11 - Ojala; 9 - Êns, 10 - Hawke
In: Xíxì Êns (Dí Maozöxê, undisclosed), Hakki Ojala (Real Azuris, 12m), Juhana Jaentti (Sardin United, 5m)
Promoted: Martel Ceulemann (CM, 20), Balduin Friedel (CB, 20), Eloise Kielseng (RB, 21)
Out: Alexa Ferryman (Myana Islanders, 10m), Avila Wardenier (New Belfast Warriors, 7m), Ophelia Lovelock (Samaj FC, 7m), Robyn Lauren (Anomalies FC, 6m), Gareth Corvine (Oakstone, 5m), Bronwyn Gerhardt (Z'ai'ai Mountaineers, 4m)

3 Premiership titles (50, 58, 67)
2 NFA Cups (50, 66)
Globe Cup (56)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (59)
Gang of Six member

69: Premiership; 7th, W20, D16, L10, GF84, GA51, 76 pts, Globe Cup
68: Premiership; 2nd, W30, D9, L7, GF115, GA55, 99 pts, Champions Cup
67: Premiership; 1st, W31, D6, L9, GF94, GA50, 99 pts, Champions Cup
66: Premiership; 5th, W23, D11, L12, GF96, GA64, 80 pts, Globe Cup, Cup Winners
65: Premiership; 3rd, W25, D11, L10, GF77, GA42, 86 pts, Champions Cup

Despite strong billing, and the strongest UICA performance of any Nepharim side - making it to the Champions Cup quarterfinals, they were lukewarm early on and then late in the season just... collapsed. They were humiliated 5-0 by Tanrisal and in freefall in the league, relying on a last-day 2-1 derby win to scrape into the top seven.

A last throw of the dice from Tom Benedict. Old guard, locals who failed to stamp down their place, and Wardenier, who just didn't quite fit into the system - all are cleared out to make way for some ambitious signings. Jaentti's the shortest-term and leftest-field of them, a talented attacking fullback a little flaky at the back - a slightly younger Lovelock perhaps - while Ojala is a player who needs careful handling, but when unleashed is a terror on the pitch. And as for Êns, well...

Benedict is a believer in a swift-moving, muscular attack, a philosophy that has unsurprisingly fit like a glove in the Premiership. While tactically flexible, Athletic at their best are capable of delivering all sorts of attacking threat from all angles, whether through lethal wingers, the marauding Coltrane or even just crosses from the overlapping fullbacks to be eaten up by the deadly forwards. They press high and try to constrict the field.

Oscar Coltrane remains the equal-most expensive player to ever grace the Premiership, and he's good enough to make a two-man central midfield seem like three. He takes every game by the scruff of the neck, tirelessly leaving his mark, always in the right place to do some damage and never failing to cover his defensive shift.

Xíxì Êns is looking set to be... perhaps the greatest striker in the world someday. Someday soon. He's not a pure striker in the way of, say, Hawke, but a fluid, complete forward as comfortable chalking up assists as goals. He just looks so natural, smooth and perfectly poised. Can he do it on a cold Tuesday night in Treason? Obviously, yes, but the physicality of the Premiership will be a test for him. There's little doubt he'll pass with flying colours.

Michael Campbell is a natural commander at the back at just 27, a bulwark at the back and one of the finest defenders in a league packed with fine defenders, standing out for his solid consistency. Tanith Rainsford's still going strong at 33, an inspirational captain who does the dirty work in midfield but has an enviable passing range. Up front, Estrella Hawke is a dominant force with everything one could possibly ask of a modern centre-forward.

They have to push for the title after last season's abject disappointment, and they have a frankly terrifying starting XI. Full focus is on the league. But what happens when injuries and suspensions take their toll? If they fall short again, it will mean Tom Benedict's head.

Manager: Tom Benedict (EUR)
Asst. Manager: Ole Oehman (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Aurelian Gautier (ESH), 12 - Daniel Fitzmarten, 20 - Alistair Swepstone
Defenders: 2 - Erika Morningstar (CMT), 3 - Johana Jaentti (PAS), 5 - Gareth Krane, 6 - Graciano Farina (OSR), 17 - Eloise Kielseng, 18 - Balduin Friedel, 19 - Michael Campbell (PCR), 22 - Lena Iserlohn
Midfielders: 4 - Tanith Rainsford (c), 7 - Grey Meisler, 8 - Martel Ceulemann, 11 - Hakki Ojala (COS), 13 - Chloe Rudden (SCT), 14 - Valerie Webber, 15 - Oscar Coltrane (EUR), 21 - Andrea Bereveskos
Forwards: 9 - Xíxì Êns (FFD), 10 - Estrella Hawke, 16 - Morten Crestwell, 23 - Sinan Uzunlar, 34 - Salavat Caszely


League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Farham Arena (88,000)
Nickname: the Moths
Captain: Jessica Weiss
Top Scorers: Johnson (27), Vol (22), Meier (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Griffin; 2 - Haines, 6 - Uenterhausen, 19 - Weiss (c), 22 - Vicelich; 7 - Townsend, 4 - Serra, 21 - James, 11 - Meier; 14 - Vol, 10 - Johnson
In: Deandre James (Vaduz Portcullis, 7.5m)
Promoted: Cressida Gayle (CB, 20), Adalmar Sturrock (CM, 20)
Out: Catheline Marchant (OAS Royal FC, 6m), Ylissa Hatherton (Leichhardt, 5m), Berthold Albrecht (Hylian Ninfu, free)

4 Premiership titles (47, 60, 68, 69)
2 NFA Cups (58, 65)
2 Globe Cups (64, 67)
Gang of Six member

69: Premiership; 1st, W31, D7, L8, GF99, GA45, 100 pts, Champions Cup
68: Premiership; 1st, W31, D9, L6, GF124, GA51, 102 pts, Champions Cup
67: Premiership; 2nd, W25, D14, L7, GF94, GA52, 89 pts, Champions Cup
66: Premiership; 3rd, W26, D9, L11, GF101, GA58, 87 pts, Champions Cup
65: Premiership; 7th, W23, D11, L12, GF92, GA60, 80 pts, Globe Cup, Cup Winners

In a bizarre statistical quirk, all but once in the past nine seasons, the Premiership title has been defended for one season before passing hands again. The Moths were not as dominant as last season, they did not destroy their enemies in a hail of shots... but they got the job done, and won the league with a hundred points and a game to spare.

Understated. Two central midfielders are sold, both understandably seeking more first-team opportunities, and are replaced by a massive, hardened holding midfielder in Deandre James, exactly the sort of dominant force that tends to thrive at Premiership level. Aside from that, if it ain't broke...

Everyone and their dog could name Gerhard Thunder's plan, to push physically and assertively forward with a high press and direct approach through the wigns, but it's a motherfucker to stop. 4-4-2 is the order of the day, with a big lass and a nippy lass up front. It's retro as all fuck, and it works like a charm.

While it feels strange to nominate the centre-half as the key player of a brutally attack-minded side, Mark Uenterhausen holds the team together in a faintly 'peak Hadrian Belfast at peak Dwile Warriors' fashion. Especially when things were a little less sparky last season, and sometimes the Moths had to grind out wins while playing badly, Uenterhausen could always, always be relied upon to keep it clean at the back, never showy but always effective.

Is Imriel Townsend really only 22? Improbably, yes, the Apoxian winger who utterly terrorises fullbacks across the league with blinding pace and an almost ferocious creativity. Townsend's given plenty of freedom to wreak havoc down the right wing, with Haines offering more traditional depth and defensive cover, and this laissez-faire approach has brought the best from her.

The Moths can also handily boast... perhaps the best goalkeeper in the world. Robert Griffin, 28, at the height of his powers. Peerless in all aspects of the role. Scheherazade Meier, the Nepharim Farfadillis international, might not have the breathtaking pace of her youth but has only become more cunning and devious to compensate. It seems churlish to relegate the most prolific goalscorer in recent Premiership history - certainly across the era of it being the top of the pile - to support billing, but Aaliyah Johnson is 31 now and showed some slight signs of slowing down a touch. Make no mistake, though, she's still a truly lethal marksman.

The Moths are very much in the race to manage three consecutive titles, a feat that has only happened once in the modern era. But it's an aging side in places, and the depth in certain areas in slim - the margins are tighter than ever at the top, and the Moths could be pushed out of the top four.

Manager: Gerhard Thunder
Asst. Manager: Audrey Carlock
Goalkeepers: 1 - Robert Griffin (EUR), 12 - Jacqui Edmond, 25 - Corentin Tausig
Defenders: 2 - Jon Haines (EUR), 3 - Theresa Desantis (ETH), 5 - Pavel Weaver, 6 - Mark Uenterhausen (SCT), 18 - Cressida Gayle, 19 - Jessica Weiss (PAS, c), 22 - Lux Vicelich, 23 - Kodiak Grant
Midfielders: 4 - Federico Serra (OSR), 7 - Imriel Townsend (APX), 8 - Orion Etzebeth, 11 - Scheherazade Meier, 15 - Adalmar Sturrock, 20 - Valencia Ashburner, 21 - Deandre James (ESH), 32 - Glory Bellinger, 33 - Tawny Shone
Forwards: 9 - Pamala Croft (NSI), 10 - Aaliyah Johnson (OSR), 14 - Solara Vol (MRN), 17 - Sigrid Eisenhauer, 24 - Alexis Rohrabacher


League Finish: 14th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Scipio Arena (38,000)
Nickname: the Tanners
Captain: Tristan Lavendor
Top Scorers: Marlowe (17), Gail (14), Nikas (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-3-2) 1 - Aldous; 2 - Vercauteren, 5 - Grant (c), 6 - Beitar, 3 - Catterick; 13 - Petridis; 7 - Cordéan, 10 - Nikas, 15 - Chalk; 9 - Marlowe, 12 - Gail
In: Metán Cordéan (Klyde, 4m), Loris Aldous (Stahlburg City, 3m)
Promoted: John Falkholt (LB, 21), Vander Kruse (ST, 19), Marica Kuepper (RCM, 18), Hasdrubal Stubbs (CB, 20)
Out: Cato Breiburg (Depri Sanar Yellow Jackets, free), Guilhermina 'Gui' Ferreira Castro (North Kazama United, free), Sigrid Cooper (Hackett, free), Julia Kerrigan (Beverington Hawks, free)
Retired: Markus di Natale (CB, 36), Olivia Schwarzer (RM, 34)

First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

69: Premiership; 14th, W14, D14, L18, GF61, GA73, 56 pts
68: Premiership; 16th, W15, D7, L24, GF57, GA82, 52 pts
67: First Division; 2nd, W28, D10, L8, GF89, GA40, 94 pts, Promoted
66: First Division; 10th, W19, D13, L14, GF80, GA65, 70 pts
65: First Division; 9th, W19, D14, L13, GF83, GA72, 71 pts

The Tanners finished fourteenth, but only on the back of an excellent run of form late in the season - early on, they were putrid, and even towards the end they were legitimately in the relegation dogfight.

More bold forward thinking. A new goalkeeper was plainly needed, and found in the solid Aldous from Stahlburg City, but the classy, dynamic Metán Cordéan is the cream of the crop this season, ready to give the team real forward thrust. Marica Kuepper - no relation to Hadrian, former Southfell striker - is the pick of the young recruits. A bunch of guys are released or retire, former Treason winger Schwarzer probably the most notable of them - sadly, age had severely clipped her wings, and she struggled to make an impact last season.

A young, gifted Osarian manager in Felipa Medina unsurprisingly plays a very Osarian style, a culture that has been strongly influential on these shores. The passing must be short and quick, and ideally forward, with a visible passion even just in the way they play. While solid at the back, the aim is generally to outscore the opposition.

Is Metán Cordéan a flat-track bully? Certainly his record in the second and third tiers of the Cosumar pyramid is almost without equal, a player of massive confidence, quick pace and a vicious shot, as well as a tendency to drift around the attacking third in a way that suits the way this side plays. Klyde didn't give him the chance he craved, but will Medina's indulgence in making him their key attacking player pay off?

On the other flank, keep an eye on Malachi Chalk. He's not one who popped up on any list of hot prospects, but just someone who quietly impressed last season... and now in preseason. Somewhere between winger and attacking midfielder, Chalk combines a deft touch, two powerful feet and limitless lung capacity. An unusual, versatile player, at just 20 years old.

Chris Grant is the cornerstone of their defence, a rock-solid Schottia international who is the model of muscular consistency. Maria Petridis won her starting place at the tail end of last season, a pure midfield destroyer who allows the three in front of her to roam freely. Up front, all Erik Marlowe does is get goals, any way and any how, and he'll try from any distance. Sometimes that doesn't work, but he's a terror even from range if not pressed.

If the stars align, it's not impossible to see Southfell really click all at once and mount a serious Globe Cup charge, though the NFA Cup is a more realistic target. If the stars burn out and die, it could be another close-run thing for the Tanners, though it's very hard to see them actually relegated.

Manager: Felipa Medina (OSR)
Asst. Manager: Claire Rusland
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sigrid Cooper, 20 - Stefan Heidenreich, 25 - Incubus Stratton
Defenders: 2 - Fantine Vercauteren, 3 - Leona Catterick, 5 - Chris Grant (SCT), 6 - Mahe Beitar, 18 - Kylian Cholakian, 19 - Lars Blacktown, 22 - Hasdrubal Stubbs, 24 - John Falkholt
Midfielders: 4 - Yolandi Heimat, 7 - Metán Cordéan (COS), 8 - Tristan Lavendor, 10 - Vasilis Nikas, 11 - Emerick Hartmann, 13 - Maria Petridis, 15 - Malachi Chalk, 36 - Marica Kuepper
Forwards: 9 - Erik Marlowe, 12 - Miranda Gail (CMT), 14 - Pristine Rutten, 21 - Harriet Michail, 32 - Vander Kruse


League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Jade Park (24,000)
Nickname: the Passerines
Captain: Justinian Hargrave
Top Scorers: Andisori (25), Armstrong (16), Padilla (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Hargrave (c); 18 - Koehler, 4 - McNessa, 6 - Loredan, 3 - Castor; 8 - Aschenbach, 21 - Kymeri; 11 - Armstrong, 13 - Padilla, 17 - Kaelin; 9 - Andisori
In: Nova Kymeri (1860 Azoth, 13m), Sean Smørdal (Raynor City United, 7m), Amalie Asghar (Soldarian FC, 2m)
Promoted: Agatha Storrin (GK, 20), Fernand Way (CM, 18)
Out: Catherine Gryphon (Cornellians, 19m), Reinhard Meixner (South Laithland, 3.5m), Misha Symond (Parrhesia United, 3m), Maxi Lundgren (UR Town, free)

2 Premiership titles (63, 64)
First Division title (60)
Champions Cup (64)
Super Cup (64)

69: Premiership; 2nd, W30, D7, L9, GF87, GA45, 97 pts, Champions Cup
68: Premiership; 5th, W25, D11, L10, GF89, GA48, 86 pts, Globe Cup
67: Premiership; 6th, W21, D15, L10, GF83, GA55, 78 pts, Globe Cup
66: Premiership; 4th, W26, D8, L12, GF94, GA47, 86 pts, Champions Cup
65: Premiership; 6th, W23, D13, L10, GF72, GA43, 82 pts, Globe Cup

The season may have been the Moths', but Passerines kept pace with them every step, finishing just three points adrift. A dismal UICA performance was the only sour note of a strong season from a side that refuses to regress to the mean.

