Nepharan Domestic Newswire - the Zenith

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:14 pm

Vermillion Wanderers 3-2 Crossroads Town
Chatswood 0-1 Armstrong
Extreme Hills 2-1 Belgrave
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Hackett
Brookford Otters 0-2 Stahlburg City
AFC Serpentine 5-2 North Sabrefell
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Stahlburg Rovers 3-2 South Laithland
Locksley 1-0 Sheridan
Iron City 1-4 Crisisbless United
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Coret Rovers
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Ritter Town
Armstrong 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Belgrave 1-4 Crossroads Town
Hackett 0-1 Chatswood
Stahlburg City 1-1 Extreme Hills
North Sabrefell 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
East Laithland Harriers 1-3 Brookford Otters
South Laithland 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Sheridan 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless United 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Coret Rovers 1-1 Locksley
Ritter Town 1-1 Iron City
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Vermillion Wanderers 3-0 Belgrave
Armstrong 1-0 Hackett
Crossroads Town 1-1 Stahlburg City
Chatswood 1-2 North Sabrefell
Extreme Hills 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 South Laithland
Brookford Otters 2-2 Sheridan
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Crisisbless United
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Coret Rovers
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Ritter Town
Locksley 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Iron City 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Hackett 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Stahlburg City 2-0 Belgrave
North Sabrefell 0-1 Armstrong
East Laithland Harriers 0-3 Crossroads Town
South Laithland 2-1 Chatswood
Sheridan 0-1 Extreme Hills
Crisisbless United 1-5 Chenoworth Rovers
Coret Rovers 0-4 Brookford Otters
Ritter Town 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Iron City 1-2 Locksley
Vermillion Wanderers 0-3 Stahlburg City
Hackett 2-2 North Sabrefell
Belgrave 7-0 East Laithland Harriers
Armstrong 0-1 South Laithland
Crossroads Town 0-1 Sheridan
Chatswood 1-2 Crisisbless United
Extreme Hills 0-1 Coret Rovers
Chenoworth Rovers 5-1 Ritter Town
Brookford Otters 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Iron City
Stahlburg Rovers 2-2 Locksley
North Sabrefell 3-1 Vermillion Wanderers
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Stahlburg City
South Laithland 1-1 Hackett
Sheridan 0-0 Belgrave
Crisisbless United 2-1 Armstrong
Coret Rovers 1-3 Crossroads Town
Ritter Town 1-1 Chatswood
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Extreme Hills
Crisisbless Athletic 0-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Iron City 1-0 Brookford Otters
Locksley 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Stahlburg Rovers 1-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Vermillion Wanderers 4-1 East Laithland Harriers
North Sabrefell 1-1 South Laithland
Stahlburg City 0-1 Sheridan
Hackett 3-2 Crisisbless United
Belgrave 1-2 Coret Rovers
Armstrong 1-0 Ritter Town
Crossroads Town 2-2 Gonen's Bridge
Chatswood 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Extreme Hills 1-1 Iron City
Chenoworth Rovers 3-1 Locksley
Brookford Otters 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
South Laithland 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Sheridan 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Crisisbless United 0-0 North Sabrefell
Coret Rovers 0-2 Stahlburg City
Ritter Town 1-2 Hackett
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 Belgrave
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 Armstrong
Iron City 0-0 Crossroads Town
Locksley 1-4 Chatswood
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 Extreme Hills
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Serpentine 0-2 Brookford Otters
Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Sheridan
South Laithland 1-1 Crisisbless United
East Laithland Harriers 1-4 Coret Rovers
North Sabrefell 2-1 Ritter Town
Stahlburg City 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Hackett 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Belgrave 0-0 Iron City
Armstrong 3-3 Locksley
Crossroads Town 2-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Chatswood 3-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Extreme Hills 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Brookford Otters
Crisisbless United 6-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Coret Rovers 1-0 Sheridan
Ritter Town 0-2 South Laithland
Gonen's Bridge 1-4 East Laithland Harriers
Crisisbless Athletic 0-3 North Sabrefell
Iron City 1-0 Stahlburg City
Locksley 2-0 Hackett
Stahlburg Rovers 1-5 Belgrave
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Armstrong
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Crossroads Town
Brookford Otters 1-0 Chatswood
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Extreme Hills
Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Coret Rovers
Crisisbless United 3-0 Ritter Town
Sheridan 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
South Laithland 4-1 Crisisbless Athletic
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Iron City
North Sabrefell 4-0 Locksley
Stahlburg City 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Hackett 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Belgrave 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Armstrong 2-3 Brookford Otters
Crossroads Town 3-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Chatswood 6-0 Extreme Hills

Matchday 35: Serpentine haven't really done much of note this season so far, but their lethal strikers fired them to a 5-2 win over North Sabrefell, fast and direct football bypassing the Bohemians' midfield entirely. Crisisbless Athletic are the big losers at the bottom, beating Coret 1-0 against the run of play with half an hour to go. But then Qatintiki comes racing out to sweep the ball away... and airswings, letting substitute Stokes smugly roll the equaliser home, before fellow substitute Jozan Moreland thumps home the winner from outside the box in injury time. Gonen's also grab a vital win, Wynona Short's deflected strike enough to see off Ritter.

Matchday 36: A few real six-pointers, most obviously another scrappy 1-0 home win for Gonen's over a toothless Athletic, constantly undermined by clumsy, heavy attacking, but the most impressive result of all belongs to Crossroads Town. Visiting Belgrave? That's not meant to be an easy prospect. But the Gargoyles don't take their chances, a single goal aside, with Rainer Burgnich decisive for the Valiants. It's locked 1-1 at half-time, but something changes in the second half - Belgrave collapse, Crossroads score three more and take home the points, with young Laegjarn Martyn the star of the show.

Matchday 37: Belgrave's flirtation with being terrible continues with a third straight defeat - this time, they're pumped 3-0 by Vermillion Wanderers. Cheney Rutherford's lads have really benefited from some canny Audioslav signings in the offseason, both defender Zendegi and top scorer Kovaleski outstanding today. Chatswood have been forced to endure a mass clearout's consequences, and while their best players, like the midfield of Grear and Kouroglou, are able to stand up to North Sabrefell like few other clubs in the league, sloppy late defensive errors from backup leftback Dorran and substitute Blankman mean they choke away their half-time lead and lose 2-1.

Matchday 38: Crisisbless United have been basically invincible in the league so far... well, most of the time. But they're thoroughly outshined by Chenoworth Rovers, who just let them have all the possession they want while ruthlessly punishing them with counterattacks, set pieces and a genuine screamer from Misha Paterson, a 5-1 win the result. Coret's resurgence is violently and abruptly put to rest as Brookford maul them 4-0, Tanya Chilton continuing to look a class above in midfield. Crossroads, meanwhile, batter East Laithland 3-0 - say what you will about Lilas Sandoval, when it works for him, it really works.

Matchday 39: After four consecutive defeats, not so much as a goal in their last two, Belgrave unleash their frustrations on a hapless East Laithland, raining down goals and body blows until they have a 7-0 win to their name. It just doesn't look like the Harriers are going to make it out of this one. 1-0 away wins for Athletic and Coret heat things up at the bottom, but Ritter's visit to Chenoworth is excruciatingly poor, and a sequence of schoolboy errors and primitive tactics highlight how far the Stallions are falling.

Matchday 40: Gonen's Bridge make it four home 1-0 wins in a row, this time over Extreme Hills. The flying saves of Matthews, the staunch defence of Bartley and the quietly efficient Spinnett all play their part in the fight for survival, but it's 19-year old Casey Steward who comes off the bench to, uh, shoulder home the winning goal off an impeccable Short long free kick. Belgrave are dragged down to Sheridan's level and then kicked in the teeth for good measure, a gruelling scoreless draw that sees all three of Griffiths' substitutions enforced by injury. Nevertheless, Portia Bittroff's outstanding save of Mullen's penalty (retaken once for encroachment - how blatant do you have to be to actually get flagged for encroachment?) ensures a share of the points at the very least.

Matchday 41: Uncharacteristically, both of the top sides slip up - North Sabrefell find South Laithland difficult to lay a real hand on, and are only bailed out by a late equaliser from leftback Karagounis' hopeful smash, as a Hackett side that have happily flown under the radar overcome Crisisbless United. Sigrid Cooper, pretty good for them all season, is at fault for both the Chequers' first-half goals - flapping at Plath's cross for Schoenauer to nod home, then beaten at her near post by Antelmi - but atones for it by claiming Stamatellis' cross, rolling the ball forward, dribbling past four puzzled Chessmen and smashing a ball down the flank. Litton takes it, skins the last defender and stabs the winner past Sparwasser to seal a hugely impressive 3-2 comeback win.

Matchday 42: After these less than inspiring displays, the two horses racing for the title face one another - but perhaps the season's exertions are getting to the teams, neither one exactly renowned for its depth. A dull scoreless draw is the result, Crisisbless outplayed on home soil but the Bohemians simply unable to get anything past the formidable defensive partnership of Stokes and Banerman. Belgrave's troubles continue, as they allow Gonen's Bridge to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat with a late brace from, weirdly, winger Olenna Salthouse, who triples her tally for the season, while Chatswood, in the words of hulking forward Suttner (two goals and an assist), "devour" Locksley 4-1.

Matchday 43: The atmosphere at Stahlburg City is unpleasant, and by now it's very much fair to say that the ire has turned on manager Almuth Coppell after yet another midtable showing. #CoppellOut trends as the utterly blunt Smiths fail to get by Fyona Matthews in Gonen's goal, then get sucker-punched by David Sol and lose 1-0. Her contract runs out at the end of the season at any rate, having successfully stabilised the club and... not a whole lot else. While Crossroads, Locksley and Athletic would normally be happy enough with draws as Ritter almost don't lose to the Bohemians (but are ultimately undone by a screamer from Kranevitter in the 89th minute), Coret Rovers are the big winners at the bottom, pulverising East Laithland 4-1 away. Bess Gannon's managerial ability finally looks in the ballpark of his ego.

Matchday 44: Gonen's Bridge really should put East Laithland away, given the already (finally) relegated Harriers visit with nine defeats on the spin. But of course, they're not about to go down quietly or predictably. Bridge are pedestrian, perhaps too complacent for a team battling relegation concerns - they stroll into half-time 1-0 up and stagger out shellshocked an hour later, 4-1 losers. North Sabrefell destroy Athletic 3-0, Crisisbless United three-up them with a 6-0 thumping of Vermillion Wanderers while Stahlburg Rovers' predictably dreary campaign is made worse by a ruthless 5-1 shanking on home soil by a Belgrave side that still harbours promotion hopes despite their late slide.

Matchday 45: North Sabrefell trash Locksley 4-0, Crisisbless United eat Ritter 3-0 - easy wins, and is it any wonder those are the two at the top? They'll slug it out for the title, with South Laithland - who make short work of Athletic in a 4-1 win - secure in third. But Lilas Sandoval's Crossroads heroically turn back a half-time deficit to beat Chenoworth Rovers 3-2, opening things up in the race for the playoff place, as Belgrave, Brookford and Chatswood all win (in Chatswood's case, 6-0 over the Hounds), and all remain with a shot. Gonen's Bridge take a point from Sheridan, and it's enough to all-but-mathematically secure survival. Crossroads and Locksley are just above the drop, Athletic and Coret just below it, separated by one point. Ritter Town and East Laithland are relegated - the former nothing short of shambolic.

Barossia United 0-3 Cranequin City
West Brinemouth 3-0 The Hanged Man
AFC Shale 1-1 Peregrine
Lazuli Diamonds 3-2 Kommissar
Riverkey 1-0 Martella Jazz
Rochford 4-0 Sutcroft
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Mantlegrove
Greygate 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 The Strongest
Strephonage 1-0 Southriver
Brindleton 1-0 Stonegrave
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Iron United
The Hanged Man 1-0 Barossia United
Peregrine 1-2 Cranequin City
Kommissar 1-0 West Brinemouth
Martella Jazz 0-1 AFC Shale
Sutcroft 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Mantlegrove 0-3 Riverkey
Dartmouth Terriers 3-2 Rochford
The Strongest 1-3 Pillars of Southfell
Southriver 2-2 Greygate
Stonegrave 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Iron United 0-0 Strephonage
Alliance Barossia 2-1 Brindleton
Barossia United 0-2 Peregrine
The Hanged Man 0-0 Kommissar
Cranequin City 1-0 Martella Jazz
West Brinemouth 1-0 Sutcroft
AFC Shale 0-1 Mantlegrove
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Riverkey 2-1 The Strongest
Rochford 1-0 Southriver
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Stonegrave
Greygate 1-0 Iron United
Chardonnay Rangers 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Strephonage 1-0 Brindleton
Kommissar 3-0 Barossia United
Martella Jazz 4-0 Peregrine
Sutcroft 1-0 The Hanged Man
Mantlegrove 1-1 Cranequin City
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 West Brinemouth
The Strongest 1-2 AFC Shale
Southriver 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Stonegrave 1-0 Riverkey
Iron United 0-0 Rochford
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Brindleton 1-2 Greygate
Strephonage 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Barossia United 1-1 Martella Jazz
Kommissar 3-2 Sutcroft
Peregrine 1-3 Mantlegrove
The Hanged Man 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Cranequin City 2-3 The Strongest
West Brinemouth 1-1 Southriver
AFC Shale 1-0 Stonegrave
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Iron United
Riverkey 0-0 Alliance Barossia
Rochford 2-0 Brindleton
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Strephonage
Greygate 5-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Sutcroft 2-1 Barossia United
Mantlegrove 2-0 Martella Jazz
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Kommissar
The Strongest 6-1 Peregrine
Southriver 2-0 The Hanged Man
Stonegrave 2-0 Cranequin City
Iron United 0-2 West Brinemouth
Alliance Barossia 0-0 AFC Shale
Brindleton 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Strephonage 1-1 Riverkey
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Rochford
Greygate 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
Barossia United 0-2 Mantlegrove
Sutcroft 4-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Martella Jazz 1-0 The Strongest
Kommissar 1-2 Southriver
Peregrine 2-1 Stonegrave
The Hanged Man 3-3 Iron United
Cranequin City 1-0 Alliance Barossia
West Brinemouth 1-1 Brindleton
AFC Shale 2-0 Strephonage
Lazuli Diamonds 2-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Riverkey 2-0 Greygate
Rochford 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 Barossia United
The Strongest 2-1 Mantlegrove
Southriver 1-1 Sutcroft
Stonegrave 3-0 Martella Jazz
Iron United 1-2 Kommissar
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Peregrine
Brindleton 1-0 The Hanged Man
Strephonage 1-1 Cranequin City
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 West Brinemouth
Greygate 3-1 AFC Shale
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Rochford 2-2 Riverkey
Barossia United 0-2 The Strongest
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Southriver
Mantlegrove 0-1 Stonegrave
Sutcroft 1-1 Iron United
Martella Jazz 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Kommissar 0-1 Brindleton
Peregrine 0-1 Strephonage
The Hanged Man 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Cranequin City 4-3 Greygate
West Brinemouth 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Shale 0-0 Rochford
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Riverkey
Southriver 0-1 Barossia United
Stonegrave 2-2 The Strongest
Iron United 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Mantlegrove
Brindleton 0-2 Sutcroft
Strephonage 1-0 Martella Jazz
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 Kommissar
Greygate 1-0 Peregrine
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 The Hanged Man
Rochford 1-0 Cranequin City
Riverkey 1-1 West Brinemouth
Lazuli Diamonds 2-0 AFC Shale
Barossia United 1-2 Stonegrave
Southriver 2-2 Iron United
The Strongest 4-0 Alliance Barossia
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Brindleton
Mantlegrove 0-0 Strephonage
Sutcroft 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Martella Jazz 0-2 Greygate
Kommissar 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Peregrine 1-0 Rochford
The Hanged Man 1-0 Riverkey
Cranequin City 3-0 Lazuli Diamonds
West Brinemouth 0-1 AFC Shale

Cranequin City’s 3-0 thumping of Lazuli Diamonds allows them to lift the trophy a match early. Greygate, too, are in the clear, but below that it’s anyone’s game. Stonegrave and Mantlegrove have the advantage, but West Brinemouth, Lazuli and Pillars (who only have a goal a game) lie in wait to overtake them. At the bottom of the table, Martella and Barossia United are long gone. Alliance should by all rights have followed long ago, but maintain a slim chance of survival if they can win their final match. Kommissar currently sit in danger, with the Hanged Man somehow 20th despite scoring just 29 goals all season, and Peregrine (who have scored precisely twice as many) enjoying a healthy but not certain two-point and two-place lead on the drop zone.

Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Kensey Town
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 West Hook
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 FC Seierstad
Hartford Glade 3-2 Brookway Town
Falston United 5-1 Rushe United
South Parrhesia 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Boleyn Town 0-2 Mapleford
Falston Town 0-1 Ox River United
Brokenarch 0-0 Ballardine FC
Sirencall FC 2-1 Long Lake
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Ringway
Bodkin Road 3-2 Pravenna Saints
West Hook 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
FC Seierstad 0-0 Kensey Town
Brookway Town 2-4 Boltcroft Thorns
Rushe United 1-3 Corinthians No Longer
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Hartford Glade
Mapleford 1-5 Falston United
Ox River United 4-0 South Parrhesia
Ballardine FC 0-0 Boleyn Town
Long Lake 1-1 Falston Town
Ringway 3-3 Brokenarch
Pravenna Saints 2-1 Sirencall FC
Bodkin Road 2-2 Aries Solitaire
Sutcroft Athletic 3-0 FC Seierstad
West Hook 4-4 Brookway Town
Kensey Town 2-0 Rushe United
Boltcroft Thorns 5-0 Gosmouth Swans
Corinthians No Longer 4-0 Mapleford
Hartford Glade 0-0 Ox River United
Falston United 2-1 Ballardine FC
South Parrhesia 1-1 Long Lake
Boleyn Town 2-0 Ringway
Falston Town 2-1 Pravenna Saints
Brokenarch 1-3 Bodkin Road
Sirencall FC 2-6 Aries Solitaire
Brookway Town 0-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Rushe United 1-0 FC Seierstad
Gosmouth Swans 0-3 West Hook
Mapleford 1-1 Kensey Town
Ox River United 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Ballardine FC 1-3 Corinthians No Longer
Long Lake 0-2 Hartford Glade
Ringway 0-2 Falston United
Pravenna Saints 0-1 South Parrhesia
Bodkin Road 0-1 Boleyn Town
Aries Solitaire 1-3 Falston Town
Sirencall FC 1-2 Brokenarch
Sutcroft Athletic 0-3 Rushe United
Brookway Town 2-2 Gosmouth Swans
FC Seierstad 2-0 Mapleford
West Hook 1-0 Ox River United
Kensey Town 0-1 Ballardine FC
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Long Lake
Corinthians No Longer 2-0 Ringway
Hartford Glade 1-0 Pravenna Saints
Falston United 4-0 Bodkin Road
South Parrhesia 3-2 Aries Solitaire
Boleyn Town 1-1 Sirencall FC
Falston Town 1-2 Brokenarch
Gosmouth Swans 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Mapleford 0-1 Rushe United
Ox River United 1-1 Brookway Town
Ballardine FC 5-0 FC Seierstad
Long Lake 1-0 West Hook
Ringway 1-3 Kensey Town
Pravenna Saints 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Bodkin Road 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Aries Solitaire 1-0 Hartford Glade
Sirencall FC 0-3 Falston United
Brokenarch 1-0 South Parrhesia
Falston Town 3-1 Boleyn Town
Sutcroft Athletic 2-2 Mapleford
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 Ox River United
Rushe United 0-2 Ballardine FC
Brookway Town 2-2 Long Lake
FC Seierstad 3-1 Ringway
West Hook 1-1 Pravenna Saints
Kensey Town 3-1 Bodkin Road
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Sirencall FC
Hartford Glade 0-2 Brokenarch
Falston United 2-1 Falston Town
South Parrhesia 4-3 Boleyn Town
Ox River United 3-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Ballardine FC 4-2 Mapleford
Long Lake 4-1 Gosmouth Swans
Ringway 2-2 Rushe United
Pravenna Saints 1-0 Brookway Town
Bodkin Road 2-2 FC Seierstad
Aries Solitaire 0-1 West Hook
Sirencall FC 1-1 Kensey Town
Brokenarch 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Falston Town 0-2 Corinthians No Longer
Boleyn Town 2-0 Hartford Glade
South Parrhesia 0-0 Falston United
Sutcroft Athletic 2-2 Ballardine FC
Ox River United 1-1 Long Lake
Mapleford 1-2 Ringway
Gosmouth Swans 3-0 Pravenna Saints
Rushe United 2-0 Bodkin Road
Brookway Town 2-4 Aries Solitaire
FC Seierstad 0-1 Sirencall FC
West Hook 2-0 Brokenarch
Kensey Town 0-1 Falston Town
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Boleyn Town
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 South Parrhesia
Hartford Glade 1-1 Falston United
Long Lake 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Ringway 1-2 Ballardine FC
Pravenna Saints 1-2 Ox River United
Bodkin Road 2-0 Mapleford
Aries Solitaire 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Sirencall FC 3-0 Rushe United
Brokenarch 2-0 Brookway Town
Falston Town 1-4 FC Seierstad
Boleyn Town 0-1 West Hook
South Parrhesia 2-0 Kensey Town
Falston United 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Hartford Glade 0-4 Corinthians No Longer
Sutcroft Athletic 3-0 Ringway
Long Lake 1-1 Pravenna Saints
Ballardine FC 4-0 Bodkin Road
Ox River United 0-4 Aries Solitaire
Mapleford 4-3 Sirencall FC
Gosmouth Swans 0-3 Brokenarch
Rushe United 0-1 Falston Town
Brookway Town 1-0 Boleyn Town
FC Seierstad 1-3 South Parrhesia
West Hook 0-1 Falston United
Kensey Town 3-2 Hartford Glade
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Corinthians No Longer

Remarkably, Ox River almost failed to carry home the title, but fortunately had it sorted out a couple of weeks in advance by beating Pravenna. They flew home to parade the trophy in front of their home crowd, and evidently minds had wandered somewhat as they were hilariously pumped 4-0 by Aries Solitaire. Falston and the ex-Corinthians are also secure, with Ballardine, the insane Boltcroft and Kensey fighting over the last spot. Brookway Town and perennial yo-yo side Bodkin Road are both relegated, Seierstad and Ringway hoping to overtake Pravenna and Sirencall on the final day. Ingram Township, Gridlock, Downsparrow and Brunyard will replace them, while throwback club Sandrock (once a mediocre second-tier side in the pre-UICA days) are among those condemned to rot in the state leagues.

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 45 28 8 9 98 48 +50 92
2 Sabrefell Athletic 45 25 14 6 94 50 +44 89
3 Crisisbless 45 27 8 10 67 37 +30 89
4 Starling 45 26 10 9 92 50 +42 88

5 Sabrefell Moths 45 24 12 9 89 68 +21 84
6 North Laithland 45 24 9 12 76 56 +20 81
7 Newrook City 45 22 11 12 74 51 +23 77

8 Chenoworth Harriers 45 21 13 11 59 38 +21 76
9 Violence Chariots 45 19 15 11 69 51 +18 72
10 AFC Treason 45 19 12 14 63 40 +23 69
11 Vermillion Rage 45 18 12 15 59 48 +11 66
12 Coret Hawks 45 18 8 19 55 64 -9 62
13 Southfell United 45 15 15 15 60 60 +0 60
14 Raven River 45 16 10 19 61 65 -4 58
15 AFC Corvistone 45 16 9 20 56 72 -16 57
16 Cypher Town 45 14 11 20 42 58 -16 53
17 Creed United 45 12 11 22 48 72 -24 47
18 Goodfeather FC 45 12 10 23 42 63 -21 46
19 Bishop 45 11 11 23 49 69 -20 44
20 Leichhardt 45 9 13 23 31 50 -19 40
21 Corvette Maulers 45 9 12 24 46 88 -42 39
22 Diamondqueen 45 9 12 24 38 83 -45 39
23 Parrhesia United 45 8 10 27 52 101 -49 34
24 Morningstar 45 6 8 31 27 65 -38 26

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Crisisbless United 45 30 9 6 101 37 +64 99
2 North Sabrefell 45 29 11 5 103 41 +62 98
3 South Laithland 45 23 13 9 72 40 +32 82

4 Chenoworth Rovers 45 21 13 11 67 39 +28 76
5 Belgrave 45 23 7 15 74 53 +21 76
6 Brookford Otters 45 24 4 17 70 56 +14 76
7 Chatswood 45 22 8 15 72 40 +32 74
8 Stahlburg Rovers 45 18 12 15 65 51 +14 66
9 AFC Serpentine 45 17 14 14 55 53 +2 65
10 Armstrong 45 18 11 16 45 43 +2 65
11 Stahlburg City 45 16 16 13 51 38 +13 64
12 Iron City 45 16 11 18 38 49 -11 59
13 Cranequin Wanderers 45 14 14 17 47 46 +1 56
14 Vermillion Wanderers 45 14 14 17 55 62 -7 56
15 Sheridan 45 13 16 16 32 41 -9 55
16 Extreme Hills 45 15 9 21 57 73 -16 54
17 Hackett 45 12 17 16 48 66 -18 53
18 Gonen's Bridge 45 12 14 19 38 65 -27 50
19 Crossroads Town 45 12 11 22 55 72 -17 47
20 Locksley 45 11 14 20 57 80 -23 47
21 Crisisbless Athletic 45 13 8 24 40 79 -39 47
22 Coret Rovers 45 14 4 27 44 86 -42 46
23 Ritter Town 45 10 10 25 55 83 -28 40
24 East Laithland Harriers 45 6 14 25 46 94 -48 32

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin City 45 24 12 9 71 41 +30 84
2 Greygate 45 23 11 11 72 49 +23 80
3 Stonegrave 45 22 12 11 52 32 +20 78
4 Mantlegrove 45 21 14 10 55 36 +19 77

5 West Brinemouth 45 21 13 11 59 35 +24 76
6 Lazuli Diamonds 45 21 13 11 67 52 +15 76
7 Pillars of Southfell 45 21 13 11 45 34 +11 76
8 Riverkey 45 19 14 12 49 33 +16 71
9 Rochford 45 20 10 15 52 32 +20 70
10 Chardonnay Rangers 45 19 11 15 58 50 +8 68
11 Iron United 45 17 16 12 53 42 +11 67
12 Dartmouth Terriers 45 18 8 19 48 60 -12 62
13 The Strongest 45 16 11 18 84 64 +20 59
14 Brindleton 45 15 11 19 47 57 -10 56
15 AFC Shale 45 14 13 18 36 38 -2 55
16 Strephonage 45 13 15 17 32 43 -11 54
17 Southriver 45 12 16 17 43 48 -5 52
18 Sutcroft 45 15 6 24 53 80 -27 51
19 Peregrine 45 13 10 22 58 75 -17 49
20 The Hanged Man 45 11 14 20 29 46 -17 47
21 Kommissar 45 10 17 18 44 72 -28 47
22 Alliance Barossia 45 10 15 20 35 49 -14 45
23 Barossia United 45 9 10 26 27 62 -35 37
24 Martella Jazz 45 9 9 27 41 80 -39 36

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ox River United 45 30 8 7 68 31 +37 98
2 Falston United 45 28 10 7 86 39 +47 94
3 Corinthians No Longer 45 25 8 12 79 49 +30 83
4 Ballardine FC 45 23 10 12 87 52 +35 79

5 Boltcroft Thorns 45 22 12 11 95 48 +47 78
6 Kensey Town 45 22 12 11 65 40 +25 78
7 Aries Solitaire 45 22 9 14 90 68 +22 75
8 West Hook 45 21 11 13 57 49 +8 74
9 South Parrhesia 45 21 9 15 78 68 +10 72
10 Gosmouth Swans 45 16 13 16 73 68 +5 61
11 Brokenarch 45 16 12 17 55 53 +2 60
12 Long Lake 45 15 13 17 41 43 -2 58
13 Falston Town 45 17 7 21 52 68 -16 58
14 Hartford Glade 45 13 18 14 58 67 -9 57
15 Mapleford 45 15 9 21 54 72 -18 54
16 Rushe United 45 16 6 23 58 77 -19 54
17 Sutcroft Athletic 45 13 14 18 50 57 -7 53
18 Boleyn Town 45 15 8 22 35 54 -19 53
19 Pravenna Saints 45 13 9 23 46 64 -18 48
20 Sirencall FC 45 13 9 23 49 77 -28 48
21 FC Seierstad 45 12 10 23 54 81 -27 46
22 Ringway 45 13 6 26 46 77 -31 45
23 Bodkin Road 45 9 12 24 45 80 -35 39
24 Brookway Town 45 9 7 29 43 82 -39 34

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ingram Township 38 23 8 7 62 24 +38 77
2 Gridlock 38 20 15 3 52 24 +28 75

3 Iberia Chenoworth 38 20 7 11 94 59 +35 67
4 Fischer 38 19 10 9 62 32 +30 67
5 Fully Sick XI 38 18 12 8 73 55 +18 66
6 Crownsend Journey 38 17 11 10 61 52 +9 62
7 Grovebank 38 17 8 13 48 44 +4 59
8 Sleetwell Rangers 38 15 9 14 54 55 -1 54
9 Stonesthrow Town 38 13 13 12 30 38 -8 52
10 Fenland Albion 38 14 7 17 35 36 -1 49
11 Dross Rovers 38 14 6 18 45 56 -11 48
12 Lockheed Zenith 38 13 8 17 55 59 -4 47
13 Harrington 38 12 10 16 51 52 -1 46
14 Swag Hill Rovers 38 11 13 14 56 76 -20 46
15 AFC Brackwold 38 11 10 17 47 52 -5 43
16 Courser 38 12 6 20 37 48 -11 42
17 AFC Hellerine 38 10 10 18 37 56 -19 40
18 Capricopia Rangers 38 10 9 19 39 56 -17 39
19 Gridlock East 38 10 9 19 33 63 -30 39
20 Nay Town 38 7 7 24 38 72 -34 28

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Downsparrow 38 28 1 9 74 41 +33 85
2 Brunyard FC 38 23 8 7 61 35 +26 77

3 Rochford Pilgrims 38 22 7 9 80 42 +38 73
4 Stamper Road 38 21 7 10 68 43 +25 70
5 Brookford Vantablack 38 18 13 7 72 39 +33 67
6 Blaze 38 21 4 13 72 44 +28 67
7 South Brill 38 18 10 10 47 36 +11 64
8 Coral Bay 38 17 9 12 56 53 +3 60
9 Rhyburn Swifts 38 17 8 13 66 55 +11 59
10 Rookwall 38 13 10 15 35 44 -9 49
11 The Travellers FC 38 13 9 16 59 63 -4 48
12 AFC Burchess 38 12 10 16 40 47 -7 46
13 AFC Volksgarten 38 11 9 18 36 51 -15 42
14 Gridlock Rovers 38 11 9 18 40 65 -25 42
15 Mainstream Fist 38 10 10 18 35 56 -21 40
16 Corby Hubris 38 11 7 20 45 72 -27 40
17 Twelvetrees 38 10 8 20 38 56 -18 38
18 Corvistone City 38 9 10 19 34 47 -13 37
19 Sandrock 38 7 10 21 26 50 -24 31
20 Senway Town 38 5 7 26 37 82 -45 22
Last edited by Nephara on Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:51 pm

Unfortunately, there was far less drama than there could have been. Seierstad, for one, need a result and are instead battered 5-0 by middling Hartford Glade, while Ringway do at least manage to take an initial lead over already-relegated Bodkin Road. But Sirencall, now on the spot to avoid the drop, also take an early lead against Ballardine, who initially drop fourth to the enigmatic Thorns (who batter Kensey 4-1, absolutely no intrigue there). But Ballardine fight back, seizing the momentum with a slightly dodgy penalty that their captain, Desdemona Carlisle, calmly sidefoots home, and go on to win 3-1. Problematic for Sirencall! At least, it would be if Ringway had managed to stretch out their lead over Bodkin but, in need of goal difference, they’re hit on the break by a sharp equaliser on the cusp of halftime before the relegated hosts complete the turnaround with a neat goal off a corner from 39-year old defender Brandon Urquhart, ensuring they manage to drag Ringway down with them.

Refreshing times at the bottom of the table - the three sides in danger of relegation all get a result. Unfortunately, that means that Kommissar’s brave 1-1 draw against Riverkey isn’t good enough, leading for most of the game but foiled by a very late equaliser from Sarah Bernard, as the Hanged Man also cling on for a draw and Peregrine beat Lazuli 4-2. That does, unsurprisingly, scupper the Diamonds’ promotion bid. Alliance Barossia’s slim chances of survival look to be salvaged as they hold a 1-0 lead over Stonegrave won on the cusp of half-time, while Mantlegrove implode under the pressure of keeping ahold of fourth, crushed 3-0 by Greygate. For most of the afternoon it seems like Pillars of Southfell will be the ones to capitalise, as they cruise to a simple 3-0 win over Sutcroft… right up until the 90th minute, where not only does Stonegrave winger Ulrich Tanner head home a vital equaliser at the far post, but West Brinemouth’s young, promising midfielder, Andrea Kurz, rifles home a genuine thunderbastard to seal a late win over the champions Cranequin City, Terracotta goalkeeper Lucian Corvin left to just stand and stare. Still, they remain champions - Greygate mark a predictable return, West Brinemouth finally scramble back up to the second tier and Stonegrave reach this level for the first time.

Iron United 0-2 Barossia United
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Stonegrave
Brindleton 2-5 Southriver
Strephonage 0-2 The Strongest
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Greygate 3-0 Mantlegrove
Pillars of Southfell 3-0 Sutcroft
Rochford 1-1 Martella Jazz
Riverkey 1-1 Kommissar
Lazuli Diamonds 2-4 Peregrine
AFC Shale 1-1 The Hanged Man
West Brinemouth 1-0 Cranequin City

Pravenna Saints 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Bodkin Road 2-1 Ringway
Aries Solitaire 1-2 Long Lake
Sirencall FC 1-3 Ballardine FC
Brokenarch 0-1 Ox River United
Falston Town 0-2 Mapleford
Boleyn Town 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
South Parrhesia 0-1 Rushe United
Falston United 2-2 Brookway Town
Hartford Glade 5-0 FC Seierstad
Corinthians No Longer 2-0 West Hook
Boltcroft Thorns 4-1 Kensey Town

A lot of shit is happening in the second tier, but most eyes are on a minor Crisisbless derby between Athletic, who need a result to survive, and United, who need to hold onto the league title. The first goal of the big fixtures, though, goes to Chatswood - Lilas Sandoval can only watch in horror as Vaughan passes back sloppily to Fenton, who has to stretch just to get a boot on it. Hephernan races past to cut the ball back to Vestal, who finishes clinically. Three minutes in and they’re facing the drop - at least until Cathy Alweather forces a rare goal past Locksley goalkeeper Iselin’s near post. Not long after that, North Sabrefell have finally taken the last after some sustained pressure, showing Cranequin Wanderers precisely how possession football is done with a dizzying nine-pass move through the midfield that sets up Alcuin Sharp, a box-to-box midfielder, to give them the lead not only in the match but the title race, as Crisisbless Athletic hold out desperately against United. Brookford take the lead against Hackett, are pegged back and then retake the lead, and watch on nervously as Chenoworth Rovers and Belgrave look to be grinding out a grim draw that ensures they can both be leapfrogged to fourth. Chatswood make it 2-0 on the cusp of half-time, but Crossroads remain safe for now.

But something’s different in Crisisbless almost as soon as the second half starts, and Antelmi releases Sigrun Rivers for a jinking, darting run… and she’s brought down clumsily by Whitesmith, the 35-year old veteran struggling to keep pace. Koppel nervelessly converts the penalty that puts them right back on top. Ritter Town, while all this is happening, somehow go 4-0 up over Vermillion Wanderers, showing everything they singularly failed to exhibit over the past 45 matches. Things go from bad to worse for Hadrian Belfast’s Otters - Sara Penford rifles home an equaliser for Hackett, and then Paterson’s excellent corner is headed home by the hulking Kalyvas to put Chenoworth Rovers up 1-0 and in the playoff place. Locksley level the scores against the Southrons through Shona Butcher, pushing Crossroads closer to danger - the Valiants celebrate by going three down. United double their lead over Athletic through Antelmi and it’s becoming clear that a toothless Athletic aren’t coming back from this, and the ennui seems to get to the Bohemians who fail to close down Levin Castellan and stop him crashing home an equaliser from outside the box. Crossroads are sunk late on when Coret Rovers redouble their efforts, Alysia Stokes comes off the bench in what is most likely her last professional game, takes a lovely through-ball from Spinnett and just. Keeps. Running, defying all science to keep ahead of Gonen’s defence and slip the ball between Matthews’ sprawled legs to find a late winner and haul Coret out of danger and Crossroads and Athletic into it, to join Ritter (who ultimately slip back to 4-2) and East Laithland (finally) in relegation. At the top, Belfast’s Otters are in the playoff places again! After a red card for Rovers midfielder Breremond for an unnecessary flying elbow on Rouseff, one which has Harper scream “WHY TH’ FUCK” loud enough for all the stadium mics to pick up, Belgrave equalise, and then Brookford midfielder Solbachen retakes the lead against Hackett! For all of seventeen seconds, the Otters are in the playoff place… until, in injury time, Alexandra Lazarou hammers Belgrave’s winner into the top corner. They, then, will take fourth. North Sabrefell and South Laithland will secure promotion… as of course will Crisisbless United, who did not let their death-grip slip against their local rivals, relegating them and celebrating their title victory on their ground.

Ritter Town 4-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Coret Rovers
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Crisisbless United
Iron City 2-0 Sheridan
Locksley 1-1 South Laithland
Stahlburg Rovers 2-2 East Laithland Harriers
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 North Sabrefell
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Stahlburg City
Brookford Otters 3-2 Hackett
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 Belgrave
Extreme Hills 1-1 Armstrong
Chatswood 3-0 Crossroads Town

Brinemouth vs. Chenoworth Harriers

Brinemouth just need a point against the Harriers to secure the title. Realistically, even defeat will probably be good enough, though somewhat of a limp end to the season. The Harriers, however, need a better result than Newrook to overtake them and qualify for the Globe Cup. Brinemouth are a strong side, and they probably have the title, and their team is fresh as anything. But John Sedder’s disciplined Harriers might have what it takes to sucker-punch their opponents where they’re vulnerable - on the counter-attack, and set pieces.

Sabrefell Moths vs. Sabrefell Athletic
Athletic can snatch the title with a goal difference swing of six. It is, needless to say, unlikely… but then, their neighbours, the Moths, have imploded more than once of late. And their focus is split, with the CdC final coming up. “If Brinemouth beat them 8-1, why can’t we?” Tom Benedict shit-stirred on the eve of kick-off, while Gerhard Thunder grunted a straightforward reply; “If we somehow hand the red bastards the title, I’m going to hurl myself into the Ravenspan,” the canal dividing west and east in the city.

Crisisbless vs. Newrook City
Crisisbless aren’t mathematically out of the title race… but they are out of the title race, having scored the fewest goals of the top seven. Really, they’re secure in third. Newrook need to match the Harriers’ result, though if the Harriers draw, Newrook can still qualify as long as they don’t lose by more than two (barring, again, the Harriers managing something like a 16-16 draw).

Leichhardt vs. Starling

Leichhardt are in the best position, a point clear, but face the toughest draw. That said, Starling do have the Cup to focus on, and with nothing to play for today, have rested most of their best players.