The Passerines' plan crumbled upon contact with economic reality. Meixner and Symond, sure, a tidy profit from the two homegrowns, but what they didn't expect was Cornellians to drop 19 million on Gryphon and, worse, for Gryphon to accept. Lisa Amos was reportedly apoplectic with the board for letting her go, as failed bids for Anthony Townsend, Jeremy Benedict and Vincente Dupont jeopardised the season. They were able to secure a very highly-rated goalkeeper and teenage rightback... but it was only in the dying hours of the window that they were able to snap up Ceni international Nova Kymeri for 13 million to plug the gaping hole in midfield.

It's Lisa Amos' way or the highway. Set up in a 4-2-3-1, you really could put the '3' in bold, or perhaps put some exclamation marks around it - these attacking midfielders are given the freedom of the pitch to roam and wreak havoc. A technically adept, youthful double pivot is in turn backed up by a rock-solid central defence and goalkeeper, while up front Keira Andisori blossomed without Hawke sharing the limelight, surely by now at 25 the world-class striker she always threatened to become.

Liam Armstrong is the guy who makes it all happen at the business end, an assured, seasoned professional with the mentality of a man a decade his senior. He has the creativity and the technique to take risks, but just as importantly knows when to play it safe. With an enviable consistency, he makes the squad's attacking play tick.

Amalie Asghar may have gone somewhat under the radar as a signing, but the Passerines might have just picked up a starting rightback for the next decade, given a season to acclimatise. Unlike Koehler, Asghar is all furious pace and energy, always looking to get forward and swing in a vicious cross or five. For now, Koehler seems the bolted-on starter, at least against tougher opponents, but watch this space.

Taddeo Loredan is the lynchpin of the defensive line, a muscular, reliable player. Not flashy, just efficient, just the way Nepharim like their centre-halves. Mateo Padilla is a forceful, uncompromising figure up front, steel and class in equal measure. Andisori at the tip of the spear is the one who caps it off, a versatile modern forward who can drift around the front and help play off her midfield support, but is a lethal instinctive finisher as well.

Starling can't be counted out of the title race. If they won it with a 30-year old Konrad Braunbier up front, they can win it with this side. More realistically, though, they aren't one of the four best sides in the league, and could find themselves slipping out of the UICA places entirely.

Manager: Lisa Amos (CMT)
Asst. Manager: Markus Horst
Goalkeepers: 1 - Justinian Hargrave (c), 12 - Sean Smørdal (VAL), 25 - Agatha Storrin
Defenders: 3 - Lyre Castor, 4 - Deirdre McNessa (COS), 5 - Mathis Orsay, 6 - Taddeo Loredan (COS), 18 - Mirko Koehler, 24 - Calcipher Heston, 28 - Amalie Asghar (VAL), 32 - Dario Paterson
Midfielders: 7 - Sleipnir Woodwind, 8 - Evangeline Aschenbach, 11 - Liam Armstrong (EUR), 13 - Mateo Padilla (VLD), 14 - Willow Creek, 15 - Excelsior Stroud, 17 - Elsa Kaelin, 21 - Nova Kymeri (CEN), 22 - Darren Halfhill, 34 - Cezary Helmuth, 37 - Fernand Way
Forwards: 9 - Keira Andisori (CMT), 10 - Cesar Corvalan (CEN), 16 - Erik Mevlya


League Finish: 4th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Gauntlet (65,000)
Nickname: the Stags
Captain: Scylla Vyntra
Top Scorers: Fraser (24), Voeller (14), Tarashaj (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - G. Fletcher; 23 - Corrello, 5 - Svensson, 19 - Vornander, 2 - Vyntra (c); 7 - Woodspur, 4 - Misidjan, 8 - Tarashaj, 11 - Neptune; 9 - Fraser, 22 - J. Fletcher
In: John Fletcher (Callodown, 11m), Lorelei Neptune (Bishop, 8.5m), Rian Corrello (Willox Street Pirates, 8m)
Promoted: Lowen Rosenthal (CB, 21), Adelaide Tallow (CM, 18)
Out: Chimera Moxham (Port Patrick United, 12.5m), Nikola Lindgren (Anomalies FC, 4.5m), Lienke Vesper (Crisisbless, 4m), Daniel Axweald (Crossroads Town, 2m), Ida Preussler (Olympic East, free), Marcel Labonne (released)

7 Premiership titles (48, 49, 52, 56, 57, 65, 66)
NFA Cup (49)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (57)
Copa de Campeones (67)
Gang of Six member

69: Premiership; 4th, W26, D10, L10, GF80, GA47, 88 pts, Champions Cup
68: Premiership; 7th, W23, D14, L9, GF72, GA43, 83 pts, Globe Cup
67: Premiership; 7th, W22, D11, L13, GF83, GA65, 77 pts, Globe Cup
66: Premiership; 1st, W32, D3, L11, GF104, GA51, 99 pts, Champions Cup
65: Premiership; 1st, W27, D10, L9, GF90, GA50, 91 pts, Champions Cup

Two titles, then two disappointing seventh-place finishes... this time, projected to fall, they split the difference. They were actually surprisingly in the title chase most of the season, but an astonishing late collapse - headlined by four straight defeats - scuppered that.

Active, needless to say. Leftback was, indirectly, upgraded - Lindgren departs, allowing Vyntra to shift to the left and ambitious new signing Corrello, an excellent modern fullback, to take up the right. The aging Vesper was bought, weirdly, by Crisisbless, and a local defender is bought by a First Tier side, and hardened midfielder Marcel Labonne refused a new contract and returned home... and Chimera Moxham, the most promising youth player at their disposal, forced a move to a club that suited her playing style. All this without touching on incisive winger Neptune from Bishop, classic number 9 Fletcher and the return from loan of tidy, clean defender Rosenthal from Blau-Weiss.

It's Treason, they do things a certain way here. Workrate and energy? These values are sacred. Everyone must do their part for the squad, and a homegrown core helps with that. Randall in particular keeps a fairly flat back four, relying on wingers to unpick the opposition and two sturdy strikers to hammer at the gates.

Peter Svensson is one of the world's greatest defenders. Standing tall in the face of any crisis, and providing a calm, commanding example to those around him, Svensson's proven his mettle at the highest level. Treason's style sometimes invites pressure on the defence against strong sides - but with Svensson, they hold firm.

John Fletcher was maybe the most coveted player in the window, and he's not even capped yet. Fletcher was unfailingly loyal to his prior club, and that loyalty has already endeared him to the Treason faithful - indeed, with some dominant showings in preseason he's already establishing himself as a fan favourite. He's a classic kind of striker, a big, bruising powerhouse.

At the other end of the pitch, the incumbent Fletcher, Gideon, is if not the most modern goalkeeper an undeniably world-class shot-stopper. Things just... do not get past him. Scylla Vyntra, the versatile captain, was an energetic attacking fullback in her youth but now, at 32, has repurposed her wits to a more defensive role. Servet Misidjan in the centre of the park is a calming presence in the centre of the park, someone who just shuts down the opposition and greases the Stags' wheels.

The Stags have strengthened ahead of the new season, and showed last season that the old dog has fangs after all. They should be in the title race, and certainly will expect to reach a top four place. If they don't? It's probably the end for Ben Randall, though he's likely to retire anyway.

Manager: Ben Randall (EUR)
Asst. Manager: Juergen Stone
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gideon Fletcher, 12 - Sigurd Rustwyth, 25 - Augustine Catapan
Defenders: 2 - Scylla Vyntra (c), 3 - Constantine Sandor, 5 - Peter Svensson (COS), 6 - Calliope Katskalidis, 17 - Alexander Lopes (VLD), 18 - Lowen Rosenthal, 19 - Konrad Vornander, 23 - Rian Corrello (SCT)
Midfielders: 4 - Servet Misidjan, 7 - Mariska Woodspur, 8 - Vedran Tarashaj, 11 - Lorelei Neptune, 13 - Mordecai Brandtner, 15 - Amber Trahearne, 16 - Aura Keynes, 21 - Saskia Kantaroff, 31 - Adelaide Tallow
Forwards: 9 - Roddy Fraser (AUD), 10 - Matthias Bergander, 14 - Asher Voeller, 22 - John Fletcher, 37 - Lukas Boldfont


League Finish: 5th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Iron Hill (49,500)
Nickname: the Rage, the Lads
Captain: Hye Min Jeong
Top Scorers: Alemane (22), Paulsson (15), Coppinger (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Clement; 2 - Southers, 6 - Jeong (c), 22 - Skapoulis, 3 - Damjana, 13 - Cassadore, 8 - Tzavellas, 7 - Paulsson; 15 - Coppinger, 10 - Alemane, 11 - Nizarut
In: Danica Heward (Belgrave, 3m)
Promoted: Sylvia Hargreaves (GK, 19), Sander Katarec (LB, 19)
Out: Davor Antunovic (Foxchester Raiders, free), Kojo Osei-Mensah (released)
Retired: Cath Gilchrist (GK, 36)

First Division title (50)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (62)

69: Premiership; 5th, W23, D12, L11, GF77, GA63, 81 pts, Globe Cup
68: Premiership; 11th, W20, D8, L18, GF72, GA66, 68 pts
67: Premiership; 8th, W22, D10, L14, GF71, GA47, 76 pts
66: Premiership; 11th, W18, D14, L14, GF79, GA79, 68 pts
65: Premiership; 8th, W23, D11, L12, GF78, GA57, 80 pts

Alexis Spurlock rejuvenated a stagnant side, forced a work ethic down their throats and watched as they dragged themselves to fifth place, an excellent showing.

Very low-key. They brought in Danica Heward, a talented 21-year old striker who'd netted six times from eight starts in the First Division, and... that was it. She's expected to play a rotation role this season.

Vermillion press high, even by Premiership standards, looking to hit teams on the break and when that fails, uh... okay, granted, they do have the ability to force teams back with confident midfield play, a luxury Spurlock didn't raelly have at Bishop. The defence is drilled to play an offside trap, a rarely-used ploy in the Premiership and a damn frustrating one to have to face. It works out nicely.

Ryan Paulsson, the Valladar playmaker, is at the peak of his powers. He's an imperious player who does everything with confidence, with some fancy footwork covering for a great passing range, powerful shot and the muscle to stand up for himself, sort of a budget Konrad Gosforth. If he has a fault? Sometimes he tries to do everything himself. Then again, sometimes he really can.

Teenage fullback Sander Katarec made a couple of substitute appearances last season in which he managed to look sharp and dangerous going forward, with long, confident strides. He plays with a maturity that belies his years, albeit with a certain allowance for defensive lapses. Ready for regular starts now? No, not with Damjana - outstanding last season - ahead of him. But he's the long-term option.

Orpheus Clement is getting better by the year, a strong goalkeeper, good with his feet and absolutely rock-solid. It's a genuine surprise he's never been capped for Nephara, but he's never complained. Marios Tzavellas' industry and judicious application of violence ensure that the two other technicians in midfield are free to do their thing, a pure hard man. Corvid Alemane, a versatile forward, was deployed with some success as a striker last season (albeit given some license to roam). Her pace is still there, as is her ruthlessness in front of goal and her love for not just beating but humiliating defenders in her way.

The Rage will be looking to repeat their heroics - maybe even exceed them. Far worse teams have reached the top four than this side. But Vermillion's had false dawns before, and a return to mid-table purgatory could be damaging to their brand.

Manager: Alexis Spurlock
Asst. Manager: Ruthabell Schneider
Goalkeepers: 1 - Orpheus Clement, 20 - Leila Ramelow, 30 - Sylvia Hargreaves
Defenders: 2 - Adelaide Southers, 3 - Aysu Damjana (CMT), 5 - Hecia Barksdale, 6 - Hye Min Jeong (QUE, c), 17 - Daniel Sorrentine, 18 - Tomas Banks, 22 - Leontios Skapoulis, 32 - Sander Katarec
Midfielders: 4 - Eleanora Scherer, 7 - Ryan Paulsson (VLD), 8 - Marios Tzavellas, 13 - Isabella Cassadore, 14 - Kosta Ouzoundis, 24 - Anja Spinnett
Forwards: 9 - Haroun Maynard, 10 - Corvid Alemane, 11 - Granit Nizarut, 12 - Catheline Anastasiadis, 15 - Brigitte Coppinger, 21 - Danica Heward, 23 - Coraline Madrigal


League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Scythes (29,500)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Alexander Soarhaven
Top Scorers: Ulster (19), Sierra (17), Nemeth (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Commerford; 19 - Sauber, 5 - Tarrasch, 4 - Na’Duha, 3 - Brill; 7 - Nemeth (c), 6 - Belfry, 11 - Riske; 15 - Sierra, 9 - Escrow, 30 - Ruskin
In: Giselher Ruskin (Hackett, 3.5m)
Promoted: Isabella Chaplain (ST, 19), Erhard Klein (GK, 20)
Out: Tarquin Ulster (Coret Hawks, 5m), Stefan Bolander (Stahlburg Rovers, 2.5m), Stefan Ermine (Armstrong, 2m)

2 NFA Cups (55, 63)
Globe Cup (58)
Super Cup (58)
Gang of Six member

69: Premiership; 11th, W16, D14, L16, GF73, GA65, 62 pts
68: Premiership; 14th, W17, D8, L21, GF73, GA93, 59 pts
67: Premiership; 11th, W17, D13, L16, GF80, GA79, 64 pts
66: Premiership; 12th, W19, D8, L19, GF78, GA70, 65 pts
65: Premiership; 11th, W20, D9, L17, GF83, GA89, 69 pts

Despite an anaemic midseason slump, the Chariots were ultimately never particularly worried by the prospect of relegation. They did what they do.

Textbook Chariots scheming. They lose their key striker, Tarquin Ulster, after two seasons... but not to worry, his understudy Escrow had been perfectly capable and at 25 is ready to take over. Two homegrown backups - both called Stefan - were flipped to First Division sides at a profit. In comes Giselher Ruskin, reigning Young Player of the Season in the First Division, and the powerful young winger has started most games in preseason.

Speculate in youth to accumulate down the line - that's the current plan for a Chariots side that's been unable to economically catch up with the sharp end of the league. On the pitch, Isla Safarova has her young side use that youth to its advantage, with fast, assertive forward play and a high press forcing goals through any defence. Certainly they're vulnerable at their own end, though.

In a young, breathless side Alexis Brill at leftback is practically a veteran at 26 years of age. The fringe Cosumar international is a breathless warhorse down the wing, and when the forwards are so fluid and love to drift inside so much, Brill's runs down the left are essential to provide width. Nevertheless, she always puts in her defensive shift, too.

Rowena Sierra is set to evolve into a talismanic figure up front for the side, a lanky, slinky forward most at home cutting inside from the right wing and absolutely murdering whoever's in her way. There have been some doubts as to her physicality, but brain (and, admittedly, blistering pace) can outweigh brawn if used right.

How did such a freewheeling squad concede just a relatively respectable 65 goals? Vance Commerford's between the posts, a steady pair of hands. Valentine Nemeth's another calming presence, someone who just gets the job done in midfield with a hell of a shot on him, while Claudia Escrow will need to kick on from her promise and evolve to be more than a mere poacher.

It might not be the most exciting existence, but the Chariots fans can look forward to a team that plays exciting football week after week, and more often than not winds up on the right end of big scorelines (at least at home). Still, it's not impossible to see things go badly wrong... stranger things have happened than the Chariots getting relegated.

Manager: Isla Safarova (COS)
Asst. Manager: Clotilde Sashary
Goalkeepers: 1 - Vance Commerford (COS), 20 - Jasper Kirkland, 25 - Stefan Bolander
Defenders: 2 - Adelaide Raskin, 3 - Alexis Brill (COS), 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch, 13 - Mirka Ceciu, 17 - Shara Lankin, 18 - Alexander Soarhaven (COS, c), 19 - Machalat Sauber
Midfielders: 6 - Laura Belfry, 7 - Valentine Nemeth, 8 - Packie Milner, 11 - Anise Riske, 21 - Inka Quiverell, 24 - Molly Cunning
Forwards: 9 - Claudia Escrow, 10 - Tarquin Ulster, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 16 - Varga Neury, 22 - Sujet Carsley, 26 - Stefan Ermine, 31 - Drago Ward

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:51 pm
by Nephara
First Division Preview

1. North Sabrefell
Home Colours: White / black / white
Away Colours: Blue / white / blue
Stadium: Frangipani Court (16,000)
Nickname: the Bohemians
Manager: Gareth Blackthorn (41, EUR)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Jasmine Rondel (27); 2 - Meg Owley (27), 19 - Jack Cranshaw (31, SCT), 18 - Jesper Thorn (27, vc), 3 - Drachma Karagounis (22); 14 - Cosette Espeleta (26), 23 - Alcuin Sharp (24); 15 - Minka Kranevitter (23), 21 - Sabine Montag (22), 13 - Marcel Thrace (24); 11 - Erika Wolff (23)
Notable Substitutes: 25 - GK - Sam Kerr (20, TLI); 4 - CM - Gareth Anwhistle (30), 5 - CB - Rebecca Larkland (35), 6 - CB - Garnet Tamerlane (27), 8 - CM - Ashleigh Aveline (34, c), 10 - ST - Connor Scuffett (34), 16 - LM - Catherine Walker (32, APX), 17 - RB - Catheline Pitspurr (32)

Background: North Sabrefell haven't really made an impact on Nephara, traditionally speaking, but they've risen respectably of late. It's regarded, sometimes derided, as something of a bohemian wasteland full of drug-addled students, and they've embraced the nickname accordingly. They've recently had a cash injection from Brenecian mining tycoon Bruce Harker, but strict Nepharim ownership rules prevent him from taking a majority share - even so, expect him to influence the side forwards. They're rivals with nearby, more affluent Belgrave.

Summary: After the swaggering Mark Grayson signed cheques he couldn't cash, he got the axe. Replacing him is an intriguing proposition in Gareth Blackthorn, who made it immediately clear that he is cut from very different cloth, albeit with very high ambitions. Stylistically, he's immediately switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation and told the side to slow things down, rely on a more cerebral possession game. Is that even possible in this league? "A league is a marketplace of ideas, in which the strongest wins," he told a sceptical journalist. "I intend to win, and I back these players to help me." 'These players' are a young group, homegrown in large parts but also relying on a number of castoffs from Premiership academies. Jack Cranshaw's been brought in from Rozelle United to reinforce a sturdy defence, as has the sharp leftback Drachma Karagounis, and an uncompromising double pivot midfield should allow creative players like Kranevitter and Brinemouth castoff Sabine Montag to shine. Up front? Erika Wolff bangs them in. Already, this side looks complete.

2. Crisisbless United
Home Colours: Black-chequered red / black / red
Away Colours: Red-chequered white / red / white
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chequers, the Chessmen
Manager: Bronwyn Sadler (53)
(4-3-3) 1 - Andreas Sparwasser (29, BRE); 2 - Asmir Casserley (26), 19 - Jasmine Stokes (25, c), 6 - Moray Banerman (24, SCT), 3 - Ixion Stamatellis (26); 11 - Hippolyta Theophile (25), 4 - Zouheir Na'Ryibi (27, COS), 13 - Lukas Antelmi (22); 7 - Sigrun Rivers (22), 9 - Kaija Koppel (30, SCT), 10 - Markos Schoenauer (26)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Carla Briarman (25); 22 - RW - Fabula Plath (28)

Background: One of Crisisbless' secondary sides, United's deliberate study of contrasts of kit compared to the Heelers' has lead to plenty of jibes. But few people were laughing at United at their most recent return to the top flight, in which they won a lot of friends with forthright attacking football and survived for many years against the odds. Fans are optimistic of a glorious, cantering return sooner rather than later.

Summary: There's something about the Chequers this season. For one, they've dispensed with Fay Harville after a deeply disappointing season, and have brought in Bronwyn Sadler to restore fortunes. Sure, she got sacked from Serpentine, but only after years of excellence. She's instantly set about transforming the club into a 'culture of winners', as she puts it, and while her transfer activity has been relatively restrained - headlined by Schottic bruiser Banerman and stocky, bustling midfielder Antelmi - she's drilled in an enviable work ethic. Banerman partners the reliable, modern Stokes at the back, while the midfield three is the best in the league without question, Theophile's technique and hardened journeyman Na'Ryibi's excellent anchoring. Rivers starts it all up front, Koppel finishes it. Finally, the silk is matched to steel, and all playing at a breakneck pace, pressing high and going for the throat. They're ready.

3. South Laithland
Home Colours: All purple with white trim
Away Colours: White / purple / white
Stadium: Covenground (27,000)
Nickname: the Southrons
Manager: Lyn Hartmann (60)
(4-4-2) 1 - Reinhard Meixner (25); 23 - Henrik Raubell (26), 5 - Goran Martell (23), 6 - Darren Ferror (25), 3 - Merlyn Youabian (23, COS); 23 - Rosary Kistler (29), 8 - Sherry Bickermann (31, c), 4 - Andre Havranek (24, IRN), 11 - Cathy Alweather (26); 9 - Esteban Bentzen (30, AUD), 16 - Vesuvia Carrick (22)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Alastair Cavan (24), 20 - GK - Lisa Summersteen (32); 7 - RM - Russ Cohurst (29), 10 - ST - Dietrich Sorrenson (31), 13 - LM - Georgia Malinder (26), 14 - CM - Ranulf Emmerich (33), 22 - LB - Alexandra Stack (33), 36 - CB - Journey Pike (18, EFL)

Background: Based, as the name suggests, in the southern Laith, South Laithland (based in the town of Dross, which is basically just the football stadium) have traditionally hovered between the bottom half of the Premiership and the top half of the First Division throughout the modern era, and really throughout their entire history. A reasonably successful and stable side, they've rarely scintillated but can be proud of a productive academy. They're friendly rivals with North Laithland, have a derby day against Cypher but expose their fiercest venom for Treason, who have a way of poaching their best players (Allbeck, Flaccus, Connacht, Morgan Ashdown...)

Summary: Is it finally time? The Southrons were top early on and with a quarter of the season to go held an eight-point lead over their 4th-placed Northern frenemies. They proceeded to win just two and lose seven of their final twelve games, including an agonising defeat to the Hounds on the final day that saw them slip out of fourth. For the second time in as many seasons they fall away at the end, but no longer! Thus declares Lyn Hartmann, with feeling - she's freshened up the defence, including the most expensive goalkeeper in First Division history in Nephara youth international Meixner, and added experience and guile up front in Bentzen from Izotz Zubia, plus a dangerous winger in Kistler. Other than that, it's a team of everymen - though Youabian is the only certified Speech-Language Pathologist at the business end of the Nepharim pyramid - and they are determined to get it done this time. They have always been solid at the back, but with Bentzen and the improving firebrand Carrick up front they might at last have the firepower to bring them home.

4. Chatswood
Home Colours: Sky blue / navy / sky blue
Away Colours: White / sky blue / white
Stadium: Westcroft (28,000)
Nickname: the Woodsmen
Manager: Leigh Fletcher (49)
(4-4-2) 1 - Serdjan Aleksovic (31, COS); 2 - Julian Ilsander (25), 5 - Darius Rashkin (28, c), 6 - Crispin Galloway (23), 3 - Bohemund Karling (22); 7 - Matt Hephernan (23), 4 - Ella Grear (25, SCT), 8 - Damocles Kouroglou (28), 11 - Reis Caulker (22); 9 - Chris Suttner (27), 10 - Abishai Vestal (23)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Baltasar Gensch (27); ST - 14 - Bardolph Miller (24), 18 - CB - Constantine Dahl (25), 19 - LB - Kayla Dorran (24), ST - 22 - Bernhard Duisberg (24), 23 - CM - Timo Blankman (23)

Background: Treason's second club, in the West of the city. It's got a hard-nosed, physical reputation, fanned by many a successful, battling Premiership performance. After years of punching above their weight and sporadically managing UICA qualification, it seems as though the Woodsmen have come crashing down to earth. Their main rivals are AFC Treason, but the 'minor Treason derby' against Morningstar was a fiery affair last season. After quirks of fixturing lead to a series of steel vs. silk clashes on final Premiership matchdays, in which Chatswood constantly played spoiler, there's also a fierce rivalry with Brinemouth.

Summary: When you can probably number a team's strongest XI by the numbers 1-11, either it's been identical for a while or a bunch of aging dead wood has just been axed and new blood promoted or found in its stead. In this case, it is very much the latter. After feeding certain underperforming members of the squad into an abattoir, a blood-spattered Leigh Fletcher emerges, ready to get down to business. "It was always going to be a matter of years," she said grimly, but the performances that a disciplined, muscular side has put in preseason have been dominant. Young and athletic, they will seek to run circles around their opponents. Aleksovic was a standout goalkeeper at this level last season, with the violent, brooding Rashkin a Dracula-like figure marshalling the defence. Grear, an intelligent holding midfielder from Bara fresh off a baptism of fire in the SPL, and Kouroglou, an artisanal box-to-box man from Armstrong, are the two major signings and make for an entirely fresh central midfield, and when you have a dynamic gun striker like Vestal up front and someone to find him like the direct Caulker, that's a winning formula. The loss of Robyn Sabitzer was a real blow to them, but if they can weather that, they can claw their way back up.

5. Stahlburg City
Home Colours: White / black / red
Away Colours: Red / black / white
Stadium: Ludd's Hammer (59,000)
Nickname: the Smiths
Manager: Almuth Coppell (60)
(4-4-2) 1 - Steffen Ceferin (31); 5 - Ellen Mifsud (24), 2 - Tomas Ruthven (25), 19 - Meredith Napthine (28), 18 - Evander Keane (21); 13 - Toni Dresden (23), 4 - Kresimir Brujah (21), 10 - Elaine Brighton (32, c), 23 - Catheline Voegel (21); 9 - Masquerade Bryson (27), 15 - Ephraim Mirzian (24)
Notable Substitutes: 3 - LB - Ash Scandard (32), 7 - RM - Artemis Katsamatis (31), 8 - CM - Sophia Moloney (33), 13 - CM - Lily Robinson (34), 17 - RB - Priscilla Boyden (32), 31 - CB - Roxelana Thorn (18)

Background: Once considered a keystone member of the Premiership, Stahlburg City once lead the league on the 45th matchday. But, at the last minute, they collapsed, and their fierce rivals Treason overtook them. They've arguably never recovered, with relegation coming at the end of a long, drawn-out malaise. Maximum is a polluted, hyperindustrial clump, and City claims rather grandly to represent it all - this has been less true of late with the success of their local rivals, the Rovers. Traditionally they have played an unexciting, direct and physical brand of football, and its supporters value powerful, committed veterans and winning at any cost. Used to be named Maximum City, but when the city elected to change its name back to its ancestral title, the two major clubs followed suit.

Summary: Finally - finally! - things are looking up for the Smiths. Last season was the same dreary crap as ever but now, finally, Almuth Coppell's been given the money and trust of a revitalised board. Admittedly, they haven't actually used much money, though the acquisition of Masquerade Bryson guarantees goals, but a newfound faith in a prayed-for golden generation of academy stars is finally bearing fruit. Ellen Mifsud remains an austere, ever-reliable presence at rightback, while 21-year old locals Brujah and Voegel are marauding midfielders in entirely different ways. The latter terrorises fullbacks with her pace and guile, the former just flattens people. Don't underestimate Ceferin between the posts either, even if he's somewhat flaky at Premiership level. "Stahlburg play a certain way, as they've always done," said Coppell in preseason. "It's a bunch of lads who know the world's out to get them, and they're determined to get it in the nuts first." With that kind of siege mentality - and as the biggest club in the second tier they are generally easy targets - and a shakeup of personnel who will run through walls for the club, who could begrudge Stahlburg a fair attempt at a glorious top-flight return?

6. Chenoworth Rovers
Home Colours: White / blue / white
Away Colours: Navy / navy / red
Manager: Catheline Harper (47)
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
(4-4-2) 20 - Felix Shaw (33, SLL); 2 - Camilla Arkwright (27), 5 - Jakob Trench (25), 17 - Orestis Kalyvas (24), 22 - Catheline Chaplain (33); 7 - Cheney Breremond (21), 4 - Raelene Marinello (32, USI, c), 6 - Misha Paterson (24), 16 - Jasper Dyer (25); 9 - Nega Bazin (31, BNJ), 11 - Rene Eason (23, CMT)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Calcifer Anderson (32), 3 - Lyn Partisan (29), 8 - CM - Chris Bronzebridge (31), 13 - CM - Mona Gentile (35, OSR), 19 - RB - Adino Eliot (30), 21 - ST - Autumn Starbuck (33, ISK), 23 - RM - Tormod Joiner (27), 41 - CB - Mortola Teffeteller (18, COS)

Background: Chenoworth is a two-club city (for the most part), with the Harriers representing the northwest geographically and Hellenics culturally, and the Rovers Jewish, eastern and by reputation more affluent. In the early years of the modern era, both sides could regularly be seen yo-yoing wildly between the top two tiers, with seven Premiership relegations between them. Of late, however, the Harriers' fortunes have soared and the Rovers' have soured, until a recent resurgence has left them yet again eyeing the top flight.

Summary: After a somewhat disappointing season, not living up to admittedly high expectations, the temptation is for Lasse Hummel's departure to dominate the headlines. When asked about him in preseason, after his return to his homeland was confirmed, Harper merely replied; "Who?" Because this is the season for upward motion, and that money has been reinvested into a variety of signings. The resulting side, set to play with the pace, power and absolutely commitment that Harper demands, is dominated by figures like steady goalkeeper Shaw, the scrappy Paterson, and the swaggering, ambitious Breremond down the right wing. Up front, both Eason and fringe Banija international Bazin were rescued from career crossroads. Both, Harper is confident, can revitalise themselves there.

7. Brookford Otters
Home Colours: Cyan / cyan / pink
Away Colours: Black / black / cyan
Manager: Hadrian Belfast (43)
Stadium: The Rock (20,000)
Nickname: the Otters
(4-3-3) 1 - Philoctetes Giannou (22); 18 - Kurtis Siegrist (28), 5 - Marika Brind (27), 6 - Rafi Enfield (23), 13 - Janne Heitinger (27); 8 - Tanya Chilton (29), 4 - Ursa Dimitar (29, c), 23 - Asha Solbachen (22); 22 - Joscelyn Monroe (23), 9 - Cantra Duprey (24), 10 - Guillermo Cecchini (28, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Ellen Wheelock (26); 3 - LB - Erika Arweiler (24), 11 - LW - Perrando Albiza (27, ASG), 15 - DM - Brandon Rivan (23), 17 - CB - Claudia Bohr (20), 19 - RB - Olivia Ryghseter (22), 21 - CM - Fiona Shrewsbury (23), 20 - ST - Dejan Lindbeck (23)

Background: Brookford is a smallish town on the east coast, but despite the proximity to Brinemouth, the Otters have always maintained a strong enough identity to ensure a minimum of defectors within the town. They are perhaps most famous for the vapourwave-inspired 'aesthetic' kits they have pioneered for over a decade. A Cup win remains their proudest achievement, though it was somewhat marred by their playoff relegation immediately beforehand.