Corvette Maulers vs. AFC Treason
Corvette are currently in the playoff place, and face a decidedly fallible Treason at home. The Stags currently sit tenth, a sad shadow of what they once were… as recently as last season. It’s in all likelihood Ben Randall’s final match as a manager, and the old man did get them two titles in an era marked by the rise of Brinemouth and the return of the Sabrefell giants. He’ll want to go out on a high.

Diamondqueen vs. Bishop
Currently 22nd, Diamondqueen are in deep shit. Fortunately, the bookies actually have them favourites to beat Bishop - not only are the Cardinals pretty terrible, currently 19th, but they also have the Cup final against Starling to focus on, and have rested most of their key players too.

North Laithland vs. Vermillion Rage

North Laithland have had a brilliant season, and Leo Santander is a shoe-in as Manager of the Year. They will finish in the Globe Cup places no matter what. Vermillion have had a fairly disappointing season, and even victory here will be a faint salve on the season.

AFC Corvistone vs. Violence Chariots
Annoyingly, Corvistone stayed up pretty comfortably. The Chariots have gone, typically, under the radar - they’ve had a great season, currently sitting ninth as players like Commerford, Na’Duha, Riske and especially Rowena Sierra have really staked their claims to be sold on at a profit.

Cypher Town vs. Coret Hawks
Cypher will finish 16th regardless of what happens against a Coret side who can no longer consider themselves in the Globe Cup hunt. The Eagles will be more than happy with that. For the Hawks, who once harboured hopes that were so much higher, you just can’t look at their squad anymore and say they should have done better.

Goodfeather FC vs. Creed United
18th faces 17th. Thrilling. Goodfeather have lacked a cutting edge this season as Rannon struggles to have the same effect on the Premiership as she did in their promotion campaign. Creed? Well, they looked absolutely dead and buried with the season halfway over. Hestia Canaan’s another decent shout for Manager of the Season, having dragged the Oathmen, kicking and screaming, to survival.

Southfell United vs. Parrhesia United
Probably the least significant fixture of all. Southfell are pinned to the middle of the table with a 15-15-15 record and a 0 goal difference, statistically the Premiership’s blandest team. Parrhesia were terrible all season.

Morningstar vs. Raven River
It’s been a season to forget for Catherine Locklear. After presiding over a total implosion at Creed United, she came to Morningstar as a last throw of the dice. Instead of an upturn in results, things just got worse after she wound up having to fight half the dressing room. She brings a lot of young blood to the table against the Ferrymen. The suspicion there is that Cheney Bittencourt feels he’s taken them as far as he can, and he’s an outside shot at the Treason job.

1 mins - Boom. Local rivalry, of course, plays a big part in this finale - a Sabrefell derby at one end of the table, with Leichhardt and Corvette each striving to relegate the other.
2 mins - GOAL! Say what you will about Metan Cordean’s flat-track bullying tendencies, maybe the Saints can be his flat track. He shows Drake Antony a clean set of heels before abruptly cutting back, nutmegging him, driving in on goal and almost insolently stroking home the opener with the outside of his left boot, the ball bobbling over Spyrakis’ desperately flung-out leg. SFU 1-0 PAR.
3 mins - The Saints lose the ball straight from kick-off, Berisha passing straight to Marlowe for no reason and then slumping. Too many of these players - Berisha, Rademacher, Frei, Avery - have simply seemed to hang around too long, letting promising career starts stall. All four of those names are out of contract at the end of the season.
4 mins - Astonishingly, Leichhardt get the first shot on target against Starling! Streiss does a couple ornamental step-overs before hurdling past Asghar and lashing in a beautiful cross, Auttenberg gets ahead of Orsay and heads it… straight into Hargrave’s chest! That deserved a goal, and Auttenberg is kicking herself. Literally, she toebashed herself in the ankle in frustration.
5 mins - Unsurprisingly, River are off to a good start against Morningstar Reserves - Fiona Norval should score, but skews Hateley’s brilliant diagonal ball wide of the far post. On the subject of Bittencourt, if he does end up going to Treason, then the first three steps of his managerial career will have mirrored the first three steps of his club. After that, he’ll need a mixed record for Fontvielle Impact and then a sentimental return to River to fully match it.
6 mins - GOAL! Well, that was coming. Bartolnicci screams at the fourth official for an offside call I sure as fuck can’t see… replays show that Airik Ruhl was well onside as Lienke Vesper, making a rare start, is given too much space by Pakkanen to hit the perfect cross in for Ruhl to clamber over Zagorec and head home a deserved opener for the Heelers. CRI 1-0 NRC.
7 mins - Anyway, if you ask me, Cheney Bittencourt is chronically underrated as a striker these days. Fontvielle threw 22 million pounds at Treason for him. He got 56 caps, 26 goals… but people forget about him. It’s crazy.
8 mins - It’s… actually pretty clear what Gerhard Thunder’s trying here. An uncharacteristically defensive 4-5-1 against Athletic, having rested their best players, an attempt not so much to win this match as to prevent any chance of Athletic getting the big win they need. Some call it cowardice, I call it the chance to see Tawny Shone be the team’s major creative fulcrum in a massively-important fixture.
9 mins - Starling should probably have scored there, Corvalan played through by Woodwind but a heavy touch allows Stern to dash in and snatch the ball away. After some early promise, Leichhardt are under the cosh. They really have struggled this season - no team has ever survived the league on just 40 points. Some players just weren’t at the level of last season, and Ylissa ‘Judas’ Hatherton has struggled under the mantle of being a creative fulcrum.
10 mins - Oh, almost! Diamondqueen have had a promising start to the match against Bishop, Dakota Blaylock proving a difficult handful for the defence. He’s shoved to the ground just outside the box by Crinion, who protests his innocence, but the free kick is given… Weber lofts it over the wall, but it bounces back off the crossbar! Crinion rises highest to head it clear.
11 mins - GOAL! Things are looking up for the Dockers, and the Premiership trophy lies tantalisingly pitchside… a sweeping passing move, after a simple passing error from Christensen is pounced on by Soederquist, fourteen Brinemouth passes without reply see Bartley fire low and hard! … And it’s parried away by Sheffield. But only as far as Jazmin Dragana, who reacts quickest to slash the ball into the open goal! BRI 1-0 CHH.
12 mins - Markus Blake emails in from Crisisbless to inform me that Cheney Bittencourt wasn’t half the striker Rook Cathar was, which is why he got about half as many caps and scored as many goals. And hasn’t won a major league as a manager. I’d like to inform Markus Blake that he should shut his whore mouth.
13 mins - Oh, Leichhardt have a decent penalty shout turned down there! Annegret Bellinghausen dashes forward to latch onto a Hatherton pass, gets one toe on it and is body-checked by Dario Paterson… but unaccountably, for the home crowd, nothing’s given! The touch was heavy - perhaps not quite in her control. Still, the fans are livid, and so’s Andrea Vardalos on the touchline.
14 mins - GOAL! Kind of against the run of play, it has to be said. But for all Cypher’s possession (68%, as things stand), there’s not much they can do when Nikolaidis knocks Stensholt to the ground, takes the ball, swivels neatly and runs. He evades Condotta’s uncharacteristically ragged tackle and goes for goal himself, rifling it into the top corner from just outside the box. CYT 0-1 COH.
15 mins - Treason have been pretty static against Corvette so far, sort of like they’ve been all season. Ankergren, finding little resistance from a bluntly past-it Vyntra, cuts inside and lashes a forceful shot that Gideon Fletcher beats away, and Fernwood and Svensson both race for the rebound - Svensson manages to scuff it away for a corner.
16 mins - Plutarch takes the corner… and Gideon Fletcher rises high to claim it. It’s been sad, really. Such a fascinating race at the top over the course of the season… and the Stags were just nowhere near. Randall will be out after the season, and veterans like Vyntra, Katskalidis, Lopes and Voeller are likely to follow. They might have to undergo the dreaded t-word: transition.
17 mins - Things getting a bit tasty already in the Sabrefell derby. Kodiak Grant snaps into Ojala, who staggers but stays on his feet… to go stalk over to the big rightback and haul him to his feet by his collar. Cue handbags all around. Both gets yellow cards from the long-suffering referee. Gerhard Thunder grins on the touchline - this is what he lives for.
18 mins - Parrhesia have actually reacted well to going one down to Southfell, showing the resilience that has been so desperately, desperately lacking all season. Unfortunately for them, they still can’t finish, and Loris Aldous is having a good day.
19 mins - Brilliant double save from Morales! Rexmont scythes through the Brinemouth defence, plays a lovely one-two with Ruhl, dummies Magnozzi and strokes the ball neatly across Morales, bottom corner bound… but he slaps out a leg and manages a desperate block, before flinging himself upright to dive the other way as Crowther, in the middle of being crunched by Close, manages to scuff the rebound on goal - but he claws that away, too! It should probably be a penalty, but the referee waves play-on to the Eagles Club’s roaring approval.
20 mins - GOAL! Sometimes there’s just not much to say about a goal. But after a ton of pressure from the Rooks that the Heelers have just about managed to keep at arm’s length for the time being, an innocuous looking cutback from Woods is slammed into the top corner by Alan Bothroyd from the corner of the box. Bad news for the Harriers. CRI 1-1 NRC.
21 mins - PENALTY! Granted in a totally meaningless match. The Saints haven’t taken their chances tonight, but Berisha takes a nice touch on a decisive break to get past Lavendor, eases past Beitar and is clattered by Aldous. Can the goalkeeper make amends?
22 mins - GOAL! No, he cannot. Catrine Kisel sends him the wrong way, going low and hard to level the scores. SFU 1-1 PAR.
23 mins - GOAL! Nikolaidis gets a brace. This is a more straightforward affair - clever wing play with Skapetis and Sorrell utterly fools young Kari Bardiche, and the winger plays the overlapping fullback through with a neat little pass… between Bardiche’s legs. Sorrell’s cross is a brilliant one, and Nikolaidis surges into the box to power home a decisive header. CYT 0-2 COH.
24 mins - The bashing that Cypher are receiving should not begin to overshadow their legitimate achievements this season. They haven’t thrilled at all, but they’re under no obligation to thrill. Solid at the back, reliable in midfield… if anyone but Nygard could score goals, they’d be golden. She has fifteen goals to her name - nobody else on the team has more than Borbas Tihamer’s eight, and he’s injured tonight with Cohen Alexander in his stead.
25 mins - GOAL! That didn’t last long. The Rooks had been a little sloppy in their passing and pressing since equalising, and they’re made to pay for it by Sieglinde Lohengrin. Five neat, searing passes among the Heelers’ more aggressive players tears gaping holes in the Rooks’ defence. Lohengrin dashes forward into one, Vesper finds her and the leftback hits low and hard, and former Crisisbless goalkeeper Hesketh gets a hand to it but not a strong enough one. CRI 2-1 NRC.
26 mins - Now a third caution already in the Sabrefell derby as Deandre James absolutely cleans Rainsford out jumping for a goal-kick lumped indiscriminately into midfield by Gautier. There will be a red card in this match.
27 mins - GOAL! Uh-oh. Now that’s really set the cat amongst the pigeons… it’s a speculative cross, but a low, hard one from Guiliani, and it deflects off the inside of Magnozzi’s calf, and then there’s a flash of red as Nikita Loeher instinctively backheels the ball into the net. Accidental? No. Instinctive. BRI 1-1 CHH.
28 mins - Nikita Loeher’s 34. She shouldn’t still have what it takes at this level - and, realistically, she’ll be on the bench next season most games for the Harriers. Her A-League stint with Rozelle was a mixed success. But, somehow, she was exactly the last-minute panic buy the Harriers needed.
29 mins - GOAL! Boom! Hakki Ojala cuts inside Grant, a slightly heavy touch but he gets to it faster than the flat-footed Weiss and then quickly whips it into the net with his right boot. He celebrates exuberantly… but Hawke has no time for that, grabbing the ball out of the net and dragging him over to the centre circle. They need a big, big win here. SFM 0-1 SFA.
30 mins - Reacting to the goal loudest of all? Tawny Shone, just 20 years of age, shouting and gesticulating furiously, trying to get her team up for it. It’s not been her best game - she’s struggled a little under Tanith Rainsford’s watchful eye - but she’s shown flashes of how properly fucking good she already is.
31 mins - A third of the way into Morningstar vs. River and yyyyyyyyeeeep, nothing at all has happened.
32 mins - GOAL! Falcon Case hasn’t had a great season. Hasn’t really recovered from declaring for Brenecia and getting destroyed at the CE, really. He turns over the ball cheaply to Spahi Keskin, who hits up a ball in a nice corridor of uncertainty. A defensive mix-up is seized upon by Raquel Accardi, who volleys across Forster. God, she is so fucking good. GDF 0-1 CRD.
33 mins - On the subject of underrated Nepharim forwards, Pontus Schneider points out that Georgia Kite is in Real Azuris’ hall of fame, and deserved far more than her fifteen caps. This is a fair point, but two things are worth noting. First, it’s only in more recent years that the Haerlighet Ligan has taken up its current status as a world-class league, and Kite was not a world-class striker. Second… seriously, your name is Pontus? How many lockers did you see the inside of as a kid?
34 mins - The Harriers are pushing hard to get ahead. Crowther goes down somewhat softly under Close’s challenge, in a dangerous area for a free kick. Bonifacio Sanna, a player known for his finesse… goes instead for power, toebashing the ball hard enough into the crossbar to make a thunderous crack. Wide-eyed goalkeeper Morales looks a little like he just pissed himself.
35 mins - GOAL! Josie Webster must surely be in line for a Nephara callup by now. She loses possession to Scherer but snakes out a leg to dig the ball away and win it back, strides purposefully forward, plays a neat one-two with Stokes and rifles the ball into the bottom corner past a diving Clement. NLA 1-0 VRR.
36 mins - Funny thing is, Webster was a really clear name in the ‘a good team will come in for her’ basket… but maybe North Laithland are a good team now. In any case, they have Globe Cup football to look forward to next season, so you’d imagine she’ll stay put for now.
37 mins - Meanwhile, as far as distinctly less good midfielders go, Olenna Darke just took a shot under no significant pressure from 30 yards and it skewed out for a throw-in. She is so, so cooked. Unfortunately, Voleimann’s injured and Milligan’s even worse, leaving Konrad Evans with little choice.
38 mins - Diamondqueen already look a little tired, trying to keep up with Bishop’s passing. After Risdon caught a tame shot from Jeweler, he rolls the ball out from the back. Seventeen uninterrupted passes later, the Diamonds’ defence is in tatters, Whiteside is totally unmarked as Reed rolls the ball his way and heeeeee weakly hits it right into Britton’s chest. Narrow escape, there.
39 mins - GOAL! And it’s Delphi Barbarouses’ first league goal! A pretty well-taken one, too, for the young midfielder - she starts and then finishes a direct, decisive move that crushes Newrook’s shaken defence, leaving Hesketh despairing. CRI 3-1 NRC.
40 mins - Another reader, Jacqui Margush, challenges me to find footage of Cheney Bittencourt scoring a headed goal. I submit instead that this one time he fed a blind giraffe at a zoo, and the giraffe had to feel everything out with his tongue only I guess wasn’t even sure what she was looking at and anyway the gist of it is Bittencourt got a big old faceful of giraffe tongue but he laughed which shows him to be a man of good humour instead of a literal psychopath like Rook Cathar.
41 mins - GOAL! While I was typing that, Nizarut equalised for Vermillion. Fairweather should’ve saved it. NLA 1-1 VRR.
42 mins - Something happened in Morningstar vs. River - Jasmine Kaeman just took a foul throw.
43 mins - Minute-by-minuteman’s curse in full, or at least partial effect. The ghost of Olenna Darke’s career hits in a real gem of a ball, the lanky Sascha Dimitrius pops up from nowhere to get ahead of Peter Svensson, no easy task… and her header flashes juuust wide of the post. Gideon Fletcher wouldn’t’ve stood a chance, and does that sort of staggering-back thing goalkeepers do when they luck out.
44 mins - GOAL! The Harriers take the lead and, you know, it’s been coming. Surprisingly, it’s the forward runs of leftback Nike Rouphos that have caused a lot of strife for the Dockers, with Brymora injured. Rouphos nips the ball out from under Bartley’s feet, chases forwards, knocks the ball past Crowe and then hacks a rather pedestrian cross into the box. Windtide should handle it… but Nikita Loeher surges forward and crashes home the header! BRI 1-2 CHH.
45 mins - Sabrefell derby’s calmed down a little, oddly. At least, until this point - Shone hacks down Coltrane and follows through on his calves, and is booked. Beleagured referee Reeve Charlton has to have a word with both captains, Weiss and Rainsford, who do good jobs pretending to listen while glaring at each other.
Injury time - GOAL! Things are just ending across the nation, and things look to be drawing to a calm close. And then Bishop winger Milligan draws a corner off Sutton, more or less by kicking the ball at her calf. And then Alyss Driver, who’s had a really good game just metronomically pinging the ball around in midfield, hits in a sizzling corner. Britton comes out halfway for it, then dithers, as does Karena Hartley. No such hesitation from Darren Crinion, who forces home the header that puts the Cardinals in 1-0 up at the break! DMQ 0-1 BIS.


Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Corvette Maulers 0-0 AFC Treason
North Laithland 1-1 Vermillion Rage
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Violence Chariots
Cypher Town 0-2 Coret Hawks
Leichhardt 0-0 Starling
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Creed United
Crisisbless 3-1 Newrook City
Southfell United 1-1 Parrhesia United
Diamondqueen 0-1 Bishop
Brinemouth 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Morningstar 0-0 Raven River

As things stand…
Brinemouth will win the league.
Chenoworth Harriers will take the final Globe Cup place.
Corvette Maulers will face the playoff.
Diamondqueen will be relegated.

Half-time viewing
Watch this clip of Cheney Bittencourt scoring five goals against Cranequin Wanderers in one game, which is a Premiership record matched only by Olgina Harrison who is a player that literally nobody reading this remembered existed until now.

46 mins - And we’re ba- uh, GOAL! A neat flowing forward move from the Spiders, with Scherer seeming a little off the pace, unable to break it down. Webster threads the decisive ball through to Griffin Kendall who shoots low and hard - Clement gets hands to it but can only palm it right to Pell, who bundles it in. NLA 2-0 VRR.
47 mins - Diamondqueen have started well, exhorted by Tana Colbright. A half-time substitution was made, surprisingly, at rightback. The solid veteran Abel came off, and, uh, Mercedes Reeve is playing out of her best position to go there instead. It might work out, she’s filled in there capably before, but it’s a surprise to see her, say, smash a shot from an acute angle against the near post, rattling the goalframe and also Bishop’s nerves.
48 mins - Corvette are pressing the Stags hard, but they look vulnerable on the break. Still, they’ll feel aggrieved not to take the lead here - Sutra Fernwood angles a neat little header that bounces low just before the goal, but Gideon Fletcher, already headed the wrong way, somehow manages to bat it away with a trailing hand!
49 mins - GOAL! Game’s not over yet for Newrook. Pretty straightforward stuff - Woods takes a great corner, Nkembe evades Ruhl and heads home. CRI 3-2 NRC.
50 mins - Corvette want a penalty now! Ankergren is hacked down by Rian Corrello, one of the Stags’ few good performers this season… but it’s juuust outside the box, though Ankergren certainly falls into it. The free kick slams into the wall and gets cleared away. Maulers fans have a bad feeling it’s just gonna be one of those days...
51 mins - GOAL! I kind of forgot these two were even playing, but Ivan Pangallo did… something, and anyway, the Crows are leading now. CVS 1-0 VIC.
52 mins - Markus Blake has said some very nasty things about my mother. Some people will do the damndest things in defence of giant insane men who named their daughters ‘Heaven’ but backwards.
53 mins - The Harriers almost get a third goal - it’s almost Loeher’s hat-trick! Rexmont’s unerring cross finds her in the box and Windtide gets quickly on her - she somewhat miscontrols the first touch, and under pressure can only rifle it against the post. It comes straight back, hard and low, and she falls over to try and stab it into the net… but it just goes straight at Morales, who instinctively parries it, sees it bounce and gratefully falls on it.
54 mins - GOAL! Well, of course. All Corvette’s pressure is meaningless, Neptune controls a difficult long ball with an outstretched boot, and a surprisingly deft (perhaps just fortunate) touch takes it wholly past Strauss. She lets it bounce one, and then volleys it low and hard past Lin, perhaps surprising him with the force of it. He gets the bottom of a hand to it, but it slips by him. Things look bleak. CVM 0-1 TRE.
55 mins - Pinball in the box in Crisisbless! Jevdjevic-Hadsic sends a low free kick into the box and everyone gets a piece of it for a few unedifying seconds until Ruhl finally gets a solid swing at it at Pakkanen hacks it off the line. Relief all around for the Rooks.
56 mins - GOAL! The Spiders are still capable of some, well, First Division defending at times, it seems. Nizarut swings in a cross, Fairweather flaps at it a little, Serjeant heads it… straight to Cassadore, who shifts it to her right boot and slams home past a still unsettled Fairweather. NLA 2-1 VRR.
57 mins - Laura Stockley asks what league actually is the best league in the world - and in history, for that matter. Well, for mine, sentimental memories of the LigAnaia in its short-lived prime have to take top billing. As for nowadays, I think it’s fair to say that while the Premiership is the toughest league to win with the strongest depth, the HaerlighetLigan’s a better watch aesthetically, and in a world without injuries, the SPL has the best teams at the top. And the fact that the Goldleague wasn’t even mentioned highlights how world club football is the best it’s ever been.
58 mins - GOAL! A couple minutes after almost slipping up, Newrook equalise! Ifrit Coynborough slots in a lovely ball through the defence, Bothroyd runs nicely onto it and lashes home past Marciak, who does stretch out a leg. It deflects up, but still bounces into the net. Still, the Rooks need a win - at least, if the Harriers don’t slip up. CRI 3-3 NRC.
59 mins - “Only cowards hedge their bets like that,” Laura Stockley coldly informs me. Harsh, Laura, but fair.
60 mins - GOAL! Shambolic defending from the Maulers lets the Stags double their lead. Neptune - outstanding this match - swings in a cross, a practically unmarked Svensson nods it across goal for Katskalidis, who somehow managed to lose her marker despite being a gangly, glacial centre-half, to hammer home a header of her own. Michael Lin, at fault for the first, is very much justified in giving his defence the evil eye this time. They’re still in 21st as things stand… CVM 0-2 TRE.
61 mins - Ominously for both Corvette and Diamondqueen, Leichhardt and Starling… continue to basically be locked in a slow, muscular clinch. But the Stargazers look to be going for broke, relatively. Luna Nsereko, the hardly prolific backup striker - one goal from nineteen league appearances this season - comes on for Lienen. Nsereko can’t really score goals, but she might just open more space for Auttenberg.
62 mins - GOAL! Fair to say this stopped being a fixture of interest some time ago, but for what it’s worth, Trifon Draxler’s neat little half-volley makes it 3-0 to the Hawks. CYT 0-3 COH.
63 mins - Journalists often feel free to talk about how a team needs ‘reinforcements’ at a certain area, and one always has to wonder how the players feel about that. After all, there’s usually a guy already there, and various people at the club already jostling for those positions. And people rarely think how much it must hurt those players to have their ability directly questioned! That in mind, Cypher Town need a new attacking midfielder, because Sophia Petridis isn’t good enough for this level and looks like a lost, puzzled sheep. Still better than a 33-year old Koen Hochmeister, because there’s Sunday league players a stone’s throw away from my house more suited to the Premiership’s rigours than Hochmeister.
64 mins - The Crows almost double their lead, Afolayan dancing past Brill, cutting inside and curling a shot past Commerford with the outside of the boot… but it skims against the outside of the upright. It has to be said that the Crows have impressed this season, and earned the begrudging respect of the nation… on the pitch, at least. Off it they’re still a bunch of plastics, but they secured their safety with ease and are looking upwards.
65 mins - GOAL! Vermillion’s equaliser has been coming. They’ve rushed the Spiders hard and forced some bad turnovers, but this is the worst of all. Reuser, ambling forward in possession, is spooked by Nizarut running at him and panics and passes to Serjeant. But overhits it. Danica Heward, who came on just two minutes ago, sweeps onto it, goes around Fairweather and rolls the ball into the net. NLA 2-2 VRR.
66 mins - Caleb Murtagh, a very suspiciously Brenecian-sounding name, writes to ask where the Audioslavian league fits in my estimation of the world’s best leagues, aka ‘conspicuously missing’. Certainly, it has the pedigree, and the UICA ranking to back that up, but consider this; Rook Cathar won it. As a manager. Check and mate.
67 mins - Athletic and the Moths are both pressing hard, and this won’t stay 1-0 for long. Thunder risks bringing on Townsend and Vol, but keeps his powder dry elsewhere - and there’s a lot of youth on that bench. Chloe Rudden comes on for Athletic for what could be her last appearance, as she turns 32 in the off-season. Still, she offers the pace to really challenge the booked Grant.
68 mins - GOAL! A rare sight for the Tanners - Erik Marlowe plays provider! He gives the Saints’ defence the runaround but finds his angle on goal narrowed to a sliver. So he just slips the ball back for Malachi Chalk, who’s drifted right a fair bit, who sidefoots home Southfell’s second past Spyrakis. SFU 2-1 PAR.
69 mins - My editors have informed me that nobody cares about Cheney Bittencourt’s status as underrated Nepharim hero of yesteryear. I will acknowledge this desire when they find anyone in the country willing and able to match my WPM pace while watching twelve matches at once.
70 mins - Brinemouth have reasserted themselves lately against the Harriers, dominating possession over the past few minutes. Just feels like the mood’s shifted, and the Harriers are holding back a bit, trying to keep ahold of the points. It’s understandable. Guiliani is booked for a vicious challenge on Bartley, moments before being withdrawn for the more defensive Crowe.
71 mins - GOAL! Little good does it do them, though! Evelyn Conjure steps up, clips in a strong free kick that loops over the wall and into the net past a blindsided Sheffield! The Dockers have equalised! BRI 2-2 CHH.
72 mins - Cheers over in the away end of Godswatch. Newrook sniff blood. Twice already they’ve been denied by point-blank saves from Marciak, and it feels like the goal is coming. Athletic’s slim title hopes take another, probably fatal blow… provoking cheers in the Farham Arena, too.
73 mins - GOAL! The Quakers draw back their equaliser after a strong period of possession, seeming to hold the Oathmen at arms’ length. Falcon Case gets the goal, after Aviston’s cross is slammed against the post by Jewel, but it’s the newly-declared Brenecia international that bombs down the centre of the park, chests down the rebound and slides it past Matraxis at a narrow angle. That was a flash of last season’s form from Case, and the Quakers as a whole. GDF 1-1 CRD.
74 mins - GOAL! hahahahaha GDF 1-2 CRD.
75 mins - Haven’t been fired yet, so that’s a good sign.
76 mins - Taking a look down at the First Division for a second, and Crisisbless United and North Sabrefell look like real prospects to be reckoned with. Bronwyn Sadler bolted on the last few pieces, including a winning mentality, to finally take the Chessmen back up, adding to the recent numbers of attack-minded promoted sides that play a 4-3-3 system (Corvistone, North Laithland and Corvette from last season alone). The Bohemians, though? They’ve been more or less rebuilt from the ground up in a single year by Gareth Blackthorn, and they look a really interesting proposition. South Laithland… it’s hard to see them, or Belgrave, should they win the playoff, stay up, without significant investment.
77 mins - GOAL! Speaking of Corvette… it’s game over, for them. Sort of. As Vyntra takes advantage of some genuinely terrible defending to curl home Treason’s third, cutting diagonally across the Maulers’ defence like a knife that is literally on fire through already lukewarm butter, the challenge for the Maulers stops being ‘how to get a point’ and starts being ‘how not to concede more goals’. Goal difference is very much in play at the bottom, if Diamondqueen can hold to a 1-0 defeat. Two more goals will relegate the Maulers anyway. CVM 0-3 TRE.
78 mins - Not only does Kunibert Cormann have the most ‘investment banker in Chenoworth’ name I’ve ever heard, but he also emails in to say; “It’s not just your editors. Can you give it a rest with the ‘colourful’ commentary and just focus on your job?” The short answer: No.
79 mins - The long answer: Nnnnnoooooooooooooooooooooo.
80 mins - GOAL! Well, so much for that, though perhaps it’s a bit early to say in a crazy game. Substitute Johanna Sutton shows her stuff, sprinting down the right, jinking past Hyde, hurdling a challenge from Woods and then playing through the overlapping run of Leona Rafford, cutting inside. She draws away Zagorec and then cuts back for Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic to make it 4-3 with a low, drilled finish. Against the run of play, sure - but for the last minute or so, the Heelers had been untouchable. CRI 4-3 NRC.
81 mins - GOAL! Well! That changes things! Auburn Weber is really tired. She’s being marked down, hard, by Gared Kuepher, who hasn’t passed up a single chance to nip at her heels. So for once, Diamondqueen… bypass her entirely. This goal is all Blaylock. Reeve plays in a nice little ball from rightback but Blaylock blitzes it violently to get there before Crinion before bulldozing past the big lad, playing a neat one-two with the fresh Kowalczyk to strip down the Bishop defence yet further before smashing the ball beyond Risdon, who gets a glove on it but nothing more. DMQ 1-1 BIS.
82 mins - That news has not gone down well in Corvette, and a mighty groan rings around the stadium. Konrad Evans’ lads have battled hard all season when almost everyone predicted them to crash and burn… but they’ve fallen here, and now any chance of survival rests on Bishop’s second-string getting another goal with nothing to play for.
83 mins - GOAL! Anise Riske scores a lovely equaliser for the Chariots that almost nobody will see until the Streamable links get passed out tomorrow. A slightly haphazard long ball from Sauber makes it - she improvisationally dinks it over the head of Pangallo, lets it bounce once and then volleys it over the head of a scrambling, backpedalling Veloz! CVS 1-1 VIC.
84 mins - GOAL! Yeah, that was inevitable. Athletic weren’t going to get the turnaround they needed, but while pressing hard to rack up a big scoreline they’re smashed down on the break, a sweeping cross-field ball from substitute Adalmar Sturrock dropping perfectly at the feet of Eisenhauer. All she has to do is roll her shoulder past Farina and roll the equaliser between Gautier’s sprawling legs. She celebrates, and takes her time with it, too, but maybe Athletic will have the last laugh because the Moths have been linked to a managerial appointment of Rook Cathar in the offseason. SFM 1-1 SFA.
85 mins - Oh! Oh!! Bishop striker Lysander Corsell, on for Penbrooke, comes agonisingly close to sinking Diamondqueen! Kirsten Shore skims in a nice little cross, he tussles with Pavlovic but manages to get just ahead of the Pasargan and shoves out a boot… and toebashes it over the net from surely just four or five yards!
86 mins - RED CARD! Well, that was kind of inevitable. Kodiak Grant is late to a tackle on Rudden and sends her staggering into the advertising hoardings. But what difference will it make, by this point?
87 mins - GOAL! None at all. The Harriers have defended stoutly… but what can you do against Evelyn Conjure, as she strides untouchable into the box and almost casually lifts the ball into the top corner? BRI 3-2 CHH.
88 mins - ANOTHER RED CARD! But it’s in a game nobody cares about, as Corvistone midfielder Rain Delacruz picks up a second yellow card. For dissent.
89 mins - GOAL! Again, just a distraction by this point, and not even a particularly attractive one. Vercauteren crosses, Spyrakis - otherwise solid tonight - flaps at it, Marlowe nods it in at the far post, Brun looks vaguely haunted. SFU 3-1 PAR.
90 mins - Brinemouth have the title, and Newrook have seventh. All eyes are on a cobbled-together Bishop front line, and whether they can force an equaliser past Iona Britton. But the Diamonds are dominating the ball, Sparrow just replaced Weber in an incredibly long-winded substitution and now Kowalczyk has the ball in the corner, with Kearney Smith making half-hearted attempts to kick at it. It’s… not happening, is it?
Injury time - It is not. The final whistle blows in Sabrefell, where Reds sink to their knees and Diamonds slump to the ground. Tana Colbright’s players have done it for now, but as she shakes hands with the embattled Monica Brightwater, both managers will be thinking ahead to the coming fortnight. Corvette are down, but with honour, and its weary players know it. Konrad Evans may well have another Premiership job lined up, sooner rather than later. For most of its players, however, you’d suspect it was the last time they taste this level of football. Its rivals Leichhardt are safe, their struggle going largely underneath notice as they strangled the life out of Starling and, presumably, any viewers. Morningstar go down despite talents like Saroszi and Sparr, and are in legitimate turmoil. Will Catherine Locklear really want to stick around for the aftermath? Will Benjamin Nyao, now in full command of the facts of the stagnant side he was left with? At the end of the day, though, the day belongs to the Dockers, and Stig Soederquist lifts the trophy high. It’s been eight long years since they won the double, spearheaded by an emerging Penumbra Amokachi, inspired by Rutger Locke, marshalled by Stephen Frew and with an aging RJ Styrn in the wings. Jonathan Bosetti is the only survivor of that campaign. It has been a long wait for a club of such unbridled ambition… and it is over.

Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Corvette Maulers 0-3 AFC Treason
North Laithland 2-2 Vermillion Rage
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Violence Chariots
Cypher Town 0-3 Coret Hawks
Leichhardt 0-0 Starling
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Creed United
Crisisbless 4-3 Newrook City
Southfell United 3-1 Parrhesia United
Diamondqueen 1-1 Bishop
Brinemouth 3-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Morningstar 0-0 Raven River
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:51 pm

Two Sabrefell sides, Diamondqueen and Belgrave, come to the Farham Arena. Both are tired. They’ve had to face long, hard battles to get here. Two technical sides playing, in effect, a 47th league match of the season… and it’s one of those ones where the flowing technical football both sides consider their specialty just dies down, and a rare downpour for a dry country doesn’t help. The Diamonds are favourites, but things take an early turn for the worse as far as they’re concerned as, just eight minutes in, Gargoyles captain Markranstadt skims in a fine corner that a veritable line of white and purple shirts shifts towards in unison. Pavlovic rises and gets a glancing head to it… which is enough to carry it to lurking Belgrave midfielder Diana Lake, who takes a touch before digging it high over all the bodies, and a stranded Britton. Belgrave look almost to be cruising as they dominate the rest of the first half, not quite fluent but still with the bulk of possession… but time and again, they fluff their lines in the final third, and Iona Britton is always there to take advantage of weak finishes or wayward touches and keep the Diamonds alive.

That work is repaid up front when Auburn Weber, given too much space by Ward around the box, plays a neat one-two with Blaylock (holding back Naess), then another with roving rightback Unworth before placing the ball beautifully for Fortounis to drive it home at the far post. Meriadoc Griffiths, Belgrave’s Brenecian manager, curses on the touchline… but the Diamonds can’t capitalise. Yet again, they just look weary and sluggish in possession, and even a desperate double substitution on the hour from Colbright doesn’t alleviate the fatigue. Finally, one of those weary legs is stretched too far. Noma Sutton, who has had a strong, dependable season, wearily brings Lazarou down on the edge of the area. Up steps Espen Whyte, the seasoned midfielder who has been a stable presence this season in an otherwise thrilling side… and he slams it low and hard past Britton, who infuriatingly brushes fingertips against it but can’t quite direct it away. With that, unfancied Belgrave haul themselves into the Premiership. Young, poor Diamondqueen, after finishing 20th in the past two seasons, finally slip under the line.

Diamondqueen 1-2 Belgrave

Everyone knows the Moths have an implosion in them. With a grim sense of timing, this is one of them.

Sabrefell Moths 0-3 Lexington Victory

Sometimes, it’s hard to inject drama into an occasion - though it’d be hard to match Crisisbless’ 8-0 annihilation of Extreme Hills (in the second tier at the time) a few years ago. Still, it looks like it’s heading that way in the first half of this final. Starling go in as standout favourites, and play the part accordingly, dominating play and pummelling Rebecca Scannell’s goal with shots. Keira Andisori, the league’s top scorer with thirty strikes to her name, bends home the first past Scannell just four minutes in, hits a post not long after and then sets up Liam Armstrong to double their advantage. It’s headed for a massacre, and the embattled Bishop manager, Brightwater, is wincing in the technical area.

And then, in the second half… the bloodletting stops. Starling take their foot off the accelerator and, most strikingly, Nova Kymeri - an ocean of calm in the first half - takes a heavy touch and lets Karlene Sitz snap the ball away from under her feet. Sitz plays forward for Mersiades as Bishop, possession philosophy or not, bring back their quick-breaking instincts from the Spurlock era, and Mersiades goes long. You can see Brightwater screaming bloody murder in the technical area… right up until Coffey dashes in from nowhere, chests the ball down and quickly skims the ball into the net past a bewildered Smordal. Suddenly, there’s a game, and people are snapping into tackles left and right. Bezemer, with blood streaming down her face, smashes the ball against the crossbar (though Smordal likely had it covered) just before play’s stopped to treat her, while at the other end Andisori is played through on goal only to fire straight at Scannell, and stare at her feet wondering where her instincts went. As it stood, though, it didn’t make the difference. Bishop tired, and the game steadily returned to its initial pattern, Starling lazily running rings around the opposition. Starling held firm, and Deirdre McNessa - captain for the day, with Hargrave watching on from the bench - lifts the trophy. Lisa Amos hasn’t had the funds of the sides around her, and perhaps hasn’t been able to make the flashy signings. The silverware hasn’t kept coming, and perhaps the interest from abroad in the Passerines’ story is starting to wane. But tonight, all financial concerns vanish. Tonight, Starling are Cup champions.

Starling 2-1 Bishop

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 46 29 8 9 101 50 +51 95
2 Crisisbless 46 28 8 10 71 40 +31 92
3 Sabrefell Athletic 46 25 15 6 95 51 +44 90
4 Starling 46 26 11 9 92 50 +42 89

5 Sabrefell Moths 46 24 13 9 90 69 +21 85
6 North Laithland 46 24 10 12 78 58 +20 82
7 Newrook City 46 22 11 13 77 55 +22 77

8 Chenoworth Harriers 46 21 13 12 61 41 +20 76
9 Violence Chariots 46 19 16 11 70 52 +18 73
10 AFC Treason 46 20 12 14 66 40 +26 72
11 Vermillion Rage 46 18 13 15 61 50 +11 67
12 Coret Hawks 46 19 8 19 58 64 -6 65
13 Southfell United 46 16 15 15 63 61 +2 63
14 Raven River 46 16 11 19 61 65 -4 59
15 AFC Corvistone 46 16 10 20 57 73 -16 58
16 Cypher Town 46 14 11 21 42 61 -19 53
17 Creed United 46 13 11 22 50 73 -23 50
18 Goodfeather FC 46 12 10 24 43 65 -22 46
19 Bishop 46 11 12 23 50 70 -20 45
20 Leichhardt 46 9 14 23 31 50 -19 41
21 Diamondqueen 46 9 13 24 39 84 -45 40
22 Corvette Maulers 46 9 12 25 46 91 -45 39
23 Parrhesia United 46 8 10 28 53 104 -51 34
24 Morningstar 46 6 9 31 27 65 -38 27
30 - Andisori (STA)
29 - Hawke (SFA)
27 - Scotti (BRI)
24 - Conjure (BRI)
22 - Stokes (NLA), Johnson (SFM), Êns (SFA)
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Keira Andisori (STA)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Evelyn Conjure (BRI)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Marcin Close (BRI)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Xíxì Êns (SFA)
Team of the Year: Marciak (CRI); Haines (SFM), Svensson (TRE), Zagorec (NRC), Lohengrin (CRI); Crowther (CHH), Coltrane (SFA), Conjure (BRI), Dragana (BRI); Hawke (SFM), Andisori (STA) - Bench: G. Fletcher (TRE); Rafford (CRI), Close (BRI), Kymeri (STA), Soederquist (BRI), Webster (NLA), Êns (SFA)
Manager of the Year: Leo Santander (NLA)

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Crisisbless United 46 31 9 6 103 37 +66 102
2 North Sabrefell 46 29 12 5 104 42 +62 99
3 South Laithland 46 23 14 9 73 41 +32 83
4 Belgrave 46 24 7 15 76 54 +22 79

5 Brookford Otters 46 25 4 17 73 58 +15 79
6 Chatswood 46 23 8 15 75 40 +35 77
7 Chenoworth Rovers 46 21 13 12 68 41 +27 76
8 AFC Serpentine 46 18 14 14 57 53 +4 68
9 Stahlburg Rovers 46 18 13 15 67 53 +14 67
10 Armstrong 46 18 12 16 46 44 +2 66
11 Stahlburg City 46 16 16 14 51 40 +11 64
12 Iron City 46 17 11 18 40 49 -9 62
13 Cranequin Wanderers 46 14 15 17 48 47 +1 57
14 Vermillion Wanderers 46 14 14 18 57 66 -9 56
15 Sheridan 46 13 16 17 32 43 -11 55
16 Extreme Hills 46 15 10 21 58 74 -16 55
17 Hackett 46 12 17 17 50 69 -19 53
18 Gonen's Bridge 46 12 14 20 38 66 -28 50
19 Coret Rovers 46 15 4 27 45 86 -41 49
20 Locksley 46 11 15 20 58 81 -23 48
21 Crossroads Town 46 12 11 23 55 75 -20 47
22 Crisisbless Athletic 46 13 8 25 40 81 -41 47
23 Ritter Town 46 11 10 25 59 85 -26 43
24 East Laithland Harriers 46 6 15 25 48 96 -48 33
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Erika Wolff (NSF)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Sigrun Rivers (CRU)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Claudia Bohr (BRO)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Moray Banerman (CRU)
Team of the Year: Meixner (SLA); Dreyfuss (BEL), Rashkin (CHT), Banerman (CRU), Karagounis (NSF); Rivers (CRU), Na’Ryibi (CRU), Montag (NSF), Moxey (STR); Bentzen (SLA), Wolff (NSF)
Manager of the Year: Bess Gannon (COR)

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin City 46 24 12 10 71 42 +29 84
2 Greygate 46 24 11 11 75 49 +26 83
3 West Brinemouth 46 22 13 11 60 35 +25 79
4 Stonegrave 46 22 13 11 53 33 +20 79

5 Pillars of Southfell 46 22 13 11 48 34 +14 79
6 Mantlegrove 46 21 14 11 55 39 +16 77
7 Lazuli Diamonds 46 21 13 12 69 56 +13 76
8 Riverkey 46 19 15 12 50 34 +16 72
9 Rochford 46 20 11 15 53 33 +20 71
10 Chardonnay Rangers 46 20 11 15 60 50 +10 71
11 Iron United 46 17 16 13 53 44 +9 67
12 The Strongest 46 17 11 18 86 64 +22 62
13 Dartmouth Terriers 46 18 8 20 48 62 -14 62
14 AFC Shale 46 14 14 18 37 39 -2 56
15 Brindleton 46 15 11 20 49 62 -13 56
16 Southriver 46 13 16 17 48 50 -2 55
17 Strephonage 46 13 15 18 32 45 -13 54
18 Peregrine 46 14 10 22 62 77 -15 52
19 Sutcroft 46 15 6 25 53 83 -30 51
20 The Hanged Man 46 11 15 20 30 47 -17 48
21 Kommissar 46 10 18 18 45 73 -28 48
22 Alliance Barossia 46 10 16 20 36 50 -14 46
23 Barossia United 46 10 10 26 29 62 -33 40
24 Martella Jazz 46 9 10 27 42 81 -39 37

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Ox River United 46 31 8 7 69 31 +38 101
2 Falston United 46 28 11 7 88 41 +47 95
3 Corinthians No Longer 46 26 8 12 81 49 +32 86
4 Ballardine FC 46 24 10 12 90 53 +37 82

5 Boltcroft Thorns 46 23 12 11 99 49 +50 81
6 Kensey Town 46 22 12 12 66 44 +22 78
7 Aries Solitaire 46 22 9 15 91 70 +21 75
8 West Hook 46 21 11 14 57 51 +6 74
9 South Parrhesia 46 21 9 16 78 69 +9 72
10 Gosmouth Swans 46 16 13 17 73 69 +4 61
11 Long Lake 46 16 13 17 43 44 -1 61
12 Brokenarch 46 16 12 18 55 54 +1 60
13 Hartford Glade 46 14 18 14 63 67 -4 60
14 Falston Town 46 17 7 22 52 70 -18 58
15 Mapleford 46 16 9 21 56 72 -16 57
16 Rushe United 46 17 6 23 59 77 -18 57
17 Sutcroft Athletic 46 14 14 18 51 57 -6 56
18 Boleyn Town 46 16 8 22 36 54 -18 56
19 Pravenna Saints 46 13 9 24 46 65 -19 48
20 Sirencall FC 46 13 9 24 50 80 -30 48
21 FC Seierstad 46 12 10 24 54 86 -32 46
22 Ringway 46 13 6 27 47 79 -32 45
23 Bodkin Road 46 10 12 24 47 81 -34 42
24 Brookway Town 46 9 8 29 45 84 -39 35

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ingram Township 38 23 8 7 62 24 +38 77
2 Gridlock 38 20 15 3 52 24 +28 75

3 Iberia Chenoworth 38 20 7 11 94 59 +35 67
4 Fischer 38 19 10 9 62 32 +30 67
5 Fully Sick XI 38 18 12 8 73 55 +18 66
6 Crownsend Journey 38 17 11 10 61 52 +9 62
7 Grovebank 38 17 8 13 48 44 +4 59
8 Sleetwell Rangers 38 15 9 14 54 55 -1 54
9 Stonesthrow Town 38 13 13 12 30 38 -8 52
10 Fenland Albion 38 14 7 17 35 36 -1 49
11 Dross Rovers 38 14 6 18 45 56 -11 48
12 Lockheed Zenith 38 13 8 17 55 59 -4 47
13 Harrington 38 12 10 16 51 52 -1 46
14 Swag Hill Rovers 38 11 13 14 56 76 -20 46
15 AFC Brackwold 38 11 10 17 47 52 -5 43
16 Courser 38 12 6 20 37 48 -11 42
17 AFC Hellerine 38 10 10 18 37 56 -19 40
18 Capricopia Rangers 38 10 9 19 39 56 -17 39
19 Gridlock East 38 10 9 19 33 63 -30 39
20 Nay Town 38 7 7 24 38 72 -34 28

Promoted: Aspen Grove, Coleman Ridge

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Downsparrow 38 28 1 9 74 41 +33 85
2 Brunyard FC 38 23 8 7 61 35 +26 77

3 Rochford Pilgrims 38 22 7 9 80 42 +38 73
4 Stamper Road 38 21 7 10 68 43 +25 70
5 Brookford Vantablack 38 18 13 7 72 39 +33 67
6 Blaze 38 21 4 13 72 44 +28 67
7 South Brill 38 18 10 10 47 36 +11 64
8 Coral Bay 38 17 9 12 56 53 +3 60
9 Rhyburn Swifts 38 17 8 13 66 55 +11 59
10 Rookwall 38 13 10 15 35 44 -9 49
11 The Travellers FC 38 13 9 16 59 63 -4 48
12 AFC Burchess 38 12 10 16 40 47 -7 46
13 AFC Volksgarten 38 11 9 18 36 51 -15 42
14 Gridlock Rovers 38 11 9 18 40 65 -25 42
15 Mainstream Fist 38 10 10 18 35 56 -21 40
16 Corby Hubris 38 11 7 20 45 72 -27 40
17 Twelvetrees 38 10 8 20 38 56 -18 38
18 Corvistone City 38 9 10 19 34 47 -13 37
19 Sandrock 38 7 10 21 26 50 -24 31
20 Senway Town 38 5 7 26 37 82 -45 22

Promoted: Autumnstone, Constance Park
Last edited by Nephara on Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:23 pm

Season 71 Preview


League Finish: 4th
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: Cherryfields (25,000)
Nickname: the Gargoyles
Captain: Quin Markranstadt
Top Scorers: Lazarou (20), Muscat (19), Rouseff, Lake (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Connell (24); 2 - Dreyfuss (26), 19 - Giatrakis (24), 4 - Naess (28), 6 - Markranstadt (29, c); 21 - Tanner (25), 17 - Ward (26), 11 - Lake (26); 7 - Lazarou (22), 9 - Muscat (25), 10 - Conrad (22)
In: Brandon Connell (AFC Serpentine, 2.5m), Emeraude Tanner (Hussards, 1.25m), Retta Conrad (Miners FC, 700k)
Promoted: Cassandra Posipal (LB, 20)
Out: Arran Grey (Hackett, 1.25m), Ash Carter (Extreme Hills, 750k), Jocasta Searle (Titania Rovers, free), Cristoph Heidel (Force Olloix, free)

70: 1Div - 4th - 79 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 9th - 69 pts
68: 1Div - 16th - 53 pts
67: Premier - 23rd - 38 pts - Relegated
66: 1Div - 4th - 84 pts - Promoted

A season of two halves, Belgrave were surprising title contenders in the first half of the season before a dramatic collapse in the home stretch was salvaged in injury time on the last day of the season, Alexandra Lazarou's winner against Chenoworth Rovers hauling them into fourth. They then beat Diamondqueen 2-1 in the playoff.

Underwhelming. Brandon Connell is a solid young goalkeeper whose progressive distribution lets him fit right in here, while Tanner and the ambitious Conrad are more obscure but could turn out to be genuine bargains. Grey is a somewhat surprising departure, but none of the others should hurt too badly.

Meriadoc Griffiths was recruited from Kingsgrove's academy, and is thought to have turned down an offer to become their manager in the offseason - or at least delayed it for a year. He plays very much in that same style, with a high line, reliant on possession to go forward assertively and pass teams to death, with pace and width to add bite.

Former Treason rightback Sansa Dreyfuss is possibly the team's best player. A properly Nepharim fullback, with quick overlapping runs and a real eye for a cross, Dreyfuss times her runs to perfection and never lets the team down defensively, either. And she's chalked up one hell of a right-sided partnership with...

Alexandra Lazarou has it all to succeed at this level. The 22-year old winger has real flair, and it's not just for show. Tall, lean and elegant on the ball, she drifts inside and shoots with genuine venom, with the pace and the creative mind to be a thorn in any team's side. There's even some talk of a callup for the national team, though it's likely a little premature.

Drusilla Naess was clearly talented but looked out of her depth the last time the Gargoyles were here. Now 28, she's evolved into an island of calm in the heart of Belgrave's defence. Diana Lake is one of those players who just looks so at ease on the ball, a deathly calm metronome with panoramic vision and a feathery touch. Ilary Muscat, up front, is a clinical goalscorer. That may be it, but it's good enough.

Worse teams than Belgrave have stayed up in the past, and Griffiths has shown he can squeeze far more than the sum from this set of parts. It's doubtful, however, that there is the spine to succeed at this level.

Manager: Meriadoc Griffiths (BRE)
Asst. Manager: Barry Kursch
Goalkeepers: 1 - Portia Bittroff, 20 - Brandon Connell, 25 - Odessa Bonds
Defenders: 2 - Sansa Dreyfuss, 3 - Milos Roth, 4 - Drusilla Naess, 5 - Dion Stepton, 6 - Quin Markranstadt (c), 18 - Journey Flintoff, 19 - Vasiliki Giatrakis, 24 - Cassandra Posipal
Midfielders: 8 - Espen Whyte, 11 - Diana Lake, 14 - Matilda Hamilton, 17 - Sigmar Ward, 21 - Emeraude Tanner (EFL), 22 - Detlef Konstantin
Forwards: 7 - Alexandra Lazarou, 9 - Ilary Muscat, 10 - Retta Conrad (CMT), 12 - Constance Strober, 13 - Sylvia Rouseff, 15 - Meredith Sloan, 16 - Ismael Hauer


League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Runners-up
Stadium: Crossgate (23,000)
Nickname: the Bishops
Captain: Ansel Penbrooke
Top Scorers: Coffey, Penbrooke (11), Mersiades (8), Jensen (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Scannell (35); 2 - Canady (26), 19 - Ierardi (29), 5 - Rosenbauer (30), 3 - Shore (22); 4 - Bezemer (25), 13 - Driver (21); 12 - Huyton (22), 7 - Mersiades (29), 17 - Feisser (26); 10 - Penbrooke (c)
In: Ingrid Feisser (Parrhesia United, 3m), Deshawn Ierardi (KT Moreacerua, 2.25m), Faiza Huyton (Hussards, 1m)
Promoted: Connor Wettin (LB, 19)
Out: Roxana Coffey (OAS Royal FC, 6m), Alcander Visser (Starling, 4.5m), Lithe Bronwyne (Coret Hawks, 2.5m), Perilous Whiteside (Stonegrave, 1.25m), Karlene Sitz (Kelsy Merchants, free)

First Division Champions (58)

70: Premier - 19th - 45 pts
69: Premier - 13th - 58 pts
68: Premier - 10th - 70 pts
67: Premier - 12th - 64 pts
66: Premier - 14th - 63 pts

The Cardinals had a pretty rough time of things last time around, dangerously floating in and out of relegation trouble before finally pulling away just before the final matchday. Things were better in the Cup, at least, where they reached the final before losing 2-1 to Starling. Still one to forget.

A barely-mitigated disaster. Their best players, the winger Coffey, the stalwart defender Visser and the capable young fullback Bronwyne were all sold on to better sides, while Karlene Sitz, their flash of inspiration, left on a free. In their place, Ingrid Feisser is doubtlessly talented but physically fragile and has flattered to deceive at Premiership level, and Faiza Huyton on the other wing is an unknown from the Legaskari. Ierardi looks to be a good pickup, though, a solid, versatile defender from Mozi. Still, grim tidings on the whole.

Monica Brightwater also left after her contract expired, and was replaced by former Llamaland assistant manager Conan Estelline. Estelline's an interesting sort who believes in using statistics to gain an edge. He's already picked a fight with the board after letting Coffey and Visser go. He looks likely to continue Brightwater's patient possession play, only this time with a more solid spine in a favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.

Ansel Penbrooke was dogged by injury last season, and sometimes wasn't starting even when fully fit. But he's had a clean bill of health this preseason and all signs from camp are that the 33-year old is now back to being the first name on the teamsheet. The only real natural goalscorer the Cardinals have, but he's proven his ability to find the net at every level he's played at.

Alyss Driver was quietly impressive last season, but in a very loud way, constantly in everyone's face and constantly on the ball, one of the few players on the team to reliably get things moving forward in possession. She only made twelve starts last season, mostly in the second half, but seems to have impressed Estelline in a box-to-box role.

35-year old fan favourite Rebecca Scannell is another veteran who looks to have been restored to starting in preseason after a flaky season from the incumbent Risdon. Excellent a few years ago, she's clearly slowed since - will her anticipation make up for it? The central defence of Ierardi and the quietly cool Rosenbauer is a nice steel-and-silk match ahead of her. And Juliet Bezemer is probably the player who had the best time of it last season, impressing in the role of coolly callous destroyer in the finest Nepharim tradition.

Maybe Estelline fixes everything. Maybe the new formation and new wingers click perfectly, maybe Scannell and Penbrooke recapture their best form. Chances are, though, this was an already pretty mediocre team that just sold their two best players, and arguably their third and fourth. In their eighth consecutive top-flight season, the Cardinals look to be sleep-walking to the drop.

Manager: Conan Estelline (SLL)
Asst. Manager: Karl Moser
Goalkeepers: 1 - Rebecca Scannell, 20 - Connor Risdon, 25 - Julian Alderweiss
Defenders: 2 - Amelia Canady, 3 - Kirsten Shore, 5 - Joscelyn Rosenbauer, 6 - Darren Crinion, 18 - Kearney Smith, 19 - Deshawn Ierardi (AUD), 24 - Andrey Mincham, 34 - Connor Wettin
Midfielders: 4 - Juliet Bezemer, 7 - Corinne Mersiades, 8 - Chloe Asquith, 11 - Odette Longstocking, 12 - Faiza Huyton (EFL), 13 - Alyss Driver, 15 - Gared Kuepher, 17 - Ingrid Feisser, 22 - Jacqui Milligan, 23 - Nicki Reed
Forwards: 9 - Lysander Corsell, 10 - Ansel Penbrooke (SLL, c), 21 - Ulrike Jensen


League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Portsgate (57,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Jonathan Bosetti
Top Scorers: Scotti (27), Conjure (24), Dragana (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Morales (25); 2 - Brymora (26), 6 - Magnozzi (24), 5 - Windtide (26), 3 - Close (21); 12 - Montague (30), 21 - Soederquist (28, c), 10 - Conjure (27); 15 - Bartley (26), 9 - Scotti (29), 14 - Dragana (28)
In: Malachi Chalk (Southfell United, 5m)
Promoted: Morena Deventer (LW, 19), Claudia Martane (RW, 21), Gerik Morlock (CB, 20)
Out: Osman Candelo (Shamrock Cathair, 5m), Jess Silkman (AFC Corvistone, 4.5m), Axel Fauler (Bunyoro RSC, free), Banquo Chrysler (FC Einheit Marnau, free)

6 Premiership titles (53, 54, 55, 61, 62, 70)
NFA Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

70: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
69: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC
68: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC
67: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC
66: Premier - 8th - 74 pts

The drought is over! The Sabrefell sides matched them step for step early in the season, then a late charge from Crisisbless put hearts in mouths... but finally made sure of the title on the last day of the season, with a come-from-behind win over the Harriers.

The Dockers opened the transfer window with the footballing commerce equivalent of slamming a dead cat onto the table. Sixty-five million on Bryger Tidesson. Real Azuris' eyes lit up with dollar signs. Tidesson's did not, citing the understandable desire to play one last full season with almost all his siblings. So Malachi Chalk, decent young player coming off a good season... kind of overshadowed by a transfer that didn't even happen. Candelo and Silkman depart, players who'd done a lot of strong work in the past but were now in their 30s, with local talents Fauler and Chrysler released. The latter, a young winger, somewhat unfortunate for Brinemouth - he was supposedly surplus to requirements. Assuming Tidesson showed up. By the time he didn't, Chrysler had already left. Of those promoted, keep an eye on Deventer.

Lujendra Mescalin aims to dominate every game in every single metric - physical, tactical, territorial, psychological. It's demanding as hell, but he has the cattle for it, with a squad that's as industrious as it is technically gifted. Defensively solid, and confident in their high pressing, but mostly they aim to overwhelm their opponents from the front.

Evelyn Conjure remains arguably the world's greatest player. The Platonic ideal of the box-to-box, all-action midfielder, who manages to combine that with a wonderful ability to make the play, the industry and intelligence to anchor the midfield and the ability to shoot powerfully and accurately with either foot. Isn't traditionally considered a goalscorer. Well, wasn't. She netted 24 from 40 appearances in the league last season, including a perfect record on penalties.

It has to be said that this is a side that's grown old together.But one of the less obvious aspects of Mescalin's team-building is the way he took the former backup goalkeeper, Juan Pablo Morales, and built him up into the consummate modern stopper he is. Sweeper, distributor, shot-stopper, commander - he's an army knife of a goalkeeper, and at 25 he's got plenty left in the tank.

Another Ceni international in Miri Windtide is the star of the defence, an underrated signing last season whose ability to calmly, confidently and intelligently marshal a high defensive line was pivotal to Brinemouth's success. It's common to have a pure destroyer anchoring the midfield in Nephara, but Stig Soederquist is no such butcher, though he does count butchery as one of the skills in his toolkit. But he's more an all-rounder, a slightly more robust but less technical counter to Conjure. They complement one another well. Up front, Pablo Scotti... scores goals. Sure, he's tall, strong, mobile and holds up the ball well, but... he scores goals. 27 of them in the league, last season, and he's second-favourite to get the Iron Boot this time around.

The Dockers can defend their title, and they'll certainly be expected to by their own fans and board. But their inability to get that marquee signing to push them over the line into invincibility... that might cost them dear.

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 - Gerik Morlock, 19 - Moxie Crowe, 22 - Gianluigi Calabrese (OSR)
Midfielders: 4 - Jonathan Bosetti (VLD, c), 8 - Malachi Chalk, 10 - Evelyn Conjure (SCT), 11 - Ilona Duerden, 12 - Alyss Montague (CMT), 21 - Stig Soederquist (COS), 23 - Lacuna Harlequin
Forwards: 7 - Claudia Martane, 9 - Pablo Scotti (VLD), 11 - Jess Silkman, 14 - Jazmin Dragana (CMT), 15 - Kyron Bartley (OSR), 16 - Sven Ascalon, 17 - Iori Saitou (HIN), 32 - Morena Deventer


League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers, the Reds
Captain: Diogenes Kutris
Top Scorers: Loeher (14), Rexmont (13), Crowther (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Sheffield (30); 18 - Guiliani (29), 19 - Carroll (24), 19 - Dmitriev (24), 3 - Rouphos (22); 4 - Christensen (23), 12 - Kutris (30, c); 7 - Crowther (23), 8 - Sanna (28), 11 - Rexmont (28); 17 - Braugher (24)
In: Valery Dmitriev (KT Moreazerua, 3.5m)
Promoted: Gwen Kite (LB, 18)
Out: Hesterine Mercator (Tihon Tide, 6.5m), Francesca Marquon (Titania Rovers, free), Jascha Bekkwaters (Linlake 1709, free)

First Division title (64)

70: Premier - 8th - 76 pts
69: Premier - 8th - 75 pts
68: Premier - 6th - 68 pts - GC
67: Premier - 4th - 82 pts - CC
66: Premier - 7th - 60 pts

A decent season for the Harriers, but ultimately disappointing - defeat to Brinemouth on the final day saw them unable to overhaul Newrook City into 7th. Excellent at the back, they lacked bite up front.

A poor window for the Harriers who for the second time in a row aimed really high in their choice of striker (Zeale-Riddick last time, Oskar Holsteiner this) and didn't get them. Their backup plan, Daniel Costa, fell through as well, which means that 24-year old Angela Braugher (transfer listed initially by request after getting wind she wasn't planned to start regularly...) will have to prove she has what it takes. Dmitriev's a good signing, though, one of the better players at a Mozi side currently cleaning out. The unfortunate but understandable decision was made to just sell promising young goalkeeper Mercator, while long-standing club servant Bekkwaters and former prime candidate in the 'best-uncapped-Nepharim-player' stakes Francesca Marquon are both released.

John Sedder's done an excellent job keeping the Harriers competitive, hammering an intense work ethic into his players. Everyone has to keep up their defensive shift, everyone has to press hard for the ball. Tactically, they're flexible, keeping back in a tight block where necessary to protect a lead, but hustling forward as a voracious pack for their goals. It's an athletic, hard-working side more than a technical one, though there's no lack of creativity in their attacking midfield.

Steven Rexmont is the side's star, and it's been satisfying to watch his meteoric rise. A stocky, forceful winger, Rexmont's blend of directness, stamina and close control means he'll be a constant threat down the flank for ninety minutes, also willing to cut inside where necessary. He'll also lead by example, pressing hard from the front and tackling hard to put pressure on the opposing back line. At 28, he's at his peak.

Angela Braugher's 24, and a mildly proven quantity at this level. But the sheer amount of target she's put on her own back ensures her as the one to watch for the Harriers this season. "I've got no sweat at all about not signing another striker, and nor should the fans," she said in an interview, days after the window shut. "I know I can produce. I've always known it. It's about bloody time I get the chance to show it." Tall, strong and energetic, Braugher's got to prove she can live up to her own hype. The Harriers' season depends on it.

There were some murmurs that Mercator should start between the posts. Markus Sheffield smothered them with the best performance of his career, rock-solid, acrobatic and omnipresent. Diogenes Kutris is the new captain after Marquon's departure, a hard taskmaster in midfield, providing a firm foundation for the creative players. Bonifacio Sanna, meanwhile, had a middling season last time around, interrupted by a couple of injuries. If he can get back to his best, though, he's the surging, driving fulcrum of the attack, no passive playmaker but very much active in the downfall of his opponents.

A strong performance would see the Harriers in the top seven, and it's hardly impossible to see them reach a top four position. But more likely, they just seem to be sliding a little bit. Top ten for sure, but perhaps not the first name bolting into the Globe Cup.

Manager: John Sedder (SCT)
Asst. Manager: Henrick Barden
Goalkeepers: 1 - Leonard Patterson (AUD), 20 - Markus Sheffield (SLL), 25 - Theold Bracewell
Defenders: 2 - Reinhard Armstrong, 3 - Nike Rouphos, 5 - Victoria Carroll, 6 - Matthew Braylock, 16 - Alisara Crowe, 18 - Alessandra Guiliani (OSR), 19 - Valery Dmitriev (AUD), 35 - Gwen Kite
Midfielders: 4 - Katja Christensen, 7 - Brae Crowther (BRE), 8 - Bonifacio Sanna (OSR), 11 - Steven Rexmont (SCT), 12 - Diogenes Kutris (c), 13 - Charybdis Kou, 14 - Harriet Skiff, 15 - Micah Horner, 21 - Monica Bairstow, 23 - Soren Coleman
Forwards: 9 - Nikita Loeher, 17 - Angela Braugher, 22 - Sequel Bathanay


League Finish: 12th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Cormak Lethbridge
Top Scorers: Henderson (16), Ulster (15), Skapetis (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Lethbridge (33, c); 2 - Sorrell (28), 5 - Pavlovic (28), 6 - Valkanis (33), 3 - Bronwyne (25); 7 - Skapetis (22), 21 - Nikolaidis (27), 23 - Achaion (25), 16 - Draxler (28); 9 - Henderson (24), 15 - Ulster (29)
In: Dario Pavlovic (Diamondqueen, 3.5m), Lithe Bronwyne (Bishop, 2.5m)
Promoted: Sigmund Ambrose (ST, 19), Constance Best (CM, 20), Malta Stark (GK, 19)
Out: Medea Tsicaderis (AFC Treason, 4m), Jenny McDonald (Bara Waves, 2m), Trinity Plantagenet (Astro FC, free), Jorge Santana (Marianopolis, free)
Retired: Russ Beresford (GK, 37)

First Division title (56)

70: Premier - 12th - 65 pts
69: Premier - 12th - 61 pts
68: Premier - 8th - 81 pts
67: Premier - 13th - 62 pts
66: Premier - 16th - 60 pts

Midtable all season. Nothing to report.

As has become the regrettable norm of late for the Hawks, the transfer window taketh away as much as it giveth. Specifically, they lose their itinerant leftback, Medea Tsicaderis. Over the past seven years, Tsicaderis has somehow gone through six clubs - Project +90, North Laithland (for two whole seasons!), Chatswood, Creed United, Coret Hawks and now Treason. They pick up the clever fullback Bronwyne as a replacement, and the sturdy defender Pavlovic as a handy bonus. Unfortunately, this came at the further cost of their captain, McDonald, who, while old, was still... well, a lynchpin of the Schottic national team in her heyday. Santana leaves having made an impact, Plantagenet leaves despite... not, and Beresford retires after a respectable career as a high-class journeyman shot-stopper.

Jessica Loque was unable to single-handedly save Coret's slide, but has at least managed to save her own job with careful management of expectations. They are not the most complicated side in the world, a solid spine down the middle hoping to give its wingers the chance to shine. Issue is they don't really have many outstanding talents, and no creativity in the centre. But it does the job.

The Brigadier - or, less flattering but more physically accurate, Spider - Cormak Lethbridge, is the heroic captain and everpresent force between the sticks for the Hawks. Any cross in his vague vicinity will be effortlessly plucked out of the sky and clutched safely to the chest, but he's more than just a tall bloke - his shot-stopping's not been diminished at all by age, and he gets down fast for a 33-year old.

Atalanta Skapetis is the main creative presence of the team, mostly because she's one of those players who has never had the edges sanded off her. Lanky, lofty and quick on her feet, she goes hard and fast at all opportunities, always trying to make something happen. Plays a little more like a freestyler than a footballer at times, but it works for her. Unfailingly confident.

Skapetis is helped by the overlapping runs of Talisca Sorrell behind her, a small, level-headed attacking fullback who excels at more conventional wing play. Her crosses are lethal, and she's sharp at the back, too. Nikolaidis is a tough-talking, tough-tackling midfielder, known as much for his thunderous shots at goal from well outside the box as he is for needlessly mouthing off at referees. You really have to make your own fun at Coret. Ivana Henderson, meanwhile, continues to sharpen her striker credentials, a big, athletic target woman who's starting to find a penchant for neatly flicked headers into the ceiling of the net. And, weirdly, backheeled assists. Three last season in the league alone.

The side simply isn't of the pedigree and catchment to be a Globe Cup squad. Barring a truly fantastic season, granted - they're better than That Starling Side, after all. Not going down, though.

Manager: Jessica Loque
Asst. Manager: Claire Antioch
Goalkeepers: 1 - Cormak Lethbridge (COS, c), 12 - Mariam Brookhouse, 30 - Malta Stark
Defenders: 2 - Talisca Sorrell, 3 - Lithe Bronwyne, 5 - Dario Pavlovic (PAS), 6 - Eva Valkanis, 17 - Amalie Sulzer, 18 - Barack Schuyler, 19 - Alexis Rudkine, 24 - Thorsten Croft
Midfielders: 4 - Spyros Achaion, 7 - Atalanta Skapetis, 8 - Beatrice Stubbs, 11 - Leila Crowford, 14 - Thanasi Holland, 16 - Trifon Draxler, 21 - Athanasios Nikolaidis, 23 - Constance Best
Forwards: 9 - Ivana Henderson, 10 - Dani Harper, 15 - Tarquin Ulster, 22 - Kasmeer Jewell, 32 - Sigmund Ambrose


League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: the Crows
Captain: Nechtan Malley
Top Scorers: Stanford (14), Afolayan (12), Morham (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Veloz (32); 2 - Muhren (26), 5 - Tatu (32), 18 - Heston (25), 3 - Helland (26); 23 - Pangallo (27), 6 - Lekea (23), 11 - Morham (24, c); 7 - Afolayan (26), 17 - Stanford (29), 10 - Silkman (30)
In: Jess Silkman (Brinemouth, 4.5m), Calcipher Heston (Starling, 3m)
Promoted: Bryce Leicester (CM, 19), Erica Manson (RW, 20), Cass Rayle (ST, 19), Silvester Streeton (RB, 20)
Out: Cahir Treal (Delancey Gunners, free), Jack Brier (Bara Waves, free), Madison Rojas (206 Mitche, free), Cyan Keylor (Lionsgate National, free)
Retired: Paul Bismarck (CM, 35), Emery Hastings (RB, 35)

70: Premier - 15th - 58 pts
69: 1Div - 2nd - 89 pts - Promoted
68: 1Div - 5th - 76 pts
67: 2Div - 3rd - 84 pts - Promoted
66: 2Div - 11th - 68 pts

Unfortunately, the Crows were safe, and easily safe, throughout last season. They could only watch and envy the Spiders from below, but still, Evatee fulfilled the basic criterion for the season; 'stay up, comfortably'.

No big splashy transfers from outside the league, but they were happy to pick up the scraps of actual good teams. Jess Silkman's a marquee purchase, a known quality at this level, sometimes pigeonholed as an orthodox winger but with a creative spirit that's often underrated. Heston's a big, burly defender with slightly questionable concentration, and should still tighten things up at the back. Treal, Brier and Rojas leave, experienced forwards who were essential in promoting the Crows, discarded in the traditional Corvistone callous way, as well as the defender Keylor. Bismarck and Hastings, experienced players with very good, respectable Premiership careers, retire.

Evatee's impressed Corvistone's ambitious board. He hasn't managed to keep up with their ambitious targets, but has evidently kept himself afloat behind the scenes, done as well as could be expected. His side is effective, and that's obviously important, but they play a progressive, confident style of football, mixing pace with technique, and a lot of flair. Entertaining and effective.

Krista Morham is linked deeply with this club, probably deeper than any other player. Her international career has suffered as a result of her work with the club, helping drag them up from the Second Division. Morham's a typical Schottic midfielder, in that she's everywhere, all the time, the constant link between phases of play with an eye for goal on top of that. The fans love her.

It's hardly been one of the more stunning transfers, but at some stage Crows picked up teenage Eastfielder defender Ilyana Brosch. They don't exactly have an established catchment area for their own youth, but Brosch might sort of count as a youth product. Arguably. In any case, she's a cool, composed defender, very intelligent and maturing very, very quickly. 20 years old, she could well push Tatu for his starting place this season.

It's hard not to point to their forwards. Four of their forwards cost nearly 20 million combined. Silkman fits in seamlessly to the existing platoon. Afolayan's a fast, physical and decisive winger, all-action but with the flair to back it up, looking very comfortable at this level. Robby Stanford's a consummate, ruthless finisher, good with hold-up play as well. Alyssa Haight, snapped up for 4m last season, is a versatile, professional forward, capable of playing across the front three, with experience in a variety of leagues worldwide. Four into three does go - given the intensity of the Premiership, it's essential to keep people fresh.

It's not impossible to imagine the Crows making a Globe Cup push, though they'd always be an unlikely shot to make the grade. They're definitely too good to go down, barring a spectacular collapse and sheaf of injuries.

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 - Ilyana Brosch, 5 - Gerrit Tatu (CMT), 18 - Calcipher Heston, 19 - Parvizdzhon Borrowfield (ISK), 22 - Morgan Halfhill, 24 - Silvester Streeton
Midfielders: 6 - Indartsu Lekea (AST), 11 - Krista Morham (SCT), 13 - Nechtan Malley (BSE, c), 21 - Rain Delacruz (BJK), 23 - Ivan Pangallo (AUD), 33 - Bryce Leicester
Forwards: 7 - Chibuzo Afolayan (BNJ), 9 - Markus Kaufmann, 10 - Jess Silkman, 15 - Erica Manson, 17 - Robby Stanford (ESH), 20 - Alyssa Haight, 34 - Cass Rayle


League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Semifinals
Stadium: Gardengate (26,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Captain: Georgia Rodrigues
Top Scorers: Korborg (14), Accardi (9), Bristoll (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Matraxis (24); 17 - Wright (24), 19 - Rodrigues (27, c), 4 - Cohen (29), 3 - Reisman (27); 21 - Brandtner (22), 6 - Keskin (22), 8 - Bristoll (25); 7 - Conway (21), 13 - Korborg, 16 - Theoharous
In: Mordecai Brandtner (AFC Treason, 3m), Joel Conway (Nukon, 2m)
Promoted: Petrarch Karaiskakis (LW, 18), Anita Sanger (RB, 19), Irene Vintner (DM, 20), Lothar Zander (CM, 19)
Out: Raquel Accardi (AFC Treason, 6m), Ulysses Mithradates (Brookford Otters, 2.75m), Karena Braham (Greygate, free), Kristian Comiskey (Battlebrook United, free), Pandora Dukakis (Marvel Team, free), Karena Bittner (Titania City, free)

First Division title (61)

70: Premier - 17th - 50 pts
69: Premier - 16th - 54 pts
68: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
67: Premier - 9th - 69 pts
66: Premier - 10th - 69 pts

Catherine Locklear's safe, stable hands turned into melting cardboard at the wheel, sleepwalking into the abyss. She was axed after sixteen disastrous matches, replaced by reserve coach Helena Fleischer, who couldn't steady the ship. Hestia Canaan, who had been unable to keep Brookford up (though did win the Cup on the way down), was the final Hail Mary, basically the only manager willing to take the job. She took over just over halfway through the season, Creed having won just twice. They won eleven of her 22 matches, finished ten points clear of the drop and only missed out on the NFA Cup Final on a penalty shootout.

Unsurprisingly, Raquel Accardi - by a distance their best player - flees to Treason. Who, admittedly, didn't have such a crash-hot season themselves. Canaan's shift in formation meant that strikers Mithradates and teenaged Comiskey were surplus to requirements, while Braham, Dukakis and Bittner were deemed to be well past their best. Sharp, athletic young midfielder Mordecai Brandtner comes in from the Stags (an unconnected deal to the more protracted Accardi transfer), while promises of first-team football lured the lethal winger Conway, with a great football IQ for his age, here instead of to Athletic.

Creed didn't really have a style before. Now, Canaan has them with a solid identity, a team that is solid at the back and presses hard for the ball all over the pitch, playing it along the ground. They aren't the fastest team in the league, by any means - Canaan would probably prefer them to be, like her Otters were. But instead she's been left with a very tall, strong, solid team, and the lethal set pieces of Conway are going to be a serious Plan B for them.

Georgia Rodrigues has only sporadically been convincing for Creed - she was dreadful in the first half of last season, though she was of course hardly alone in that. But when Fleischer took over, she seemed to settle, and when Canaan was brought in she really took charge, leading by example as the Oathmen charged to safety. She's been rewarded with the armband. A very intelligent, classy, confident defender at her best.

Anyta Sanger is the pick of the recent academy graduates. A rather sour-looking fullback, lanky, slouchy and indifferent... but when pushing forward on the wing, she comes alive. She always seems to make the right runs at the right time, remarkable for her age, and is an uncompromising, deceptively muscular bulwark defensively. Could she win a regular starting place over the capable but fairly average Wright?

Anthoulis Matraxis' gloves were sieves in the first half of the season, but like Rodrigues, he was injured around when Canaan took over. Like Rodrigues, when he came back, he stood up to be counted, an excellent acrobatic shot-stopper. Kurtis Bristoll is a strong, tough midfielder who loves to bomb forward, and really thrived in the freedom the formation change afforded him, specialising in late drives into the box. Axel Korborg is something of a flaky player, but when on song, he can change matches with a click of the fingers and a moment of magic.

Could the Oathmen crash and burn again? Probably not. But maybe.

Manager: Hestia Canaan
Asst. Manager: Jennifer Hooper
Goalkeepers: 1 - Byron Caldwick, 12 - Anthoulis Matraxis, 20 - Eupraxia Teuton
Defenders: 3 - Ash Reisman, 4 - Micaiah Cohen, 5 - Valeria (USI), 17 - Agamemnon Wright, 18 - Arran Marr, 19 - Georgia Rodrigues (SLL, c), 22 - Mircea Boleyn, 34 - Anyta Sanger
Midfielders: 6 - Spahi Keskin, 8 - Kurtis Bristoll, 14 - Irene Vintner, 15 - Sophia Beckner, 21 - Mordecai Brandtner, 32 - Lothar Zander
Forwards: 7 - Joel Conway (EUR), 9 - Valentin Vettriano (AUD), 10 - Justina Donau, 13 - Axel Korborg (SLL), 16 - Menelaus Theoharous, 23 - Conan McMillan (TLI), 31 - Petrarch Karaiskakis


League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Isaia Urso
Top Scorers: Ruhl (19), Jevdjevic-Hadsic (17), Urso (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Marciak (34); 2 - Rafford (25), 5 - Molovi (32), 4 - Bajnok (24), 3 - Lohengrin (27, c); 11 - Swan (27), 6 - Bronte (27); 12 - Coppinger (25), 15 - Jevdjevic-Hadsic (31), 10 - Staunton (22); 14 - Ruhl (25)
In: Kósa Bajnok (Cypher Town, 6m), Brigitte Coppinger (Vermillion Rage, 5.5m)
Out: Irsa Croxteth (Zakhoro Aces, 4m), Kerem Korkut (Canalave Dragons, 3m)

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

70: Premier - 2nd - 92 pts - CC
69: Premier - 6th - 77 pts - GC
68: Premier - 4th - 87 pts - CC
67: Premier - 3rd - 86 pts - CC
66: Premier - 2nd - 89 pts - CC

The Heelers were approximately nowhere at the halfway mark... but wound up with a mathematical (though not realistically possible) chance at the title on the final matchday, ultimately finishing second. They can also boast the best defence in the league, though they lacked sharpness up front relative to those around them.