Summary: For the third time in as many seasons, the NFA Cup proves the kiss of death for its manager - and stepping into the breach? Hadrian. Fucking. Belfast. Still one of the greatest defenders to have ever played the game, he could probably do a better job even now than half his players. Ah well. In any case the Otters suffered a chastening relegation via the playoffs, but they've held together better than the other relegated sides who are all in transitional stages. Still plenty of experience in this side, with seasoned overlapping fullbacks in Siegrist and Heitinger and a midfield that combines craft with graft in Chilton, the hard woman Dimitar and Solbachen. Pace up front is the key, with the lanky Duprey having a chance to really stake her claim for a regular starting place. Belfast is supposedly having the team rein in their attacking instincts somewhat, and will be content enough to just set a platform for a promotion push later on.

8. Belgrave
Home Colours: All purple with white trim
Away Colours: All yellow with black trim
Manager: Meriadoc Griffiths (40, BRE)
Stadium: Cherryfields (25,000)
Nickname: the Gargoyles
(4-3-3) 1 - Portia Bittroff (28); 2 - Sansa Dreyfuss (25), 19 - Vasiliki Giatrakis (23), 6 - Drusilla Naess (27), 6 - Quin Markranstadt (28, c); 8 - Espen Whyte (30), 17 - Sigmar Ward (25), 11 - Diana Lake (25); 7 - Alexandra Lazarou (21), 9 - Ilary Muscat (24), 13 - Sylvia Rouseff (30)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Jocasta Searle (26); 3 - CB - Milos Roth (32), 5 - CB - Dion Stepton (31), 22 - DM - Detlef Konstantin (30), 24 - LB - Cristoph Heidel (30)

Background: Belgrave represents Sabrefell's affluent northeast, not historically a socio-economic demographic that has produced good footballers. Even so, their success in recent seasons is built more on good planning than deep pockets. They embrace their reputation for affluence, rebranding it as a belief in 'sophistication', and they've historically favoured a technical, possession-focused style of football, trusting in youth to step up for them. Their willingness to snipe talented youths from across the city to play for them has only made them less popular.

Summary: After a stuttering start, the Gargoyles recovered to an okay season, but there's still a sense around the club that former Kingsgrove reserves manager Griffiths is really taking Belgrave somewhere. Unfortunately, that somewhere meant Premiership clubs for some key players, but elsewhere, this is a young side that's gaining in experience. He favours a technical, classy and fluid form of play and he has at least some of the cattle for the job. Bittroff's proven herself a capable goalkeeper with brilliant distribution, the lanky Naess a level-headed defender, with Lake's class backed up by muscle elsewhere in midfield as Ilary Muscat is becoming a lethal marksman. Keep an eye out, as well, for the dizzying runs of young winger Lazarou. They'll fancy themselves to be in the hunt for the top four.

9. Cranequin Wanderers
Home Colours: Green / white / red
Away Colours: Dark red / dark red / white
Stadium: Ebony Lane (48,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Jens Reiniger (38, PAS)
(4-2-3-1) 20 - Olivia Selkie (28); 2 - Bernadette Pietersen (27), 22 - Susanna Woodpress (24), 6 - Ciprian Jantzer (31), 3 - Franziska Jaspen (24); 4 - Sroel Cavan (33, ZEN, c), 15 - Emerance Sanborn (24); 13 - Cardinal Belgrave (32), 11 - Levin Castellan (33), 16 - Helena Loxton (22); 9 - Renzo Padrione (33, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Darren Gravesend (36); 7 - RM - Abigail Mueller (33), 8 - CM - Lance Diebeck (26), 10 - ST - Bruin Goodyouth (23), 19 - CB - Richter Clavane (23), 22 - ST - Paul Leonhardsen (20), 24 - RB - Brindle Taukroger (21)

Background: Cranequin is Nephara's smallest state capital, with a generally cultural focus and bohemian reputation. It was a one-club city - that club being the Wanderers - for a while, but Cranequin City's prominence of late has created a rivalry. Usually found in the bottom half of the Premiership, the Wanderers have suffered three relegations to the second tier in the modern era but they tend to bounce back quickly. Their primary tactical legacy has been pioneering controversial patient possession football in Nephara, to some success - it's a blueprint they've since returned to.

Summary: Always good to see a painfully old squad appoint a young manager - in this case, Jens Reiniger, a cerebral defender in his day who favours a cerebral, defensive style. With a shift of formation, the emphasis on patient possession has been doubled down on, and it's a pace that will suit an aging squad. There is quality there, too. The back four looks rock-solid, with Woodpress like a poor man's... well, Jens Reiniger, and Ciprian Jantzer an archetypal Tier 1.5 powerhouse. Sanborn is the straightforward destroyer that Cavan and Castellan so clearly needed in support last season, with Cardinal Belgrave a former Nephara international and still only 32. In fact, between Belgrave, Cavan and the seasoned forward Padrione from Mozi, there's three players with international experience in the side. How big a difference will that make?

10. Stahlburg Rovers
Home Colours: Orange and black hoops / black / orange
Away Colours: All white with orange trim
Stadium: Griffindon (36,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Manager: Elrik Raskine (49)
(4-4-2) 1 - Stefan Bolander (25); 2 - Belaskita Skalak (24, c), 5 - Axiom Gaitatzis (23), 6 - Amber Steelshrift (26), 3 - Bella Scarratt (24); 7 - Julia Thane (27), 4 - Jasmine Colindon (25), 8 - Adele Rosborough (23), 11 - Drusilla Moxey (24); 22 - Thorodel Nagdalene (32, COS), 10 - Marika Kreisburg (28)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Josef Colmeyer (22), 20 - GK - Bryce Henderson (25); 9 - ST - Rouwen Seeklander (32), 15 - ST - Sapphire Burnett (21), 16 - LM - Vivienne Morgan (21), 18 - RM - Zarathustra Raumdeuter (23), 31 - ST - Dulcina Radcliffe (18, EFL)

Background: Historically very much Stahlburg's second team, the Rovers went from being a second-tier fixture to a Premiership fixture just in time for Nephara to enter UICA. Apart from a couple of scrapes with the sharp end of the league, however, the Rovers traditionally scraped lower-midtable finishes year after year, seemingly immune to stability. Fans are hoping to go straight back up. Formerly known as Maximum Rovers.

Summary: "This will not be an easy job," Raskine admitted after his best three players - Luitgard, Kolitsidakis and Minskai - all left him in the offseason. "It was never going to be. But we will rebuild, stronger than ever!" Doubtful - they aren't finishing top six anytime soon, a feat they once managed under Reinhard Shale - but even so you have to admire Raskine's ambition. In the short-term, any optimism will have to rest on the shoulders of their talented young players, and the good form of released Southfell backup Bolander in preseason is a good start. Skalak's a great fullback at this level, ambitious, spiky and named captain at a young age, with the wingers Thane and Moxey proving decisive even at Premiership level and clever young Adele Rosborough refusing speculation of a move to a top-flight side. At least for one more season, she'll take up the creative burden for the Rovers. Up front, Kreisburg was a disappointing capture last season, but might be more prolific in the tier below. Thorodel Nagdalene, one of the game's ultimate journeyman strikers, should be a more reliable source of goals. As usual for Raskine's sides, a more upbeat style is likely. But is there substance beneath the style?

11. AFC Serpentine
Home Colours: Jade / navy / jade
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Aventurine Street (20,000)
Nickname: the Dragons
Manager: Voula Logothettis (48)
(4-4-2) 1 - Perseus Theoklitos (34, PRV); 2 - Kurtis Fischer (29), 4 - Hecates Ruarisson (27, APX), 19 - Penelope Caddett (31), 3 - Keziah Warwick (29, c); 22 - Oiji Nanemoru (22), 6 - Raphael Passlach (23), 21 - Jasper Olson (24), 11 - Garrett Stijnen (21); 14 - Coraline Langbauer (26), 10 - Kuruc Zalan (29)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Brandon Connell (23); 8 - CM - Ashley Keoman (30), 15 - ST - Chloe Lehrer (23), 23 - CB - Nils Armbruster (24), 32 - ST - Roxanna Strong (19)

Background: One of the two big Marcher sides, on the Parrhesia side of the Laith. Serpentine have always prided themselves on youth development, and it's helped keep them financially afloat and relevant on the pitch despite a small catchment. Their colours are a deliberate throwback to Nephara's own, in their first WCC years. They've managed, in recent years, to yo-yo between the top two tiers. Marcher neighbours Cypher Town are their traditional rivals.

Summary: Serpentine's transfer policy of repeatedly selling their best players - repeated again with the departures of Bernman, Asante and Reuter - unsurprisingly resulted in another relegation. Granted, it's just something that a club of their stature has to do. So this cycle of regeneration? That's all part of how it goes. They've kept Voula Logothettis, a manager who knows the league and has been successful here before, and who has a mandate to keep up the attack-minded, youth-focused style that's part and parcel of the Serpentine Way. Theoklitos is a seasoned goalkeeper to back it all up while Hecates Ruarisson should really have what it takes at this level, with experienced fullbacks keeping things tight at the back with young, freewheeling wingers, especially the swashbuckling Oiji, free to do whatever they want. Up front, their best assets are their strikers. Langbauer and Zalan should be flicking dicks at this level. But it's still likely to be a middling season.

12. Ritter Town
Home Colours: All white, orange trim
Away Colours: All blue, orange trim
Stadium: Stableground (22,000)
Nickname: the Stallions
Manager: Brandon Laithstrider (42)
(4-4-2) 1 - Simon Ardley (31); 2 - Sapphire Riverhound (25), 5 - Gunther Shawcroft (33, c), 6 - Natalia Bismarck (24), 3 - Ashley Kresinger (32); 22 - Augustine Yew (23), 14 - Cyrus Saebener (27), 15 - Josef Rosenberg (32), 13 - Boney Connell (25, BSE); 10 - Ganimedes (26, DAI), 21 - Discovery Carrera (26, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 7 - RM - Serval Harfouch (29), 8 - CM - Brendan Sotiropolous (29), 9 - ST - Cath Storrin (33), 19 - RB - Sigrun Tarragon (27, ISK)

Background: Ritter is a large town on the border of Barossia and Chardonnay, and its side has traditionally punched above its weight. It recently enjoyed a few seasons in the Premiership, but lower midtable First Division is roughly its Level, as it were. Now that they've fallen from the top flight, the management is trying to cultivate a focus on embracing youth and then selling them on at a significant profit to keep treading fiscal water.

Summary: Despite a tepid start to the season, the Stallions were never in real danger of relegation, a forgettably competent squad enough to avoid excitement at either end. Brandon Laithstrider is an analytical mind who uses those numbers to justify playing the percentages with a direct, muscular playing style, seasoned heads at the back like Shawcroft and Kresinger backed up by a forceful goalkeeper, Ardley, who eats crosses like that fat kid you bullied in primary school ate chocolate. Slightly laboured analogies aside, Josef Rosenberg adds a touch of class and patience to the midfield, while Augustine Yew was a sharp, decisive winger in his cameos last season. The hulking Ganimedes makes for a natural target, with Carrera eating the scraps (see above fat kid analogy). Nothing exciting. But they'll get the job done.

13. Armstrong
Home Colours: All navy with cyan/white trim
Away Colours: Yellow / navy / yellow
Stadium: Swolefens (25,000)
Nickname: the Paladins
Manager: Brun Kissinger (48)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Constantine Yeoman (25); 17 - Constantine Strutton (26), 4 - Sauro Costabile (34, COS), 5 - Deon Martyn (30), 3 - Yehoshua Riesling (27); 6 - Milan Fenwick (28, EFL); 22 - Majdiyya Cavazos (28, EFL), 13 - Elsa Livesey (34, c), 8 - Leo Rosenstiel (23), 11 - Stefan Ermine (21); 9 - Rho Efthimiou (23)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Yann Cawood (23); 2 - RB - Garrett Leonard (31), 14 - DM - Gareth Flynn (34, OSR), 19 - CB - Gary Boatman (26), 23 - ST - Jonas Busch (25), 25 - CM - Callum Chandler (26)

Background: A small club from Stahlburg, nominally. In practice Armstrong are, at least on the pitch, a match for their nearby rivals. Armstrong represent the industrial city's north, the poorest part of the city, and have a proud community tradition of trying to uplift the area through hard work and charity. They traditionally play a bruising, direct style, and like nothing more than making fancy tippy-tappy teams wither and die on their swamp of a pitch. Their stadium, Swolefens, was given the nickname at first by detractors of its muscular football and swampy surface, but has been adopted wholesale since in good Nepharim tradition.

Summary: Pretty much in the lower reaches of the top ten through last season, Armstrong did well enough to stay there. They lost their best player as a result, Damocles Kouroglou lured to Chatswood, but there's enough left here to stay safe. Brun Kissinger's squad play a tight, tough and muscular style that's basically traditional for Stahlburg teams, with hulking goalkeeper Yeoman, murderous defender Costabile and the oppressive holding midfielder Fenwick a proper brick for First Division sides to try to drive through. Sturdy Riesling at leftback should offer some more width going forward, while Cavazos is the side's real creative fulcrum with driving runs from the right wing and new striker, 1.5m acquisition Rho Efthimiou, will use his athleticism and muscle to lead the line and hopefully find the goals he couldn't in the top flight. Inspiring? No. But basically competent.

14. Extreme Hills
Home Colours: Orange / black / orange
Away Colours: White / orange / white
Stadium: Harkerscourt (20,000)
Nickname: the Hounds
Manager: Bryony Johansen (38)
(4-4-2) 1 - Czarina Tournay (31, COS); 17 - Niko Rudan (29, c), 19 - Dominik Ciernik (21, NOV), 5 - Stefan Herron (35), 3 - Magdalena Spiro (23); 22 - Jacqui Commerce (23), 6 - Asa Ketelsen (29, AUD), 21 - Chris Britton (32), 16 - Matti Garforth (24); 9 - Maribel Garrido (31, OSR), 11 - Coretta Rooke (22)
Notable Substitutes: 25 - GK - Jon Saullivan (23); 2 - RB - Fiete Kinnett (26), 4 - CM - Gavin Handspiker (24), 7 - RM - Max Asprey (29), 14 - ST - Nori Harcutt (24), 18 - CB - Ranulf Gatcan (23), 23 - CM - Tasha Somerstreet (29)

Background: As power gradually shifts towards the big cities, Hills have managed to buck that trend with a dynamic rise of their own. They're representative of a number of settlements across the titular Extreme Hills in the western Laith, one of the most isolated chunks of the entire country. Its people are fiercely parochial, and unsurprisingly their fans hate pretty much everyone. Fortunately for the sturdy Laithlander hillfolk, they tend to be disproportionately good at football, so Hills have traditionally done well elevating them to play key roles and be sold on. Generally they play fast, physical football.

Summary: After the worst season in Premiership history, the Hounds just needed to recuperate under young manager Bryony Johansen. Somewhat surprisingly, they managed to. Granted, they started poorly, leading to murmurs of consecutive relegations, and there were a few times when other teams just wiped the floor with them. All in all, though, Johansen's done a great job to stabilise them. Hard men like Rudan and Herron at the back, reinforced by 1940 Asure man Ciernik (who knows a thing or two about getting destroyed after his last season) and Ketelsen, a firm midfield anchor, gives the creative influences space to do their thing. Their wingers aren't exceptional, just fast - but that's good enough if it can find the Hounds' trump cards, the prolific forwards Garrido and Rooke. Both are Premiership-quality, and will fire the goals to comfortable insulate the Hounds from the drop.

15. Iron City
Home Colours: Red / red / white
Away Colours: Black / black / red
Stadium: Swordgarden (35,000)
Nickname: the Knights, the Iron
Manager: Alysia Garrett (49)
(4-1-4-1) 12 - Wotan Hornwood (25); 18 - Andre Sciberras (25), 5 - Corren Delaney (32), 18 - Jordi Rowe (24), 19 - Christian Ledger (26); 6 - Kiko Santiago (29); 7 - Cheney Corder (25), 21 - Elaine Ashdown (37, c), 22 - Antony Stamp (26), 11 - Roanne Fairfax (22); 13 - Alanna Halmark (26)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Jove de Lisle (29); 4 - CM - Erin Honeyward (34), 8 - CM - Prudence Bourne (29), 14 - DM - Adrienne Fletridge (33)

Background: The original Premiership yo-yo club, Iron City have the dubious record of having suffered five relegations from the top flight in the modern era (tied with Newrook). They've been in the second tier for the last five seasons, though, and have seemed to reach stability for once. Iron itself is a small, bleak, industrial city in northern Barossia, and the club traditionally plays bleak, industrial football - but on the other hand, Elaine Ashdown came from here, and has stated her intentions to finish her career here. This, she eventually honoured.

Summary: Welcome back, Elaine Ashdown. The World Cup winner honoured a youthful promise, that she would always end her career at her hometown club, and she found them in dire straits. Fortunately a plan of 'defend well and get it to Elaine' paid dividends in the third tier, but that alone won't cut it in the second flight. Granted, they have 'defend solidly' just about covered, a rock-solid back four improved by the signing of redoubtable goalkeeper Hornwood from Greygate, while Ashdown's inability to track back (understandable, at 37) is covered by the cunning Santiago and the muscular Stamp. She shares the creative burden with the lightning-fast Fairfax, a revelation last season, while Alanna Halmark absolutely tore the third tier apart up front. Strangely, for once, Iron might actually be a reasonably exciting team to watch. Especially if you love well-drilled set pieces. No?

16. Locksley
Home Colours: Burgundy / white / burgundy
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Ashen Grove (14,000)
Nickname: the Brewers
Manager: Lauren Mistletoe (44)
(4-4-2) 12 - Iselin (28, DAI), 13 - Corey Dunbar (30, SLL), 5 - Reynald Etzel (24), 6 - Bertolf Geoffrey (27, c), 19 - Antoine Kerherve (20, AUD); 7 - Rudi Thurman (25), 4 - Kurtis Woodbine (33), 10 - Shona Butcher (21), 11 - Lukas Fernwood (25); 14 - Makhone Djite (31), 21 - Carver Heaton (23)

Background: A northeastern town that tends to go overlooked in the greater scheme of things, roughly triangulated by Brinemouth, Crisisbless and Sabrefell. Historically famous for its beer, hence the club nickname of 'Brewers'. The club has yo-yoed freely between second and third tiers since the modern era began, at one point managing six consecutive seasons of either promotion to or relegation from the First Division. They have a surprisingly heated rivalry with nearby Rochford.

Summary: The Brewers, predictably, are back. This time, as always, they intend to stay here for a while - but that's not how it works, is it? Lauren Mistletoe's a sturdy, brusque manager, but she insists on a progressive, assertive style of play relying not only on sheer pace but on the precocious talent of local lass come good Shona Butcher, a small, classy playmaker. Another butcher can be found beside her, in the notorious Kurtis Woodbine, and behind them Reynald Etzel is a classy defender of the type you don't generally see in the lower leagues, soft-spoken thanks in large part to a prominent stammer. Lukas Fernwood is a clever young winger who carves out chances for his side while, up front, Makhone Djite was a clever signing who guarantees goals at this level. Not a great team, nor a terribly inspiring one, but solid enough that you would anticipate their survival. For once.

17. Hackett
Home Colours: Red / white / red
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Bradach Avenue (18,000)
Nickname: the Merry Boys
Manager: Lara Winter (41)
(4-3-3) 12 - Sigrid Cooper (35); 17 - Nicola Wrexham (23), 19 - Paul Allard (31), 6 - Rose Benedict (27), 3 - Iliad Tsipras (30, PRV); 14 - Sara Penford (28), 5 - Chris Margate (29, c), 8 - Alexis Hannaday (33); 15 - Simeon Lucan (25), 9 - Fred Dawson (32, SCT), 11 - Artur Litton (23)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Chris Crowder (36); 10 - ST - Yehochanan Maas (34), 13 - CM - Alexis Hearseman (31), 23 - LW - Lyon Kalvan (28)

Background: Based in the western outskirts of the city of Stahlburg, Hackett are a sporadically notable side, but they tend to bleed into the general lower-league landscape. They are associated with a somewhat more suburban, culturally diverse landscape than the hyperindustrial, extremely Anglo-Teutonic core of the city, and the club has benefited from the recent expansion west of the city's development (though some have criticised it as 'sprawl').

Summary: Last season was such a conclusive success for Hackett that Anders Clarke got the Manager of the Year award despite skipping town when the job of survival was basically secure midway through the season to go get relegated with Cranequin Wanderers and retire. That's how good last season was, and despite a certain amount of reversion to the mean, the controversial selection of Lara Winter managed to hold the ship steady. More of the same is anticipated despite the departure of Torsten Muller back to Semarland, and two youth internationals who never quite kicked on in their careers have been signed for each side of the pitch in the goalkeeper Cooper and the target man Dawson (who actually won the DBC). In between them, a shaky defence can at least point to Nicola Wrexham as a sharp fullback, but the key player remains veteran playmaker Alexis Hannaday who showed few signs of slowing last season. The energetic, boisterous Lucan was a battering ram last season and hopefully the leaner Litton can do more of the same on the other wing. Should be safe again. If not, Lara Winter will struggle to find another managerial job after her earlier failure with Iron City.

18. Vermillion Wanderers
Home Colours: Green / green / yellow
Away Colours: Yellow / green / green
Stadium: Falstaff Ground (23,500)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Cheney Rutherford (48)
(4-4-2) 1 - Tameka Halsall (27); 16 - Ichthys Tsekenis (28), 17 - Julen Zendegi (23, AUD), 6 - Katrin Haubeck (35), 3 - Barrett Routledge (25); 7 - Anneliese Coe (20), 21 - Gareth Ramsay (34, c), 8 - Catric Pinnon (24), 11 - Jasper Stalworth (24), 9 - Lorraine Paintblack (24), 10 - Valery Kovaleski (20, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 4 - CM - Stelios Eleftheriou (31), 5 - CB - Bella Keegan (34, c), 15 - RM - Claudia Stefans (29)

Background: The Wanderers had a dramatic rise from the semi-professional levels that saw them in the Premiership for three seasons. The rise was mirrored off the pitch as well as on, and they carved out a niche for themselves as Vermillion's reasonably-respected third side, and they've had to expand their stadium capacity to match the demand. Unlike Parrhesia and the Rage, they've found something of a reputation for very route-one football. They've about found their level in the First Division.

Summary: The Wanderers were yet again in the relegation battle all season, but Cheney Rutherford continues to insist the good times are coming with such conviction you want to believe him. Certainly, the team does look a little better, and a strong preseason has raised hopes in the fanbase. The Wanderers are a side with a tough spine and an utterly forgettable set of wing players. Halsall's a sharp shot-stopper even if a liability in the air, while Katrin Haubeck is an absolute rock at the back for them, and her glacial pace is offset with the signing of Zendegi to help run for her. Catric Pinnon's another strong young signing to pair another sturdy veteran in Ramsay, while up front they may have lost Masquerade Bryson's goals they've picked up Kovaleski, a natural goalscorer, from Audioslavia. If this strong, physical young side that likes playing a firm, direct style really is set to get better, then now's the season to prove it.

19. Crossroads Town
Home Colours: White / red / white
Away Colours: Black / black / red
Stadium: Rider's Rest (14,000)
Nickname: the Valiants
Manager: Lilas Sandoval (43, CMT)
(4-4-2) 1 - Rainer Burgnich (29); 18 - Ellen Penny (31), 5 - Gretchen Hathaway (32, c), 22 - Daniel Axweald (23), 3 - Marc Fenton (24); 13 - Gretchen Seip (31), 4 - Apostolos Iordanou (27, PRV), 21 - Laegjarn Martyn (23), 16 - Mignon Vaughan (28, EFL); 9 - Jose Espalheira (24, NTN), 10 - Conrad Webber (31)
Notable Substitutes: 6 - CB - Ferdinand Howe (32), 7 - ST - Laura Weiler (34), 8 - CM - Kenneth Thorn (34), 22 - RM - Lowen Falkirk (34)

Background: The town of Crossroads sits, appropriately, roughly equidistant between Crisisbless, Vermillion and Maximum. A loosely-populated sprawl that has, in fact, eaten a number of small nearby hamlets over the years, it was once a crucial part of the landscape that generally came out for the worse in Nephara's various civil wars back in the city-state days, but now enjoys a reputation as a quiet retreat from the bustle of city life that has managed to become a local tourist hotspot despite a lack of any real natural landmarks. The club has spent the modern era pinging between First and Second Division, enduring three relegations but enjoying three promotions.

Summary: Crossroads were in (admittedly remote) relegation danger in the final day of the season, so while 18th sounds comfortable enough it really, really wasn't in practice, and Marcel Pellegrin was axed. Lilas Sandoval, formerly of Pur, takes over, determined to shake things up by focusing on firepower, but his late arrival meant he was unable to direct transfer policy as much as he'd like. He does have a few decent players, though - Burgnich is a strong shot-stopper, while Penny, Hathaway and new signing Axweald from Treason all have Premiership experience at the back. A weak midfield may prove a problem, and a lot falls on the shoulders of homegrown creative fulcrum Martyn, but the physically imposing strike partnership of Espalheira and Webber should be enough to fire them out of danger.

20. Sheridan
Home Colours: All dark green, orange/white trim
Away Colours: All white, dark green/orange trim
Stadium: The Peoples' Ground (30,000)
Nickname: Sherries
Manager: Perspective Merson (46)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Henna Morgan (34); 19 - Victoria Schute (30, SCT), 5 - Toriel Scarrow (29), 6 - Jasper Sorrenson (34), 3 - Brenton Shaw (31, APX); 4 - Galen Wickham (33); 7 - Corinne Murdock (27), 10 - Kate Mullen (33, c), 8 - Luke Wintergren (32), 11 - Sharon Kitteman (27); 9 - Stacey Potenza (29, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Jack Cornthorpe (30); 2 - RB - Bastian Keller (34), 22 - ST - Nikita Arbor (34), 23 - LB - Blossom Garry (29), 24 - LM - Jackie Mulberry (25)

Background: Sheridan has the poorest catchment of Sabrefell, and has a devoted, occasionally violent fanbase. Despite being broke and unfashionable, they've managed to do a job - particularly recently, managing a couple of stints in the Premiership. Sherries pride themselves on having a largely homegrown squad, all buying into an intensely physical, gruelling style - only people willing to run through walls for the club are accepted, and then loved, by the fans - and there's an uncommon number of one-club men who can't see themselves playing for any other club.

Summary: Sherries wavered last season, and there's signs of rot - almost complacency. A strange word to apply to a notoriously violent set of overachievers, but the fact is that the quality of the second tier is rising and Sherries are stagnant. They will still play very stolid, forceful defensive football, and they'll be older than ever as far as their personnel go. Granted, veterans like the goalkeeper Morgan and defensive bulwark Sorrenson are excellent at this level, as is the brawny Wickham in holding midfield, while Kate Mullen provides a touch of class as she enjoys a real Indian summer to her career. Their first-choice wingers are relatively young - just 27, and Sherries rely on them for the rare attribute, pace. Up front, Stacey 'is totally a unisex name shut up' Potenza carves a lonely furrow, and combines pressing from the front with managing the odd goal. But Sheridan aren't a good side, and they seem, very slightly, to belong to the past.

21. Gonen's Bridge
Home Colours: White and red quarters / red / red
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Floriade Park (7,500)
Nickname: the Warriors
Manager: Memento North (46)
(4-4-2) 12 - Fyona Matthews (22); 2 - Elisa Defaye (32), 5 - Spartacus Jackson (31, c), 6 - Timo Chrien (29), 19 - Jasmine Bartley (27, SCT); 7 - Casper Jeavons (26), 15 - Ivan Collinger (30), 8 - Wynona Short (26), 11 - Olenna Salthouse (24); 9 - Jakob Spinnett (24), 16 - David Sol (27, PCR)

Background: A small town on the south coast, west of Cranequin in the little 'bite' taken out of the coastline. Gonen's Bridge has practically no history as a club, and their meteoric rise has been built on judicious loans, bargain free agents, an artificial pitch and, yes, a wealthy fan owner who helped bankroll them upwards.

Summary: Surprisingly to many, the Warriors have managed to scrape together a pretty decent team together in time for a maiden run at the second tier, following a historic promotion at the tail end of a historic rise. Fact is, though, that this is probably where the fairytale ends for Memento North's squad. Still, survival's certainly within grasp. They play a straightforward, flexible 4-4-2 with the flying goalkeeper Fyona Matthews playing a key part in their defence, a defence since bolstered with the signing of experienced centre-halves in Defaye and Bartley. Olenna Salthouse is a quick, dangerous conventional winger, with the canny poacher Spinnett (believed to have declared for Qasden on the basis of his ancestry) complemented by the fluid runs and passing of supporting striker Sol, they should make the most of their chances. The depth is fairly poor, and a couple key injuries would demolish their chances of survival. Even so, their fans are on cloud nine at the moment.

22. Coret Rovers
Home Colours: Blue / white / blue
Away Colours: Yellow / blue / yellow
Stadium: The Ultramarine (16,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Manager: Malta Falconer (45)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Darroll Kewell (25, EFL); 19 - Parvana Evans (27, ISK), 5 - Logan More (30), 22 - Dave Chenoweth (25), 3 - Karlo Jozic (27, PAS); 21 - Gareth Brewer (33, c), 14 - Bosko Roman (25, IRN); 7 - Alastair Spinnett (23), 8 - Jozan Moreland (32), 16 - Luther Spendthrift (24); 9 - Alysia Stokes (35)
Notable Substitutes: 4 - CM - Rachel Tsicaderis (33), 15 - RAM - Ambrose Sonnett (31)

Background: Regarded by most as the second Coret side, the Rovers will claim to all and sundry that they were there first. Which is true. They're still mad about the Hawks for relocating to Coret, still regard them as plastics and resent their history of success. The Rovers themselves have usually been relatively small-time, bouncing through the lower-professional tiers of the league. Their rivals like to smugly inform them that the Hawks' existence defines the Rovers. This is probably true.

Summary: It took the Rovers sixteen matches to draw for the first time, but by the halfway mark of the season they were bottom and they'd fired manager Dorian Brindle. Malta Falconer managed, just about, to keep the foundering ship afloat, but just lacks the quality to escape the seemingly inevitable relegation battle. Playing quick, technical football, perhaps without the cattle to pull it off properly, the Rovers' best player last season was undeniably Eastfielder goalkeeper Kewell, though two quick, ambitious international fullbacks in Evans and Jozic came close. Brewer and Roman is an intimidating, if uninspired, double pivot, and they give the platform for the four in front of them to focus on the attack. Jozan Moreland is a decent playmaker with quick wingers on either side, while up front... Alysia Stokes is the weakness of the side. A fine player in her day, but she's in the sunset of her career. Can she really lead the line for a side expected to be under such pressure? Will her goals be enough?