Quiet improvements. Croxteth and Korkut are good players, sold on at peak value - intelligent, confident defender Bajnok and decisive winger Coppinger, dynamic ones threatening greatness. Despite rumours of unrest, they were able to keep ahold of Leona Rafford, as well.

Uniquely among the top teams as things stand, where a more aggressive mentality is in vogue, Aidan Brosque preaches a strong-armed, uncompromising defence. Strong down the spine, quick down the flanks, Crisisbless hit hard and play for keeps.

Up front, Airik Ruhl is an extremely angry man. An angry man that's a beast in front of goal, though 19 goals is modest by his standards. He does so much more than that, though - putting stick about, intimidating defenders, pressing high and holding up play. What are his plans for this season? "The Iron Boot!" he boomed to the press. Alllright then.

Marisha Staunton is fast. There are many fast wingers in the Premiership, granted. And Staunton has many faults - her first touch is erratic, she rarely scores - but, Christ, she's always trying, always can be relied upon to keep pushing for that breakthrough. And she's got a wicked cross up her sleeve, which always helps.

Nephara had six leftbacks nominated for the Galacticos longlist. It is a position of some... saturation. And yet Sieglinde Lohengrin is practically uncontested as the one wearing 3 for Nephara - why is that? Because she's just so damn cool, calm and confident, striding down the left, making everything okay. Maeve Bronte is the anchor of the midfield, though that does her some disservice. She's bright, energetic and her passes. Never. Miss. Even at 31, Jevdjevic-Hadsic is still relied upon to keep the attack flowing, and he's got that familiar Farfish improvisation to add to the muscle and grunt Brosque demands.

Winning the league isn't what Crisisbless do. They play the luckless bridesmaids, don't they? Maybe pick up a Cup as consolation. Well... maybe not this year. It's an old side. Stalwarts like Drenas, Tedesco and Urso probably only have another year at the top level. It's going to disintegrate next season. But this... this is Aidan Brosque's time to stamp out the final and most pervasive albatross around the Heelers' neck.

PREDICTION - Champions.
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, 4 - Kósa Bajnok (FFD), 5 - Andrea Molovi (EQS), 13 - Osmosis Gandhi (APX), 18 - Ayn Zwayer, 19 - Amelia Warner, 22 - Henrik Parrish
Midfielders: 6 - Maeve Bronte (PCR), 7 - Birgit Snowe, 8 - Isaia Urso (OSR, c), 10 - Marisha Staunton, 11 - Allison Swan (CEN), 12 - Brigitte Coppinger, 15 - Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic (FFD), 16 - Lienke Vesper, 20 - Delphi Barbarouses, 21 - Lauro Tedesco (OSR), 26 - Johanna Sutton
Forwards: 9 - Tia Drenas (EFL), 14 - Airik Ruhl (COS), 17 - Kurtis Laiota
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Postby Nephara » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:14 pm


League Finish: Champions (First Division)
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chessmen, the Chequers
Captain: Jasmine Stokes
Top Scorers: Rivers (24), Koppel (18), Antelmi (16)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Sparwasser (30); 17 - Bruun (20), 19 - Stokes (26, c), 6 - Banerman (25), 3 - Stamatellis (27); 11 - Theophile (26), 4 - Na’Ryibi (28), 13 - Antelmi (23); 7 - Rivers (23), 21 - Lennox (25), 16 - Novkovic (24)
In: Jessica Lennox (Morningstar, 4m), Karii Bruun (Maal Angels, 2m), Andrya Novkovic (La Gorlions, 2m)
Out: Jasmine Furrier (Armstrong, 1.5m), Tristan Polenz (Cranequin City, 1.25m), Gary Finn (Lazuli Diamonds, free)

First Division title (70)

70: 1Div - 1st - 102 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 8th - 69 pts
68: 1Div - 6th - 78 pts
67: 1Div - 5th - 80 pts
66: 1Div - 12th - 68 pts

31 wins, which is one more win than Brenecia's A-League even has matches. Over a hundred points, over a hundred goals.

And they've made sure to capitalise. Jessica Lennox endured a rough first season in the Premiership with Morningstar, but Betancourt recognises that she's a classy, powerful all-round striker at this level. Metahuman fullback Bruun is tiny by Satyr standards... which is to say, 6'3" and brawny. The 20-year old is considered one of her country's brightest prospects. Novkovic, a headstrong, fiery winger, completes their deals. Furrier and Polenz are good squad players, and have to be sold on to help finance the deals.

You don't usually come back from a four-year hiatus between senior jobs. Andrea Betancourt did. She'd spent that time as assistant at Crisisbless United, having previously only ever had a three-year stint at Goodfeather FC, but when Bronwyn Sadler both joined and left the club in preseason to go to Port Christopher, Betancourt took over at short notice and powered the team to the title. She plays a very intense, attack-minded style, but recognises the need for a more patient approach when pace alone won't do the trick, and in fact her side had the best defence in the second tier.

Jasmine Stokes isn't normally the person you'd look for, but she's the foundation of the side. Tall, intelligent and unfailingly confident, she's not that quick on her feet but makes up for it with a keen sense of anticipation. Confident in possession, and excels at distributing the ball forward, striding into midfield.

23-year old winger Sigrun Rivers was the player of the year last season, and the best is surely yet to come. There were even rumours of a late bid from Brinemouth that didn't end up happening. She's really fast, really energetic... but a lot of wingers are fast and energetic. What sets her apart is utter fearlessness. She always, always backs herself to fix everything on her own... but she's unselfish, too, willing to lay the ball off or cut it back when someone else is better placed for the finish.

Stokes' silk is nicely complemented by Moray Banerman's steel. He looks, acts and tackles like a nightclub bouncer. Zouheir Na'Ryibi was an inspired pickup on a free a few years back for United, and has since grown into a powerful, uncompromising holding midfielder, but also capable of slipping the ball around easily enough. Lukas Antelmi, meanwhile, is a sturdy, stocky midfielder, roaming and forcing his presence on the game wherever he goes.

A very strong promoted team has made strong, confident transfers. They should stay up, without too much difficulty.

Manager: Andrea Betancourt
Asst. Manager: Christian Casparsen
Goalkeepers: 1 - Andreas Sparwasser, 20 - Carla Briarman, 25 - Rebecca Schmidt
Defenders: 2 - Asmir Casserley, 3 - Ixion Stamatellis, 5 - Paul Muswell, 6 - Moray Banerman (SCT), 12 - Laura Naismith, 17 - Karii Bruun (MRN), 18 - Praxil Law, 19 - Jasmine Stokes (c)
Midfielders: 4 - Zouheir Na'Ryibi (COS), 11 - Hippolyta Theophile, 13 - Lukas Antelmi, 14 - Olga Kitzbichler, 16 - Sasha Wheaton, 23 - Bastian Salz
Forwards: 7 - Sigrun Rivers, 9 - Kaija Koppel (SCT), 10 - Markos Schoenauer, 15 - Beth Pike, 16 - Andrya Novkovic (SCT), 21 - Jessica Lennox (SCT), 22 - Fabula Plath


League Finish: 16th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Captain: Catheline Stensholt
Top Scorers: Nygård (13), Tihamer (9), Stensholt, Petridis (5)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Ruo (26); 2 - Hamilton (25), 4 - Hertzka (27), 6 - Brind (28), 3 - Anderton (27); 21 - Stensholt (24, c), 5 - Roben (21), 11 - Frey (27); 10 - McCosgraigh (24); 9 - Tihamer (28), 7 - Nygård (22)
In: Freya McCosgraigh (West Coast Warriors, 3m), Marika Brind (Brookford Otters, 2.5m), Anton Roben (Real Langston FC, 2m)
Promoted: Malte Cairn (CM, 19), Meghan Foerster (CB, 19), Augustine Rahn (ST, 18)
Out: Kósa Bajnok (Crisisbless, 6m), Synod Blake (Stonegrave, free), Elaine Brackwater (Greygate, free), Koen Hochmeister (IFK Liverpool United, free)
Retired: Constantine Beckett (CB, 37), Bianca Condotta (DM, 36)

70: Premier - 16th - 53 pts
69: 1Div - 1st - 101 pts - Promoted
68: 1Div - 11th - 64 pts
67: 1Div - 7th - 73 pts
66: 1Div - 11th - 69 pts

First Division title (69)

Pegged for 16th, basically spent the whole season in 16th, finished 16th. Scored less than a goal a game, but solid defence carried them through.

Standard procedure. Painfully, the Eagles lose their best defender, Kosa Bajnok, to Crisisbless after a single exceptional season. They cut three veterans loose, and lose another two to retirement - the well-travelled cinderblock Beckett, and the calm, collected Condotta, formerly of Crisisbless, whose Indian summer was a joy to watch. They've spent the money on three others. Brind isn't as good as Bajnok, but is a seasoned, intelligent defender all the same, with the versatile Devonta international Roben also bolstering the defence and fluent, inventive and dangerous playmaker McCosgraigh brought in from the SPL after scoring six for the relegated Archers.

Rivka Keaton relies on everyone pulling their weight. Defensively, everyone's drilled to within an inch of their lives, with extensive tactical analysis opponent-by-opponent. She even had a half-hour taped runthrough of Conference West minnows Grovebank, preceding a 4-1 Cup win. Everyone knows their place, and while it doesn't leave much room for creative expression - McCosgraigh aside, and it does isolate her dangerously - it's undeniably been effective.

24-year old Catheline Stensholt has been given the armband following Condotta's retirement. Seems young, sure, mostly because it is. But you can see why she's got the armband - she's all over the pitch, cantering around, shouting, uplifting those around her, leading by example. She's not an exceptional player, technically speaking, but athletic and intelligent enough to make the best of what she has, with a thunderous shot.

Olivia Nygard's a fiery, ambitious Vanorian forward. She had a slow start to life in the Premiership last season but steadily grew in confidence as the season went by. By the end, she was ruthless, finding and exploiting gaps wherever they were found and constantly making dangerous runs across the back, striking up a good partnership with Tihamer. If she can just start the season like that...

Ruo Xiaolan's hard-luck rags-to-riches story has been well-documented enough already. Suffice to say she's an exceptional shot-stopper whose ability to pluck the ball from the corners of the net makes up for her mediocrity in other aspects. Mei Hamilton is a surging rightback who admits that Keaton has drilled discipline into her. She still picks up a caution most games, but has become a defensive bulwark and a threat going forward. Fringe Pasarga international Borbas Tihamer, meanwhile, is a tower of a man, excellent at the hold-up play that the midfield relies on.

More of the same is likely. It's a young side, under a very capable young manager. Whether they're building towards something bigger, or just happy to stay safe, relegation is unlikely.

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, 6 - Marika Brind, 17 - Barth Krueger, 18 - Agate Whitespire, 22 - Kari Bardiche, 34 - Meghan Foerster
Midfielders: 5 - Anton Roben (USD), 8 - Sophia Petridis, 10 - Freya McCosgraigh (SCT), 11 - Vuesala Frey, 15 - Toni Bliss, 19 - Caspar Madine, 21 - Catheline Stensholt (c), 37 - Malte Cairn
Forwards: 7 - Olivia Nygård (VAL), 9 - Borbas Tihamer (PAS), 14 - Cohen Alexander, 23 - Branko Kurz, 36 - Augustine Rahn


League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Steelchurch (32,500)
Nickname: the Quakers
Captain: Marisa Leitner
Top Scorers: Sharpe (12), Jewel (10), Rannon (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Forster (30); 2 - Aviston (25), 18 - Bierofka (27), 5 - Boarspear (26), 3 - Eather (25); 4 - Leitner (28, c), 6 - Dimitar (30), 13 - Case (23); 11 - Rannon (25); 10 - Jewel (26), 7 - Sharpe (25)
In: Ursa Dimitar (Brookford Otters, 1.75m), Gabriel Prosper (Coret Rovers, 1.5m)
Promoted: Juergen Kessler (CB, 20), Radek Weiss (CM, 19)
Out: Adrian Carradine (OGC Nauti, free), Soren Faerstein (Kingsmouth, free), Lexi Farrakhan (Bufelino, free), Diana Lochteth (Battlebrook United, free)

NFA Cup (52)
First Division title (68)

70: Premier - 18th - 51 pts
69: Premier - 18th - 51 pts
68: 1Div - 1st - 91 pts - Promoted
67: 1Div - 9th - 71 pts
66: Premier - 22nd - 37 pts - Relegated

An unremarkable season. They stayed up. They defended well, their forward play was mediocre. They'll be happy enough with that.

Not a lot to say. Everyone knows that if you need a vaguely mid-Premiership quality midfield destroyer, you hire Ursa Dimitar. The Quakers needed a vaguely mid-Premiership quality midfield destroyer. They hired Ursa Dimitar. They also brought in 24-year old striker Gabriel Prosper after an impressive half-season or so, which is a kind of risky proposition. They lose their captain, Carradine, the confidence-shorn Farrakhan and a couple of depth midfielders.

Ezra Stonewaters is a tough-talking, old-school manager in a dour grey coat. Despite that, he plays a disciplined, possession-heavy style, somewhat lacking in dynamism but theoretically making up for it with technique. "Can't concede if you have the ball," he says, which displays how much fun he mustn't be at parties.

Aurora Jewel isn't the most ruthless striker, but she serves a vital role in the side's forward movement. Tall, thickset and powerful, when Jewel takes the ball, it sticks to her like feathers on tar. An undoubted aerial presence gives Goodfeather a handy Plan B as well, of course.

Okay, so 23-year old Falcon Case is kind of a known quantity - a powerful, athletic midfielder, quick to seize the ball, quick to get it moving forward, and confident in possession. One of those players who has an infectious calm when needed, and enforces order on his surroundings.

Forster's an unremarkable shot-stopper, but what sets her apart is her brilliant distribution. An uncanny ability to drop goalkicks onto Jewel's head helped keep the ball out of trouble. Aviston is a tidy, cunning fullback who has a way of being in the right place at the right time. Has a tidy cross on her, but is entirely content to go short as well and link with the midfield. Ulrica Rannon had a poor season last time around by her standards, but is a hard-running, bustling, driving midfielder even on poor days. Even when uninspired, she's always made her presence felt. When inspired, on the other hand, she makes the team click.

The Quakers will be happy enough to keep safe another season, preferably with a decent Cup run attached. But are the goals there to make sure they won't quietly slip into the red zone?

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, 17 - Lewyn Harnwell, 18 - Artur Bierofka, 19 - Juergen Kessler, 22 - Dane Rednic, 24 - Franzi Brill
Midfielders: 4 - Marisa Leitner (c), 6 - Ursa Dimitar, 8 - Florian Schneider, 11 - Ulrica Rannon, 13 - Falcon Case, 16 - Tarry Hareide, 23 - Viktor Key, 39 - Radek Weiss
Forwards: 7 - Corona Sharpe, 9 - Gabriel Prosper, 10 - Aurora Jewel (DRK), 15 - Catheline Durren, 24 - Hansel Fortesquire


League Finish: 20th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Stargazers
Captain: Chiron Amarantidis
Top Scorers: Auttenberg (9), Streiss (5), Hatherton (4)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Stern (27); 5 - Nkembe (30), 2 - Koller (26), 6 - Amarantidis (35, c), 19 - Heisserer (25); 4 - Silverstein (30); 7 - Woodspur (29), 8 - Lienen (26), 13 - Hatherton (25), 16 - Streiss (23); 11 - Auttenberg (29)
In: Mariska Woodspur (AFC Treason, 3.5m)
Promoted: Gerrard Baumann (GK, 20), Radja Martelbach (ST, 20), Rhys Sheldon (CM, 21), Asp Somner (RB, 19)
Out: Jacqui Oldcastle (Fortunas, free), Dante Carvalho (AFC Defence, free), Miralem Fowler (Armstrong, free), Khatuna Voyager (Tarmac, free), Joshua Stirgeon (Astonbury, free)

70: Premier - 20th - 41 pts
69: Premier - 10th - 65 pts
68: 1Div - 3rd - 84 pts
67: 1Div - 6th - 79 pts
66: 1Div - 6th - 79 pts

Can you say 'second-season syndrome'? One season after Andrea Vardalos got a... somewhat optimistic Manager of the Year award, Leichhardt plummeted like a stone. 41 points will get you relegated more often than not. So will 31 goals, which was only one more than Keira Andisori. On her own.

Limited yet again. "I have faith in my squad," said Vardalos firmly, before letting five of them go on frees. Miralem Fowler is probably the saddest of them, among their best players when they were promoted, now in his 30s. Mariska Woodspur's a tidy pickup, though, Treason's first-choice winger and a former Nephara international. The 29-year old is coming off a poor season for the Stags, but it's hoped that her excellent service will revitalise the Stargazers' attack.

In the same press conference, Vardalos admitted a need to open up more, hit teams on the front foot. How precisely to do this, apart from more willingness to shift to two up front from time to time, is unclear. She generally has her players sit deep, defend in low blocks. Whether using pace for counterattacks or bulk for hold-up play up front, and relying from there on their surprisingly technical midfield, depends on the situation. Very well-drilled at set-pieces, too.

Ylissa Hatherton's the most expensive player in Stargazers history, but her impact was sporadic last term. A classy, silky midfielder who excels at through-balls and set pieces and, in theory, shots. But her goal radar was off last season, she was injured a couple of times and her Corvette heritage meant the fans turned on her. Fast. If she can just regain their trust, maybe she can gain confidence in herself, too. And that could make all the difference.

Zuzana Streiss needs a reality check. She seemed to buy a little too far into her own hype last season, a trickster of a winger who just tried to do too much and act too flash. Too often, she'd try to put the world on her shoulders and lose rare, valuable possession. Still, at her best, her lightning pace and foolhardy confidence knits the team's attack together.

Michael Koller is a resolute, powerful defender, with a raw-boned, buzzcut look that means he could pass for a hitman. He's a clean, admirably disciplined defender. Lara Silverstein could probably tell Hatherton a thing or two about making the transition from Corvette - hers has been seamless. She can play all across the back line, but she excels as a tidy, clever anchor woman, diminutive but cunning. Ingrid Auttenberg, meanwhile, needs to get her eye in. The former Starling forward spurned too many chances last season, but she's the athletic, energetic presence up front that they rely on. It's a hard, thankless job, but she seems to relish it.

Hard to say. Could be another stunning top-half finish; could be relegation. Most likely, something in between.

Manager: Andrea Vardalos
Asst. Manager: Elaine Koeller
Goalkeepers: 1 - Raihane Stern, 20 - Shukhrat Kozak (ISK), 25 - Gerrard Baumann
Defenders: 2 - Michael Koller (SCT), 3 - Stavroula Portokalos, 5 - Diligence Nkembe, 6 - Chiron Amarantidis (c), 17 - Marisa Woodruff, 19 - Undine Heisserer, 22 - Providence Mensah, 31 - Asp Somner
Midfielders: 4 - Lara Silverstein, 7 - Mariska Woodspur, 8 - Berit Lienen, 12 - June Hartley, 13 - Ylissa Hatherton, 15 - Annegret Bellinghausen, 16 - Zuzana Streiss, 18 - Concertina Reiziger, 23 - Rhys Sheldon
Forwards: 9 - Luna Nsereko, 11 - Ingrid Auttenberg, 21 - Radja Martelbach


League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Anchorwright Arena (30,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Raquel Woods
Top Scorers: Bothroyd (21), Farrell (17), Marconi (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Hesketh (30); 18 - Pakkanen (25), 5 - Nkembe (30), 6 - Zagorec (28), 11 - Woods (29, c); 24 - Coynborough (25), 4 - Hedlund (22), 13 - Couturiaux (28); 8 - Marconi (24); 7 - Farrell (25), 10 - Bothroyd (29)
In: Will Couturiaux (Olask Islanders, 3.5m)
Promoted: Mikael Acland (CB, 19), Ronan Fallon (DM, 20)
Out: Rafaela Fenchel (Fishermen's Club, free), Luna Traugott (Brookford Otters, free)
Retired: Josie Sutton (DM, 36)

2 NFA Cups (57, 68)

70: Premier - 7th - 77 pts - GC
69: Premier - 9th - 65 pts
68: Premier - 18th - 50 pts - CWC
67: Premier - 19th - 53 pts
66: Premier - 9th - 70 pts

An exceptional season! Andreu Bartolnicci promised UICA... and, to the peanut gallery's surprise, actually delivered it.

Pretty low-key. Bartolnicci announced his intent early on to sign a 'true marquee name' as a central midfielder. Apparently that's Will Couturiaux, a classy and smooth player, the kind who can strike a ball cleanly with either foot from any position. Fenchel and Traugott, solid squad players, are released, and the itinerant hatchet woman Sutton hangs up the boots at 36, leaving a trail of broken bones and devastation in her wake.

Energetic and fluid. Bartolnicci, a young, fiery Cosumarite manager, demands his team press hard and advance through the centre with short, confident passing. When the ball is lost... well, it doesn't matter who has to die. Seize it back. Never a backwards step; that's the watchword.

There's much flashier players in the squad, sure. Much bigger names. But Perica Zagorec is the name the fans sing out. Tall, strong and assured, the Pasargan's grown with the club and even speaks with a pretty firm east Nepharim accent these days. She's also grown in confidence taking the ball out from defence, which is important when playing out from the back in the way Bartolnicci expects.

Alessa Marconi came on in leaps and bounds last season. She always showed a lot of promise as a sharp, ambitious playmaker with the athleticism to back it up, but now... well, she was at the heart of everything good the Rooks came up with. And that was a lot of things, last season. Just 24 now, and the sky's the limit.

Some people underestimate the value of the modern fullback. Ninety minutes watching Pakkanen and Woods charge up and down the flanks all day, with the anticipation to read the play and figure out where to go, and the energy to get there when needed. Both ran their hearts out last season, and that doesn't do justice to their undoubted technique. Alan Bothroyd, meanwhile, has stuck with this club through some lean years. The tall Valladar striker did not disappoint when the time came, contributing twenty league goals.

It's possible they could do it again, too. But Bartolnicci, without a doubt, has his sights set higher; on the top four.

Manager: Andreu Bartolnicci (COS)
Asst. Manager: Esther Mallory
Goalkeepers: 1 - Karena Hesketh, 20 - Magda Kattner, 25 - Jess Oaktree
Defenders: 2 - Conrad Trelliston, 3 - Aries Kohler, 5 - Temperance Nkembe, 6 - Perica Zagorec (PAS), 11 - Raquel Woods (c), 18 - Ville Pakkanen (COS), 19 - Glenn Baumann, 31 - Mikael Acland
Midfielders: 4 - Mats Hedlund (BYN), 8 - Alessa Marconi, 13 - Will Couturiaux (COS), 14 - Markus Hyde, 15 - Lorne Winter, 21 - Isobel Foster, 23 - Ronan Fallon, 24 - Ifrit Coynborough
Forwards: 7 - Maladict Farrell, 9 - Orson Deckard, 10 - Alan Bothroyd (VLD), 16 - Tatiana Brandis, 22 - Liesel Ironhewer


League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Captain: Ross Finlay
Top Scorers: Stokes (22), Webster (14), Pell, Sabitzer (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Fairweather (29); 2 - Kendrick (26), 5 - Traustram (25), 17 - Serjeant (27), 3 - Riordan (28); 8 - Sabitzer (27), 4 - Finlay (28, c), 13 - Webster (25); 7 - Pell (27), 9 - Stokes (24), 11 - Han (22)
In: Ga-yeong Han (Titanderth, 4m)
Promoted: Marit Stoeger (CB, 19)
Out: Samson Turnbull (Artesia Highlands, free), Rinat Stubbs (Suttonville, free)

70: Premier - 6th - 82 pts - GC
69: 1Div - 3rd - 83 pts - Promoted
68: Premier - 21st - 41 pts - Relegated
67: Premier - 17th - 56 pts
66: Premier - 13th - 64 pts

Premiership title (51)
NFA Cup (67)

So... that was probably the greatest season from a newly-promoted team in Premiership history, as a decent but unfancied outfit simply refused to fall away from contention. They'll get a taste of UICA football this season.

You'd think that would be an excuse to loosen the purse-strings, but apparently not, as a very lowkey window has caused rancour with the fans. But Han, a Chromatik international with a diminutive stature and flair for the dramatic, is at least the kind of forward-thinking signing the fans can get behind. At just 22, the best is ahead of her. Turnbull and Stubbs were faithful and capable players last season, but move on to secure first-team football elsewhere. Still, the lack of a new centre-half is conspicuous...

Santander sets up his crew to move forward, fast and powerful and hopefully decisive. That does mean a somewhat vulnerable high line that hopefully the pace of the defence can compensate for. The intensity of the forward line was what stunned teams as much as technique, though there were definitely the players there with the ability to play the forwards through. They also benefited from a sharp, well-drilled offside trap.

Josie Webster is the heart and soul of the team, with a free role in the centre of the park she uses to dictate the flow of the game. Confident, assertive and hard-working, Webster's loyalty to the team - she dropped down with them into the second tier a couple years ago - makes her something of a club hero. Chances are, though, assuming the Spiders fail to reach the top seven, she'll be moving on between seasons.

In a club with a strong homegrown tradition where basically everyone seems to be 25 or 26, Raimund Anderson could be the next young blood to step up. 20 years old, he's all there athletically and has a great sense of anticipation to help that. Rarely lapses. But is he nasty enough?

Kosovare Fairweather, some felt, was unlucky not to be named in the Team of the Season. Fact is that her eagerness to sweep high was essential to the Spiders' line, her distribution essential to the counter and her shot-stopping nothing to be sniffed at, either. Not much in the air, unfortunately. Robyn Sabitzer is the teeth of the midfield, eager to shuttle forward but unafraid to put some stick about, either. There were questions about whether the long-boned Deborah Stokes was a viable option up front at this level. 22 goals say: yes.

The Spiders are a good side, but... it's hard to say. Maybe they are just a Globe Cup team? But it's very unlikely - especially with the added workload of the Globe Cup itself weighing on a thin side. Whisper it, but... relegation isn't impossible, either.

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 - Raimund Anderson, 19 - David Maskin, 23 - Harald Reuser, 32 - Marit Stoeger
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, 10 - Griffin Kendall, 11 - Ga-yeong Han (CMT), 14 - Lexander Varney, 15 - Erinys Hart, 21 - Patricia Etheridge


League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: Frangipani Court (16,000)
Nickname: the Bohemians
Captain: Ashleigh Aveline
Top Scorers: Wolff (36), Kranevitter (17), Montag (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 12 - Sparr (32); 5 - Abner (31), 19 - Cranshaw (32), 18 - Thorn (c), 3 - Karagounis (23); 7 - Roxel (22), 23 - Sharp (25); 15 - Kranevitter (24), 21 - Montag (23), 17 - Stinnett (28); 11 - Wolff (24)
In: Lukas Sparr (Morningstar, 3.5m), Alexis Stinnett (Newton Castle FC, 3m), Esther Abner (Port Sebastian, 2m), Valentine Roxel (Regional Development, free)
Promoted: Roy Coyner (CB, 19), Garrett Norwood (ST, 19)
Out: Gareth Anwhistle (Iron City, free), Paul Chadwick (Locksley, free), Catherine Walker (released), Lothar Zander (returned from loan)
Retired: Rebecca Larkland (CB, 36), Connor Scuffett (ST, 35)

70: 1Div - 2nd - 99 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 6th - 74 pts
68: 1Div - 7th - 74 pts
67: 1Div - 8th - 73 pts
66: 1Div - 18th - 45 pts

They may not have taken the title, but the Bohemians were one of two utterly dominant teams last season. Over a hundred goals scored, less than one a game conceded, twenty points above fourth, all ready for their first Premiership season in their history.

Clever reinforcement by a manager who knows he needs players in the here and now to secure survival. Sparr is a proven quantity at this level, and the classy Schottia international fullback Abner, while not as dynamic as in her youth, still has so much to offer at this level. Meanwhile, the midfield is bolstered by Stinnett, not the fastest winger but one with the confidence to try things out and creativity to ensure that the things are worth trying, and Valentine Roxel, a big presence both physically and in personality, with plenty of eyes on his career trajectory.

It might not seem a natural blend, but Blackthorn's built his squad around discipline, muscle and technique to ensure they can seize and hold possession, and then work with it. They're tough around the core, with the creativity in the midfield to break defences apart. The issue might be pace - their double pivot is particularly slow, and neither of their new flank signings are particularly renowned for speed.

Minka Kranevitter should not be taking her first steps in the Premiership at 24. A youth international, Kranevitter is a keen kind of player, someone who generally backs herself to change situations, eager to get the ball at her feet. She's injury prone, and that's had an impact on her pace and stamina, but she can still burst down the wing when needed. More usefully, she's versatile, two-footed, has an instinct for assists and an eye for goal.

Erika Wolff had been a tidy enough young striker at this level, but last season she just... exploded. Tall, and stronger than previous seasons but with a fair change of pace, she made history last season - the First Division's first modern back-to-back hat tricks against Coret Rovers and Gonen's Bridge helping her to a staggering 36 goals for the season. True, the top flight will be a harder test - but she's up for it.

Drachma Karagounis is a promising young leftback, whose lightning pace offers something different down the wing. She's always been ambitious, and the brash confidence she plays the game reflects that. Sharp is a firm but fair player in the core of the midfield, not quite a pure enforcer... but, well, it's a fitting name for his tackles. A composed, metronomic passer, too. Montag is something of an icon around these parts, admittedly as much for a bombshell physique and her trademark peroxide hair as anything. Maybe a little heavy for a Premiership footballer, but she's a creative, clever two-footed playmaker.

For all the hype, for all Blackthorn's bold, measured words, North Sabrefell are, realistically, going to be happy to stay up. They should manage to, probably fairly comfortably. But the lack of pace is a worry, many of their players are untested and, well, better sides have been relegated before.

Manager: Gareth Blackthorn
Asst. Manager: Julius Kennedy
Goalkeepers: 1 - Jasmine Rondel, 12 - Lukas Sparr, 20 - Sam Kerr (TLI)
Defenders: 2 - Meg Owley, 3 - Drachma Karagounis, 5 - Esther Abner (SCT), 6 - Garnet Tamerlane, 18 - Jesper Thorn, 19 - Jack Cranshaw (SCT), 22 - Caspar Sanders, 33 - Roy Coyner
Midfielders: 4 - Bethany Madine, 7 - Valentine Roxel (SCT), 8 - Ashleigh Aveline (c), 13 - Marcel Thrace, 14 - Cosette Espeleta, 15 - Minka Kranevitter, 17 - Alexis Stinnett, 21 - Sabine Montag, 23 - Alcuin Sharp, 24 - Amber Broadis
Forwards: 9 - Simone Cheney, 11 - Erika Wolff, 37 - Garrett Norwood


League Finish: 14th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Rookridge (42,000)
Nickname: River, the Ravens, the Ferrymen
Captain: Matt Bowerman
Top Scorers: Petkovic (12), Kaukenas (11), Kesteren (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Bowerman (34, c); 6 - Kaeman (28), 2 - Caravel (30), 4 - Kendrick (25), 3 - Hateley (24); 21 - Leonard (29), 15 - Naumoff (26), 13 - Kesteren (24); 8 - Petkovic (28); 10 - Breisgau (27), 11 - Donath (23)
In: Klaus Breisgau (Callodown, 3m)
Promoted: Carin Black (CB, 20), Feather Graves (CM, 19), Aline Ruthers (DM, 19), Merric Summer (ST, 18)
Out: Ferenc Kubala (FC Felsenkirchen 1879, 3m), Fiona Norval (Corvette Maulers, 2.5m), Apotheosis Kaskanis (DFC, free), Diette Daleiden (Kirston Union, free), Adrian Heffernan (Morningstar, free)

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

70: Premier - 14th - 59 pts
69: Premier - 15th - 55 pts
68: Premier - 9th - 73 pts
67: Premier - 57 pts
66: 1Div - 95 pts - Promoted

A spectacularly unremarkable season, spent almost entirely in midtable, with some exciting flirtation with lower-midtable.

A flurry of activity, a proper clearout from the new manager. Out goes Ferenc Kubala, who flattered somewhat to deceive at this level, Norval, a decent but not quite great striker, the stalwart veterans Kaskanis and Heffernan and, of course, the meme herself, Diette Daleiden leaving. Daleiden was mostly remarkable for her circumference, but it's not to be forgotten she was somehow a pretty good defender despite (because of?) it. In comes Klaus Breisgau, formerly of Crisisbless, moderately successful in Euraleague but for a relegated side, an athletic and energetic striker.

Cheney Bittencourt was snapped up as Treason's new manager, so Chromatik manager Kia Anders has been brought in after a mostly successful spell at Felswyr. She'll likely aim to try and shore up the team a little at the back, while keeping to the diamond formation. River should be a disciplined, hard-to-break outfit, but one that will eagerly punish teams if given half a chance.

Franz Kesteren is a player with X-Factor, who has really grown into his potential over the past couple of years. Tall, strong and quick, he's most at home driving forward into space from the left side of the diamond, and making the best of the situation from there with slick short passing or powerful strikes. An excellent recent signing.

Jessika Donath is one of those strikers who never seems to score tap-ins. Instead, she will strike from any range, in any way, and did in fact score the goal of the season with an outside-of-the-boot volley into the top corner against Diamondqueen in the penultimate matchday. Now 23, she's likely to be given regular chances.

Diane Hateley's a sharp leftback, a little dirty defensively but clean-heeled going forward, constantly driving up the pitch to give River some much-needed width. While River's central defence is fairly unremarkable, they're fortunate to be shielded by Kaya Naumoff, a quick-footed, quick-witted holding midfielder. No mere hatchet woman, she's capable with the ball at her feet and can play herself out of trouble. Michi Leonard is another key player, and a leadership figure within the side, constantly driving the team forward with blood, sweat and tears.

River are one of a few teams who are realistically in no danger of relegation and without a shot at UICA. They'll be looking to the Cup for success stories, and maybe a win over their rivals, Sabrefell Athletic. Anders is known for reconstructing teams. She needs time and patience, and should have the foundation to avoid drama during it.

Manager: Kia Anders (CMT)
Asst. Manager: Stefan Crowton
Goalkeepers: 1 - Matt Bowerman (c), 20 - Althea Taliadoros, 25 - Frieda Pearce
Defenders: 2 - Hannes Caravel, 3 - Diane Hateley, 4 - Istvan Kendrick, 5 - Carin Black, 6 - Jasmine Kaeman, 17 - Lazarus Pepper, 18 - Hywel Wodework, 19 - Chuy Villaverde (FFD)
Midfielders: 8 - Zivka Petkovic (PAS), 12 - Lysander Brandis, 13 - Franz Kesteren, 15 - Kaya Naumoff, 21 - Michi Leonard, 23 - Inge Wildsmith, 31 - Feather Graves, 32 - Aline Ruthers
Forwards: 9 - Povilas Kaukenas (BYN), 10 - Klaus Breisgau, 11 - Jessika Donath, 16 - Thea Longhurst, 33 - Merric Summers
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Postby Nephara » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:08 pm


League Finish: 3rd
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Barbarossa (72,000)
Nickname: the Reds
Captain: Tanith Rainsford
Top Scorers: Hawke (29), Êns (22), Coltrane (14)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Gautier (26); 17 - Fox (22), 6 - Farina (28), 19 - Campbell (28), 3 - Jaentti (28); 21 - Bereveskos (27), 15 - Coltrane (29), 4 - Rainsford (34, c), 11 - Ojala (24); 9 - Êns (22), 10 - Hawke (25)
In: Steve Fox (Kingsgrove, 6m)
Promoted: Harriet Corver (ST, 19), Arden Luther (GK, 19), Anja Ruthenbeck (LM, 18)
Out: Chloe Rudden (Golden Eagles, 3.5m), Eloise Kielseng (1860 Azoth, 3m), Daniel Fitzmarten (Felswyr Frost, 3m), Morten Crestwell (Georgetown Uinted, free)

3 Premiership titles (50, 58, 67)
2 NFA Cups (50, 66)
2 Ramsey Shields (67, 68)
Globe Cup (56)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (59)
Gang of Six member

70: Premier - 3rd - 90 pts - CC
69: Premier - 7th - 76 pts - GC
68: Premier - 2nd - 99 pts - CC
67: Premier - 1st - 99 pts - CC
66: Premier - 5th - 86 pts - GC CWC

In and around the title race all season, and for one matchday they were on top on goal difference, level on points with Brinemouth and Crisisbless. That was as good as it got, though, and they slumped to third. Still comfortably in the Champions Cup places.

Pretty understated, and understandable. Erika Morningstar is a redoubtable club servant, but she's not getting any younger, so the assertive Steve Fox is brought in as a starting rightback. It's yet to be seen if he'll be trusted against the best teams, but he's got CC experience to bear. Other than that, general regeneration. Fitzmarten leaves to start, so does Kielseng, and the well-liked but limited forward Crestwell. Saddest of all, though, is Chloe Rudden, an iconic face of the league but ultimately a pace-reliant winger in her thirties. She's left a lot of memories behind.

Tom Benedict is an old hand at the tiller, and he knows what he wants. He's been reliably able to get what he wants out of this team - to press high and hard for the ball, to turn into almost a 4-2-4 when breaking forward... hell, a 4-1-5 when Coltrane's feeling particularly frisky. They can definitely be caught out on the break, but as long as they're on the front foot, they're a terror to watch.

You could mount a strong argument to say that Oscar Coltrane, equal-most expensive signing the Premiership's ever had, is the complete midfielder. He's got muscle, pace, defensive discipline, attacking creativity, workrate, an excellent passing range and the ability to score from distance. A genuine marquee name not only for Athletic, but for the league.

Xixi Ens is going to be the best player in the world someday. As graceful as he is ruthless, with a typically Farfish confidence on the ball, Ens generally draws back to link up between midfield and forward lines, though he's got the change of pace to break through defences with short notice. A threat to score from basically anywhere in the final third.

Aurelian Gautier is developing into an excellent goalkeeper in all respects. Some doubted the rangy Eshani when he first arrived, forcing out beloved local Lind Pressinger (now of Klyde). There are no doubts now. Tanith Rainsford is 34 now, but a deserved captain, inspiring leader and continually exceptional defensive midfielder in all respects. Up front, Estrella Hawke is a world-class classic centre-forward, combining athleticism, power and ruthlessness into one chain-scoring package.

They'd expect to be in the title hunt again, and certainly in the top four. Another CC berth would secure Benedict's job - anything less would seriously endanger it.

Manager: Tom Benedict (EUR)
Asst. Manager: Ole Oehman (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Aurelian Gautier (ESH), 20 - Alistair Swepstone, 30 - Arden Luther
Defenders: 2 - Erika Morningstar (CMT), 3 - Johana Jaentti (PAS), 5 - Gareth Krane, 6 - Graciano Farina (OSR), 17 - Steve Fox (EUR), 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), 14 - Valerie Webber, 15 - Oscar Coltrane (EUR), 21 - Andrea Bereveskos, 32 - Anja Ruthenbeck
Forwards: 9 - Xíxì Êns (FFD), 10 - Estrella Hawke, 16 - Salavat Caszely, 23 - Sinan Uzunlar, 34 - Harriet Corver


League Finish: 5th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Farham Arena (88,000)
Nickname: the Moths
Captain: Jessica Weiss
Top Scorers: Johnson (22) , Meier (18), Vol (17)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Griffin (29); 2 - Haines (25), 5 - Weaver (32), 19 - Weiss (33, c), 22 - Vicelich (24); 7 - Townsend (23), 4 - Serra (28), 6 - Shone (20), 11 - Meier (30); 14 - Vol (29), 10 - Romano (25)
In: Claudio Romano (AC Izotz Zubia, 25m)
Promoted: Charade Tipton (CB, 19), Marten Beyard (ST, 18)
Out: Mark Uenterhausen (Spartangrad, 23m), Aaliyah Johnson (Port Sebastian, 8m), Orion Etzebeth (Herzegovina Phoenix, 5.25m), Pamala Croft (Tentai Astros, free)

4 Premiership titles (47, 60, 68, 69)
2 NFA Cups (58, 65)
3 Ramsey Shields (66, 69, 70)
2 Globe Cups (64, 67)
Gang of Six member

70: Premier - 5th - 85 pts - GC
69: Premier - 1st - 100 pts - CC
68: Premier - 1st - 102 pts - CC
67: Premier - 2nd - 89 pts - CC
66: Premier - 3rd - 87 pts - CC

Unfortunately, didn't quite live up to expectations. Legitimate title challengers in the first half of the season, before losing all consistency in the second half. Worse still, they found an unfortunate tendency to get absolutely lamped by teams. When they lost, they lost big.

Unfortunately, when you have a tendency to collapse defensively, the last thing you want to do is lose your best defender. Spartangrad, however, latched onto Uenterhausen and wouldn't let go, and so he was gone after a single season (though they were able to flip a 5-million profit on him). Gerhard Thunder left for Port Sebastian, saying he'd done all he could for the club he was associated with most, and took Aaliyah Johnson with him. Ten years, five Iron Boots, but she'd been slowing over the past couple of seasons (though still clinical as ever). Etzebeth and Croft, important squad players, also depart. In comes Claudio Romano, a 25-year old Pasargan marksman who offers all the tools a modern, world-class striker needs.

On the bright side, having let go one of the world's hottest managerial commodities, the Moths were able to acquire... another of the world's hottest managerial commodities. Sur Arora, once of Crisisbless, makes a glorious return to Nephara after an eyecatching stint restoring OAS Royal to success. He's likely to mostly roll with the Moths' existing, traditional tactics - go fast, hit hard, no quarter - while trying to shore up the defence as well. This will probably be a more transitional season, and he's a popular appointment who should get the time needed.

The talk of the town during preseason was whether or not Brinemouth would get Bryger Tidesson. They didn't. That means that the premier right winger in the competition remains Imriel Townsend, someone with the gift to just make the game look so easy with the ball at her feet. She has flair to burn, but never for its own sake, always with an aim in mind. A lethal player, mixing grace with a yard of pace.

This should, by all rights, be Tawny Shone's year to ... well, shine. She has it all, apart from physical brawn - she's quick, very clever, with a wonderful sense of vision and timing that adds an extra dimension to her technique. She shuts down attacks with clean, nipping tackles, and gets the ball rolling quickly forward. Could be one of the best players in the world someday... someday soon, at that.

Robert Griffin has blossomed into becoming a world-class goalkeeper, someone who can make eye-wateringly good reflex saves at a moment's notice, but also capable of sweeping behind the Moths' high line. Scheherazade Meier's 30 now, and has lost a touch of pace, but she remains as dynamic and incisive a player as ever, perhaps even more cunning with age. Up front, Johnson may be gone but Romano can still benefit from the presence of Solara Vol, the tall, powerful metahuman striker, one of the world's premier target women with an enviable eye for goal in her own right.

Should Arora have an immediate positive impact, and Romano gets off the ground running, the Moths might just mount a title challenge. More likely, though, their slow, aging central defence and thinning depth could be their downfall.

Manager: Sur Arora (COS)
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, 18 - Cressida Gayle, 19 - Jessica Weiss (PAS, c), 22 - Lux Vicelich, 23 - Kodiak Grant, 31 - Charade Tipton
Midfielders: 4 - Federico Serra (OSR), 6 - Tawny Shone, 7 - Imriel Townsend (APX), 8 - Orion Etzebeth, 11 - Scheherazade Meier, 13 - Glory Bellinger, 15 - Adalmar Sturrock, 20 - Valencia Ashburner, 21 - Deandre James (ESH)
Forwards: 9 - Alexis Rohrabacher, 10 - Claudio Romano (PAS), 14 - Solara Vol (MRN), 17 - Sigrid Eisenhauer, 36 - Marten Beyard


League Finish: 3rd (First Division)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Covenground (27,000)
Nickname: the Southrons
Captain: Sherry Bickermann
Top Scorers: Carrick (25), Bentzen (21), Martell, Bickermann (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Meixner (26); 2 - Sauber (27), 5 - Martell (24), 18 - de Naam (29), 3 - Youabian (24); 20 - Kester (28), 7 - Natasha (30), 4 - Havranek (25), 11 - Alweather (27); 9 - Bentzen (32, c), 16 - Carrick (23)
In: Machalat Sauber (Violence Chariots, 2m), Duviel de Naam (Helfin Fief, 1.5m), Richard Kester (Merseyshore Dockside, 200k), Natasha (Ispingilovi, free)
Promoted: Louise Barton (LB, 18)
Out: Cheney Auburn (Vermillion Wanderers, 750k), Lisa Summersteen (Fullham Rangers, free), Ranulf Emmerich (Sheridan, free), Russ Cohurst (AS Montecristo, free), Carin Black (returned from loan)
Retired: Alexandra Stack (LB, 34)

First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

70: 1Div - 3rd - 83 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 5th - 77 pts
68: 1Div - 8th - 71 pts
67: 1Div - 10th - 69 pts
66: 1Div - 9th - 72 pts

In and around the chase for promotion throughout last season, the Southrons were sure of it before the final day. They were pretty good up front, pretty tight at the back, and made up for a lack of clear quality with team spirit.

The Southrons' dealings were very definitely made to a budget, which isn't a good way to survive the ordeal of the top flight. Still, it's fair to say that all of their players were acquired for beneath their true value - attacking fullback Sauber was on the last year of his contract, the thuggish de Naam was persona non grata at Helfin Fief after instigating a dressing room punch-up, the consistently excellent Natasha was available on a free while, well, they'd better hope national team hopeful Kester's worth more than a fifth of a million pounds. Emmerich, Summersteen and Cohurst all depart on frees, all having some Premiership experience, while Alexandra Stack retires, a true journeywoman fullback whose professionalism was never open to doubt.

Lyn Hartmann is an excellent defensive disciplinarian, but she's played a more balanced style throughout last season and looks to continue that into this year. Two tight, compact banks of four won't get many goals themselves, but they'll sure as hell try to feed the lethal strikers up front. It's a big, tough and not especially technical side, and they get a lot of goals from set pieces. They'll probably get more this season, with Natasha taking them.

The Southrons are probably going to be peppered with shots this season, so it's important to have an excellent goalkeeper such as Nephara youth international Reinhard Meixner between the posts. It's surprising that the former Starling man had to drop down a league to get regular starts, and now he's back where he deserves to be. He really does have it all - a sharp shot-stopper, a big, tough presence, excellent distribution, and he doesn't make many mistakes.

Vesuvia Carrick, recently in the headlines for accepting a callup to Brenecia, scored almost as often as Bentzen last year in fewer games, and close to a decade younger. The sharp young poacher's a pure goalscorer who doesn't lack physically but is most at home running through on goal, pouncing on every half-chance as it comes.

Merlyn Youabian's come a long way from her university days, and has gone from a degree in Speech-Language Pathology to being a sharp, clever fullback in a matter of years. Andre Havranek has evolved from callow mercenary youth to cold-blooded midfield destroyer over the past couple of years, a player of remarkable consistency champing at the bit to play at this level. Esteban Bentzen, meanwhile, is the link up front, not off the shoulder like Carrick but a veteran all-round centre-forward who was a class above the second tier last season.

Unfortunately, apart from both ends of the pitch (which is admittedly a good place), the Southrons look very short on quality. If Meixner can pull off miracles between the posts and if Carrick and Bentzen can be fed, the Southrons stand a puncher's chance of staying up. Otherwise... not so much.

Manager: Lyn Hartmann
Asst. Manager: Morgan Cole
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Meixner, 12 - Alastair Cavan, 25 - Emery Russell
Defenderes: 2 - Machalat Sauber, 3 - Merlyn Youabian (COS), 5 - Goran Martell, 6 - Darren Ferror, 18 - Duviel de Naam (COS), 23 - Henrik Raubell, 31 - Louise Barton, 36 - Journey Pike (EFL)
Midfielders: 4 - Andre Havranek (IRN), 7 - Natasha (DAI), 8 - Sherry Bickermann (c), 11 - Cathy Alweather, 13 - Georgia Malinder, 14 - Erik Paston, 15 - Rosary Kistler, 20 - Richard Kester (ETN)
Forwards: 9 - Esteban Bentzen (AUD), 10 - Dietrich Sorrenson, 16 - Vesuvia Carrick, 17 - Bandersnatch Smith, 21 - Cass Lazaridis


League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Scipio Arena (38,000)
Nickname: the Tanners
Captain: Chris Grant
Top Scorers: Marlowe (15), Gail (14), Cordean (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-3-2) 1 - Aldous (27); 2 - Vercauteren (27), 5 - Grant (28, c), 6 - Beitar (30), 18 - Vyntra (33); 8 - Hemeyer (25); 7 - Cordéan (27), 10 - Nikas (28), 11 - Fairfax (23); 9 - Marlowe (28), 12 - Gail (24)
In: Ivan Hemeyer (Diamondqueen, 5m), Roanne Fairfax (Iron City, 3.25m), Scylla Vyntra (AFC Treason, 2m)
Promoted: Lissa Anselm (LCM, 19), Svenja Bowyer (RB, 18)
Out: Malachi Chalk (Brinemouth, 5m), Emerick Hartmann (Georgetown United, free), Tristan Lavendor (Morningstar, free), John Falkholt (Carsby, free), Kylian Cholakian (Jenipapa, free)

First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

70: Premier - 13th - 63 pts
69: Premier - 14th - 56 pts
68: Premier - 16th - 52 pts
67: 1Div - 2nd - 94 pts - Promoted
66: 1Div - 10th - 70 pts

Midtable all season, as star signing Metan Cordean failed to live up to the hype at a high level. Disappointing considering the goal was top ten, and patience is starting to wear just a little thin with Medina, the youngest manager in Nephara's professional leagues.

No messing about. Medina knew a better spine was needed, as captain Tristan Lavendor was released along with veteran midfielder Hartmann and two homegrown defenders. So she acted quickly and directly to secure Ivan 'the Haymaker' Hemeyer, fringe Cosumar international, from Diamondqueen. They also lost Malachi Chalk, their best young talent last season, to Brinemouth, and replaced her with flair winger Fairfax from the second tier. For a bit more nous at fullback, they took a punt on heroic defender Vyntra, whose penalty, of course, won the World Cup all those years ago. But she's 33 now - does she still have what it takes?

In full flight, the Tanners are a joy to watch. They've got an Osarian manager and play in that familiar style, blending intensity and technique to seize the ball and get it moving forward, fast but to feet. They're run flat out at the end of every game, forcing constant rotation, but when it works...

Fringe (okay, probably 'former') Nephara international Erik Marlowe, 'the two-footed Cantor' as some have generously dubbed him, is one of those players who can get goals from anywhere and everywhere. That's handy when the supply line sometimes flakes on you, as last season proved. He's a big lad, but not too interested in hold-up play - more thumping home direct free kicks, lashing in top corner shots from outside the box and flying headers.

Keep an eye out for Marica Kuepper, who got six starts and eighteen appearances in all competitions last season, and proved herself to be what people hoped - a tall, lanky young midfielder who boasts a fair turn of pace, but always calm and unhurried in possession. Didn't really stand out too much, which is to say she fit right in, another cog in a fluent passing machine. Should get more time this season.

Even with Vyntra there, Chris Grant remains the pick of the defensive line, near everpresent last season, just an all-round rock-solid player. Cordean might be a scapegoat, but on his day he can still hand this team points. Maybe in a second season, he'll get the consistency he needs to shine. Miranda Gail up front, meanwhile, is arguably the quickest player in the league.

This is a side that could potentially sneak into the Globe Cup, if all the mercurial talents fire. Or last season can repeat itself, the Tanners slip out of the top half again and Medina probably pays for it with her job.

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, c), 6 - Mahe Beitar, 18 - Scylla Vyntra, 19 - Lars Blacktown, 22 - Hasdrubal Stubbs, 31 - Svenja Bowyer
Midfielders: 4 - Yolandi Heimat, 7 - Metán Cordéan (COS), 8 - Ivan Hemeyer (COS), 10 - Vasilis Nikas, 11 - Roanne Fairfax, 13 - Maria Petridis, 36 - Marica Kuepper, 37 - Lissa Anselm
Forwards: 9 - Erik Marlowe, 12 - Miranda Gail (CMT), 14 - Pristine Rutten, 15 - Vander Kruse, 21 - Harriet Michail


League Finish: 4th
Cup Run: Champions
Stadium: Jade Park (24,000)
Nickname: the Passerines
Captain: Justinian Hargrave
Top Scorers: Andisori (30), Padilla (16), Armstrong (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Hargrave (35, c); 2 - Asghar (20), 6 - Loredan (31), 4 - Visser (25), 3 - Castor (24); 8 - Aschenbach (23), 21 - Kymeri (23); 11 - Armstrong (26), 13 - Padilla (25), 17 - Kaelin (25); 9 - Andisori (26)
In: Alcander Visser (Bishop, 4.5m)
Promoted: Siren Moon (RB, 19), Victor Sorloth (CB, 20)
Out: Mirko Koehler (FC Kaldukosic, 5m), Deirdre McNessa (San Marco Storm, 3m), Calcipher Heston (AFC Corvistone, 3m)

2 Premiership titles (63, 64)
NFA Cup (70)
First Division title (60)
Champions Cup (64)
Super Cup (64)

70: Premier - 4th - 89 pts - CC CWC
69: Premier - 2nd - 97 pts - CC
68: Premier - 5th - 86 pts - GC
67: Premier - 6th - 78 pts - GC
66: Premier - 4th - 86 pts - CC

A somewhat indifferent start to the season, but Starling recovered to ensconce themselves in the top four. That's a success in itself, but a Cup success on top of that just made things better. Amos continues to keep Starling's Golden Age going.

Somewhat painful, but Lisa Amos was confident in it. McNessa was old, Koehler not part of her plans and Heston, well, inadequate. The main replacement was Alcander Visser, a taciturn, reliable defender from Bishop, able to play the ball out from the back just fine.

Lisa Amos is a manager with a very firm idea of the Right Way to Do Things. That is to say; with class, skill, technique and daring, disciplined at the back and quickly snapping short passes together going forward. Solid in the spine, fast down the flanks and united by the ability to have passes stick where they're meant to go.

Fortunately, Starling boast in Keira Andisori the league's top scorer, a genuinely world-class striker. Her razor-sharp edge is what sets her apart, incredibly consistent in being in the right place and making the right runs at the right time to slide the right finish past the ri- well, any goalkeeper, really. Also entirely happy to drop back for the ball and play in midfielders, though lacks the physicality to be a true hold-up player.

23-year old holding midfielder Nova Kymeri proved she was a calm, composed presence in the centre of the park, able to keep things moving at her own tempo as well as just breaking things down defensively. A high-class holding midfielder, and as far as last-minute panic signings go, Amos is perhaps fortunate that the Ceni international fit the league like she was born here.

Between the sturdy,rock-solid captain Hargrave and confident young sweeper Vanorian Smordal, the Passerines are privileged to have two excellent goalkeepers, happy to go head-to-head. Still, Hargrave's 35, so time's on Smordal's side. Taddeo Loredan is a rock-solid defender who just excels at sweeping up all danger and hoofing it away, the kind of hard edge you need at the top level. Liam Armstrong, meanwhile, is the side's main playmaker and arguable best player, nomnially on the right wing but really drifting all around, taking the ball and slipping it forwards with impeccable precision when he's not going for goal himself.

Same sort of situation. They should make UICA, and would like to make top four. They could, at a stretch, be title contenders - they could, at a stretch, fall out of the top seven.

Manager: Lisa Amos (CMT)
Asst. Manager: Markus Horst
Goalkeepers: 1 - Justinian Hargrave (c), 12 - Sean Smørdal (VAL), 25 - Agatha Storrin
Defenders: 2 - Amalie Asghar (VAL), 3 - Lyre Castor, 4 - Alcander Visser, 5 - Mathis Orsay, 6 - Taddeo Loredan (COS), 18 - Victor Sorloth, 19 - Dario Paterson, 32 - Siren Moon
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, 23 - Cezary Helmuth, 37 - Fernand Way
Forwards: 9 - Keira Andisori (CMT), 10 - Cesar Corvalan (CEN), 16 - Erik Mevlya


League Finish: 10th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Gauntlet (65,000)
Nickname: the Stags
Captain: Peter Svensson
Top Scorers: Fraser (18), J. Fletcher (15), Neptune (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - G. Fletcher (32); 23 - Corrello (26), 5 - Svensson (31, c), 19 - Vornander (24), 6 - Tsicaderis (27); 7 - Accardi (22), 4 - Misidjan (25), 8 - Tarashaj (28), 11 - Neptune (24); 9 - Fraser (30), 22 - J. Fletcher (24)
In: Raquel Accardi (Creed United, 6m), Medea Tsicaderis (Coret Hawks, 4m)
Promoted: Gabriel Lockheed (CB, 19), Aristide Metzger (ST, 21), Hasret Kaveci (RB, 19), Clarisse Ulreich (RM, 20)
Out: Mariska Woodspur (Leichhardt, 3.5m), Mordecai Brandtner (Creed United, 3m), Saskia Kantaroff (Stahlburg City, 2.5m), Scylla Vyntra (Southfell United, 2m), Calliope Katskalidis (Tihon Tide, 1.5m), Asher Voeller (Northfay United, free), Alexander Lopes (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

70: Premier - 10th - 72 pts
69: Premier - 4th - 88 pts - CC
68: Premier - 7th - 83 pts - GC
67: Premier - 7th - 77 pts - GC
66: Premier - 1st - 99 pts - CC

Utterly wretched. Tenth place in the league, just two points and three goals in their Champions Cup group... sometimes a manager's time at a club just lasts one season too long. Rarely, however, is it so obvious. But at least they had the equal-best defence in the league.

A big clearout of dead wood followed manager Ben Randall's retirement. Woodspur, Brandtner, Kantaroff... all good midfielders in their own right, all sold within the country. So were former World Champions Vyntra and Katskalidis, players whose time had come. Voeller and Lopes, too, were released. In their place, the rising star of leftback Tsicaderis and young, flashy winger Accardi were snapped up, the latter seeing the Stags beat OAS Royal to the punch. Three players promoted are fresh off successful seasons on loan with Blau-Weiss Pallstadt, as well - the murderous Lockheed, the determined Ulreich but most importantly of all, the sturdy, ruthless forward Aristide Metzger is already being tipped for great things.

Cheney Bittencourt was brought in to oversee the period of change, but the amount of change there's been has taken people by surprise. The 44-year old is very much the sentimental choice, having been a lethal striker for the Stags back in the day, but his sharp work with Raven River proves he's no slouch as a manager. Stylistically, the Stags are likely to keep up their balanced approach,

Peter Svensson is likely the only player who could really say he didn't let standards drop last season, and Bittencourt presented him with a meaningful contract extension on arrival... and the armband. Svensson is a legitimately world-class defender, tall, strong and handsome, clean in the tackle and forceful when he has to be.

John Fletcher showed flashes of his potential last season, but was unable to break out into the consistent world-beater he was hoped to be. But he always was a signing more about potential than the present day. He's a very Nepharim kind of forward, big, strong and overpowering, but needs to add that touch of pace and sharpness in front of goal to live up to the hopes.

Unlike Fletcher, Rian Corrello hit the ground running, a fast and cunning fullback able to charge around the pitch tying things together. Very confident, and it's an infectious confidence. Tarashaj is another charger, a somewhat more... marauding one, and while polarising he is the heart of the team. Up front, Roddy Fraser had something of an off-year last time around, but at his best he finds the corners of the net with uncanny ability.

They should start to take some steps back towards where they ought to be, but they're not title contenders yet.

Manager: Cheney Bittencourt
Asst. Manager: Juergen Stone
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gideon Fletcher, 12 - Sigurd Rustwyth, 25 - Augustine Catapan
Defenders: 2 - Rian Corrello (SCT), 3 - Constantine Sandor, 5 - Peter Svensson (COS, c), 6 - Medea Tsicaderis, 18 - Lowen Rosenthal, 19 - Konrad Vornander, 34 - Gabriel Lockheed, 35 - Hasret Kaveci
Midfielders: 4 - Servet Misidjan, 7 - Raquel Accardi (EFL), 8 - Vedran Tarashaj, 11 - Lorelei Neptune, 15 - Amber Trahearne, 16 - Aura Keynes, 23 - Clarisse Ulreich, 31 - Adelaide Tallow
Forwards: 9 - Roddy Fraser (AUD), 10 - Matthias Bergander, 17 - Lukas Boldfont, 21 - Aristide Metzger, 22 - John Fletcher


League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Iron Hill (49,500)
Nickname: the Rage, the Lads
Captain: Hye Min Jeong
Top Scorers: Coppinger (15), Paulsson (13), Alemane (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Clement (33); 17 - Austad (24), 6 - Jeong (34, c), 22 - Skapoulis (25), 3 - Damjana (30); 13 - Cassadore (27), 8 - Tzavellas (31), 7 - Paulsson (30); 15 - Breremond (22), 10 - Conte (28), 23 - Porter (21)
In: Carlos Conte (Fontvielle Impact, 9.5m), Cheney Breremond (Chenoworth Rovers, 3.5m), Ramona Porter (Parrhesia United, 2.5m), Esther Austad (free agent)
Promoted: Ferena Rauch (DM, 20)
Out: Brigitte Coppinger (Crisisbless, 5.5m), Corvid Alemane (Herzegovina Phoenix, 2.75m), Coraline Madrigal (Parrhesia United, free), Eleanora Scherer (Tentai Astros, free), Daniel Sorrentine (Unioneers, free)

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

70: Premier - 11th - 67 pts
69: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC
68: Premier - 11th - 68 pts
67: Premier - 8th - 76 pts
66: Premier - 11th - 68 pts

A mediocre season by Vermillion's standards, they never really did much besides hang around the lower reaches of the top half all season. Spurlock sharpened the defence well, but up front they seemed somewhat to lack teeth, scoring just 61 goals. Seven of them came in a 7-0 maiming of relegated rivals Parrhesia that will live long in the memory for both teams.

Vermillion had one of the spiciest windows of anyone, as Alexis Spurlock seemingly rolled up her sleeves to troll their fierce rivals, Parrhesia, as much as possible. In a flurry of late activity, Vermillion lost winger Coppinger to Crisisbless and let aging forward Alemane head off to Banija, and only after Parrhesia had sold one left winger, Feisser, did Vermillion spring for the other, Porter. Then Spurlock raided the Rovers for their excellent, muscular winger, Breremond... also a Parrhesia youth product. That 30-year old Madrigal headed to Parrhesia on a free isn't much consolation for the jilted Saints. Amidst all this, the acquisition of an excellent striker, Conte, and the journeywoman fullback Austad went almost unnoticed.

Spurlock is usually known for a more counterattacking style, but might have over-egged the pudding last season. She's promised a shift of approach this time around, a more aggressive playing style to better utilise the talent of Paulsson. They'll still press high, look to spring on possession as soon as they find it and this time hope to make better use of it than just lobbing it over the top.

Ryan Paulsson has so far seemed a slightly irregular fit in Spurlock's system, as often the midfield is bypassed to favour going direct, often down the flanks. But he's remained professional throughout, and this time appears to be the fulcrum of Spurlock's attacking strategy. Athletic and willing to cover his defensive shift, Paulsson's core role is to make the play, make things happen. The Valladar connection with Conte might well be a prolific one.

While most eyes will be drawn to Vermillion's thrilling young wingers, Sander 20-year old leftback Sander Katarec is the hipster's choice to keep an eye on. While sturdy, stable veteran Aysu Damjana should hold down most starts, she is, well, a sturdy, stable veteran, and can't play every minute. Katarec's inexperienced, but seems to be a quick learner, an obsessive trainer and is seemingly composed entirely of lean muscle. Just needs to work on technique a bit.

Orpheus Clement wasn't quite at his best last season, but if he can regain that performance... he's hardly past it at 33, and offers both reliable shot-stopping and the excellent long-range distribution Vermillion need to spring fast counters. 31-year old Marios Tzavellas isn't generally the one anyone pays any attention to, but is a pure destroyer in the centre of the park who has no greater ambitions than to let those around him thrive. Isabella Cassadore, meanwhile, seems like just any other mildly frictionless, classy midfielder. Right up until she arrows a shot into the top corner from forty yards.

If the new front three clicks, this is definitely a side that could push for the Globe Cup. Worst case scenario, however, the team's age catches up with it, and they're stranded in upper-midtable purgatory once again. That would probably mean Spurlock's job.

Manager: Alexis Spurlock
Asst. Manager: Ruthabell Schneider
Goalkeepers: 1 - Orpheus Clement, 20 - Leila Ramelow, 25 - Sylvia Hargreaves
Defenders: 2 - Adelaide Southers, 3 - Aysu Damjana (CMT), 5 - Hecia Barksdale, 6 - Hye Min Jeong (QUE, c), 17 - Esther Austad, 18 - Tomas Banks, 19 - Sander Katarec, 22 - Leontios Skapoulis
Midfielders: 4 - Ferena Rauch, 7 - Ryan Paulsson (VLD), 8 - Marios Tzavellas, 13 - Isabella Cassadore, 14 - Kosta Ouzoundis, 24 - Anja Spinnett
Forwards: 9 - Haroun Maynard, 10 - Carlos Conte (VLD), 11 - Granit Nizarut, 12 - Catheline Anastasiadis, 15 - Cheney Breremond, 21 - Danica Heward, 23 - Ramona Porter


League Finish: 9th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Scythes (29,500)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Anise Riske
Top Scorers: Sierra (20), Escrow (14), Riske (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Commerford (27); 2 - Strauss (25), 5 - Tarrasch (24), 4 - Na’Duha (23), 3 - Brill (27); 7 - Seamster (22), 6 - Belfry (24), 11 - Riske (26, c); 15 - Sierra (23), 9 - Escrow (26), 10 - Ruskin (20)
In: Barak Strauss (Corvette Maulers, 2.5m), Tarran Seamster (Fort Archer FC, 1.5m)
Promoted: Harper Ashcroft (RB, 19), Oskar Burnside (LB, 18), Ansom Payne (CB, 19)
Out: Machalat Sauber (South Laithland, 2m), Adelaide Raskin (CLC FC, free), Valentine Nemeth (Cap Nordique, free), Shara Lankin (Titania City, free)
Retired: Alexander Soarhaven (CB, 37)

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

70: Premier - 9th - 73 pts
69: Premier - 11th - 62 pts
68: Premier - 14th - 59 pts
67: Premier - 11th - 64 pts
66: Premier - 12th - 65 pts

The Chariots recovered well from a poor start, winning half of their last 34 games. Perhaps with a better start they could have been in the top seven, but ultimately fell four points short of the Rooks. Maybe if they hadn't, say, contrived to lose 7-4 to Starling...

Standard stuff, though without any big departures - rightback Sauber's off to newly-promoted South Laithland, with three redoubtable squad players (including, somewhat surprisingly, the classy Nemeth) released and their captain, former Cosumar international Soarhaven, hanging up his boots. The Chariots win the chase for relegated rightback Strauss and the clever midfielder Seamster from the Cosumarite second tier.

For Safarova, it's all about backing a young, confident squad to play their game against any opponent. That would be a fast game, specifically, able to hit hard on the break but also able to hold it together in possession where needed. They're good to watch, and few scouting assignments complain about assignment there.

Rowena Sierra is almost certainly going to be the next cab off the rank, but she's stuck around for one last season amid widespread interest. A decisive young forward, still just 23, who specialises in leveraging her pace and close control to get through any crowd before sticking the ball in the corner of the net.

Keep an eye of Kadija Na'Duha, yet another Cosumar connection within the club, but more importantly a young, emerging and improving defender who matches a sense of anticipation that belies her years with a pace that, helpfully, doesn't. Energetic enough to maintain a high line, able to dart back where needed, and capable on the ball.

Vance Commerford is a strong shot-stopper, the kind of player who always plays with a relaxed composure that puts the defence at ease around him. Down at leftback, Alexis Brill is truly the modern understanding of the position, nominally a defender (and a capable enough one at that) but really looking to surge forward in possession and swing in crosses. In the centre of the park, Anise Riske is a clever playmaker on the ball and an uncompromising terrier off it, with a fierce shot to boot.

Maybe they do manage that little step better - they've the players to make it possible, and in Rowena Sierra the talisman to build a team around. But you'd imagine they'd be happy enough to stay in the top half.

Manager: Isla Safarova (COS)
Asst. Manager: Clotilde Sashary
Goalkeepers: 1 - Vance Commerford (COS), 20 - Jasper Kirkland, 25 - Erhard Klein
Defenders: 2 - Barak Strauss, 3 - Alexis Brill (COS), 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch, 13 - Mirka Ceciu, 31 - Ansom Payne, 33 - Harper Ashcroft, 36 - Oskar Burnside
Midfielders: 6 - Laura Belfry, 7 - Tarran Seamster (COS), 8 - Packie Milner, 11 - Anise Riske (c), 21 - Inka Quiverell, 24 - Molly Cunning
Forwards: 9 - Claudia Escrow, 10 - Giselher Ruskin, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 16 - Varga Neury, 17 - Isabella Chaplain, 22 - Sujet Carsley, 23 - Drago Ward
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Postby Nephara » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:10 pm

First Division Preview

1. Stahlburg City
Home Colours: White / black / red
Away Colours: Red / black / white
Stadium: Ludd's Hammer (59,000)
Nickname: the Smiths
Manager: Douglas Tibet (52, COS)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Steffen Ceferin (32); 5 - Ellen Mifsud (25), 2 - Tomas Ruthven (26), 19 - Meredith Napthine (29), 18 - Evander Keane (22); 6 - Garrick Pearce (24); 7 - Saskia Kantaroff (27), 4 - Kresimir Brujah (22), 10 - Elaine Brighton (33, c), 23 - Catheline Voegel (22); 11 - Isabella Shi (23, SLL)
Notable Substitutes: 3 - LB - Ash Scandard (33), 8 - CM - Sophia Moloney (34), 9 - ST - Masquerade Bryson (28), 13 - RM - Toni Dresden (24), 15 - ST - Ephraim Mirzian (25), 17 - RB - Priscilla Boyden (33)

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. Stahlburg 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: "Promotion is inevitable." These were the first words Douglas Tibet announced to the press, as the former Stoneshore manager's arrival was made public. He was wearing a cape, bowtie and feathered hat at the time. Confident words, ones which have already won over a fanbase incredibly tired of talk of 'transitional periods' and jaded by a dreadful 11th-place finish last season. He acted quickly to bolster the team, adding bite with pacy Treason winger Kantaroff and the excellent classy striker Shi - a little slow and cumbersome, but brilliant with her feet and ruthless in front of goal. Probably the best striker in the league. He's sharpened the place up elsewhere, too. The side has a rock-hard spine with an acrobatic goalkeeper in Ceferin, a well-drilled, solid back four and defensive midfielder, and the demolisher Brujah crunching people in the centre of the park. Favourites for the title by an appreciable margin, expected to play Tibet's traditional hard-defence, hard-working style.

2. Chenoworth Rovers
Home Colours: White / blue / white
Away Colours: Navy / navy / red
Manager: Catheline Harper (48)
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
(4-4-2) 20 - Felix Shaw (34, SLL); 2 - Camilla Arkwright (28), 5 - Jakob Trench (26), 6 - Markus Capradossi (23, ETN), 22 - Karla Laslow (23); 7 - Julia Thane (28), 14 - Florencio Lozada (30, AUD), 6 - Misha Paterson (25), 16 - Cassandra Rowell (21, SCT); 9 - Nega Bazin (32, BNJ), 11 - Rene Eason (24, CMT)
Notable Substitutes: 3 - LB - Lyn Partisan (30), 4 - CM - Raelene Marinello (33, USI, c), 8 - CM - Chris Bronzebridge (32), 16 - LM - Jasper Dyer (26), 17 - CB - Orestis Kalyvas (25), 19 - RB - Adino Eliot (31), 21 - ST - Autumn Starbuck (34, ISK), 23 - RM - Tormod Joiner (28), 33 - CB - Mortola Teffeteller (19, 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: The Rovers have big plans. Catheline Harper, their inspirational manager, has followed an onwards-and-upwards vibe and been backed well in the transfer window. The result is this team - one that looks ready for promotion. The Rovers play very physically intense football, unafraid to stick the boot in, very much a... well, a Nepharim team. They're tough at the back, solid in the spine, backed by an excellent goalkeeper in Shaw and new signings Laslow and Capradossi. Lozada, a new signing from Caza, adds title-winning experience, and combines with the tiny Paterson for the Rovers' shortest, angriest central midfield. Sharp wingers supply the only question mark - does Eason have what it takes? Can Bazin keep up the intensity at 32? Probably. If so, a glorious Premiership return beckons.

3. Parrhesia United
Home Colours: Green / white / red
Away Colours: White / green / white
Manager: Benjamin Nyao (53, CMT)
Stadium: Knightsgrave (43,000)
Nickname: the Saints
(4-3-3) 1 - Angela Spyrakis (24); 6 - Misha Symond (24), 5 - Dimitra Altman (26), 18 - Marisa Strauss (32), 3 - Ivory Meso-Roza (22, AUD); 16 - Saturn Mastiff (25), 8 - Catrine Kisel (32), 11 - Swabia Rademacher (29, c); 7 - Abigail Teris (26, SCT), 10 - Quinn McEthinly (25, SCT), 13 - Coraline Madrigal (30)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Radu Bartok (20); 4 - CM - Makis Kotsonis (23), 9 - ST - Wynona Rampart (22), 15 - RW - Kirsten Howlett (24), 20 - DM - Hollin Spicer (22), 21 - ST - Aris Daskalakis (24), 22 - LB - Drake Antony (22)

Background: Vermillion's first or second club, depending on who you ask. Definitely its oldest, and one of the oldest in the country. The Saints are associated with the northside and outskirts of the city, a fairly disparate population uniting a variety of demographics. A proud club, but has fallen on harder times of late. Bitter rivals with Vermillion Rage.

Summary: The Saints have fallen. Hard. Fortunately, they've managed to keep a number of their core players, although losing both left wingers for a combined 5.5 million - one, agonisingly, to their fiercest rivals - hurt. They've kept their manager, the unfailingly optimistic Benjamin Nyao, who will continue with his assertive, unfailingly optimistic playing style. It's not all gloom and doom, either; Spyrakis is a promising, acrobatic goalkeeper, Symond an excellent rightback by these standards, new signing Teris has the edge needed to break through solid second-tier defences while Strauss and Kisel add the necessary grunt. They look to have what it takes... then they will have to reinforce. Hard.

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 (50)
(4-4-2) 1 - Serdjan Aleksovic (32, COS); 2 - Julian Ilsander (26), 5 - Darius Rashkin (29, c), 6 - Crispin Galloway (24), 3 - Bohemund Karling (23); 13 - Severa Conleth (20), 4 - Ella Grear (26, SCT), 8 - Damocles Kouroglou (29), 11 - Reis Caulker (23); 9 - Chris Suttner (28), 10 - Abishai Vestal (24)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Baltasar Gensch (28); 7 - RM - Matt Hephernan (24), ST - 14 - Bardolph Miller (25), 18 - CB - Constantine Dahl (26), 19 - LB - Kayla Dorran (25), 22 - ST - Bernhard Duisberg (25), 23 - CM - Timo Blankman (24)

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: Close, but no cigar for a Chatswood side that appears determined to rebuild organically rather than with the wallet... prompting questions of where exactly the wallet has gone. No major signings, though the promotion of wunderkind midfielder Conleth offers some cheer. Leigh Fletcher is expected to do what she always does, marshalling a muscular, uncompromising unit aiming to brute-force its way out of the league. Chatswood are hard to break down - the brusque Rashkin and steady, efficient Grear make sure of that - while Kouroglou knits the team together. Conleth will be hoped to add the creative edge that this team so plainly lacked last season - though scoring 75 goals, primarily through the confidence striker Vestal, they were certainly no slouches in front of goal. Is this the season where it all comes together?

5. Brookford Otters
Home Colours: Cyan / cyan / pink
Away Colours: Black / black / cyan
Manager: Hadrian Belfast (44)
Stadium: The Rock (20,000)
Nickname: the Otters
(4-3-3) 1 - Philoctetes Giannou (23); 18 - Kurtis Siegrist (29), 4 - Luna Traugott (30), 17 - Claudia Bohr (21), 13 - Janne Heitinger (28); 8 - Tanya Chilton (30, c), 15 - Brandon Rivan (24), 10 - Asha Solbachen (23); 22 - Joscelyn Monroe (24), 14 - Ulysses Mithradates (27), 10 - Guillermo Cecchini (30, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Ellen Wheelock (27); 3 - LB - Erika Arweiler (25), 6 - CB - Rafi Enfield (24), 9 - ST - Cantra Duprey (25), 11 - LW - Perrando Albiza (28, ASG), 19 - RB - Olivia Ryghseter (23), 21 - CM - Fiona Shrewsbury (24), 20 - ST - Dejan Lindbeck (24)

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: Nobody really expected Brookford to come straight back up, but Hadrian Belfast came in to cushion the fall expertly. They missed out on the playoff place only on goal difference. They almost lost Belfast, and did lose defensive bulwarks Dimitar and Brind, but the manager put it best; "this side is based on a system, not on individuals." Giannou and Bohr remain highly promising young players in that back third, with the veteran Traugott brought in on a free to help, while Ulysses Mithradates brings goals, muscle and industry up front. Belfast expects his team to display the same hard work and tight discipline as he does, relying on athleticism and a strong mentality to make up for a dearth in outright quality. Could it bring promotion?