23. East Laithland Harriers
Home Colours: Red / black / red
Away Colours: Green / green / white
Stadium: Clangor Row (13,000)
Nickname: the Harriers
Manager: Providence Mitford (61)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Theo Stamocostas (28); 17 - Willow Latchford (32, vc), 4 - Amelia Breukelen (24, IRN), 6 - Mia Geoghan (24), 3 - Joan Casemere (25); 14 - Julian Pence (28), 21 - Adelard Chambers (24); 13 - Col Forsyth (24), 10 - Denisa Thirlwell (33), 23 - Reinaldo Bosch (25, AUD); 22 - Graf Bronze (21)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Bruce Deiler (34); 2 - RB - Jacqui Farlane (34), 5 - CM - Sebastian Hendrickshaw (30), 9 - ST - Pato Yamaguchi (35, COS, c), 18 - CM - Marc Pressley (33)

Background: The Harriers by and large represent the broke, disparate parts of the Laith, various small towns migrating to the medium-sized town of Drift to watch their side. Unlike many other Laithlander teams, the Harriers have traditionally struggled fiscally and on the pitch, treading water at times. Harrier fans are known as being devoted, occasionally violent, and always impassioned. They also have a bone to pick with just about everyone; their official list of rivals counts North Laithland, South Laithland, Extreme Hills, Cypher Town, Serpentine, AFC Treason (who they've never played in the league), Sutcroft, Chatswood, West Hook, Maximum Rovers...

Summary: The Harriers chalk off another of their nine lives. This time, they were in the drink until a late surge saved them, and now? They. Well. They still look fairly subpar. Many of the old players they relied on have gotten older, uninspiring new hires have taken the helm, and the prevailing mood is 'weariness'. Will they finally fall? They play assertive, fearless football, with Amelia Breukelen a classy central defender entirely comfortable with the ball at her feet as Joan Casemere, once of the Moths, charges down the left and belts crosses in. Ahead of an unremarkable double pivot, the incisive wingers Forsyth and Bosch provide much of the forward thrust and the laissez-faire, mercurial playmaker Denisa Thirlwell more or less just does what she wants, and it usually works out okay. Up front, Bronze and Yamaguchi will likely rotate, but neither's anywhere near their prime. They don't have the players to stay up, just like the last however many seasons they've stayed up.

24. Crisisbless Athletic
Home Colours: Navy / navy / white
Away Colours: All white with navy trim
Stadium: Sunflow (16,000)
Nickname: Athletic
Manager: Clarissa Burnes (49)
(4-2-3-1) 20 - Ursula Qatintiki (26, AFT); 17 - Michael Erasmus (31, SLL), 19 - Cale Balfour (26), 6 - Tristan Young (23), 3 - Hippolyta Whitesmith (34); 4 - Kindness Nkembe (29, c), 8 - Samael Lawrence (32); 15 - Leon Rinehart (24), 10 - Simon Bradden (24), 11 - Tasha Kite (25); 16 - Damian Keogh (31)

Background: Aside from a stint in the state leagues, Athletic have spent almost the entire modern era stranded in the Second Division, and the state of ennui as well as the increasing global profile of nearby Crisisbless (and other successful sides in the city) have lead to something of a squeeze on the club. Based in the affluent northern suburbs, Athletic's lack of success compared to other Crisisbless sides means that they lack real traditional rivals, with Bishop probably the closest.

Summary: After a slow start, Athletic finally hauled themselves into the second tier for the first time. Unfortunately, they do not look like they have the quality to stay around. Burnes' side plays - aptly - an athletic, physical style, and her insistence on a spartan lifestyle and constant training means they had the fitness to simply outlast their opponents. Unfortunately, that covered for technical flaws that will be ruthlessly exposed in the top flight. Qatintiki's been hired, an optimistic sweeper who can enable their high defensive line, with aging defensive fullbacks on either side. Nkembe and Lawrence is an intimidating double pivot, one that should give plenty of midfields pause, but what's the plan going forward? Tasha Kite's an incisive player, if unproven at this level, a Crisisbless youth product who brings an infectious self-confidence on her slaloming forward runs while the journeyman striker Damian Keogh knows how to find the net. Ultimately, though, there's not much here to suggest Athletic can stay up.

Lower Down the Pyramid

Second Division
Freshly-relegated Rochford have recruited extravagantly in the offseason, anad look to be the favourites for promotion alongside a hopefully revitalised West Brinemouth and Stonegrave. Chardonnay Rangers look to be the resident dark horses, with a young, ambitious squad and a bevy of new signings as they look to at least return to the second tier. On the whole, though, things look to be pretty open at the top, and for that matter the bottom, with no clear standout poor team.

Third Division
The fourth tier lacks a real giant, but it's set to be a season where a series of small, ambitious sides can time their promotion pushes - Corinthians No Longer and Boltcroft Thorns go neck and neck as favourites, with newly-promoted Aries Solitaire having immediately professionalised and recruited a young, ambitious squad full of young loanees. At the bottom, Rushe United could well fall through the trapdoor, while a plucky Pravenna Saints outfit continues to be a source of intrigue, likely somewhere in lower midtable yet again.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:16 pm
by Nephara
The Ramsay Shield continues to be the curtain-raiser for the Premiership, but for the first time it's contested with a second-tier side. The Otters come to the Moths but ultimately are unable to lay a glove on them, and despite some determined Brookford defending marshalled by Hadrian Belfast, goals from Vol and Townsend seal a 2-0 win for the defending champions of the league.

As far as UICA is concerned: Treason have the most to be proud of as far as making it this far goes. First, a creditable win on aggregate over Lagoon of the Whirl Islands but more impressively than that is a 3-2 win over Theresa Riether’s Eastweald, sealed in extra time of the second leg at home as a hitherto quiet John Fletcher flicks home a beautiful cushioned header to win the day.

Brinemouth are less fortunate. They slip to defeat against Sporting Esper, but a convincing 7-2 hammering of Perokojak at least got them into the Globe Cup. Sabrefell Athletic slip to dismal home and away defeats to Jinja City, and fail to reach the competition they relied on a desperate final-day rally to even get to the playoffs for.

Sabrefell Athletic 5-1 Corvette Maulers
Sabrefell Moths 6-0 North Laithland
AFC Treason 1-0 AFC Corvistone
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Cypher Town
Violence Chariots 1-1 Leichhardt
Coret Hawks 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Starling 4-1 Crisisbless
Creed United 2-2 Southfell United
Newrook City 3-0 Diamondqueen
Parrhesia United 5-2 Brinemouth
Bishop 2-1 Morningstar
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Raven River

Welcome back, North Laithland! Two newly-promoted rural sides are faced with a trek to the old capital, and while Athletic clean out the Maulers 5-1, the Spiders are absolutely annihilated, overrun in every part of the field and utterly neutered on the counterattack. The Moths lead 1-0 at half-time through Johnson’s goal, denied further by some sharp saves from Fairweather, but the floodgates open in the second half - it finishes 6-0. Corvistone also lose to far stronger opposition, the Stags showing them what real stars can do. After an early goal from John Fletcher, the Crows throw the kitchen sink at their hosts but are just stonewalled at every turn by a rock-solid defence. Cypher are the only newly-promoted side to claim a point, Vuesala Frey’s deflected strike getting a draw from a visit to Vermillion. Crisisbless’ season gets off to a bad start as Starling dominate them and win 4-1, and the 1 was a late, feeble consolation from Allison Swan. Could be worse, though! Could be Brinemouth. All this talk of a big victory season incoming is dashed against the rocks as Benjamin Nyao gets his managerial tenure off to a bang, hammering the complacent Dockers with constant, enthusiastic pressure. Quinn McEthinly, who is not a good striker by any means, manages a hat-trick to get a third of the way to matching last season’s total, and while the defence isn’t exactly solid - Marisa Strauss’ awful air-swing lets Scotti steal in for Brinemouth to pull it back to 3-1 before a late consolation from Jess Silkman comes about by her being totally unmarked at the far post for Brymora to find with a cross - it puts them off to a strong start.

North Laithland 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Corvistone 0-2 Corvette Maulers
Cypher Town 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
Leichhardt 0-2 AFC Treason
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless 2-0 Violence Chariots
Southfell United 3-1 Coret Hawks
Diamondqueen 1-4 Starling
Brinemouth 2-1 Creed United
Morningstar 2-1 Newrook City
Raven River 1-0 Parrhesia United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Bishop

The three sides to watch early doors appear to be the Moths, Starling and Treason. The first two stroll to almost casual 4-1 demolitions, while Treason just go full Killbot on Leichhardt. Early penalty from Fraser, then Neptune sweeps in her first goal for the Stags, and then they just hold the Stargazers at arm’s length forever. North Laithland sharpen up noticeably and just look far more at the races compared to their dazed showing against the Moths. At home against Athletic, an expectant crowd behind them, they concede early through a towering Hawke header but Tess Pell’s blinding pace sees her played through by Webster, a heavy first touch almost getting the ball to Gaultier but she just about manages to nip it back away from him, round him and roll the ball into the net. Brinemouth and Crisisbless recover with routine home wins, while Parrhesia slip to an anaemic 1-0 defeat to the Ferrymen. Povilas Kaukenas is allegedly already squabbling with River’s staff, and is mysteriously gone from the matchday squad, but stand-in Jessika Donath manages a slick half-volley to secure the win. Corvette also look sharper against an opponent of their own level, putting their high-heeled foot on Corvistone’s throat and refusing to let them breathe, Muller flicking home a header off a Dimitrius corner before a brilliant flying header from the substitute Rathbone seals the win.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 AFC Corvistone
North Laithland 3-0 Cypher Town
Corvette Maulers 2-0 Leichhardt
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Goodfeather FC
AFC Treason 3-1 Crisisbless
Vermillion Rage 1-2 Southfell United
Violence Chariots 1-1 Diamondqueen
Coret Hawks 0-1 Brinemouth
Starling 2-1 Morningstar
Creed United 1-2 Raven River
Newrook City 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Parrhesia United 1-3 Bishop

North Laithland are the big winners tonight, effortlessly sweeping Cypher aside 3-0. Sabitzer, Finlay and Webster dominate the day, each getting an assist - Sabitzer plays through Webster to score, Finlay’s header off a corner sets up Stokes’ header into the net and Webster loops a ball over the top for Pell to dash onto and smash past Rui - and it becomes increasingly clear that this is, very quietly, an exceptional midfield for a newly-promoted side. A Northern Vale derby sees clashes between fans in the stands, golden flares from both sides being thrown onto the pitch and a general reminder that, yes, Corvette and Leichhardt genuinely hate each other. It’s the Stargazers who seem the more on edge, uncharacteristic defensive lapses costing them two goals by half-time before Ingrid Auttenberg misses a sitter late on. Brinemouth squeeze by Coret away in a match the Hawks mostly manage to suffocate… until their former talisman, Alyss Montague, flicks the ball over the head of Nikolaidis and volleys it beyond a sprawling Lethbridge. She doesn’t celebrate, but the frustrated Coret fans take out their frustration on the team. Treason, meanwhile, look in the best form of the early big sides, comprehensively beating Crisisbless 3-1 in a match where rightback Corrello excelled with damaging forward runs, chalking up an assist to each striker.

Cypher Town 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Leichhardt 0-2 AFC Corvistone
Goodfeather FC 1-4 North Laithland
Crisisbless 2-0 Corvette Maulers
Southfell United 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Diamondqueen 0-4 AFC Treason
Brinemouth 4-0 Vermillion Rage
Morningstar 0-2 Violence Chariots
Raven River 4-0 Coret Hawks
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Starling
Bishop 1-1 Creed United
Parrhesia United 1-1 Newrook City

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. The Crows, sadly, score their first Premiership goals. Leichhardt continue their oddly lackluster start to the season, and when Krista Morham finally breaks through the line and strokes home a cutback from Afolayan on the hour it’s the least the Crows deserve. They double their advantage in injury time through Haight, and aside from Auttenberg forcing a single brilliant save from Veloz late on Leichhardt barely muster a shot in anger. North Laithland’s strong start to the season - 6-0 defeat aside - continues as they dominate Goodfeather FC, Webster again pulling the strings, Fairweather’s distribution flawless, and Deborah Stokes proving a reliable spearhead for the attack. It’s all just clicking at the moment. See also: Treason, who trash an abject Diamondqueen 4-0 away, with Brinemouth administering a 4-0 beating to Vermillion and, most impressively, River thumping Coret by the same scoreline in a match that Franz Kesteren dominates, everything he tries to do coming off perfectly, backed up by the hustle and bustle of Naumoff and Leonard stopping Coret’s midfield from doing anything.

Sabrefell Athletic 3-2 Leichhardt
Cypher Town 2-0 Goodfeather FC
AFC Corvistone 2-1 Crisisbless
North Laithland 2-2 Southfell United
Corvette Maulers 2-2 Diamondqueen
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Brinemouth
AFC Treason 1-1 Morningstar
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Raven River
Violence Chariots 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Coret Hawks 1-1 Bishop
Starling 1-1 Parrhesia United
Creed United 0-3 Newrook City

Leichhardt are left holding their heads in their hands. They fought like titans for ninety minutes, an Auttenberg header on the counterattack and an excellent set piece from Lienen flicked home by Koller, taking a 2-1 lead away against Sabrefell Athletic into injury time. And then Xixi Ens - quiet so far this season, and in this game specifically - suddenly bursts into life, wresting possession back from a lax Hartley and immediately smashing the ball past a flat-footed Stern, before the fresh legs of Chloe Rudden crash through Leichhardt’s demoralised defence to cut back for Ens to classily stick the winner in the net. In the 95th minute. “We just don’t look like we did last season,” frets Andrea Vardalos to the press, and it’s true. Neither do Goodfeather, rooted to the bottom of the table and easily beaten by Cypher, still yet to get so much as a point this season and looking conclusively out of sorts. Case, Rannon, Bierofka and Forster are struggling to live up to last season’s standards, Jewel has looked intimidated by the step up in quality and regular chants of “you fat bastard” from opposing fans and Sharpe has looked anything but her namesake in front of goal. Crisisbless are also officially in crisis after a late winner from Stanford sees the Crows beat them 2-1 in a hard-fought match, Newrook ease past Creed 3-0 away as Lorne Winter finally lives up to the billing, Saroszi single-handedly earns Morningstar a point against Treason as the Stags slip up for the first time and the Saints steal a point off Starling, with a late Berisha equaliser involving a sneaky handball to control Rademacher’s pass that the linesman and referee both somehow miss. Most notably, though, the defending champions just overrun Brinemouth, on a day where Johnson proves too elusive for their defence, slipping home a hat-trick as the rest of her squad outmuscles and outfights the Dockers for every inch, though a 30-yard screamer from Evelyn Conjure proves some consolation. 3-1, the final score.

Goodfeather FC 3-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless 1-0 Leichhardt
Southfell United 2-0 Cypher Town
Diamondqueen 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Brinemouth 5-3 North Laithland
Morningstar 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Raven River 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 AFC Treason
Bishop 1-5 Vermillion Rage
Parrhesia United 0-0 Violence Chariots
Newrook City 2-3 Coret Hawks
Creed United 5-2 Starling

This has been a really weird season so far. Creed are winless thus far, and there’s legitimate relegation concerns around the fans - indeed, the first #LocklearOut banner in the stands. The manager remains stoic in the touchline, though appears to have picked up a chain-smoking habit between seasons - she goes through four this match alone, and Starling open the scoring with a peach of a volley from Padilla. That… seemingly just makes the Oathmen angry. Korborg hits back first after a driving run, before Theoharous, Bristoll and Accardi really drive in the knife to stun the Passerines, leading 4-1 by half-time. Starling pull another back, but Korborg’s second and Creed’s fifth kills their hopes just after the hour mark. In fact, it seems to be a day in general for teams to score five - Alexis Spurlock’s Vermillion pump her old club, Bishop, 5-1 away in Danica Heward’s impressive starting debut (she nets a brace), while a wildly-swinging affair between Brinemouth and North Laithland goes into the break at 3-3, both sides breathless. But the Spiders tire late on, and the Dockers bring on Saitou off the bench to serve as executioner with a late brace past weary legs.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 Crisisbless
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Southfell United
Leichhardt 2-2 Diamondqueen
Cypher Town 0-5 Brinemouth
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Morningstar
North Laithland 1-2 Raven River
Corvette Maulers 2-6 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Bishop
AFC Treason 1-1 Parrhesia United
Vermillion Rage 0-1 Newrook City
Violence Chariots 2-1 Creed United
Coret Hawks 0-1 Starling

#LocklearOut turns to #BrosqueOut, as Athletic roll over Crisisbless with little resistance. Swan seems to be struggling to adapt to her new defensive responsibilities, while Ruhl’s much-anticipated goal spree has lead to a tally of… none. Three yellow cards, though, the latest for a careless elbow in Farina’s throat at a corner. Treason stutter again, this time to the Saints who are basically propped up by Darren Koufax between the posts before Kirsten Howlett comes off the bench, storms past three defenders and lashes home a late equaliser for a 1-1 draw. You know who is scoring? The guy the Harriers got to replace Ruhl. Nikita Loeher, surprisingly, has three in her last two - the 33-year old markswoman notched the winner against Treason last matchday and now finds a tidy brace against a woefully disorganised Corvette Maulers, the first coming from Michael Lin’s slashed pass coming straight to her for her to just slide into the net, the second a well-weighted header, 6-2 the final score. Goodfeather grab a vital win, their first of the season, in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Jewel crashes home a header for her first goal of the season - “first of many!” she chirpily assures the press after the match - and Southfell contrive to miss every chance they get, genuinely awful finishing and a couple sharp saves from Forster keeping ahold of a 1-0 win against the run of play. Crisisbless continue to swoon, Athletic sniffing blood and a very professional performance, a goal in either half for Oscar Coltrane, sealing an almost easy win for the Reds. The Moths and Dockers continue to be the ones to watch, though. The former beat Bishop 3-0, the latter trash Cypher 5-0 away, in terrifyingly casual fashion.

Southfell United 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Diamondqueen 0-2 Crisisbless
Brinemouth 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Morningstar 0-1 Leichhardt
Raven River 1-2 Cypher Town
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Bishop 0-4 North Laithland
Parrhesia United 0-0 Corvette Maulers
Newrook City 6-1 Sabrefell Moths
Creed United 0-3 AFC Treason
Starling 1-0 Vermillion Rage
Coret Hawks 1-0 Violence Chariots

Leichhardt get their first win at long last, Heisserer on a one-woman hatchet job on Saroszi to shut them down and Ylissa Hatherton striking a powerful shot from 25 yards past Sparr. Lineker blames Saroszi, claiming that “if my winger hadn’t gone down like a prissy scene kid every couple minutes, we’d have mashed them.’ Saroszi does not take kindly to this. North Laithland smash an abject Bishop side, who have lost their past three matches by an aggregate 12-1 scoreline. The Spiders look properly good, and while it’s a bit soon for leftback Karsten Riordan’s assertion that “we’re staying up”, they look like they have what it takes at the back and going forward. Morningstar versus Leichhardt is dismal, but it’s worth mentioning that thanks to Streiss’ goal, Leichhardt get their first win of the season. Ah, but this is all just foreplay to the main event. Because… Goddamn. Newrook City don’t just beat the Moths, they run rings around them, and Maladict Farrell puts them in the lead just seventeen seconds in. From there, the Moths can barely even get a touch, because Mats Hedlund is invariably there to take the ball back. Coynborough makes it 2-0 in the eighth minute before a poor clearance from Uenterhausen enables Marconi to make it three, and while Meier gets the next goal and exhorts her companions to turn it around they, uh, don’t. It ends 6-1, with Newrook just strolling in the last half-hour. Where the hell did that come from?

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Diamondqueen
Southfell United 1-2 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 1-0 Morningstar
Goodfeather FC 2-2 Raven River
Leichhardt 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Cypher Town 1-0 Bishop
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Parrhesia United
North Laithland 1-1 Newrook City
Corvette Maulers 0-0 Creed United
Sabrefell Moths 0-0 Starling
AFC Treason 3-1 Coret Hawks
Vermillion Rage 3-1 Violence Chariots

Benjamin Nyao’s Parrhesia have played with heart and soul and spirit, overcoming the fact that they just aren’t very good. Catrine Kisel has been a crucial part of it, breaking teams down and, here, adding another string to her bow with an admittedly speculative thrash of the ball that glides past Veloz. Corvistone press hard and do get their equaliser through Stanford’s clever little backheel, but the result is, inexplicably, the Saints’ sixth straight draw. “Hard to turn your nose up at another good away point like this,” Nyao says philosophically. The Moths play uncharacteristically defensively after their 6-1 hammering, and it’s a cagey affair at home against Starling that has the home fans on edge. They almost snatch it late on, but Hargrave makes a spectacular late save to deny Eisenhauer and it ends scoreless. Airik Ruhl finally gets off the mark for the season, after hitting the post twice against Morningstar - he seems practically cursed until just lamping one in from outside the box to secure an altogether too difficult 1-0 home win for the Heelers.

Brinemouth 1-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Morningstar 0-1 Diamondqueen
Raven River 2-2 Southfell United
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Crisisbless
Bishop 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Parrhesia United 1-2 Leichhardt
Newrook City 1-0 Cypher Town
Creed United 1-5 AFC Corvistone
Starling 1-2 North Laithland
Coret Hawks 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Violence Chariots 3-3 Sabrefell Moths
Vermillion Rage 1-0 AFC Treason

#LocklearOut is back in fashion, and how can you blame Creed’s beleagured fans? It’s obvious to everyone that Creed’s players aren’t playing for their manager anymore as they just roll over and die for Corvistone, who oblige happily. The Crows may be absurdly front-loaded, but that front five… but you have to hand credit to Veloz, too, who finally seems to be coming into the form he’s threatened his whole career. Pity it’s probably too late for his international ambitions, but a staggering double save from Korborg point-blank and then from the rebound to countryman Vettriano at least catches some headlines back home. Leichhardt, meanwhile, edge Parrhesia late on. It’s a tight match, marked by a more confident but less technical Parrhesia side whose constant turnovers prove their downfall. Kisel misplaces a pass to Miralem Fowler, who rifles in a diagonal pass for Zuzana Streiss to cut inside and place neatly into the corner of the net for a late winner. “Now that the lads have remembered what winning’s like, they’ve got a taste for it again,” says a rather smug Vardalos after the match, and the Stargazers have now won three in a row. Crisisbless visit Chenoworth and Airik Ruhl manages to make an impact against his former side… by getting sent off for head-butting Reinhard Armstrong seventeen minutes in. The Harriers win 2-0, with Nikita Loeher getting the second and celebrating by running through the technical area, pointing and winking at Ruhl, instigating a bench-clearing fist-fight that sees Christensen and Rafford sent off too. Amidst all this, North Laithland’s hugely impressive 2-1 away win over Starling could almost go unnoticed. Not by this publication, though. We got your back, Spiders! We got your back, Tess Pell! We can respect a player who appears to be doing her best to carve out a Premiership career with blinding pace alone, via Project +90. So far, it’s working.

Turoki Tide 0-0 AFC Treason
Starling 4-0 Carter FC
Royal Jam FC 0-4 Sabrefell Moths

An excellent start to the Champions’ Cup. Treason get a reprieve from their stuttering domestic form, and hold their own in Turoki. Despite getting just 37% possession, they look comfortable enough and should probably snatch it late on, but Asher Voeller spoons a late header over the bar. Starling and the Moths do even better, absolutely annihilating their respective opponents 4-0.

Crisisbless 1-2 Telecontare
FC Endeavour 1-1 Brinemouth
1860 Azoth 0-1 Vermillion Rage

More mixed results in the Globe Cup, with an out-of-sorts Crisisbless going 1-0 up early against Tele - Ruhl with a rare goal - before quickly being pegged back to 1-1, their attacking play grinding down to a halt before, before Carnophin Narquelie darts through the line, gets chopped down by a panicked Gandhi for his second yellow card, and nervelessly converts the winning penalty. Aspen Bridges gets Endeavour off to a great start at the Garganaut, but Brinemouth press back hard. Unfortunately, Tregatta Spitfire is in flying form, but Evelyn Conjure happens, and makes it 1-1 in the 80th minute. Trevelyan hits a post late for Endeavour against the run of play, but it’s not the worst point in the world. Vermillion impress far more than their competition with an uncharacteristically resilient performance. Orpheus Clement has a great day in goal and his Nepharim counterpart, Andreas Swoboda, makes a brilliant save from Nizarut but only gets the ball as far as the opportunistic Alemane, who just pokes it home for a second-half winner.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Morningstar
Brinemouth 3-1 Raven River
Diamondqueen 0-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Southfell United 2-1 Bishop
Crisisbless 3-0 Parrhesia United
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Newrook City
Leichhardt 1-1 Creed United
Cypher Town 1-0 Starling
AFC Corvistone 0-2 Coret Hawks
North Laithland 3-0 Violence Chariots
Corvette Maulers 0-3 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 AFC Treason

Another clash of titans, though really, the Premiership has so many matches and big clubs that they seem to happen more weeks than not. Still, the Moths utterly dominate Treason, unsettling the Stags with their intensity. That… isn’t meant to happen to the Stags, who’ve just looked off after an excellent start. First-half goals from Deandre James (a towering header) and Sigrid Eisenhauer (a blistering shot - she’s on for the injured Johnson) secures the day for Gerhard Thunder’s squad, and a frustrated Ben Randall can only admit; “We were not nearly good enough.” Vyntra, the Treason captain? “Couldn’t lay a glove on ‘em, and that’s just not acceptable for this side.” But both denied the club was in crisis. Aurora Jewel’s gut-busting run through three defenders and piledriver of a strike secures a much-needed second straight win for Goodfeather in a dull 1-0 win over a tepid Newrook. The Drawkish forward’s come to life after a slow start, and boasts to the press; “Keep calling me fat! I’ll keep scoring goals.” Probably aimed more at the fans, and don’t worry, they intend to. Cypher Town also pick up a dull 1-0 win, but against Starling - Sophia Petridis gets their somewhat fortuitous goal, a corner somehow losing everyone in the bright Marcher sun and nestling in the goal. Ruo makes nine saves for Cypher, many of them excellent, and all in all the Eagles are doing fine… if they can find some goals. North Laithland also deserve some love, with many prophesying doom and gloom for them against the Chariots with a couple key personnel out injured. However, unfancied youth products Beck Pruttan and 19-year old Raimund Anderson step up and make themselves counted, and third-choice striker Lexander Varney’s among the goals too in a convincing 3-0 win. Anderson might just be one to keep an eye on, given central defence is a problem area for the Spiders...

Swag Hill Rovers 1-2 Mapleford
Rochford Pilgrims 3-4 Lockheed Zenith
Falston Town 2-0 West Hook
Coral Bay 1-1 Fenland Albion (1-1 AET, 3-4 PKs)
Corinthians No Longer 3-0 Fully Sick XI
Pravenna Saints 3-1 Sirencall FC
Sandrock 2-2 Mainstream Fist (2-2 AET, 5-4 PKs)
AFC Burchess 3-1 Gridlock Rovers
Ox River United 2-2 Boleyn Town (2-2 AET, 4-3 PKs)
Stamper Road 1-1 Aries Solitaire (1-2 AET)
Stonesthrow Town 0-4 Brookway Town
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Sleetwell Rangers
The Travellers FC 1-0 Blaze
Harrington 3-2 Courser
Ingram Township 1-2 Corby Hubris
South Brill 0-0 Twelvetrees (0-1 AET)
AFC Hellerine 0-1 Bodkin Road
Senway Town 1-1 Rushe United (1-2 AET)
AFC Volksgarten 0-1 Gridlock
Kensey Town 3-0 Fischer
AFC Brackwold 0-1 Crownsend Journey
Long Lake 2-1 Brokenarch
Ballardine FC 4-1 Downsparrow
Corvistone City 0-1 Rhyburn Swifts
Boltcroft Thorns 4-0 Hartford Glade
Iberia Chenoworth 0-1 South Parrhesia
Grovebank 1-0 Brunyard FC
Nay Town 2-3 Ringway
FC Seierstad 3-0 Dross Rovers
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Rookwall
Gridlock East 1-1 Brookford Vantablack (1-2 AET)
Falston United 1-0 Capricopia Rangers

First Round is, as ever, hugely important to small clubs but matters little to neutrals. It’s traditionally a good time to talk about the four sides promoted from the state leagues and how they’ve fared. Lockheed Zenith in the West, from the small town of Lockheed on the west coast, manage a brilliant comeback, a goal and a man down with half an hour to go. Step forward, Markus Reed, Zenith’s 36-year old centre-half and captain with a history speckled with Second and Third Division clubs. Step forward as well, Rochford Pilgrims’ inability to defend set pieces. Two free headers for Reed and Zenith secure a brilliant 4-3 win away, against a side only just relegated from the fourth tier. Crownsend Journey, a smaller Treason club, also secure a tidy 1-0 win over Brackwold away. Two of the three fractured Gridlock sides come up against the East’s promoted sides, and while Gridlock, er, itself - Core Gridlock. Vanilla Gridlock. Gridlock. Anyway, they beat Volksgarten, from the obscure Vale town of the same name, while Brookford Vantablack snatch an extra time win off Gridlock East. Aside from that, most focus was on the clashes of former relative giants. Ox River United had a couple Premiership seasons before the modern era to their name and even in more recent history were traditionally a second- or third-tier side, but they rely on penalties to take down Boleyn Town who have a near-identical history (and were indeed relegated from the Premiership in the penultimate pre-UICA season, and haven’t been anywhere near back since) but with far more debt. It comes down to penalties between Sandrock and Mainstream Fist, too, both former relatively significant powers, both now semi-professional and scrapping it out to survive in the Conference East. There’s also a Cranequin derby, surprisingly, that sees Ballardine FC batter Downsparrow 4-1.

Raven River 1-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Morningstar
Bishop 0-2 Brinemouth
Parrhesia United 0-1 Diamondqueen
Newrook City 1-0 Southfell United
Creed United 0-1 Crisisbless
Starling 2-1 Goodfeather FC
Coret Hawks 1-0 Leichhardt
Violence Chariots 1-1 Cypher Town
Vermillion Rage 2-2 AFC Corvistone
AFC Treason 0-2 North Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Corvette Maulers

With a quarter of the season played, Brinemouth sit at the top of the roost, a well-rested side easily cleaning out Bishop 2-0 away. Desperate for an upturn in fortunes, the Cardinals dropped their goalkeeper Risdon and played former Brinemouth player Scannell in his place - she’s put in some confident showings in the past against her former club. Instead, the veteran flaps at Silkman’s cross for Saitou to convert and is then beaten at her near post by Dre Roenoujya. Indeed, seven of the top eight win in a matchday that confirms orthodoxy. Sort of. Just, some of those names aren’t expected. The Moths are the one team to slip, a second-string side sucker-punched by Corvette’s Ankergren late on, and even they had an Eisenhauer goal ruled out dodgily for offside. The Harriers and Newrook round out the top four, Athletic come from behind to beat River 3-1 away, and North Laithland impressively manage to steal three points in the ‘Crownsend derby’ against AFC Treason. Fairweather stands like a giant, as does the teenager Anderson, with Stokes and Webster getting the goals in the second half. Starling beat Goodfeather and Crisisbless beat Creed to finish that top eight, with Treason slipping to ninth.