6. Diamondqueen
Home Colours: White / blue / white
Away Colours: Green / white / green
Stadium: The New Overlook (17,500)
Nickname: the Diamonds
Manager: Tana Colbright (46)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Karel Jonason (26); 2 - Francesca Abel (30, SLL), 18 - McKinley Sanabria (29, AUD), 6 - Karena Hartley (29, c), 3 - Valentina Fairbairn (23, QAD); 7 - Christian Baylor (26), 5 - Mercedes Reeve (21), 15 - Imogen Jeweler (27); 22 - Auburn Weber (32); 17 - Marko Fortounis (28), 11 - Danil Kowalczyk (27, CSN)
Notable Substitutes: 9 - ST - Dionysius Lyritzis (24), 16 - ST - Cornelian Stryger (21), 21 - CM - Yolanda Sparrow (20), 23 - RB - Gareth Unworth

Background: Diamondqueen's main attraction is being the suburb in which the Nepharim National University is, just north of the centre of the city. As a result, most of its supporters come from the student base. It's had a very strong relationship with the nearby Raven River for many years, acting as something of a feeder club for them for a few years until their meteoric rise to the same division, and they continue to have a close relationship - Diamondqueen don't really have any rivals at all.

Summary: The Diamonds have fallen back to the second tier, where some traditionalists would say they belong - at best. Deciding to retain manager Tana Colbright, they've managed only to lose players they have replacements for. They lost Britton, but Jonason is still a very capable sweeping goalkeeper. They lost Blaylock, but the lanky Fortounis and Kowalczyk - a little found out at Premiership level though they may be - already fired them to promotion once. Surprisingly, they kept Auburn Weber, who just started to slow last season. At First Division level, she should dominate once more. It's a classy team, not exactly physically imposing but, Colbright hopes, with the technical edge to pass their way around their opponents all season.

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: Daniella Strauss (43)
(4-3-3) 1 - Michael Lin (23, SLL); 2 - Stefan Oughtred (22), 5 - Rook Goodharvest (23), 18 - Rudi Fallon (31), 13 - Eloise Davison (28); 15 - Trish Plutarch (30, c), 14 - Vicki Coleman (24), 21 - Jasko Voleimann (25); 7 - Sascha Dimitrius (29), 23 - Fiona Norval (26), 16 - Johanna Ankergren (29)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Marcia Folkhard (25), 25 - GK - Acatha Feldman (22); 3 - LB - Ana Laursen (30), 4 - DM - Sebastian Vassall (32), 8 - CM - Olenna Drake (35), 9 - ST - Patches Rathbone (25), 11 - LW - Gabriel Haines (24), 17 - ST - Aristomenios Karnezis (21), 19 - RB - Con Neofitides (24), 20 - CM - Narcissus Milligan (24)

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: The Maulers' promotion was surprising; so was their near-survival. The nice part about not being that good a side was that they kept most of their players, losing a key rightback and striker and managing to pick up Fiona Norval, a classy forward from Raven River. They've also managed another classy forward from Raven River... well, a former one, anyway, in Daniella Strauss as manager. She's come up through the lower leagues, and now looks to ensure Corvette's stability in the second tier - within striking range of promotion. They have a somewhat shaky defence, but their front five is what sets them apart - Norval flanked by classy wingers Dimitrius and Ankergren, both of whom have an eye for goal themselves, and backed up by mercurial playmaker Plutarch and forceful charger Voleimann. They play a high line and will attempt to overwhelm teams by passing through them, without the advantage of real pace up front.

8. Morningstar
Home Colours: Black / black / pink
Away colours: Yellow / black / yellow
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Warriors, Stars
Manager: Helena Fleischer (47)
(4-4-2) 1 - Malta Hawthorn (36); 2 - Valeri Longship (20), 18 - Emily Ynoa (29, SLL, c), 5 - Karl Linstead (24), 19 - Lothar Andreas (29); 13 - Johanna Rosen (21), 14 - Coridan Ryder (21), 21 - Tristan Lavendor (33), 11 - Karo Vanstrattan (27); 9 - Christos Tsiavis (24), 17 - Niko Boldman (29)
Notable Substitutes: GK - 20 - Vicki Bassett (24); 4 - CB - Barak Sahar (34), 7 - RM - Artemis Katsamatis (32), 8 - CM - Hecate Dransfeld (25), 10 - ST - Lilith Thornwood (20), 23 - CM - Adrian Heffernan (34)

Background: A small industrial city just northeast of Treason, Morningstar traditionally play a very muscular, violent style, and count Emery Lineker as their most important manager. This often leads to chants of "you're just a shit clone of Chatswood". Their main rivals are Treason, much as this is true of about half of Nephara, but matches against Chatswood and nearby Creed have been predictably spicy as well.

Summary: Stars got absolutely pulped last season, as a toxic atmosphere exploded in Emery Lineker's face. Half the dressing room couldn't stand Lineker, then when she left and Locklear came in, the other half of the dressing room couldn't stand her, either. Helena Fleischer, who had a short stint as caretaker at Creed United last season, takes her first permanent role here largely due to lack of other takers. There's now a somewhat perplexing mixture of solid veterans - Hawthorn, Llamaland international Ynoa, former Southfell captain Lavendor - and young local guns - Tsiavis might finally find his finishing edge this season, and Longship, Rosen and Ryder are all young, dynamic and fast, the kind of players they terminally lacked last season. It's hard to say where they'll finish - you could kind of see any outcome short of another relegation. On merit, though, they ought to make top ten.

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 (39, PAS)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Olivia Selkie (29); 2 - Bernadette Pietersen (28), 22 - Susanna Woodpress (25), 6 - Ciprian Jantzer (32, c), 3 - Franziska Jaspen (25); 4 - Robin Seizter (31), 8 - Lance Diebeck (27); 7 - Vahid Kudelka (20), 13 - Cardinal Belgrave (33), 16 - Helena Loxton (23); 9 - Renzo Padrione (35, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 10 - ST - Bruin Goodyouth (24), 11 - CM/AM - Levin Castellan (34), 19 - CB - Richter Clavane (24), 22 - ST - Paul Leonhardsen (21), 24 - RB - Brindle Taukroger (22)

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: The Wanderers endured a difficult season last time around, winning just five matches in the first half of the season and scoring less than a goal a game before sharpening up in the second half of the season to float to midtable when Reiniger finally started dropping his veterans and putting trust in youth. The faintly inexplicable loan of Monako Saroszi didn't hurt, either. Some decent transfers in the offseason have helped, too. The hulking brawler Jantzer leads the defence, and now has the cover of combustible Lineker man Seizter. Belgrave's converted well to a central playmaking role, Renzo Padrione knows how to get the ball in the net while, hopefully, the young wingers Loxton and the thrilling prospect Kudelka should bring the dynamism to the party they so badly lacked last season. They're still rebuilding for that charge. They aren't ready yet. But there's a danger they'll start to just... blend into the crowd.

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 (50)
(4-4-2) 1 - Stefan Bolander (26); 2 - Belaskita Skalak (25, c), 5 - Axiom Gaitatzis (24), 6 - Amber Steelshrift (27), 3 - Bella Scarratt (25); 7 - Zarathustra Raumdeuter (24), 4 - Jasmine Colindon (26), 8 - Adele Rosborough (24), 11 - Drusilla Moxey (25); 10 - Marika Kreisburg (29), 15 - Tristan Lovelock (26)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Josef Colmeyer (23), 20 - GK - Bryce Henderson (26); 15 - ST - Sapphire Burnett (22), 16 - LM - Vivienne Morgan (22), 22 - ST - Thorodel Nagdalene (33, COS), 31 - ST - Dulcina Radcliffe (19, 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: Flirting with the lower reaches of the promotion places, with a few nice moments along the way, but realistically speaking that was most everything the Rovers could ask for. They are a solid team with a few key stars, ones they've been lucky to keep ahold of between seasons... mostly. Julia Thane's loss to the other Rovers hurts. Still, Elrik Raskine remains optimistic as always, and still has a good young side at his disposal. Belaskita Skalak at rightback leads the defence with gusto, constantly threatening on the overlap with the intelligence to always know when to push, while on the other flank Drusilla Moxey is arguably the division's most accurate crosser. Rosborough's a cunning influence in the centre of the park, excelling at slipping throughballs down the centre, and sturdy new signing Tristan Lovelock - formerly of Project +90 and Cenial Liberty - will hope to feed off that. Sure, they'll be fast and physical, with some creativity... but perhaps the centre looks a little fragile.

11. AFC Serpentine
Home Colours: Jade / navy / jade
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Aventurine Street (20,000)
Nickname: the Dragons
Manager: Voula Logothettis (49)
(4-4-2) 20 - Marietta Briggs (22); 2 - Kurtis Fischer (30), 4 - Hecates Ruarisson (28, APX), 23 - Nils Armbruster (25), 3 - Keziah Warwick (30, c); 22 - Oiji Nanemoru (23, HIN), 6 - Raphael Passlach (24), 21 - Jasper Olson (25), 11 - Garrett Stijnen (22); 14 - Coraline Langbauer (27), 10 - Kuruc Zalan (30, PAS)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Perseus Theoklitos (35, PRV); 8 - CM - Ashley Keoman (31), 15 - ST - Chloe Lehrer (24), 16 - ST - Roxanna Strong (20), 19 - CB - Penelope Caddett (32)

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: The Dragons had a few flashes of brilliance, but promotion was always a long shot. So it proved with a side that had the talent but not quite the grist to drag themselves over the line - or, surprisingly, the goals. They have a strong back four, lead by the intimidating Ruarisson and Armbruster at its core, and talented young stopper Briggs looks set for promotion after some good work in preseason. Up front, Zalan is the target man and Langbauer the stocky poacher standing nearby. The issue is the gap in between them. Still, it's circumvented somewhat by a fast, direct style, often circumventing the centre of the park entirely to focus on wing play. It can be a little one-note, but it's how to get a tune out of a lopsided side. More upper-midtable looks likely.

12. Cranequin City
Home Colours: All terracotta, gold trim
Away Colours: All sky blue, black trim
Stadium: Claringstone (18,000)
Nickname: the Terracotta Army
Manager: Dan Keel (42)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Stefan Ledo (26, ABJ); 17 - Tristan Polenz (23), 5 - Oleg Biscan (25), 6 - Heinz Kreis (27), 19 - Bernard Heller (25); 21 - Bertrand Verdier (29, EFL), 18 - Ninian Lechleiter (25, c), 8 - Cressida Voeller (21); 7 - Delta Amberstone (28); 23 - Kirsten Gemmill (26), 10 - Kosta Kolar (22)
Notable Substitutes: 2 - RB - Rachael Flitcroft (32), 16 - ST - Leofric Woadswell (31), 20 - DM - Jacqueline Sembrant (30)

Background: Cranequin is the smallest of the state capitals, and City is dwarfed by the Wanderers. Still, they've managed to compete with their rivals over the past few years, and a remarkable string of seasons under Edmund Agincourt saw an unlikely series of survivals with a side that just seemed to get worse and worse on paper but always found a way to cling to survival, until they suddenly didn't. Have dipped between the second and third tiers since, but an ambitious board is looking up.

Summary: The Terracotta Army look strong for a newly-promoted side, having won the Second Division (albeit narrowly) and reinforcing strongly in the window. The shot-stopper Ledo, muscular fullback Polenz and experienced SPL striker Gemmill bulk up an already solid side. Keep an eye out as well for the tall timber of Kolar up front, as well as the intelligent, calm Voeller, who plays like a player ten years her senior. Has the pace to match, too, to be fair. Under Dan Keel, City have been a very disciplined, hard-working side, uncompromising defence and with the creativity and ruthlessness up front to capitalise. A large rather than fast side, they tend to dominate possession... well, they did, in the third tier. Here things might be a little tougher... but there's the goals, the defence and the tactical framework to embed themselves safely in midtable.

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 (49)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Constantine Yeoman (26); 2 - Niko Smelter (23), 19 - Gary Boatman (27), 5 - Deon Martyn (31), 3 - Yehoshua Riesling (28); 6 - Milan Fenwick (29, EFL); 22 - Majdiyya Cavazos (29, EFL, c), 21 - Miralem Fowler (33), 8 - Leo Rosenstiel (24), 16 - Jasmine Furrier (22); 23 - Jonas Busch (26)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Yann Cawood (24); 4 - CB - Sauro Costabile (35, COS), 9 - ST - Rho Efthimiou (24), 11 - LM - Stefan Ermine (22), 17 - RB - Constantine Strutton (27)

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: Brun Kissinger's doing a quietly good job, and people are starting to take notice. The Paladins keep having the last assets of their Premiership stint get stripped, or age past their prime, and get replaced on a shoestring. What didn't help was that their most expensive signing last season, Efthimiou from Coret Hawks, was a flop, netting six goals in 37 games. Jonas Busch, a local, finally got his chance to replace him and did well as a bustling, energetic forward. He's young enough to keep getting better. They have a strong core with the likes of massive goalkeeper Yeoman, the redoubtable destroyer Fenwick and creativity in midfield from Cavazos, Rosenstiel (who had a real breakthrough season) and new acquisition Furrier supplemented by the stability of the veteran Fowler. More of the same, then?

14. Vermillion Wanderers
Home Colours: Green / green / yellow
Away Colours: Yellow / green / green
Stadium: Falstaff Ground (23,500)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Cheney Rutherford (49)
(4-4-2) 1 - Tameka Halsall (28); 2 - Cheney Auburn (24), 17 - Julen Zendegi (25, AUD), 6 - Callie Flores (32, COS, c), 3 - Barrett Routledge (26); 7 - Anneliese Coe (21), 21 - Franziska Corren (22), 8 - Catric Pinnon (25), 16 - Alexis Farrier (21, AUD); 9 - Lorraine Paintblack (25), 10 - Valery Kovaleski (22, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 4 - CM - Stelios Eleftheriou (32), 11 - LM - Jasper Stalworth (25), 15 - RM - Claudia Stefans (30), 16 - RB - Ichthys Tsekenis (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: Finally, the Wanderers managed to safely squirrel themselves away in midtable. Cheney Rutherford has celebrated with a commitment to youth, though bringing in the relative experience of seasoned defender Flores to shore them up at the back, as well as the sturdy rightback Auburn. Solid down the core, with young, fast wingers who may not be the best players in the world, but they can get it to Kovaleski, and Kovaleski can get it in the net. There's definitely plans to move onwards and upwards, and Rutherford has been extremely bullish in preseason as to where he aims to take the club - specifically, the Premiership. For now, though, they'll be content to be somewhere in the middle of the pack.

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 (50)
(4-1-4-1) 12 - Wotan Hornwood (26); 2 - Andre Sciberras (26), 4 - Elsa Durant (23), 18 - Jordi Rowe (25), 19 - Christian Ledger (27, c); 14 - Storm Holsen (20, AUD); 7 - Cheney Corder (26), 15 - Gareth Anwhistle (31), 22 - Antony Stamp (27), 11 - Marcin Faehrmann (24); 13 - Alanna Halmark (27)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Jove de Lisle (30); 5 - CB - Corren Delaney (33), 6 - DM - Kiko Santiago (30), 8 - CM - Prudence Bourne (30)

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: Elaine Ashdown finally hung up the boots after a safely midtable season. "Now we have to keep moving up the table, back to where we belong!" she announced with tears in her eyes after her final game. Which is great! But probably not realistic for the near future. City are undeniably solid, with a great goalkeeper, a soild new find in the towering Elsa Durant in defence, hatchet-man Storm Holsen anchoring the midfield and the solidity of Gareth Anwhistle added to the midfield. Creativity is what's missing here, and in honestly it's hard to see where the goals are going to come from without Ashdown's or Fairfax's creativity. But they'll be safe. Just... boring.

16. Extreme Hills
Home Colours: Orange / black / orange
Away Colours: White / orange / white
Stadium: Harkerscourt (20,000)
Nickname: the Hounds
Manager: Bryony Johansen (39)
(4-4-2) 1 - Czarina Tournay (32, COS); 17 - Niko Rudan (30, c), 5 - Arthur Levitt (26, ETN), 19 - Dominik Ciernik (22, NOV), 3 - Magdalena Spiro (24); 22 - Jacqui Commerce (24), 6 - Asa Ketelsen (31, AUD), 8 - Desdemona Schuster (31), 23 - Ash Carter (22); 9 - Maribel Garrido (32, OSR), 11 - Coretta Rooke (23)
Notable Substitutes: 25 - GK - Jon Saullivan (24); 2 - RB - Fiete Kinnett (27), 4 - CM - Gavin Handspiker (25), 7 - RM - Max Asprey (30), 14 - ST - Nori Harcutt (25), 16 - LM - Matti Garforth (25), 18 - CB - Ranulf Gatcan (24), 21 - CM - Chris Britton (33)

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 started terribly last season, but ultimately recovered just fine. They're a weird side, at the end of the day, with a solid core reinforced by Levitt (another canny free), two lethal strikers in the seasoned Garrido and young, dynamic Rooke, Desdemona Schuster added to the mix in the centre with her cool head and calm close control... but weak wingers, an acrobatic but flaky goalkeeper, weak depth and a bad tendency to be overrun in defeat. Johansen, on the whole, does her best to try and accentuate her best players and limit her weak links - all the wingers really have to do is lob it over the top to the dangerous forwards. More of the same is likely until they can patch up the squad... unless they start losing their key stars.

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) 1 - Faraj Samara (30, BBS); 17 - Nicola Wrexham (24), 18 - Wanya Belsky (22, AUD), 6 - Rose Benedict (28), 3 - Iliad Tsipras (31, PRV); 14 - Sara Penford (29), 5 - Chris Margate (30, c), 13 - Arran Grey (23); 15 - Simeon Lucan (26), 9 - Fred Dawson (33, SCT), 11 - Artur Litton (24)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Sigrid Cooper (36); 8 - CM - Alexis Hannaday (34), 19 - CB - Paul Allard (32), 23 - LW - Lyon Kalvan (29)

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: Hackett have had interesting seasons lately. This wasn't one, off to a mildly strong start and then slowly backsliding after that point, with the most draws of anyone in the division (and fewer wins than relegated Crisisbless Athletic). They're a decent side stitched together from journeymen, such as new signing Faraj Samara, a flashy goalkeeper, Audioslavian lower-tier defender Belsky and, importantly, an impressive, confident playmaker filched from promoted Belgrave in Arran Grey, tall, strong and assertive. They're a balanced side, happy enough to play a low block and tough out the enemy but with the assets, between Grey, the muscular winger Lucan and the tall timber of washed-up former DBC winner Dawson ensuring they have the firepower to keep them afloat. Further mediocrity awaits.

18. West Brinemouth
Home Colours: Orange / black / orange
Away Colours: Pink / black / pink
Stadium: Volkstadion (31,000)
Nickname: the Gulls
Manager: Anatoly Fenwick (51)
(4-3-1-2) 12 - Clovis Terrano (24, CCN); 17 - Thorn Tristram (22), 5 - Jason Godfrey (27), 22 - Tomas Castanon (20, AUD), 3 - Genevieve Taylor (24); 7 - Andrea Kurz (20), 4 - Cheney Gestede (33, c), 13 - Karel Jaffe (26); 11 - Camilla Priest (34); 9 - Brun Terry (27), 21 - Reinhard Geist (21)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Dave Cassen (27); 2 - RB - James Culden (31), 8 - CM - Hilda Stannion (27), 14 - DM - Rook Trestleman (26), 15 - AM - Sami Makela (30), 19 - CB - Alice Woodman (33), 23 - LB - April Forshawe (30)

Background: Brinemouth's west is the relatively poor, working-class part of the city, away from the affluent, arguably gentrified Brineside. Unlike most such sides, it remains in the shadow of neighbours and fierce rivals Brinemouth, but it has achieved some fair successes of its own in the modern era, occasionally reaching the Premiership and once winning the NFA Cup. The fanbase traditionally values workmanlike, muscular players, but the academy has not been the most successful, and many of the best youth prospects in the city are poached by their bigger, richer neighbours.

Summary: After a fairly poor start, West Brinemouth finally managed to come back to the second tier, probably their natural level, after beating Second Division champions Cranequin City 1-0 on the final day. They're a solid young side that feels harder than a cinderblock to break down, and there's definitely a few players here who could long-term make the step up to the Premiership. Tristram is a rock-solid, snappy fullback who shouts a lot and makes his studs felt, Andrea Kurz is a brilliant, energetic midfielder who excels at driving forward and dominating the play. But the experience of malicious mauler Gestede and versatile, proficient Priest will help to anchor them in midfield. The issue is up front, where the muscular Geist isn't quite there yet and Terry never quite reached 'there' at all. They should make a good start, and if they can stay up, keep their best players and buy a striker... they might be looking up from there.

19. Locksley
Home Colours: Burgundy / white / burgundy
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Ashen Grove (14,000)
Nickname: the Brewers
Manager: Reinhard Drake (42)
(4-4-2) 12 - Iselin (28, DAI); 13 - Corey Dunbar (31, SLL), 5 - Reynald Etzel (25), 6 - Bertolf Geoffrey (28, c), 19 - Antoine Kerherve (22, AUD); 7 - Rudi Thurman (26), 4 - Kurtis Woodbine (34), 10 - Shona Butcher (22), 11 - Lukas Fernwood (26); 14 - Makhone Djite (32), 21 - Carver Heaton (24)
Notable Substitutes: 1 - GK - Paul Chadwick (32); 2 - RB - Catheline Pitspurr (33), 8 - CM - Dimitri Konstantinopoulos (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: Locksley thought they finally had enough to stay up comfortably, without drama. So much for that. They were still in real danger on the final matchday, and finished 20th. But Reinhard Drake was able to oversee something of a turnaround, at least, and there's still enough here that they ought to stay up against. He's restored the very old-school values of hustle and bustle and muscle to the club, somewhat unsurprisingly, but with the caveat of using the small, confident Shona Butcher as a crucial playmaker alongside the seasoned demolisher Woodbine. Iselin's a sharp goalkeeper, with an essentially alright defence, and Lukas Fernwood's got a strong, accurate left boot that makes up for a relative lack of pace. Up front, Djite is massive, and Heaton... isn't exactly small, either. So, sure, accuse them of being a slow, direct side, because they are. Accuse them of being fragile defensively, conceding the most goals of any side that stayed up. Accuse them of disciplinary issues, with a lot of 'mad lad' figures around the place. But, by God, they will fight to stay up.

20. Greygate
Home Colours: All grey with red sash
Away Colours: All white with blue trim
Stadium: Dourhead (23,000)
Nickname: the Wardens
Manager: Augustine Houghton (61)
(4-4-2) 1 - Anders Rowett (25); 13 - Jari Ricketts (26), 22 - Bixente Lalonde (21, ASU), 19 - Rostyn Malick (27), 18 - Rodolf Berisha (30, c); 7 - Jason Finmark (27), 23 - Matthew Rawson (22), 8 - Elaine Brackwater (34), 21 - Karena Braham (33); 9 - Klaus Petriak (25), 15 - Kotaro Westfield (27, USI)
Notable Substitutes: 4 - CM - Solipsis Coleman (32), 5 - CB - Daniel Muscat (32), 11 - LM - Corso Poulsen (29)

Background: Greygate hope to entrench themselves as Stahlburg's third club, though realistically Armstrong are more important. 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 Stahlburg 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 back and... well, look weaker than the vintage that recently went down. They're now under the seasoned generalship of Augustine Houghton, a forceful veteran hand at the tiller, and he's constructed his usual solid crew, a mixture of physical young players (including a strongarmed defence, spiced up by the classy gamble of Lalonde and backed up by a very good reflex stopper in Rowett), guile in the middle of the park through Brackwater and the clever, incisive Braham. Up front, Westfield was dominant in the third tier last season, and the once-callow forward looks to be really hitting his stride as a player. Can he translate that confidence into the First Division for the first time? Greygate's survival likely hinges on it.

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 (47)
(4-4-2) 12 - Fyona Matthews (23); 2 - Elisa Defaye (33), 5 - Spartacus Jackson (32, c), 6 - Timo Chrien (30), 19 - Jasmine Bartley (28, SCT); 7 - Casper Jeavons (27), 15 - Ivan Collinger (31), 8 - Wynona Short (27), 11 - Olenna Salthouse (25); 9 - Jakob Spinnett (25), 16 - David Sol (28, PCR)
Notable Substitutes: 33 - CM - Casey Steward (19)

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: Bridge made it to the crucial 50-point mark and will be fairly happy just to have survived. They've done... precious little to reinforce their squad, though keeping their best players, acrobatic shot-stopper Matthews, efficient midfielder Short and the composed, versatile forward Sol, will play a big part in their continued stay at this level. They're a side that plays a fairly standard way, with a rugged if aging defence and a penchant for advancing play down the wings, especially through the crosses of the pacy Salthouse, and really they're the archetypal lower-second tier Nepharim side. Up front, Spinnett proved he can get goals at this level, and that's all they need from him. Depth remains a serious issue for them, though.

22. Coret Rovers
Home Colours: Blue / white / blue
Away Colours: Yellow / blue / yellow
Stadium: The Ultramarine (16,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Manager: Bess Gannon (43)
(4-4-2) 1 - Darroll Kewell (26, EFL); 19 - Parvana Evans (28, ISK), 5 - Logan More (31), 6 - Gideon Muller (31), 3 - Karlo Jozic (28, PAS); 7 - Alastair Spinnett (24), 21 - Gareth Brewer (34, c), 14 - Bosko Roman (26, IRN), 16 - Luther Spendthrift (25); 9 - Rodger Covington (28, ETN), 10 - Sylvia Janik (24, GLX)
Notable Substitutes: 4 - CM - Rachel Tsicaderis (34), 8 - CM - Jozan Moreland (33), 15 - RM - Ambrose Sonnett (32), 22 - CB - Dave Chenoweth (26), 23 - ST - Melody Forster (21)

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: Weirdly, the Rovers continue their draw-shy tendencies. It took them sixteen matches for their first stalemate last time, and they managed just four all season this time around. Yet again, they started awfully, axed their managed and choppered in someone new, this time the no-nonsense Bess Gannon (a somewhat contentious choice for manager of the season). They did stay up in the end, Alysia Stokes managing a last goal in her last game to beat Gonen's Bridge 1-0 away and keep the Rovers up, against the odds. But the simple fact is they still aren't very good. Kewell is a great reflex stopper, granted, with Jozic a solid fullback and an excellent free transfer in Gideon Muller, a strong journeyman defender. Roman and Brewer makes for a steel-and-harder-steel partnership in the centre, and while they've lost leading scorer Gabriel Prosper they've signed up a foreign strike partnership of Covington and Janik to hopefully fire them to safety. But will the service be there, with a side that looks solid and physical enough on paper but struggles dearly to find creativity?

23. 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 (47)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Henna Morgan (35); 19 - Victoria Schute (31, SCT), 5 - Toriel Scarrow (30), 21 - Gretchen Hathaway (33), 3 - Brenton Shaw (32, APX); 4 - Galen Wickham (34); 7 - Corinne Murdock (28), 10 - Kate Mullen (34, c), 6 - Callum Chandler (27), 11 - Sharon Kitteman (28); 9 - Stacey Potenza (31, AUD)
Notable Substitutes: 12 - GK - Jack Cornthorpe (31); 8 - CM - Luke Wintergren (33), 14 - CM - Ranulf Emmerich (34), 23 - LB - Blossom Garry (30), 24 - LM - Jackie Mulberry (26)

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 stubbornly refuse to die. They scored thirty-two goals, the least in the league by a distance, and are an old side that got even older, with their main signing being the muscular midfielder Chandler, at 27 a veritable spring chicken by the club's standards. Henna Morgan, Gretchen Hathaway, the thuggish Wickham and austere captain Kate Mullen would have made for an excellent spine... five years ago. Stacey Potenza up front is industrious as anything, but just isn't a natural goalscorer. Nobody in the club is. An extremely strong, powerful defensive side, but there's no pace, no cutting edge and they can't tread water forever just by lumping it long and getting great goals through set pieces.

24. Stonegrave
Home Colours: Sky blue / black / sky blue
Away Colours: Red / white / red
Stadium: Miller Park (12,000)
Nickname: the Diggers
Manager: Friedrich Church (54)
(4-1-4-1) 12 - Calcifer Anderson (33); 2 - Ruth Jesper (23), 5 - Kenneth Smalt (29), 3 - Maximian Trent (26), 6 - Verdigris Kennet (25); 4 - Gareth Temple (24); 7 - Ulrich Tanner (24), 8 - Celeste Colton (26, c), 15 - Emerance Sanborn (25), 16 - Perilous Whiteside (20); 17 - Rouwen Seeklander (33)
Notable Substitutes: 23 - ST - Synod Blake (34)

Background: Stonegrave is a town in far northwest Crownsend, which was once more known as a rugby and ice hockey town before the rise of association football and the decline of other codes. Another side that was a foundation side of the regional Conference. They have no real rivals, though could probably think of an excuse to pick a fight with Creed, Morningstar or any of the Treason sides.

Summary: In a razor-tight (is... is that even an adjective?) race for promotion, Stonegrave timed their run to perfection, slipping into the top four at the very end though almost capitulating on the final matchday before clinging onto fourth with a last-minute Tanner equaliser. Now that they're here, though, what will they do? They had the third-tier's best defence... and scored just 53 goals. Unsurprisingly, they've reinforced up front, with the rangy target man Seeklander and quick-footed winger Whiteside supplemented by the defensive additions of solid goalkeeper Anderson and industrious midfielder Sanborn. Their existing back four was already a punchy, disciplined unit, and last-match hero Ulrich Tanner was almost like a D-List Adnan Szalai, combining pace, power and directness, often heading home at the far post but just as good swinging in crosses to the other end, too. All this... well... it's still probably not going to be enough, is it?

Lower Down the Pyramid

Second Division
Rochford's campaign spun dramatically off the rails last time around, but two managers and some more recruitment later they look to be the favourites for immediate promotion yet again. Expect Ritter Town to join them after their shock relegation, with Chardonnay Rangers also up there looking for a turn. Behind them, it's fairly even. At the bottom, Sutcroft and Strephonage had their great escapes last time around, but are up against it again. Ox River, despite their incredibly good season to punch above their weight last season, are likely to struggle.

Third Division
Alliance Barossia look stronger than they did when they first went down, which was a surprise even then. They only barely conceded more than a goal a game, just one more than promoted Greygate. They look the standout favourites, with Barossia United and Kommissar also fancied to come straight back up. Boltcroft Thorns and Aries Solitaire are ambitious smaller clubs who are looking to break into that First or Second Division bracket. At the bottom, it could finally be the death knell for underperforming sides in Rushe, Boleyn and Gridlock.
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Postby Nephara » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:27 pm

Starling open their preseason in style, taking care of business to qualify for the Globe Cup - though Drawk City proved a tough obstacle - before meeting Brinemouth in the Ramsey Shield. “We recognise that the Dockers are the talk of the town, lately, with their great story about how they didn’t sign Bryger Tidesson,” says Lisa Amos drily, “but we’re here to show them that we mean actual business, not just transfer business.” They prove as much, too, Elsa Kaelin opening the scoring with a crisp long drive before a contentious penalty, earned by Kaelin, is converted by Armstrong on the brink of half-time. Scotti pulls one back, but it’s not enough - for the first time in its short history, the Ramsey Shield leaves Sabrefell.

Admittedly, Starling were only breezing through Globe Cup qualification because they stumbled at the first hurdle to Keppal Cosmos, and Athletic were beaten by Cassandra City. They, too, managed to qualify for the Globe Cup. Newrook City, thumped 4-1 on aggregate by Kanshiro, did not - their great achievement to qualify for UICA for the first time in their history wiped out by home and away defeats, though Starling did avenge them in the qualifying round. Little consolation, you would imagine.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Belgrave
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 South Laithland
AFC Treason 1-3 North Sabrefell
Vermillion Rage 2-0 Crisisbless United
Violence Chariots 5-1 North Laithland
Coret Hawks 3-2 AFC Corvistone
Starling 1-2 Cypher Town
Creed United 1-0 Leichhardt
Newrook City 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Bishop 0-1 Crisisbless
Chenoworth Harriers 1-4 Southfell United
Raven River 1-2 Brinemouth

The bells, the whistles, the flares, the chants, the smell of roasting currywurst and souvlaki and beer… the sights and smells of the motherfucking Premiership are back! And it’s the first time in a while we’ve seen South Laithland or Crisisbless United at the big table, and maybe it shows - the Southrons are badly off the pace as Sur Arora’s Moths sweep them off the board, Reinhard Meixner doing his best between the posts for the visitors but, ultimately, Ashburner and Romano seal the points, as Vermillion Rage cannily hit United on the break twice for a cool win. Belgrave go valiantly toe-to-toe with Athletic, and honestly should have at least taken a point away… but at the end of the day, they are profligate, Xixi Ens is not. But North Sabrefell are surely happiest of all, as Cheney Bittencourt’s first result in charge of the Stags is an utter stinker. They’re resoundingly outplayed by the newly-promoted Bohemians, Roxel with a POTM performance on debut and Wolff with her first and second Premiership goals, every player on the pitch doing their part. Elsewhere, North Laithland come crashing back down to earth after the Chariots annihilate them 5-1, an early red card for Katja Christensen is the catalyst for the Harriers to be battered 4-1 by Southfell as new signings Fairfax and Vyntra excel and Freya McCosgraigh gets two assists on debut to see Cypher upset Starling away.

South Laithland 3-4 Sabrefell Athletic
North Sabrefell 1-1 Belgrave
Crisisbless United 2-3 Sabrefell Moths
North Laithland 1-0 AFC Treason
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Vermillion Rage
Cypher Town 0-2 Violence Chariots
Leichhardt 1-0 Coret Hawks
Goodfeather FC 0-4 Starling
Crisisbless 2-1 Creed United
Southfell United 1-2 Newrook City
Brinemouth 2-2 Bishop
Raven River 0-4 Chenoworth Harriers

“Now I know,” Conan Estelline says grandly before a visit to Brinemouth, “that Nepharim are kind of notorious dinosaurs when it comes to analytics, so I know many of you will be hoping I fail…” Ahhh, a good way to endear oneself to the press. But it’s hard to argue with results, and Bishop get one. Overrun in the first half, they fight back in the second, a cool finish from Ansel Penbrooke pulling one back before the Llamanean forward sets up Faiza Huyton for a clipped outside-of-the-boot equaliser past Morales. What a start for the 22-year old! Starling recover from their patchy early form, and run roughshod over a decidedly second-rate Goodfeather. 4-0 is the final score, with the Quakers barely able to lay a glove on their opponents, and Ezra Stonewaters looks pensive in the dugout. River should be similarly concerned at the same scoreline as they lie down and die to the Harriers, a match that Angela Braugher takes by the scruff of the neck and scores twice before laying on an assist for Rexmont, while things go from bad to worse for Cheney Bittencourt as his Treason side are toothless against spirited rivals North Laithland, Josie Webster with the only goal of the game. Sabrefell Athletic, meanwhile, look shaky and complacent against the sheer bruising physicality of South Laithland, and rely on Grey Meisler to come off the bench and simply get a goal through sheer pace, looping the seventh and final goal over a stranded Meixner in injury time to secure a remarkable 4-3 comeback win. “We’ve shown we’re a force to be taken seriously,” says Lyn Hartmann staunchly, and she has a point, though not, well, any points.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-4 North Sabrefell
South Laithland 1-0 Crisisbless United
Belgrave 2-3 North Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 3-2 AFC Corvistone
AFC Treason 1-0 Cypher Town
Vermillion Rage 1-0 Leichhardt
Violence Chariots 1-3 Goodfeather FC
Coret Hawks 1-0 Crisisbless
Starling 1-2 Southfell United
Creed United 1-2 Brinemouth
Newrook City 4-0 Raven River
Bishop 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers

South Laithland get on the board with a win over Crisisbless United, with a showing of spirit and intensity masking their clear technical deficiencies. Natasha catches the eye for her close control and composure, and it’s the Daineri midfielder who gets the goal, springing past an over-commited Na’Ryibi and whipping a low, hard strike into the corner beyond Sparwasser. Treason also get back on track by edging Cypher. River do not. River, controversially, decide to get pasted 4-0 again, this time by Newrook City. Couturiaux runs the show with impeccable long passes as Andreu Bartolnicci is a thrilled, animated figure in the dugout, while Kia Anders next to him looks like she wants to throw up. North Sabrefell have to take the plaudits, however, as they dominate Sabrefell Athletic. Wolff scores another brace, the heavyset Montag volleys in a somewhat fortuitous effort from a Farina clearance that fell nicely for her and Alcuin Sharp hits the post to blitz Tom Benedict’s side, 3-0 up away from home within half an hour. Hawke pulls one back, but is withdrawn on the hour - there’s no coming back from this, as Stinnett proves with a shot that slips underneath Gautier to make it 4-1.

Crisisbless United 1-5 Sabrefell Athletic
North Laithland 1-2 North Sabrefell
AFC Corvistone 0-1 South Laithland
Cypher Town 1-0 Belgrave
Leichhardt 1-3 Sabrefell Moths
Goodfeather FC 0-1 AFC Treason
Crisisbless 3-0 Vermillion Rage
Southfell United 2-2 Violence Chariots
Brinemouth 0-1 Coret Hawks
Raven River 2-3 Starling
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Creed United
Bishop 0-2 Newrook City

Sabrefell Athletic seem to have adopted the tactic of simply outscoring everyone this season, as Rainsford looks to be a little too over the hill to quite cover her defensive responsibilities alone anymore, but when they dominate possession and put Crisisbless United, a side that isn’t built to withstand pressure, under pressure? It turns out the Chequers just explode, losing 5-1 as Ixion Stamatellis has one of the worst matches a Premiership player has ever had, slicing a spectacular own goal into his own net, giving away a penalty and then being sent off for a godawful late challenge on Bereveskos. North Sabrefell chalk up another impressive win, this time against North Laithland, and Gareth Blackthorn is quickly becoming the hipster choice for next great manager. Admittedly, they owed much to Lukas Sparr giving away and then saving a penalty in injury time, one of seven firm saves across the match. River, meanwhile, see their first point of the season slip through their grasp. As in, literally, it slips through Bowerman’s grasp, a shot from Padilla he really should have held squeezing cruelly through his hands for a late Starling winner.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 North Laithland
Crisisbless United 1-3 AFC Corvistone
North Sabrefell 1-2 Cypher Town
South Laithland 1-2 Leichhardt
Belgrave 3-3 Goodfeather FC
Sabrefell Moths 0-2 Crisisbless
AFC Treason 1-1 Southfell United
Vermillion Rage 1-3 Brinemouth
Violence Chariots 3-1 Raven River
Coret Hawks 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Starling 1-0 Bishop
Creed United 0-3 Newrook City

Eyes on both ends of the table. Match of the round is undoubtedly Belgrave hosting Goodfeather, the quick, impetuous Gargoyles against the fragile but graceful Quakers. Fragile and graceful, that is, apart from Falcon Case, the burly midfielder bustling into the centre and burying a somewhat optimistic cross from Aviston, before Aurora Jewel bursts down the centre, Naess’ hand practically tearing her shirt off as she muscles clear and hoofs home Goodfeather’s second. But the game changes on a brutal challenge from Ursa Dimitar that literally knocks Lake from her boots, and as she’s stretchered off, Dimitar’s sent off. Tanner finds the right free kick to let Giatrakis flick home one back, before Muscat and Conrad put the Gargoyles in the lead early in the second half. In the dying stages of the game, however, Goodfeather striker Gabriel Prosper comes off the bench and, with his first and only touch of the game, hooks Leitner’s killer ball beyond a scrambling Connell for the equaliser, his first Premiership goal. Somewhat more pedestrian, but probably more significant at the sharp end, Sabrefell Moths simply can’t find the cutting edge to get beyond a ruthlessly efficient Crisisbless side that shut them down at every turn, Ruhl and Coppinger applying the finishing touches in the second half. Credit’s also due to Cypher Town, who succeed where everyone else has thus far failed and inflict a first Premiership defeat on North Sabrefell, just too compact to break down, too quick to press in midfield and, through the blossoming Olivia Nygard, too clinical up front as they win 2-1.