As pretty much always, it’s too congested at the bottom to really have any shape by this point, but none of the newly-promoted sides are in immediate danger. Corvette, Cypher and Corvistone all pick up good away draws and sit roughly in lower-midtable. Parrhesia are currently in the playoff place, as their earlier bunch of draws goes from contributing to an impressive unbeaten streak to a nervous winless run. They host Diamondqueen, who beat them 1-0 thanks to a flicked header from Fortounis and a lot of strong work from Hemeyer, in what already feels like a six-pointer. After a five-game unbeaten run to the season, Bishop have lost seven on the bounce to leave them in the bottom three. They’re joined by Creed, who are edged 1-0 by Crisisbless but just look too tired to ever really fight back, and on the very bottom of the table, a frustrated Morningstar. Where the hell is Monako Saroszi? “They’ve not apologised for what they’ve said to me in training a few weeks back,” insists Lineker. “So it’s the reserves for them for the forseeable future.” Discipline is great and all, but Marko Petrosian, who turned 31 a couple of weeks ago… well, he’s not up to the standard, anymore, and Stars lack anyone with Saroszi’s creative spark.

AFC Treason 0-3 Chorion Bluffs Knights
Sonoma Center Panthers 4-0 Starling
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Spartangrad

Two Premiership sides come up against Elite League opponents… and get absolutely gubbed. Better talk about the Moths instead. Gravesen’s deflected opener six minutes in means that Spartangrad may well have been hoping for a similar win, and they defend valiantly for over an hour. But eventually, something breaks - Bryan Butler’s concentration. Hitherto excellent, an erratic pass to Deandre James is immediately slotted down the wing for Meier to cut inside, shoot and pull the Moths level. They press harder and higher, and finally get their just reward in injury time, Solara Vol’s header rattling off the underside of the crossbar for the Moths’ first Champions Cup win in the Farham Arena.

KT Moreazerua 1-1 Crisisbless
Brinemouth 1-1 North Hall
Vermillion Rage 1-5 Marionville

Crisisbless manage a decent away point in Mozi, Marisha Staunton lashing home their equaliser on the stroke of half-time, but Aidan Brosque’s still not happy. “I’d take this point alone, but not after slipping at home,” he frets, and is right to do so. Pressure is mounting already, scarcely over a year into his reign. Brinemouth flood North Hall, whose sole response is to batten down the hatches… but they actually score first, Fallon clipping in an unreachable corner that only the towering Turati can put away. Brinemouth eventually equalise, Roenoujya coming off the bench to feed a masterful pass through the tough North Hall defence for Scotti to slot home, and the Northerners get Farquhar sent off for a brutal challenge… but the Dockers can’t push through the win. Vermillion are battered 5-1 at home by Marionville, last season’s surprise story in the SPL. Is it arrogance to claim a slight moral victory with the Nepharim midfield of Carrow and Rosenthal proving utterly dominant? Perhaps so.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:16 pm
by Nephara
Vermillion Wanderers 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Ritter Town 5-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Coret Rovers 1-2 Iron City
Crisisbless United 2-1 Locksley
Sheridan 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
South Laithland 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 AFC Serpentine
North Sabrefell 2-0 Brookford Otters
Stahlburg City 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Hackett 1-1 Extreme Hills
Belgrave 0-1 Chatswood
Armstrong 2-1 Crossroads Town
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Iron City 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
Locksley 2-1 Ritter Town
Stahlburg Rovers 6-0 Coret Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Serpentine 1-2 Sheridan
Brookford Otters 1-0 South Laithland
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
Extreme Hills 2-0 North Sabrefell
Chatswood 0-2 Stahlburg City
Crossroads Town 4-0 Hackett
Armstrong 2-2 Belgrave
Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Iron City
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Locksley
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Ritter Town 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Coret Rovers 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Crisisbless United 4-0 Brookford Otters
Sheridan 0-4 Chenoworth Rovers
South Laithland 6-0 Extreme Hills
East Laithland Harriers 0-4 Chatswood
North Sabrefell 3-1 Crossroads Town
Stahlburg City 1-0 Armstrong
Hackett 0-2 Belgrave
Locksley 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 Iron City
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Brookford Otters 2-0 Ritter Town
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Coret Rovers
Extreme Hills 2-3 Crisisbless United
Chatswood 1-0 Sheridan
Crossroads Town 0-3 South Laithland
Armstrong 1-4 East Laithland Harriers
Belgrave 1-8 North Sabrefell
Hackett 2-2 Stahlburg City
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Locksley 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Iron City 1-3 AFC Serpentine
Crisisbless Athletic 1-3 Brookford Otters
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Ritter Town 2-1 Extreme Hills
Coret Rovers 1-4 Chatswood
Crisisbless United 5-1 Crossroads Town
Sheridan 1-0 Armstrong
South Laithland 3-0 Belgrave
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Hackett
North Sabrefell 1-1 Stahlburg City
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 0-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Brookford Otters 3-2 Locksley
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Iron City
Extreme Hills 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Chatswood 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Crossroads Town 2-0 Ritter Town
Armstrong 0-0 Coret Rovers
Belgrave 1-0 Crisisbless United
Hackett 2-0 Sheridan
Stahlburg City 3-1 South Laithland
North Sabrefell 5-1 East Laithland Harriers
Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Brookford Otters
Stahlburg Rovers 3-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Locksley 2-1 Extreme Hills
Iron City 1-0 Chatswood
Crisisbless Athletic 3-3 Crossroads Town
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Armstrong
Ritter Town 1-4 Belgrave
Coret Rovers 1-2 Hackett
Crisisbless United 1-1 Stahlburg City
Sheridan 0-1 North Sabrefell
South Laithland 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Brookford Otters 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Extreme Hills 3-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Chatswood 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Crossroads Town 1-0 Locksley
Armstrong 1-0 Iron City
Belgrave 6-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Hackett 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Stahlburg City 1-1 Ritter Town
North Sabrefell 6-2 Coret Rovers
East Laithland Harriers 0-4 Crisisbless United
South Laithland 2-0 Sheridan
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Brookford Otters 4-0 Extreme Hills
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Chatswood
Cranequin Wanderers 3-0 Crossroads Town
Stahlburg Rovers 2-0 Armstrong
Locksley 1-2 Belgrave
Iron City 2-0 Hackett
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 Stahlburg City
Gonen's Bridge 0-3 North Sabrefell
Ritter Town 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Coret Rovers 0-2 South Laithland
Crisisbless United 2-2 Sheridan
Extreme Hills 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Chatswood 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Crossroads Town 3-4 Brookford Otters
Armstrong 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Belgrave 3-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Hackett 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Stahlburg City 3-1 Locksley
North Sabrefell 4-0 Iron City
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Crisisbless Athletic
South Laithland 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Sheridan 1-1 Ritter Town
Crisisbless United 8-1 Coret Rovers
Vermillion Wanderers 0-0 Chatswood
Extreme Hills 1-2 Crossroads Town
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Armstrong
Brookford Otters 0-2 Belgrave
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Hackett
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Stahlburg City
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 North Sabrefell
Locksley 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Iron City 0-1 South Laithland
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Sheridan
Gonen's Bridge 1-4 Crisisbless United
Ritter Town 3-1 Coret Rovers
Crossroads Town 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Armstrong 1-0 Chatswood
Belgrave 4-1 Extreme Hills
Hackett 2-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg City 0-1 Brookford Otters
North Sabrefell 4-0 AFC Serpentine
East Laithland Harriers 0-3 Cranequin Wanderers
South Laithland 3-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Sheridan 1-0 Locksley
Crisisbless United 2-0 Iron City
Coret Rovers 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Ritter Town 4-0 Gonen's Bridge

Matchday 1: Sometimes, it helps to have freshly-relegated teams reminded of what the First Division's all about. Sheridan are traditionally good tutors in this. Toriel Scarrow 'accidentally' kicks new Stahlburg Rovers signing Nagdalene in the chest, former Rover Wickham elbows Moxey in the throat and a scruffy tap-in for Potenza sees Sherries steal the points. Other rude awakenings are prepared for the Otters, and Wanderers, with Serpentine the only relegated team to so much as score a goal as they manage to take a point from the Harriers.

Matchday 2: The Rovers recover in some style. Stahlburg, that is, who take the chance to beat down their namesakes 6-0 as Nagdalene slots home a perfect first-half hat-trick before going down with cramp, of all things, bad enough to stretcher him off on the hour. Unfancied Crossroads manage to conclusively slaughter Hackett 4-0 as Lilas Sandoval's all-action approach pays dividends. Gonen's Bridge grab their first win at this level, but it's overshadowed somewhat by some pitch invader throwing an Elaine Ashdown body pillow at... Elaine Ashdown. She shows she still has it at 37 by tripping him and beating him into submission with it.

Matchday 3: Everyone wants to get in on the conclusive thrashings, it seems. Hadrian Belfast winces as Crisisbless United trash his Otters, Sheridan are gubbed by Chenoworth Rovers while Chatswood beat down the Harriers with a hat-trick of set piece goals, all 4-0 wins. South Laithland do best of all, though, lamping Extreme Hills 6-0. Bentzen may be the marquee for them, but it's Carrick who takes the hat-trick, and after the match declares herself a shoe-in for the Top Scorer award.

Matchday 4: Go home, Belgrave, you're drunk. Oh, actually they were at home, in the North Sabrefell derby (against, well, you can probably guess) and... Gareth Blackthorn makes himself an instant legend. 8-1. Eight fucking one! Every Bohemian fights like a lion, Belgrave just lie down and die for them. The Harriers also manage a courageous performance to take Armstrong down, a domineering performance from Graf Bronze leading the way up front. He doesn't get a goal, but the space he leaves for his companions is pivotal in the 4-1 win, and Stamocostas makes some sharp saves too.

Matchday 5: Belgrave get trashed again, outmuscled and outgunned by their purple brethren from the Laith. Vesuvia Carrick continues to steal the show, choosing to celebrate her opener by leaning down into Bittroff's face and shushing the Gargoyles stopper, then following suit as she ran back with every Belgrave player she passed. Crisisbless United also impress, though Sadler downplays it by criticising the opposition; "We were decent, but really, Sandoval's boys were shit out there." 5-1 it ends, Crossroads Town left with a lot of food for thought.

Matchday 6: In the match nobody is calling the 'Wanderers derby', Jens Reiniger of Cranequin discovers that 76% possession is worthless when your rivals from Vermillion just lamp it over the top and bypass your entire midfield. An opportunistic finish from Kovaleski and an opportunistic header from Stalworth seal a 2-0 away win. Gareth Blackthorn's having more luck with his own possession game at North Sabrefell - they blast the Harriers 5-1. Having young, motivated players makes the difference for them, and Erika Wolff has been absolutely flicking dicks so far.

Matchday 7: From a so-called Wanderers' derby to a Rovers' derby - not Coret Rovers, they're irrelevant enough to be beaten 2-1 at home by Hackett, but Stahlburg cleaning out Chenoworth thanks in large part to Misha Paterson scything down Colindon twenty minutes in and getting a straight red. Colindon scores twice and sets up Dulcina Radcliffe late on for her first senior goal in a comprehensive 3-0 trashing. Locksley beat Extreme Hills 2-1, a match mostly notable for Locksley forward Makhone Djite - former Hills man - scoring a towering header, celebrating vibrantly, having a water bottle pegged at his head and deciding to drink it with a big thumbs-up.

Matchday 8: Northern Sabrefell becomes a slaughterhouse for the day - the Gargoyles batter Crisisbless Athletic 6-0 and the Bohemians destroy Coret 6-2. Crisisbless United also get in on the party, beating a genuinely appalling East Laithland 4-0 away. Sure, big scorelines don't tell the story alone, but all three sides are playing flowing, forward-moving football that relies on possession. Jens Reiniger's more stifling game... well, things continue to be off to a slow start, and they're slammed 3-0 by Extreme Hills.

Matchday 9: Turnarounds abound, apart from North Sabrefell, who continue to be excellent. Extreme Hills, so conclusively superior against Cranequin, bounce off the Otters' newfound defensive resilience and get murdered repeatedly on the counter, losing 4-0. Reiniger shifts Cardinal Belgrave into a central attacking position, makes a couple of changes to freshen up the team and is rewarded with a conclusive 3-0 win over Crossroads, though the experience of Padrione is retained and rewarded with a goal.

Matchday 10: Sometimes just one result sticks out on a given matchday. Not today. Cranequin's recovery is shut down 3-0 by Belgrave, as Alexandra Lazarou continues a hugely impressive start to the season - Premiership-bound, surely. North Sabrefell absolutely dominate Iron City and smash them 4-0, Elaine Ashdown vomiting on the pitch an hour in. The 37-year old's played her heart out for her team, but the Bohemians just passed around her. Repeatedly. Brookford mount a late comeback, turning a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 win over Crossroads in the last half-hour, largely because Crossroads can't defend, but full credit is due to the hugely impressive young midfielder Asha Solbachen for orchestrating it. East Laithland edge a six-pointer over Crisisbless Athletic - Pato Yamaguchi comes on in the 84th minute, then wins and scores a penalty with his first and second touches. And somehow there's another 8-1 win, this time the Chequers annihilating the hapless Coret Rovers.

Matchday 11: Crisisbless Athletic versus Sheridan is livened up by a Moment from Ursula Qatintiki, already very clearly a... special player. Already 1-0 down at home, Qatintiki loses patience, takes the ball herself, dribbles past three bemused Sherries before a heavy touch takes the ball straight to Mullen, who just sweeps the ball into an empty net from 35 yards. Cranequin Wanderers should beat the Smiths, but after carrying a 1-0 lead almost all game, Olivia Selkie's beaten at her near post by Voegel and knocks herself out on the upright for good measure. "How the hell did this team get promoted two years ago?" Reiniger... just straight-up tells the press. He's not messing about.

Matchday 12: North Sabrefell are very obviously the team to beat at the moment, battering Serpentine 4-0. They've won ten, and score over three goals a game. A top five appears to be solidifying, though it's still very mutable - Crisisbless United, South Laithland, Belgrave and the Otters all win today, and in doing so ensure that the Stahlburg sides both lose to open up a tidy six-point gap already. Coret Rovers remain at the foot of the table, picking up just their fifth point of the season against Crisisbless Athletic - they're the opposite of the Bohemians, in that they concede three a game. Athletic, Gonen's Bridge (trashed 4-0 by a Rosenberg-inspired Ritter, just five goals of their own all season) and Extreme Hills (beaten 4-1 by Belgrave) make up the rest of the danger zone, and everything in between is just a mess.

Barossia United 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Iron United 4-0 Brindleton
Stonegrave 1-1 Strephonage
Southriver 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
The Strongest 3-3 Greygate
Dartmouth Terriers 0-3 Pillars of Southfell
Mantlegrove 2-1 Rochford
Sutcroft 1-1 Riverkey
Martella Jazz 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Kommissar 1-0 AFC Shale
Peregrine 1-3 West Brinemouth
The Hanged Man 2-1 Cranequin City
Brindleton 1-1 Barossia United
Strephonage 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 Iron United
Greygate 1-1 Stonegrave
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Southriver
Rochford 0-0 The Strongest
Riverkey 3-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Mantlegrove
AFC Shale 3-0 Sutcroft
West Brinemouth 2-0 Martella Jazz
Cranequin City 2-1 Kommissar
The Hanged Man 1-1 Peregrine
Barossia United 1-0 Strephonage
Brindleton 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Greygate
Iron United 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Stonegrave 0-3 Rochford
Southriver 1-1 Riverkey
The Strongest 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 AFC Shale
Mantlegrove 0-0 West Brinemouth
Sutcroft 0-3 Cranequin City
Martella Jazz 0-1 The Hanged Man
Kommissar 1-1 Peregrine
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Barossia United
Greygate 0-1 Strephonage
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Brindleton
Rochford 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Riverkey 1-1 Iron United
Lazuli Diamonds 2-2 Stonegrave
AFC Shale 1-0 Southriver
West Brinemouth 2-2 The Strongest
Cranequin City 3-0 Dartmouth Terriers