AFC Corvistone 3-5 Sabrefell Athletic
Cypher Town 1-1 North Laithland
Leichhardt 0-0 Crisisbless United
Goodfeather FC 0-1 North Sabrefell
Crisisbless 1-0 South Laithland
Southfell United 10-1 Belgrave
Brinemouth 2-3 Sabrefell Moths
Raven River 1-3 AFC Treason
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Bishop 4-1 Violence Chariots
Newrook City 1-0 Coret Hawks
Creed United 2-4 Starling

Plenty of eyecatching results here, but perhaps one that stands above the rest. We’ll get to it last, shall we? Plenty more to get our teeth stuck into first. Corvistone put up a valiant effort against Sabrefell Athletic, but are let down by, frankly, the dismal mismatch that is a scatterbrained Heston and an aging Tatu against the world-class Hawke and Ens. An entertaining firefight, but one Athletic run out deserved 5-3 winners. Treason manager Cheney Bittencourt returns to Raven River and as his team canter to a 2-0 lead within fifteen minutes is treated to a chorus of “we want our coach back”. That’s enough to get a chuckle out of him, and a grimace from Kia Anders. Treason run out 3-1 winners with Clarisse Ulreich making an assured Premiership debut on the right, and River have six defeats from six. Brinemouth drop the ball, and a 2-0 lead, after the hour mark as Meier’s goal from nowhere, a spectacular volley over Morales’ head from thirty yards, makes them lose all structure. Vol rams into them, Romano and Serra pick up the scraps, and the Moths take three valuable points home. Bishop have had a stop-start beginning to the season, but have largely faced strong opposition. It’s promising, then, that against Violence Chariots - their first really gettable opposition - they canter out to a 4-1 win in which the system just works, the five-man midfield swallowing possession whole and Penbrooke clinical in front of goal. And now all that’s over with… Southfell beat Belgrave 10-1. Cordean has the best day of his time at Belgrave, Gail and Marlowe don’t miss a chance between them, Vyntra rolls back the years, and Belgrave are just genuinely fucking awful. It’s the first time in modern Premiership history - over two decades, now - that a team has scored double digits, and the first time there’s been a nine-goal margin of victory. Belgrave had been doing alright so far, but mysteriously, odds shorten drastically on their relegation.

Sabrefell Athletic 4-1 Cypher Town
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Leichhardt
North Laithland 3-0 Goodfeather FC
Crisisbless United 1-1 Crisisbless
North Sabrefell 4-1 Southfell United
South Laithland 1-3 Brinemouth
Belgrave 2-2 Raven River
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Treason 1-0 Bishop
Vermillion Rage 3-2 Newrook City
Violence Chariots 2-2 Creed United
Coret Hawks 0-1 Starling

Raven River get off the mark for the season, finally. First-half goals from Leonard and Donath set them in good stead, but Alexandra Lazarou skims a late equaliser just under the crossbar from outside the box that Bowerman might have gotten to. It’s River’s first point of the season… but it came against a Belgrave side that, due reminder, were just hammered 10-1 in a record Premiership scoreline. For their part, Southfell are evidently hungover from that result, and North Sabrefell take them apart 4-1. The Crisisbless derby goes to show that the formbook really does get thrown out, and all of those cliches. United have been pretty terrible so far in their return, but open the scoring - Crisisbless’ tight man-marking can only go far when Antelmi’s outside-of-the-boot pass sets up Novkovic to thread the ball into the bottom corner. They’re not content to sit on that, either, forcing some sharp saves from Gerhard Hartmuth (deputising for the injured Marciak) and skimming the post with a strike from Rivers, but at the end of the day, the Heelers can bring Urso, Vesper and Drenas on from the bench, and it’s Vesper that sets up Drenas for a clinical finish beyond Sparwasser. 1-1 about right, on the balance, though naturally both sets of fans felt aggrieved at various minor refereeing calls.

Leichhardt 0-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Cypher Town
Crisisbless 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Southfell United 3-1 North Laithland
Brinemouth 4-1 Crisisbless United
Raven River 3-0 North Sabrefell
Chenoworth Harriers 2-2 South Laithland
Bishop 1-1 Belgrave
Newrook City 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Creed United 3-2 AFC Treason
Starling 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Coret Hawks 0-0 Violence Chariots

Coret Hawks are being very dull at the moment. Following a scoreless draw with Coret, they’ve neither scored nor conceded more than one goal in a match since after the first day. Pavlovic has fit in well at the back thus far, but key striker Tarquin Ulster is yet to score and they’re short on alternatives. Leichhardt get a scoreless draw of their own, against Athletic, but they seriously don’t look like they’ve resolved their issues in front of goal and barely even challenge the visiting goalkeeper Gautier. River produce the shock of the round when they finally win a game, crushing in-form North Sabrefell 3-0. Creative influences Kesteren and Petkovic are finally awake! Klaus Breisgau finally scores his first, and second, goals of the season! And North Sabrefell do not have the pace at the back, or the sweeping goalkeeper, necessary to play as high a line as Blackthorn wanted them to, not when Kesteren could just hit long balls over all day for River’s fast strikers.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Leichhardt 0-3 Crisisbless
Cypher Town 1-1 Southfell United
AFC Corvistone 2-8 Brinemouth
North Laithland 1-1 Raven River
Crisisbless United 3-1 Chenoworth Harriers
North Sabrefell 3-1 Bishop
South Laithland 2-1 Newrook City
Belgrave 2-0 Creed United
Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Starling
AFC Treason 2-0 Coret Hawks
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Violence Chariots

Leichhardt go from a respectable point against Athletic to not mustering so much as a shot against a Crisisbless side that just steps on their throat and grinds their heel until there are three goals and nothing left. Starling manage a titanic defensive performance as the Moths visit, Padilla setting up Kaelin for the only goal of the game in the 29th minute and getting sent off in the 36th. Starling cling on, Hargrave saves a penalty and recent signing Alcander Visser is hugely impressive in blocking out the towering Sol. Corvistone score first against Brinemouth with a clever finish from Afolayan, but that just makes the Dockers angry, and they blast eight past Veloz at the other end. Meanwhile, all four promoted sides win their games, South Laithland with a late winner from substitute forward Dietrich Sorrenson on his 33rd birthday that Newrook swore blind was offside (leading to Glenn Baumann getting his marching orders for dissent) and Crisisbless United finally getting their first win of the season, second-half goals from Rivers and Lennox enough to break through the Harriers, Betancourt looking relieved on the bench.

Crisisbless 0-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Southfell United 4-0 Goodfeather FC
Brinemouth 4-1 Leichhardt
Raven River 1-0 Cypher Town
Chenoworth Harriers 0-0 AFC Corvistone
Bishop 1-3 North Laithland
Newrook City 3-0 Crisisbless United
Creed United 2-1 North Sabrefell
Starling 3-0 South Laithland
Coret Hawks 2-1 Belgrave
Violence Chariots 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
Vermillion Rage 2-0 AFC Treason

20-year old centre-half Ilyana Brosch is immediately slipped into Corvistone’s back line to replace Tatu, the redoubtable captain Malley replaces the callow Lekea and the aging Veloz is replaced by acrobatic Kovacic, and they go from conceding eight goals at home to a clean sheet away in Chenoworth, though Braugher does hit a post from four yards. Southfell are on the warpath again, this time demolishing Goodfeather 4-0. Maybe it was too early to write off Metan Cordean after all? He’s been fantastic so far this season, running the show in a drifting midfield role, perhaps feeling more secure with the destructive forces of his countryman Hemeyer covering him. River beat Cypher with a crisp finish from Kesteren from outside the box, through a cluster of bodies and a deflection. It’s a deserved win, but what really takes the headlines is Povilas Kaukenas on the bench, so impatient with Anders’ refusal to substitute him on that he takes initiative into his own hands and runs onto the pitch. The referee doesn’t notice River are playing with twelve men, right up until the oblivious Kaeman passes to him and he batters the ball straight at Ruo, leading to his expulsion, and a perhaps harsh three match suspension.

Lammerton 4-2 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 4-0 San Marco Storm

The group stage opens, to mixed results. What you have to do when facing Lammerton, as any kid who plays too much WCC Ultimate Team could tell you, is shut down Kaytlyne Victoriane. Marcin Close is an excellent young player, but he can’t do it, and the Chromatik forward’s crisply-taken first-half brace winds up being the difference. Conjure pulls one back before Dragana and Naeher trade goals, but a thunderbolt from man of the match Horvat finishes the Dockers off. Crisisbless, for their part, have a much happier time against Catherine Sedgwick’s Storm. Christopheran Maeve Bronte is dominant in the centre of the pitch, as always, with Ruhl, Coppinger, Jevdjevic-Hadsic and Rafford showing up with a flurry of goals.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Southfell United
Crisisbless 5-3 Brinemouth
Goodfeather FC 4-2 Raven River
Leichhardt 0-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Cypher Town 0-1 Bishop
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Newrook City
North Laithland 2-1 Creed United
Crisisbless United 2-3 Starling
North Sabrefell 2-2 Coret Hawks
South Laithland 3-4 Violence Chariots
Belgrave 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Moths 0-0 AFC Treason

Plenty of fine shows, around a couple of key match-ups. One lives up to its promise; the other very much does not, as the Moths and Treason grind out a scoreless draw that owes much to the Stags’ defensive partnership of Svensson and Vornander. So eyes gravitate instead to Crisisbless, normally cagey and tight and disciplined… but Brinemouth poke the bear, a distant strike from Conjure arcing beyond Marciak before the talismanic midfielder set up Dragana for a tidy finish, and that just sets things off. Going fast, hard and direct, Coppinger seizes upon a loose ball from the unusually unsteady Close to stab home one back, before her cross sets up Ruhl to make it 2-2. Lohengrin sets up Ruhl for Crisisbless to lead not long after that, but then Bajnok gives away a penalty for Conjure to convert. No worries, though - in the last ten minutes of an otherwise dull second half, Staunton flicks a cross over a scrambling Morales for Jevdjevic-Hadsic to tap home, before Allison Swan’s deflected strike finishes the Dockers off. Starling are a little fortunate to get away with a win over Crisisbless United, for which they rest Andisori. Deputising for her, Cesar Corvalan slams home a late winner… but he was almost certainly offside at the time. South Laithland, meanwhile, implode late on against the Chariots, conceding a red card, a penalty and an own goal to lose 4-3 and ruin an excellent all-round shift from Esteban Bentzen.

AFC Volksgarten 1-2 FC Seierstad
Fully Sick XI 4-2 Bodkin Road
Kommissar 1-1 Downsparrow (1-1 AET, 5-4 PKs)
Gridlock 1-0 AFC Brackwold
Sutcroft Athletic 0-0 AFC Hellerine (1-0 AET)
Corby Hubris 2-2 Coleman Ridge (2-2 AET, 4-3 PKs)
Grovebank 0-2 Barossia United
Brookway Town 0-2 West Hook
Blaze 0-2 Aspen Grove
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Stamper Road
Gosmouth Swans 6-1 Constance Park
Lockheed Zenith 4-0 Fischer
AFC Burchess 3-0 Mapleford
Fenland Albion 3-0 Harrington
Mainstream Fist 2-2 Iberia Chenoworth (2-2 AET, 1-4 PKs)
Rochford Pilgrims 1-3 Ringway
Autumnstone 1-1 Swag Hill Rovers (2-1 AET)
Dross Rovers 0-3 Long Lake
Twelvetrees 0-2 Pravenna Saints
Gridlock Rovers 0-5 Sirencall FC
Corvistone City 3-1 Brookford Vantablack
Brunyard FC 3-0 Rookwall
Courser 1-0 Sleetwell Rangers
Aries Solitaire 5-0 Coral Bay
The Travellers FC 1-1 Ingram Township (1-1 AET, 3-2 PKs)
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Rushe United
Brokenarch 0-1 South Parrhesia
Capricopia Rangers 0-0 South Brill (0-0 AET, 3-5 PKs)
Stonesthrow Town 1-1 Rhyburn Swifts (1-1 AET, 2-3 PKs)
Martella Jazz 0-3 Kensey Town
Crownsend Journey 1-3 Falston Town
Hartford Glade 1-2 Boleyn Town

As usual, the first round is full of incident at names nobody outside the country will recognise. It’s a nice opportunity for teams who aspire to better things than the fourth tier to beat down on fifth-tier sides - Aries Solitaire batter Coral Bay 5-0, while Gosmouth Swans put six past newly-promoted Constance Park. Coleman Ridge also fall at the hurdle of their first ever Cup match in what is, honestly, a fairly clinical penalty shoot-out against Corby considering their level, while Autumnstone and Aspen Grove manage to succeed at the first attempt. In the ‘how far they have fallen’ stakes, meanwhile, Mainstream Fist miss the goal altogether with three of their penalties against Iberia, who nail all four of theirs.

Brinemouth 4-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Raven River 0-2 Southfell United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Crisisbless
Bishop 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Newrook City 2-0 Leichhardt
Creed United 1-1 Cypher Town
Starling 3-0 AFC Corvistone
Coret Hawks 3-1 North Laithland
Violence Chariots 3-1 Crisisbless United
Vermillion Rage 5-1 North Sabrefell
AFC Treason 3-0 South Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 4-2 Belgrave

Four points separate the top six as things are, unsurprisingly, very close at the top. Crisisbless fall off the summit to third, Chenoworth Harriers - who haven’t done brilliantly so far - clawing a win thanks to Dimitriev’s spawning-salmon leap to head home a Rexmont corner, which leaves Starling to claim top with an easy 3-0 win over the Crows and the Moths to take second after beating Belgrave 4-2. It’s Brinemouth who really throw the cat amongst the pigeons, though, absolutely dominant in a 4-1 thrashing of Sabrefell Athletic in which Steve Fox shows his limitations and Rainsford her age as the Reds are pegged back time and again, Dragana and Scotti clinical in front of goal with a screamer from Montague and a first goal from substitute Malachi Chalk to finish things off. Newrook separate the two, sitting pretty in fifth after a straightforward win over Leichhardt. Southfell currently occupy seventh, looking better than they have in surely over a decade. Treason’s heavy 3-0 win over South Laithland sees them leapfrog North Sabrefell on goal difference after they’re demolished 5-1 by Vermillion, but you suspect the Bohemians will be delighted with their current placement anyway. The Rage round out the top ten.

Conspicuously not at the bottom, despite prophecies of doom and gloom, are a compact, organised Bishop side, perhaps unlucky to only get a draw with Goodfeather FC whose late leveller from Case simply had too much power for aging Bishop goalkeeper Scannell to keep out. Beneath them, no fewer than eight sides have failed to claim a point a game, and it’s not hard to see how the current bottom three got there. Leichhardt have scored just five goals all season, somehow, it took River seven matches to get their first point and Crisisbless United, beaten convincingly by the Chariots, still only have the one win.

Brinemouth 5-1 Tihon
Eastweald 0-1 Crisisbless

Tihon leftback Tessa Bayliss gets to reunite with her hometown club! It doesn’t go well for her, or for the grim-faced Nepharim manager, Catheline Allister. Chromatik sides have vastly improved in quality of late, but ultimately their champions have little defence against Brinemouth’s overpowering attacking quality. Scotti scores three en route to a 5-1 win. Crisisbless have a harder time of things, visiting Theresa Riether’s Eastweald. Brosque’s Heelers submit in terms of possession and territory, sponge up pressure and a couple of scares from Penumbra Amokachi, who thinks she should earn a penalty on the hour mark… but the Heelers play to the whistle, Marciak quickly rifles the ball forward for Rafford, to Coppinger, who centres for Ruhl to shepherd the ball into the net for the only goal of the game. “Smash and grab?” Brosque snorts in the post-match press conference. “Sure. But we did grab it.”

Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Stonegrave
Coret Rovers 1-1 West Brinemouth
Sheridan 0-0 Greygate
Stahlburg City 4-1 Cranequin City
Hackett 1-3 Morningstar
Armstrong 0-2 Parrhesia United
Chatswood 1-4 Corvette Maulers
Extreme Hills 2-1 Diamondqueen
Chenoworth Rovers 4-0 Gonen's Bridge
Brookford Otters 2-0 Iron City
AFC Serpentine 3-2 Locksley
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
West Brinemouth 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Greygate 1-0 Stonegrave
Cranequin City 1-2 Coret Rovers
Morningstar 3-0 Sheridan
Parrhesia United 3-1 Stahlburg City
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Hackett
Diamondqueen 2-2 Armstrong
Gonen's Bridge 1-2 Chatswood
Iron City 2-1 Extreme Hills
Locksley 0-4 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 Brookford Otters
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 AFC Serpentine
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Greygate
West Brinemouth 0-1 Cranequin City
Stonegrave 1-3 Morningstar
Coret Rovers 1-4 Parrhesia United
Sheridan 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Stahlburg City 0-1 Diamondqueen
Hackett 2-1 Gonen's Bridge
Armstrong 1-1 Iron City
Chatswood 1-1 Locksley
Extreme Hills 2-3 Stahlburg Rovers
Chenoworth Rovers 2-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Brookford Otters 3-0 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin City 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Morningstar 0-1 Greygate
Parrhesia United 1-2 West Brinemouth
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Stonegrave
Diamondqueen 6-2 Coret Rovers
Gonen's Bridge 3-0 Sheridan
Iron City 1-0 Stahlburg City
Locksley 1-2 Hackett
Stahlburg Rovers 3-3 Armstrong
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Chatswood
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Extreme Hills
Brookford Otters 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Morningstar
Cranequin City 1-3 Parrhesia United
Greygate 1-1 Corvette Maulers
West Brinemouth 0-1 Diamondqueen
Stonegrave 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Coret Rovers 0-1 Iron City
Sheridan 3-0 Locksley
Stahlburg City 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Hackett 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Armstrong 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Chatswood 0-0 Brookford Otters
Extreme Hills 1-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Parrhesia United 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Corvette Maulers 2-0 Morningstar
Diamondqueen 2-0 Cranequin City
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Greygate
Iron City 1-0 West Brinemouth
Locksley 1-1 Stonegrave
Stahlburg Rovers 5-4 Coret Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Sheridan
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Stahlburg City
Brookford Otters 3-1 Hackett
Chenoworth Rovers 4-0 Armstrong
Extreme Hills 1-1 Chatswood
Vermillion Wanderers 1-5 Corvette Maulers
Parrhesia United 1-0 Diamondqueen
Morningstar 3-0 Gonen's Bridge
Cranequin City 2-0 Iron City
Greygate 1-2 Locksley
West Brinemouth 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Stonegrave 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Coret Rovers 0-2 AFC Serpentine
Sheridan 0-3 Brookford Otters
Stahlburg City 3-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Hackett 2-0 Extreme Hills
Armstrong 0-1 Chatswood
Diamondqueen 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Corvette Maulers
Iron City 0-3 Parrhesia United
Locksley 2-0 Morningstar
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Cranequin City
Cranequin Wanderers 3-2 Greygate
AFC Serpentine 1-1 West Brinemouth
Brookford Otters 0-0 Stonegrave
Chenoworth Rovers 4-1 Coret Rovers
Extreme Hills 0-2 Sheridan
Chatswood 2-0 Stahlburg City
Armstrong 1-0 Hackett
Vermillion Wanderers 2-2 Gonen's Bridge
Diamondqueen 1-1 Iron City
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Locksley
Parrhesia United 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Morningstar 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Cranequin City 0-3 AFC Serpentine
Greygate 2-4 Brookford Otters
West Brinemouth 1-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Stonegrave 2-1 Extreme Hills
Coret Rovers 2-2 Chatswood
Sheridan 1-0 Armstrong
Stahlburg City 0-0 Hackett
Iron City 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Locksley 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Stahlburg Rovers 3-2 Diamondqueen
Cranequin Wanderers 1-2 Corvette Maulers
AFC Serpentine 3-2 Parrhesia United
Brookford Otters 1-0 Morningstar
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Cranequin City
Extreme Hills 2-3 Greygate
Chatswood 0-1 West Brinemouth
Armstrong 0-1 Stonegrave
Hackett 1-0 Coret Rovers
Stahlburg City 0-0 Sheridan
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Locksley
Iron City 2-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Diamondqueen 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Brookford Otters
Parrhesia United 1-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Morningstar 3-0 Extreme Hills
Cranequin City 0-0 Chatswood
Greygate 2-1 Armstrong
West Brinemouth 1-1 Hackett
Stonegrave 0-1 Stahlburg City
Coret Rovers 1-1 Sheridan
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-3 Locksley
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Iron City
Brookford Otters 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Diamondqueen
Extreme Hills 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Chatswood 3-2 Parrhesia United
Armstrong 0-2 Morningstar
Hackett 1-0 Cranequin City
Stahlburg City 1-0 Greygate
Sheridan 0-0 West Brinemouth
Coret Rovers 2-0 Stonegrave

Matchday 1: A real statement of intent in west Treason, Daniella Strauss coming to town in her first game in management for the Maulers and coming away with a 4-1 win in which Fiona Norval gets off the ground with a brace. The Chenoworth Rovers similarly run roughshod over Gonen's Bridge, the central midfield of Lozada and Paterson dominating, while at the bottom of the table an utterly dire scoreless draw between Sheridan and Greygate seems to illustrate how long a season they're destined to have.

Matchday 2: A second straight 4-0 win for Chenoworth Rovers, this time over Locksley. The question of "can Nega Bazin do it on a cold night in Barossia" appears to have been solved - with five goals so far, he's the early top scorer. Morningstar, under Helena Fleischer, actually manage not just to outplay Sheridan but to outbastard them as well, Coridan Ryder handing Kate Mullen a concussion and Scarrow handing Morningstar the win with a scuffed clearance, straight to Tsiavis.

Matchday 3: Three wins from three for Nyao's Parrhesia, this one most convincing of all as they batter Coret 4-1. Abigail Teris is very clearly immediately one of the best players in the division, with Spyrakis an eye-catching shot-stopper and McEthinly looking more comfortable at this level than she ever did at the top. Diamondqueen visit Stahlburg and, well, Douglas Tibet's men can't lay a glove on their opponents, perhaps dazzled by his purple and chartreuse jacket. In a well-worn story, Auburn Weber scores the game's only goal.

Matchday 4: Diamondqueen take the plaudits again, this time for a 6-2 hammering of Coret Rovers. Weber simply is a step ahead of the competition, and Brewer and Roman can't get to grips with her. "Would people prefer I just kicked her every time she had the ball?" Roman exploded after the match. Well, yes, Bosko, they would. Meanwhile, Gonen's Bridge striker Spinnett has three shots from eight touches all game... and gets a hat-trick, as Bridge beat Sheridan 3-0.

Matchday 5: Sheridan score their first goal. And their second, and their third, in a worrying sign for a Locksley side that look downright sieveish at the back. In a generally tense week, it's the Stahlburg derby that unsurprisingly catches the eye. It's a real tussle more than a game, and though Moxey hits a post, it's Isabella Shi, who has flattered to deceive so far and, it has to be honest, still looks a little overweight, who gets the only goal of the game. It's a thing of beauty, too, seizing on the end of Brujah's long pass, a lovely bit of trickery to get Scarratt to fall over before driving the ball low and hard into the bottom corner past Bolander.

Matchday 6: Coret Rovers look dangerously flaky, and that costs them against their namesakes from Stahlburg - 3-2 up away from home at half-time, it slips away, errors from Evans, More and, cruelly, the otherwise reliable Kewell handing Stahlburg a win. Some people are graceful winners. Thorodel Nagdalene, whose header it was that slipped underneath Kewell, runs the length of the away crowd making a large L with both hands. The final Rovers, Chenoworth, have their third 4-0 win in six games, mauling Armstrong this time around.

Matchday 7: Stahlburg City flare into life, with what is anticipated to be a clash of title favourites against Chenoworth Rovers... but it's barely even a contest. City are first to every ball, and ruthless enough to really hurt the Rovers, Shi can't be tamed by any of the Rovers' vaunted defenders and notches up a brace before a screamer from lanky rightback Ellen Mifsud, of all people, makes it 3-0. "We were second-best," Harper has to admit. Corvette Maulers also get the plaudits for demolishing Vermillion Wanderers, Jasko Voleimann having turned into some kind of world-beater at this level and Fiona Norval's Midas touch in front of goal causing a 5-1 win.

Matchday 8: "It was a blip. That's all." Catheline Harper refuses to give in to pessimism, and her Rovers recover from that damaging defeat to the Smiths by putting Coret Rovers to the sword, 4-1, in a match where Coret's defensive bulwark Muller concedes a penalty and is later sent off. Stahlburg City, meanwhile, are perhaps hungover from that win, and get turned over 2-0 by Chatswood. Bryony Johansen can only chew her nails on the sidelines as Extreme Hills implode against Sheridan, who smash and grab a 2-0 win in the Laith, as the Hounds' young foreign centre-halves Levitt and Ciernik appear to be struggling to get to grips with the league's, and specifically Potenza's, physicality.

Matchday 9: Parrhesia United dominate Stahlburg Rovers, and should easily win. But Bolander's in fine form between the posts, and though Coraline Madrigal does put them a goal to the good on the seventy-minute mark, the Rovers throw on Nagdalene, the sort of player who radiates a liminal space. So it proves, miscommunication between Altman and Spyrakis meaning the centre-half passes back to where Spyrakis isn't actually around, and the goalkeeper slips in the slick grass, letting Nagdalene rush in and slam home the equaliser. Sheridan claim yet another win, this time over struggling Armstrong, as the referee somehow overlooks Yeoman being elbowed in the head as he comes out to claim a corner, allowing Potenza to chest it into the net.

Matchday 10: On a day where thee's not much pleasing to the eye going on, Stahlburg against Sheridan is an utter slog, ending goalless and with neither side ever really breaking the other's guard. AFC Serpentine beat Parrhesia thanks to a second-half brace from burly defender Nils Armbruster, who it turns out is simply unstoppable in the air. Given he'd already scored an own goal, though, scuffing Teris' cross past a sprawling Briggs, he's less than amused by talk of his 'hat-trick'. West Brinemouth beat Chatswood, leading to a spectacular meltdown by Leigh Fletcher; "This was a great club once! We used to keep out Brinemouth, the real Brinemouth, at the end of every season - now we're conceding at home to whoever the fuck Brun Terry is!"

Matchday 11: Say what you will about Helena Fleischer, the burly neophyte manager is getting a tune out of Morningstar. They dominate Extreme Hills, cruising to a 3-0 win, rock-solid at the back and finally, finally getting results from Tsiavis up front. Iron City may no longer have World Cup champion Elaine Ashdown, but they do have... um... Marcin Faehrmann. To the winger's credit, though, he manages to lamp in a goal from half-way after spotting Bolander slav-squatting on the edge of the six-yard box for what turns out to be the winner.

Matchday 12: So far, it's a two-horse race and the surprise is that neither horse is goalshy Stahlburg City, languishing in tenth despite a 1-0 win over Greygate. The rampant Chenoworth Rovers are currently at the top as Corvette slip to a 1-1 draw with Extreme Hills, who haven't won since the first matchday and are bottom of the table as a result. Coret Rovers, who can't stop conceding, manage to stop conceding as they beat Stonegrave 2-0, but remain languishing in second-last, and defeats for Armstrong and Cranequin City put them in trouble as well. Brookford and Morningstar round out the 3.5 promotion places, but at this early stage things remain pretty even.

Iron United 0-1 Ballardine FC
Southriver 0-4 Corinthians No Longer
The Strongest 0-1 Falston United
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Ox River United
Mantlegrove 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Sutcroft 0-4 Ritter Town
Peregrine 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
The Hanged Man 2-2 Crossroads Town
AFC Shale 0-0 Brindleton
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 Strephonage
Riverkey 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Rochford 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
Corinthians No Longer 3-3 Iron United
Falston United 1-3 Ballardine FC
Ox River United 0-1 Southriver
East Laithland Harriers 4-5 The Strongest
Ritter Town 2-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Mantlegrove
Crossroads Town 2-0 Sutcroft
Brindleton 3-3 Peregrine
Strephonage 0-1 The Hanged Man
Chardonnay Rangers 1-3 AFC Shale
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Rochford 0-0 Riverkey
Iron United 1-1 Falston United
Corinthians No Longer 0-2 Ox River United
Ballardine FC 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Southriver 0-3 Ritter Town
The Strongest 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Dartmouth Terriers 2-1 Crossroads Town
Mantlegrove 0-0 Brindleton
Sutcroft 1-2 Strephonage
Peregrine 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
The Hanged Man 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Shale 0-2 Rochford
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Riverkey
Ox River United 2-0 Iron United
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Falston United
Ritter Town 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
Crisisbless Athletic 3-1 Ballardine FC
Crossroads Town 1-5 Southriver
Brindleton 1-1 The Strongest
Strephonage 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Mantlegrove
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Sutcroft
Rochford 1-2 Peregrine
Riverkey 2-0 The Hanged Man
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 AFC Shale
Iron United 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Ox River United 0-0 Ritter Town
Falston United 2-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Corinthians No Longer 2-3 Crossroads Town
Ballardine FC 3-0 Brindleton
Southriver 2-1 Strephonage
The Strongest 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Mantlegrove 2-0 Rochford
Sutcroft 2-3 Riverkey
Peregrine 1-5 Lazuli Diamonds
The Hanged Man 0-1 AFC Shale
Ritter Town 2-1 Iron United
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Crossroads Town 3-0 Ox River United
Brindleton 3-2 Falston United
Strephonage 0-4 Corinthians No Longer
Chardonnay Rangers 3-0 Ballardine FC
Pillars of Southfell 3-1 Southriver
Rochford 1-1 The Strongest
Riverkey 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Lazuli Diamonds 1-4 Mantlegrove
AFC Shale 1-0 Sutcroft
The Hanged Man 0-3 Peregrine
Iron United 3-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Ritter Town 3-1 Crossroads Town
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Brindleton
Ox River United 3-1 Strephonage
Falston United 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Ballardine FC 1-0 Rochford
Southriver 0-0 Riverkey
The Strongest 1-4 Lazuli Diamonds
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 AFC Shale
Mantlegrove 3-2 The Hanged Man
Sutcroft 0-2 Peregrine
Crossroads Town 6-2 Iron United
Brindleton 2-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Strephonage 0-3 Ritter Town
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Ox River United
Rochford 2-0 Falston United
Riverkey 2-3 Corinthians No Longer
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 Ballardine FC
AFC Shale 0-1 Southriver
The Hanged Man 1-1 The Strongest
Peregrine 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Sutcroft 3-2 Mantlegrove
Iron United 3-0 Brindleton
Crossroads Town 2-3 Strephonage
Crisisbless Athletic 3-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Ritter Town 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
East Laithland Harriers 0-4 Rochford
Ox River United 0-2 Riverkey
Falston United 2-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 AFC Shale
Ballardine FC 0-1 The Hanged Man
Southriver 1-3 Peregrine
The Strongest 2-0 Sutcroft
Dartmouth Terriers 0-2 Mantlegrove
Strephonage 0-1 Iron United
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Brindleton
Pillars of Southfell 3-1 Crossroads Town
Rochford 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Riverkey 0-1 Ritter Town
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
AFC Shale 0-1 Ox River United
The Hanged Man 2-0 Falston United
Peregrine 3-0 Corinthians No Longer
Sutcroft 0-1 Ballardine FC
Mantlegrove 2-1 Southriver
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 The Strongest
Iron United 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Strephonage 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Brindleton 1-1 Rochford
Crossroads Town 4-0 Riverkey
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Ritter Town 1-1 AFC Shale
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 The Hanged Man
Ox River United 1-0 Peregrine
Falston United 2-1 Sutcroft
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Mantlegrove
Ballardine FC 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Southriver 0-2 The Strongest
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Iron United
Rochford 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Riverkey 1-0 Strephonage
Lazuli Diamonds 3-0 Brindleton
AFC Shale 2-2 Crossroads Town
The Hanged Man 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Peregrine 2-1 Ritter Town
Sutcroft 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Mantlegrove 4-0 Ox River United
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Falston United
The Strongest 5-0 Corinthians No Longer
Southriver 2-1 Ballardine FC
Sutcroft Athletic 3-1 Brunyard FC
Pravenna Saints 1-2 Downsparrow
Long Lake 2-0 Gridlock
Mapleford 1-1 Ingram Township
Gosmouth Swans 3-1 Martella Jazz
Rushe United 1-3 Barossia United
West Hook 1-2 Alliance Barossia
Kensey Town 0-2 Kommissar
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Hartford Glade 1-0 Sirencall FC
South Parrhesia 0-1 Brokenarch
Boleyn Town 0-0 Falston Town
Downsparrow 4-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Gridlock 1-3 Brunyard FC
Ingram Township 3-1 Pravenna Saints
Martella Jazz 1-0 Long Lake
Barossia United 1-1 Mapleford
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Kommissar 3-2 Rushe United
Aries Solitaire 0-1 West Hook
Sirencall FC 0-2 Kensey Town
Brokenarch 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Falston Town 1-0 Hartford Glade
Boleyn Town 1-5 South Parrhesia
Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 Gridlock
Downsparrow 3-0 Ingram Township
Brunyard FC 1-1 Martella Jazz
Pravenna Saints 1-0 Barossia United
Long Lake 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Mapleford 0-0 Kommissar
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Aries Solitaire
Rushe United 1-3 Sirencall FC
West Hook 1-1 Brokenarch
Kensey Town 1-1 Falston Town
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Boleyn Town
Hartford Glade 2-2 South Parrhesia
Ingram Township 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Martella Jazz 2-0 Gridlock
Barossia United 7-2 Downsparrow
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Brunyard FC
Kommissar 2-2 Pravenna Saints
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Long Lake
Sirencall FC 3-1 Mapleford
Brokenarch 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Falston Town 3-0 Rushe United
Boleyn Town 0-2 West Hook
South Parrhesia 0-2 Kensey Town
Hartford Glade 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Sutcroft Athletic 1-2 Martella Jazz
Ingram Township 0-2 Barossia United
Gridlock 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Downsparrow 0-1 Kommissar
Brunyard FC 2-4 Aries Solitaire
Pravenna Saints 2-0 Sirencall FC
Long Lake 1-1 Brokenarch
Mapleford 2-0 Falston Town
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 Boleyn Town
Rushe United 3-2 South Parrhesia
West Hook 1-1 Hartford Glade
Kensey Town 3-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Barossia United 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Martella Jazz
Kommissar 2-0 Ingram Township
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Gridlock
Sirencall FC 1-0 Downsparrow
Brokenarch 1-1 Brunyard FC
Falston Town 0-0 Pravenna Saints
Boleyn Town 0-1 Long Lake
South Parrhesia 2-0 Mapleford
Hartford Glade 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Boltcroft Thorns 4-1 Rushe United
Kensey Town 2-2 West Hook
Sutcroft Athletic 1-2 Alliance Barossia
Barossia United 3-3 Kommissar
Martella Jazz 0-5 Aries Solitaire
Ingram Township 2-1 Sirencall FC
Gridlock 1-0 Brokenarch
Downsparrow 1-2 Falston Town
Brunyard FC 2-0 Boleyn Town
Pravenna Saints 0-1 South Parrhesia
Long Lake 2-0 Hartford Glade
Mapleford 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Kensey Town
Rushe United 1-3 West Hook
Kommissar 2-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Aries Solitaire 2-2 Alliance Barossia
Sirencall FC 2-3 Barossia United
Brokenarch 2-2 Martella Jazz
Falston Town 0-1 Ingram Township
Boleyn Town 1-0 Gridlock
South Parrhesia 0-1 Downsparrow
Hartford Glade 0-2 Brunyard FC
Boltcroft Thorns 3-0 Pravenna Saints
Kensey Town 1-1 Long Lake
West Hook 0-0 Mapleford
Rushe United 7-1 Gosmouth Swans
Sutcroft Athletic 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Kommissar 2-2 Sirencall FC
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Brokenarch
Barossia United 1-0 Falston Town
Martella Jazz 0-0 Boleyn Town
Ingram Township 0-1 South Parrhesia
Gridlock 1-1 Hartford Glade
Downsparrow 2-5 Boltcroft Thorns
Brunyard FC 2-1 Kensey Town
Pravenna Saints 0-1 West Hook
Long Lake 3-2 Rushe United
Mapleford 2-2 Gosmouth Swans
Sirencall FC 0-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Brokenarch 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Falston Town 1-0 Kommissar
Boleyn Town 0-1 Alliance Barossia
South Parrhesia 1-2 Barossia United
Hartford Glade 1-3 Martella Jazz
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Ingram Township
Kensey Town 0-1 Gridlock
West Hook 1-1 Downsparrow
Rushe United 0-1 Brunyard FC
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Pravenna Saints
Mapleford 1-0 Long Lake
Sutcroft Athletic 3-2 Brokenarch
Sirencall FC 1-4 Falston Town
Aries Solitaire 0-2 Boleyn Town
Kommissar 0-0 South Parrhesia
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Hartford Glade
Barossia United 0-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Martella Jazz 1-3 Kensey Town
Ingram Township 1-1 West Hook
Gridlock 1-0 Rushe United
Downsparrow 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Brunyard FC 2-0 Mapleford
Pravenna Saints 2-0 Long Lake
Falston Town 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Boleyn Town 0-2 Brokenarch
South Parrhesia 3-3 Sirencall FC
Hartford Glade 0-5 Aries Solitaire
Boltcroft Thorns 1-2 Kommissar
Kensey Town 1-2 Alliance Barossia
West Hook 2-0 Barossia United
Rushe United 3-1 Martella Jazz
Gosmouth Swans 1-2 Ingram Township
Mapleford 2-0 Gridlock
Long Lake 1-1 Downsparrow
Pravenna Saints 0-0 Brunyard FC

Pos Team                      P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Starling 12 9 1 2 26 11 +15 28
2 Sabrefell Moths 12 9 1 2 26 15 +11 28
3 Crisisbless 12 8 2 2 20 8 +12 26
4 Brinemouth 12 8 1 3 37 20 +17 25
5 Newrook City 12 8 0 4 22 10 +12 24
6 Sabrefell Athletic 12 7 3 2 25 18 +7 24
7 Southfell United 12 6 3 3 32 16 +16 21
8 AFC Treason 12 6 2 4 15 11 +4 20
9 North Sabrefell 12 6 2 4 23 20 +3 20
10 Vermillion Rage 12 5 4 3 18 14 +4 19
11 Violence Chariots 12 5 4 3 25 22 +3 19
12 Chenoworth Harriers 12 5 3 4 18 16 +2 18
13 Coret Hawks 12 5 3 4 13 12 +1 18
14 North Laithland 12 5 3 4 18 19 -1 18
15 Cypher Town 12 3 4 5 10 15 -5 13
16 Bishop 12 3 3 6 13 17 -4 12
17 Creed United 12 3 2 7 15 23 -8 11
18 AFC Corvistone 12 3 2 7 16 26 -10 11
19 South Laithland 12 3 1 8 14 25 -11 10
20 Goodfeather FC 12 2 3 7 12 23 -11 9
21 Belgrave 12 1 5 6 17 30 -13 8
22 Leichhardt 12 2 2 8 5 18 -13 8
23 Raven River 12 2 2 8 14 28 -14 8
24 Crisisbless United 12 1 2 9 12 29 -17 5

Pos Team                       P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Chenoworth Rovers 12 10 1 1 28 9 +19 31
2 Corvette Maulers 12 9 2 1 23 9 +14 29
3 Brookford Otters 12 7 3 2 19 7 +12 24
4 Morningstar 12 7 1 4 20 9 +11 22
5 Stahlburg Rovers 12 6 3 3 21 19 +2 21
6 Parrhesia United 12 6 2 4 24 15 +9 20
7 Chatswood 12 5 5 2 15 12 +3 20
8 Hackett 12 6 2 4 13 12 +1 20
9 Iron City 12 6 2 4 11 13 -2 20
10 Stahlburg City 12 5 3 4 12 9 +3 18
11 AFC Serpentine 12 5 3 4 16 15 +1 18
12 Diamondqueen 12 5 2 5 18 14 +4 17
13 Greygate 12 5 2 5 15 16 -1 17
14 West Brinemouth 12 4 4 4 11 9 +2 16
15 Vermillion Wanderers 12 4 3 5 14 19 -5 15
16 Sheridan 12 3 4 5 7 13 -6 13
17 Locksley 12 3 3 6 13 18 -5 12
18 Stonegrave 12 3 3 6 8 14 -6 12
19 Cranequin Wanderers 12 3 2 7 11 17 -6 11
20 Gonen's Bridge 12 2 4 6 10 17 -7 10
21 Cranequin City 12 3 1 8 8 17 -9 10
22 Armstrong 12 2 3 7 9 19 -10 9
23 Coret Rovers 12 2 3 7 16 28 -12 9
24 Extreme Hills 12 1 3 8 12 24 -12 6

Pos Team                          P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Mantlegrove 12 9 2 1 24 9 +15 29
2 Peregrine 12 8 2 2 23 14 +9 26
3 Ritter Town 12 7 3 2 20 6 +14 24
4 Lazuli Diamonds 12 5 5 2 20 12 +8 20
5 Ballardine FC 12 6 2 4 13 10 +3 20
6 The Strongest 12 5 4 3 22 16 +6 19
7 Crisisbless Athletic 12 5 4 3 19 17 +2 19
8 Pillars of Southfell 12 5 4 3 11 9 +2 19
9 Riverkey 12 5 3 4 13 13 +0 18
10 Crossroads Town 12 5 2 5 28 24 +4 17
11 The Hanged Man 12 5 2 5 11 13 -2 17
12 Ox River United 12 5 2 5 10 13 -3 17
13 Dartmouth Terriers 12 4 4 4 12 12 +0 16
14 Corinthians No Longer 12 4 4 4 20 21 -1 16
15 Southriver 12 5 1 6 14 20 -6 16
16 Rochford 12 4 3 5 14 11 +3 15
17 Iron United 12 4 3 5 17 20 -3 15
18 AFC Shale 12 3 5 4 10 11 -1 14
19 Falston United 12 4 2 6 15 19 -4 14
20 East Laithland Harriers 12 4 2 6 13 19 -6 14
21 Brindleton 12 2 5 5 13 22 -9 11
22 Strephonage 12 3 1 8 9 20 -11 10
23 Chardonnay Rangers 12 2 2 8 14 19 -5 8
24 Sutcroft 12 1 1 10 7 22 -15 4[/color]

Pos Team                    P   W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Alliance Barossia 12 11 1 0 21 5 +16 34
2 Barossia United 12 7 3 2 23 13 +10 24
3 Kommissar 12 6 5 1 19 12 +7 23
4 West Hook 12 5 6 1 16 9 +7 21
5 Falston Town 12 6 3 3 14 7 +7 21
6 Brunyard FC 12 6 3 3 17 13 +4 21
7 Boltcroft Thorns 12 6 2 4 22 15 +7 20
8 Mapleford 12 4 5 3 12 12 +0 17
9 Downsparrow 12 5 2 5 18 20 -2 17
10 Aries Solitaire 12 4 4 4 21 13 +8 16
11 Long Lake 12 4 4 4 12 12 +0 16
12 Kensey Town 12 4 3 5 17 15 +2 15
13 South Parrhesia 12 4 3 5 17 15 +2 15
14 Ingram Township 12 4 3 5 10 15 -5 15
15 Martella Jazz 12 4 3 5 14 20 -6 15
16 Gosmouth Swans 12 4 2 6 12 19 -7 14
17 Sutcroft Athletic 12 4 1 7 15 18 -3 13
18 Pravenna Saints 12 3 4 5 10 13 -3 13
19 Brokenarch 12 2 6 4 12 13 -1 12
20 Hartford Glade 12 3 3 6 9 19 -10 12
21 Sirencall FC 12 3 2 7 16 23 -7 11
22 Boleyn Town 12 3 2 7 6 15 -9 11
23 Gridlock 12 3 2 7 5 15 -10 11
24 Rushe United 12 3 0 9 21 28 -7 9

Pos Team                     P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Iberia Chenoworth 12 9 1 2 30 10 +20 28
2 FC Seierstad 12 7 5 0 22 9 +13 26
3 Fischer 12 7 4 1 22 11 +11 25
4 Fully Sick XI 12 6 5 1 24 15 +9 23
5 Crownsend Journey 12 6 3 3 25 18 +7 21
6 Coleman Ridge 12 5 4 3 18 14 +4 19
7 Ringway 12 6 1 5 13 9 +4 19
8 AFC Hellerine 12 5 3 4 14 19 -5 18
9 Aspen Grove 12 5 2 5 15 16 -1 17
10 Courser 12 4 4 4 17 15 +2 16
11 Harrington 12 4 4 4 18 19 -1 16
12 Fenland Albion 12 4 3 5 12 16 -4 15
13 Sleetwell Rangers 12 4 2 6 15 20 -5 14
14 Lockheed Zenith 12 3 3 6 18 23 -5 12
15 Stonesthrow Town 12 3 3 6 10 16 -6 12
16 Grovebank 12 2 5 5 18 21 -3 11
17 Capricopia Rangers 12 2 4 6 14 22 -8 10
18 Swag Hill Rovers 12 2 3 7 9 21 -12 9
19 AFC Brackwold 12 2 2 8 13 23 -10 8
20 Dross Rovers 12 1 5 6 8 18 -10 8

Pos Team                       P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Autumnstone 12 9 1 2 33 11 +22 28
2 South Brill 12 8 3 1 24 12 +12 27
3 Bodkin Road 12 7 3 2 24 14 +10 24
4 Brookford Vantablack 12 7 2 3 28 17 +11 23
5 Corvistone City 12 7 2 3 19 9 +10 23
6 Rochford Pilgrims 12 6 4 2 19 13 +6 22
7 Stamper Road 12 7 1 4 16 11 +5 22
8 The Travellers FC 12 5 4 3 24 15 +9 19
9 Coral Bay 12 5 3 4 24 19 +5 18
10 Twelvetrees 12 5 2 5 12 9 +3 17
11 Rookwall 12 5 2 5 16 15 +1 17
12 Constance Park 12 5 2 5 10 11 -1 17
13 Brookway Town 12 2 7 3 13 17 -4 13
14 Rhyburn Swifts 12 3 3 6 12 27 -15 12
15 AFC Burchess 12 3 2 7 12 17 -5 11
16 Corby Hubris 12 2 3 7 10 25 -15 9
17 AFC Volksgarten 12 2 2 8 5 15 -10 8
18 Mainstream Fist 12 1 5 6 13 24 -11 8
19 Gridlock Rovers 12 2 2 8 4 21 -17 8
20 Blaze 12 0 5 7 7 23 -16 5
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Postby Nephara » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:26 pm

Sabrefell Athletic 5-1 Raven River
Brinemouth 0-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Southfell United 1-0 Bishop
Crisisbless 1-2 Newrook City
Goodfeather FC 0-3 Creed United
Leichhardt 2-2 Starling
Cypher Town 0-0 Coret Hawks
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Violence Chariots
North Laithland 3-0 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless United 1-2 AFC Treason
North Sabrefell 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
South Laithland 1-2 Belgrave

Ah, the law of the ex. Starling are knocked off the top of the table as minor rivals Leichhardt remember at an inconvenient time that, yes, they can score goals! The Passerines perhaps do the Stargazers a favour by scoring early, forcing Leichhardt to press forward and utilise the creativity of Hatherton and Streiss. Ex-Starling striker Auttenberg, who has had to plough the loneliest furrow up front, manages a couple of tidy finishes - tapping in a cross from Woodspur before a solo effort, running through the heart of the defence, to lump in the second. Starling are arguably fortunate to snatch a point, Nova Kymeri’s deflected strike levelling the scores in injury time. Sabrefell Moths overtake them with a late goal of their own, from Serra, beating a ten-man North Sabrefell, while across town Sabrefell Athletic pump River 5-1 and Kia Anders keeps up her habit of making extremely memeable faces. It’s the bin for Matt Bowerman, one is afraid, as the 34-year old stopper has just been too slow and too flaky, and, well, when goalkeepers go… they go. Hard. On a related note, Rebecca Scannell drops Fairfax’s cross into her own net for the only goal of the game as Southfell beat Bishop. Creed United haven’t really ranked a mention so far, which is definitely a sign that they’re going better than last season, but Joel Conway shows everyone what he’s made of with a truly virtuoso performance, fast, resilient and fearless as he helps rip Goodfeather to pieces in a 3-0 win. In fact, between him, Brandtner, Keskin, Korborg and Matraxis, Creed is the place to look for young players who, well, probably won’t be at Creed in another couple of years.

Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Bishop 3-3 Raven River
Newrook City 1-2 Brinemouth
Creed United 0-1 Southfell United
Starling 1-1 Crisisbless
Coret Hawks 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Violence Chariots 2-0 Leichhardt
Vermillion Rage 0-1 Cypher Town
AFC Treason 1-0 AFC Corvistone
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 North Laithland
Belgrave 1-2 Crisisbless United
South Laithland 1-2 North Sabrefell

Crisisbless United trade in their controversial tactic of being rubbish and try to revive last season’s great idea of being good, instead. Granted, it’s only Belgrave, but the Gargoyles still have a lot to contend with and the United defence stands firm. Lazarou opens the scoring against the run of play with an absolute screamer, but United’s talismanic young right winger levels the scores after a mazy run past four players, before a flying header from Jessica Lennox, yes, finally gets Crisisbless United’s second win of the season! Corvistone are dangerously teetering - they’re just never really in contention against a cautious Treason side, though it takes a Fraser penalty to bring them down again, and their ambitious board gives manager Davalei Evatee the dreaded vote of confidence. Starling and Crisisbless clash and stalemate in the event, a promising clash on paper boiling down to a midfield slog through which Armstrong and Jevdjevic-Hadsic manage to pick out a single moment of magic apiece. Another moment of magic is provided by rough-around-the-edges Cypher goalkeeper Ruo Xiaolan, who Vermillion playmaker Ryan Paulsson tries to chip and is countered by a scorpion kick. Cypher win the game through a rather more… orthodox goal, tall timber Hertzka heading home McCosgraigh’s free kick.

Mar Sara FC 0-2 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 4-0 Herzegovina City FC

Two strong, convincing wins here, as Brinemouth don’t exactly dominate a strong Mar Sara side but manage to lock down the midfield and defence, score once through a free kick routine (Montague with the final blow) before Dre Roenoujya takes full advantage of an injury-enforced start to cut inside from leftback and score a terrifying, arcing clincher. Crisisbless do better still. Banijan outfit Herzegovina City have done brilliantly to come this far, but Crisisbless shut them down, stop them from being allowd to play… more or less act as the fun police, ratcheting up four second-half goals to seal a crushing win.

Portuarios de Santos 1-4 Starling

A dominant away performance from Starling puts them very much in the driving seat, with Cesar Corvalan and Sleipnir Woodwind really seizing their chances to sign. Luckless rightback Siren Moon doesn’t, contriving to score an own goal in her first senior start, but no harm done, and Amos was quick to emphasise an otherwise solid performance post-match.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Bishop
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Newrook City
Raven River 2-1 Creed United
Brinemouth 0-0 Starling
Southfell United 2-0 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless 2-0 Violence Chariots
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Leichhardt 3-0 AFC Treason
Cypher Town 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Corvistone 2-1 Belgrave
North Laithland 5-2 South Laithland
Crisisbless United 4-1 North Sabrefell

A lot to unpack! The Chequers continue to dip their feet into being good at football, and absolutely murder North Sabrefell 4-1 in a match where it all just aligns. Stokes and Banerman are rock-solid in the core of defence, Theophile stops being a liability and Lennox puts the finishing touch on a brace and sets up Novkovic for the fourth, so all in all good times are rolling. A Laithland derby between North and South ends, um, conclusively. South try gamely, hit hard and even strike up the opener, Havranek hitting the post from distance and Carrick tapping home the rebound, but on the whole North Laithland are utterly dominant, Webster and Han asking questions for which the Southrons have no answers, Deborah Stokes as clinical as ever. Leichhardt, meanwhile, answer Andrea Vardalos’ job insecurity-inspired pleas for a ‘real performance’, and promptly shank Treason 3-0. It’s a bit of a smash and grab, but Cheney Bittencourt, a striker in his day, admits defeat in good graces; “It’s all about taking your chances. They took theirs, and our lot didn’t.” Keep an eye on Southfell, meanwhile, and the outstanding form of Loris Aldous and Ivan Hemeyer. Goals from Marlowe and Cordean - another in great form, at last - ensure their fourth victory, and fourth clean sheet, in a row against Coret.

Lazuli Diamonds 5-0 FC Seierstad
Coret Rovers 2-0 Falston Town
Corvistone City 1-3 Mantlegrove
Autumnstone 0-1 Brindleton
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Iron United
Corvette Maulers 2-5 Crossroads Town
Ox River United 0-1 South Brill
Barossia United 2-1 Rochford
Iron City 0-0 Stahlburg City (0-0 AET, 7-8 PKs)
Fully Sick XI 0-4 AFC Shale
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Southriver 5-0 AFC Burchess
Aries Solitaire 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Extreme Hills 2-2 Peregrine (2-2 AET, 2-3 PKs)
Stonegrave 3-1 Ritter Town
Rhyburn Swifts 2-0 Corby Hubris
Falston United 2-4 Cranequin Wanderers
Kensey Town 3-0 Courser
AFC Serpentine 5-0 The Travellers FC
Gridlock 0-0 Pravenna Saints (1-0 AET)
Riverkey 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
West Brinemouth 4-0 Lockheed Zenith
South Parrhesia 2-1 Parrhesia United
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 The Strongest
Sheridan 2-0 Fenland Albion
The Hanged Man 0-0 Sutcroft (0-1 AET)
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 West Hook
Boleyn Town 1-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Cranequin City (2-1 AET)
Ringway 5-1 Aspen Grove
Brunyard FC 0-3 Chatswood
Kommissar 0-3 Greygate
Gonen's Bridge 8-1 Rushe United
Armstrong 1-2 Hackett
Ballardine FC 2-4 Locksley
Iberia Chenoworth 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
Long Lake 2-3 Morningstar
Diamondqueen 3-2 Sirencall FC
Brookford Otters 2-0 Strephonage

Yes, mismatches! The spice of life! Of these, slumping fourth-tier Rushe United fans are left with the most to mourn. Gonen’s Bridge host them, manager Memento North looking for a “morale-boosting win”. Well, the Warriors do a fair bit better than that - David Sol scores four in an 8-1 rout, marred only by the aggressive, ferocious Ivan Collinger breaking the leg of Rushe’s goalscorer and best player, midfielder Francisca Cornwell. Well, that’s her out for the season, and him off for the night, but Bridge score twice more with ten men anyway. Lazuli and Serpentine also pump lower opposition 5-0. The main upset is that in-form Corvette, who, okay, aren’t making the Cup a priority… says Daniella Strauss, despite taking a fairly strong side to bear against Crossroads a tier below and are blown out 5-2. There’s a nice Vermillion derby as well, though not really a derby - northern outskirts side Parrhesia United visiting southern outskirts side... South Parrhesia. During the 2-1 defeat, United fans try and strike up a rapport with their southern cousins by trying to start up a chant of ‘stand up if you hate the Rage’, which… South Parrhesia don’t, since they’ve never been good enough to be in the same league. Oh, well, they tried.

Starling 2-0 Portuarios de Santos
Starling win 6-1 on aggregate.

Easy enough win for the Passerines, Erik Mevlya getting a rare opportunity to lead the line. The muscular local is very much the third striker, a gaping chasm behind Andisori and Corvalan, but does get a nice cushioned header for the opener tonight, teenager Fernand Way striking the clincher from outside the box.

Newrook City 1-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Creed United 1-0 Bishop
Starling 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Coret Hawks 2-2 Raven River
Violence Chariots 2-4 Brinemouth
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Southfell United
AFC Treason 1-0 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Goodfeather FC
Belgrave 0-1 Leichhardt
South Laithland 2-1 Cypher Town
North Sabrefell 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Crisisbless United 0-1 North Laithland

Lyn Hartmann scoffs at Cypher’s seamless, clean and disciplined approach after they lose an early lead, Vesuvia Carrick with a sharply-taken brace as ample reward for some fast, muscular play. “Their tidy classical is all well and good, but they were never going to stand a chance against our proper heavy metal!” Dubious. Perhaps it would’ve worked better as a jibe against Belgrave as they come off second best in a chalk vs. cheese matchup at the bottom, nobody finding the right pass to cut Leichhardt open and Raihane Stern making nine saves, largely routine ones against shots outside the box, before Zuzana Streiss shimmers past three defenders and nutmegs Connell for style for Leichhardt’s winner. Evatee’s Crows respond to the vote of confidence with a confident, assertive performance. North Sabrefell are a good side, but they’ve been slowing down a little lately. Metaphorically. Literally speaking they’re quite slow enough already, and Morham’s early grass-cutter puts the Crows in a well-deserved lead. The Bohemians pull one back, Cranshaw heading home a corner, but after some intense late pressure the Crows finally win a penalty through Afolayan rather… easily going to ground, captain Nechtan Malley leading by example to stroke home a deserved winner from the spot. “Was that the performance of a team trying to get their manager sacked?” Davalei Evatee said postmatch. “No! No it wasn’t!” Alright, lad, calm down.

Brinemouth 3-0 Mar Sara FC
Herzegovina City FC 1-1 Crisisbless

Brinemouth can be delighted with a dominant showing against Mar Sara, an oddly frictionless high-class match in which Conjure and Montague make the difference, just that little bit more class in the centre to make chances that Scotti, Dragana and the substitute Saitou convert mercilessly. Guillermo Madruga provides an early setback for Crisisbless in a much-improved Herzegovina performance, with a tidy near-post conversion of an Aaron Aiza cross, but the Heelers get a grip on the game, Jevdjevic-Hadsic hits a post and then slides in the young substitute Johanna Sutton to coolly slot home a late but deserved equaliser.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Creed United
Newrook City 1-0 Starling
Bishop 2-2 Coret Hawks
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Violence Chariots
Raven River 0-1 Vermillion Rage
Brinemouth 0-0 AFC Treason
Southfell United 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 2-0 Belgrave
Goodfeather FC 1-1 South Laithland
Leichhardt 0-1 North Sabrefell
Cypher Town 2-1 Crisisbless United
AFC Corvistone 1-1 North Laithland

Brinemouth vs. Treason is the big, obvious crunch match, but the away fans are dismayed to see the Stags set up defensively in a 4-5-1… and even more dismayed that it makes sense, and works. Misidjan does brilliant work a little deeper than she’s used to and John Fletcher forces an excellent save from Morales with one of his few chances, and for the most part Brinemouth are just unable to break Treason down; it ends scoreless. Andreu Bartolnicci continues to impress at the head of Newrook City, and a classic disciplined defensive performance and clinical finishing showcase up front - Maladict Farrell finding the back of the net with a flying header as he squeezes between Starling’s central defenders - ensures a 1-0 defeat of the Passerines. And another upwardly mobile club boasting an upwardly mobile young manager is Southfell, who continue their strong form with a 1-1 draw against the Moths. Felipa Medina, still only 37, seems to have turned a corner. Which is handy; she always was an investment, and much of the press had wondered if she only had the post due to her youth. Now, she’s walking the walk, not just talking the talk, and teenage midfielder Marica Kuepper comes off the bench to fire home a late, deserved equaliser.

Starling 0-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Coret Hawks 1-2 Creed United
Violence Chariots 0-0 Newrook City
Vermillion Rage 2-0 Bishop
AFC Treason 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Moths 1-3 Raven River
Belgrave 1-3 Brinemouth
South Laithland 0-2 Southfell United
North Sabrefell 0-1 Crisisbless
Crisisbless United 1-1 Goodfeather FC
North Laithland 3-1 Leichhardt
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Cypher Town

Kia Anders was up against it before this match, getting the dreaded vote of confidence after a late-minute deflected strike from Porter saw them beaten at home by Vermillion. And now she had to visit the Moths? No problem, apparently. Her side are unrecognisable to how callow they’d been beforehand, Kendrick and the 20-year old selection gambles of Carin Black and Chuy Villaverde unusually impervious at the back, Althea Taliadoros getting the job done between the posts and that strong midfield three of Leonard, Naumoff and Kesteren simply overpowers the two Moths they have to face. Leonard sets up Donath for the first goal before Donath sets up Breisgau for the second, both after some dominant passing moves, before Sur Arora reshuffles things into a matching diamond on the hour mark. The more central role appears to suit an aging Meier, and it’s her thunderous strike that pulls one back for the Moths… but by the end of the game, the Moths haven’t actually had a shot on target from inside the box. Inge Wildsmith comes off the bench and rifles in their third to kill off the game. Meanwhile, in a season which seems to be defined by the strong teams cancelling each other out in drab affairs, Starling host Athletic and it ends scoreless, Aurelian Gautier’s nose exploding in a shower of blood as Loredan inadvertently headbutts it in pursuit of a free kick being the only real event of the game.

Brinemouth 5-0 Lammerton
San Marco Storm 1-5 Crisisbless

Oof, ugly. Break out the NSFW tags, because Brinemouth utterly stomp Lammerton 5-0. It’s not even like Lammerton are bad! They’re really quite good! But they don’t look it, as they have absolutely no answer to the Dockers’ dynamism and ruthlessness. “It was just one of those days,” said an exasperated Lammerton winger Raquel Naeher after the fact. Things aren’t much better for Nepharim countrywoman Catherine Sedgwick who yet again can only watch on in dismay as her Storm are routed 5-1 on home soil. Their goal is actually the best of the match, a slick pass from del Aragona enabling Lycomedes Montanari to steal out in front of a flat-footed Molovi before chipping the ball over a stranded Marciak, but it’s little consolation in the circumstances.

Sabrefell Athletic 3-2 Coret Hawks
Starling 2-5 Violence Chariots
Creed United 2-0 Vermillion Rage
Newrook City 0-5 AFC Treason
Bishop 1-3 Sabrefell Moths
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Belgrave
Raven River 3-1 South Laithland
Brinemouth 2-1 North Sabrefell
Southfell United 1-2 Crisisbless United
Crisisbless 3-0 North Laithland
Goodfeather FC 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Leichhardt 0-2 Cypher Town

Now here’s a matchday where it all kicks off! Mostly it kicks off in Newrook, as they host the Stags. On paper, they are fairly evenly matched. That is not how things unfolded. Before those events, though, other things are worth focus; Crisisbless United overturn a half-time deficit with two classy goals from Lennox, one header and one flicked backheel, to steal the points from Southfell. Starling are simply overrun by the Chariots in a match where they decide to rest Liam Armstrong and lose Visser to injury. That… turns out to cost them, as their high line is too slow to cover its retreat and Hargrave can’t sweep effectively behind them and, frankly, they don’t defend very well in general, and lose 5-2 as Riske and Sierra star. Crisisbless, meanwhile, give North Laithland a sharp reality check with a breezy 3-0 win. But back to the main event; when the Stags’ first goal flies in off Fraser’s half-volley, Bartolnicci looks unimpressed. When Neptune finds an unmarked Fletcher with a cross and he nods home, Bartolnicci looks incensed. When Treason gets a third, Neptune striking out on her own this time on the verge of half-time, Cheney Bittencourt flashes a raffish grin and a thumbs-up and Bartolnicci throws his gilet at Bittencourt’s head, which leads to a scuffle. After the fourth, from Accardi, he kicks an energy drink bottle hard and high enough to hit the fourth official in the back of the head. Bartolnicci does not see the Stags’ fifth. Bartolnicci was sent down the tunnel.

South Parrhesia 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic (1-2 AET)
Aries Solitaire 4-1 Kensey Town
Peregrine 2-3 Cranequin Wanderers
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Chatswood (1-1 AET, 3-4 PKs)
Coret Hawks 1-0 Goodfeather FC
South Laithland 0-2 Belgrave
Stonegrave 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Locksley 3-1 West Hook
Morningstar 2-4 AFC Corvistone
AFC Shale 4-5 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless United 3-0 West Brinemouth
North Laithland 1-2 Starling
Vermillion Rage 1-3 Sabrefell Moths
Rhyburn Swifts 1-5 Coret Rovers
Ringway 0-7 Crossroads Town
Hackett 3-0 Gridlock
Southriver 1-0 Barossia United
Brindleton 0-3 Cypher Town
North Sabrefell 4-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Newrook City 2-1 Crisisbless
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Bishop
Mantlegrove 3-3 Violence Chariots (3-3 AET, 3-2 PKs)
Sheridan 1-2 Sutcroft
Stahlburg City 0-2 Leichhardt
South Brill 0-11 Brookford Otters
Diamondqueen 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
Greygate 0-1 Southfell United
AFC Treason 3-2 Pillars of Southfell
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Gosmouth Swans 2-3 Creed United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers (1-2 AET)
Brinemouth 2-0 Raven River

And now all the big boys enter the room. Tough luck for the remaining two Conference sides - Ringway of the West are pulped 7-0 at home by Crossroads Town, Eastern Rhyburn Swifts go down a more respectable 5-1 at home to Coret Rovers, and South Brill… well… get to host Brookford Otters. Sleepy Brill. Nearby Brookford. Mild-mannered Hadrian Belfast in charge. Orchestrating an 11-0 win. “Foreigners sometimes talk about ‘not running up the score,’” says Belfast after the Incident, during which out-of-favour forward Dejan Lindbeck does his chances of more regular minute no harm with five goals. “I’d argue that to give them anything less than our best would’ve been disrespectful - even downright insulting.” A couple of Premiership teams come close to being scalped - Creed rely on a late two-goal turnaround masterminded by Joel Conway’s injection off the bench to overturn lowly Gosmouth, while Pillars of Southfell go toe-to-toe with a second-string Treason side who only beat them 3-2 as well. Athletic, mystifyingly, are locked in a nine-goal thriller with defensive-minded third-tier Shale, one they manage to just about edge through a late penalty from Hawke. Alastair Swepstone is their goalkeeper of the day. He is abysmal. It’s an opportunity for some of the league’s weaker sides to have some welcome moments - Crisisbless United manage to get a clean sheet! A comfortable 3-0 rout of West Brinemouth will make them feel a little better. Leichhardt look like a prime candidate for scalping, visiting Douglas Tibet’s Stahlburg City, but play with a freedom they’ve rarely exhibited during the league season and run out 2-0 winners. There’s only one Premiership scalp in the end, during the key fixture - a Chenoworth derby! Perhaps the sting’s gone out of it for the Harriers, but fuelled by some spicy rhetoric by Catheline Harper, the Rovers go out absolutely wanting to murder their opposition. They’re first to every ball, harder in every tackle and while Bonifacio Sanna scores the opener, Nega Bazin’s neat cushioned header levels the scores over the 90 minutes. Harriers winger Charybdis Kou comes off the bench with fire in his eyes, a genuine local, and winds up missing from four yards to sour an otherwise strong performance. This just gets worse when Rowell’s brilliant cross sets up substitute Tormod Joiner to head home the winner at the far post to clinch a 2-1 win. Goodfeather, North and South Laithland, Vermillion Rage and Raven River are beaten by fellow Premiership opposition.

Violence Chariots 2-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Vermillion Rage 0-1 Coret Hawks
AFC Treason 0-1 Starling
Sabrefell Moths 0-0 Creed United
Belgrave 0-1 Newrook City
South Laithland 0-0 Bishop
North Sabrefell 0-3 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless United 1-3 Raven River
North Laithland 2-2 Brinemouth
AFC Corvistone 3-2 Southfell United
Cypher Town 2-2 Crisisbless
Leichhardt 0-2 Goodfeather FC

Ten clean sheets are kept across the league in a mostly fairly placid matchday. One is kept by Vance Commerford in a typically rough East Sabrefell derby between Chariots and Athletic. There’s talk of the Chariots, now with far greater scope than a single suburb, seeking a rebrand - possibly just to the bland but more marketable Eastern Chariots. Athletic would not be happy with them claiming that for themselves. But if it’s to be decided on the pitch, the Chariots will be getting their rebrand, getting their first goal soon after Tarran Seamster really endears himself to the home crowd by scything through Ojala (who winds up limping off) and passing to Sierra to centre for Escrow to score, before Teamster sets up Ruskin for the clincher. North Sabrefell fall asleep at the wheel and get beaten down 3-0 by the Harriers. Picture Steven Rexmont’s boot stamping on stand-in rightback Meg Owley’s face, forever. Leichhardt aren’t even doing the usual things right anymore, as the burly Aurora Jewel bulldozes her way through the penalty area to nod home a couple of long balls. “It wasn’t the ideal way we wanted to penetrate their lines,” admits Ezra Stonewaters, a beggar who can’t be a chooser, “but, well, Jewel does give us that Plan B.” She’s a giant metahuman wrecking ball, you mean.

Tihon 1-0 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 0-1 Eastweald

Two 1-0 reverses in dead rubbers - not to cheapen good wins for Tihon and Eastweald against credibly strong Nepharim sides, but a few players had been rested. Both Premiership outfits cruise through in first place, with Lammerton and Eastweald coming second.

  Group A                        Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   UQt  Dir  PSb  NLl
1 Union Queenstown NGD 6 4 1 1 13 8 +5 13* — 1–1 0–2 3–1
2 Directus EUR 6 4 1 1 16 5 +11 13* 1–2 — 5–1 2–1

3 Port Sebastian SCT 6 2 0 4 9 16 −7 6 1–3 0–3 — 3–2
4 North Laithland NPH 6 1 0 5 9 18 −9 3 2–4 0–4 3–2 —
* Union Queenstown ahead of Directus on head-to-head points

  Group H                        Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   Pkm  Mya  SwD  Stl
1 Pikemouth BRE 6 4 2 0 11 5 +6 14 — 1–1 2–1 4–3
2 Myana CMT 6 3 1 2 10 5 +5 10 0–2 — 3–0 2–0

3 Sokojiwa Dosi CK COM 6 2 1 3 9 11 −2 7 0–2 2–1 — 3–3
4 Starling NPH 6 0 2 4 6 15 −9 2 0–0 0–3 0–3 —

  Group I                        Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   MtA  NLC  CHk  SfM
1 Metropolis Alligators VLD 6 5 0 1 13 2 +11 15 — 1–2 1–0 5–0
2 New Llama Capitals SLL 6 4 0 2 8 6 +2 12 0–1 — 2–1 2–0

3 CSKA Haska ASM 6 2 1 3 8 7 +1 7 0–1 2–0 — 3–1
4 Sabrefell Moths NPH 6 0 1 5 4 18 −14 1 0–4 1–2 2–2 —

  Group L                        Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   WhT  Roz  SfA  Olj
1 Whitehaven Triumph CEN 6 5 0 1 12 4 +8 15 — 1–0 4–2 2–0
2 Rozelle BRE 6 3 0 3 9 8 +1 9* 2–1 — 1–2 2–0

3 Sabrefell Athletic NPH 6 3 0 3 10 12 −2 9* 0–3 1–2 — 3–1
4 Oljestaden IF AUD 6 1 0 5 5 12 −7 3 0–1 3–2 1–2 —
* Rozelle ahead of Sabrefell Athletic on goal difference

Truly, truly awful. Four sides enter, none leave. Starling and the Moths don’t even win a game between them.

Starling 1-1 Slateport Bulls

Starling dominate the ball, but a fantastic sidefooted kick from Bulls stopper Arias into the midfield lets Sampaio win the header over Aschenbach, Navas seizing on the rebound to thread Alexis Marquez through, who slotted it neatly beyond Sean Smordal. Starling had to wait until the 85th minute to finally get the passes on target, a seventeen-pass move culminating in a tap-in for Elsa Kaelin and a deserved leveller. Still, a less than convincing result...

Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Vermillion Rage
Violence Chariots 2-0 AFC Treason
Coret Hawks 2-0 Sabrefell Moths
Starling 3-1 Belgrave
Creed United 1-0 South Laithland
Newrook City 3-0 North Sabrefell
Bishop 1-1 Crisisbless United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 North Laithland
Raven River 1-6 AFC Corvistone
Brinemouth 2-0 Cypher Town
Southfell United 0-0 Leichhardt
Crisisbless 2-1 Goodfeather FC

“Form is meaningless,” Kia Anders wails as her River side, with three wins on the spin, are ripped asunder 6-1 on home soil by a vibrant, thrilling Corvistone side. The Crows are, and always have, been terminally inconsistent, rarely able to grit through and win while playing badly, but when they’re playing well? This shit happens. There’s even time for Bryce Leicester, one of the first Corvistone academy-reared player who looks utterly out of depth at this level, to lump in his first senior goal in the rebound to Black’s scuffed clearance. The Chariots chalk up their third straight win, each against strong opposition, as they clean out Treason in yet another match where Seamster and Riske fly up and down the pitch causing havoc, the underrated Laura Belfry cleaning up behind them and, in this particular match, the vintage item of a Kadija Na’Duha goal. A corner bobbles and spins away and the Vloo centre-half just decides to belt it hard in the approximate direction of the goal. A generous deflection later (generously not given as an own goal) and it swerves past a sprawling Gideon Fletcher for the opener. Coret Hawks are similarly impressive in taking down the Moths 2-0, but the performance doesn’t hint at a brighter future so much as make one wonder why they can’t do it more often. Skapetis’ goal is pretty damn good, at least, picking up the ball on the right and wreaking havoc in a diagonal run down to the left before nudging the ball between an onrushing Griffin’s legs with the outside of the boot, Weaver almost but not quite managing to scoop the ball away off the line and instead getting stuck in the net.

Brinemouth 0-0 Spartangrad

Seriously? Brinemouth vs. Spartangrad as a first round match? Jesus wept, and so did the bean-counters. The match is a disappointment at the end of the day, ending scoreless.

Slateport Bulls 1-1 Starling (1-2 AET)
Starling win 3-2 on aggregate.

Even away, Starling dominate the ball; yet again, the Bulls score first, Navas with a clever dinked finish over a stranded Smordal. But this time, when Starling really get that comeback going in the second half, they look like they’ll finish the job. Andisori finally gets the breakthrough after the excellent Arias can only parry Kaelin’s shot as far as her, and then the Chromatik sets up Liam Armstrong for a drilled clincher in extra time to take the Passerines through.

AFC Treason 1-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Sabrefell Moths 2-3 Vermillion Rage
Belgrave 3-2 Violence Chariots
South Laithland 1-1 Coret Hawks
North Sabrefell 0-2 Starling
Crisisbless United 2-3 Creed United
North Laithland 2-2 Newrook City
AFC Corvistone 0-1 Bishop
Cypher Town 0-3 Chenoworth Harriers
Leichhardt 1-1 Raven River
Goodfeather FC 3-1 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 2-0 Southfell United

North Sabrefell are slumping. Granted, a 2-0 defeat at home to Starling isn’t worrying in isolation, but they’ve lost their last three matches 8-0 on aggregate. “People are asking if we’re complacent,” Gareth Blackthorn begins, promisingly. “We’re not.” Oh. Still, Erika Wolff’s radar seems off after a thrilling early flurry, Alexis Stinnett’s been invisible, the central defence’s fragility is being painfully highlighted and the honeymoon, all in all, seems over. At least they got a honeymoon - Crisisbless United’s flakiness costs them yet again. 2-0 up at home against Creed, two bookings for midfield lynchpin Na’Ryibi in six minutes, Brandtner has a field day, lose 3-2. Goodfeather have the result of the matchday by a distance, though, as the inconsistent Ulrica Rannon forces Brinemouth’s defence open, rampaging with two goals and an assist - where’s that form coming from? Brinemouth pull one back in the 71st and get it back to the halfway mark gamely, but, well, it’s not happening. Credit for the best post-match reaction, though, goes to Cypher manager Rivka Keaton. Just beaten 3-0 on home soil by the Harriers, basically without a shot in anger all game? Just shrug and tell the press; “Shit happens.” Legend.

Spartangrad 3-2 Brinemouth
Spartangrad win 3-2 on aggregate.

An instant classic, had it happened on a bigger stage or a deeper round. Brinemouth hit first away from home, Dragana spinning away from two markers and stabbing past Woodgate at a seemingly impossible, but then Spartangrad took the front foot, each Palmisano brother getting on the scoresheet just before half-time. In the second half, the Dockers came out the better team… but were hit on the break, Wceil slammed to the turf by Magnozzi for a penalty he stepped up to convert himself. The Dockers charged back, took the game to Spartangrad, but Butler and Blake ahead of Woodgate simply would not buckle. They’d get one back, a brilliantly-flighted direct free kick from Alyss Montague, but no more. Spartangrad progress.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Treason 4-3 Belgrave
Vermillion Rage 2-0 South Laithland
Violence Chariots 4-1 North Sabrefell
Coret Hawks 0-1 Crisisbless United
Starling 1-0 North Laithland
Creed United 3-1 AFC Corvistone
Newrook City 2-0 Cypher Town
Bishop 2-1 Leichhardt
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Raven River 2-2 Crisisbless
Brinemouth 4-4 Southfell United

It could’ve been a moment to curse and sputter - instead it becomes proof of resilience. Crisisbless are leading River 1-0 with eighty minutes played. It’s a dull affair. But suddenly, Villaverde comes tearing down the right, Kesteren finds him with a crossfield ball, he nips into the box and is brought down carelessly by Amelia Warner. Michi Leonard stabs home the penalty, and River keep pressing, Kesteren hitting the post and Breisgau leaping desperately in front of Molovi to head home the rebound. It could be a calamity… but Crisisbless stay calm, do what they do and make a gap for themselves, Ruhl’s hold-up play giving space for Coppinger to run in behind, Ruhl passing to Jevdjevic-Hadsic to find Coppinger who scuffed home the late leveller to keep Crisisbless top. Not flaky, but resilient. Starling are behind only on goal difference after a 1-0 win over North Laithland that’s rather routine, Brinemouth lagging behind after a 4-4 draw against Southfell that’s anything but. Newrook beat Cypher to fill out the top four, as the Harriers draw with Goodfeather. Filling out the Globe Cup places are the major Sabrefell teams, who play out a tantalising 2-2 derby with a red card either side. Treason and the Chariots both win, just on the outside looking in, with Southfell rounding out the top ten.

Things are settling down the bottom, with Cypher Town in 15th eleven points clear of the drop, probably going to be safe. Behind them; Corvistone are outplayed by Creed United, Conway and Korborg unstoppable against their flaky defence, while North Sabrefell are hammered 4-1 by the Chariots in their sixth straight defeat. River and Bishop pick up good draws, with Bishop snatching a late and thoroughly deserved winner over an uninspiring Leichhardt side from Faiza Huyton’s clever sidefooted volley. The Chequers leapfrog the Stargazers into the relegation playoff place with a tidy 1-0 win over the inconsistent Hawks, while Leichhardt can’t score for beans and neither South Laithland nor Belgrave is very good, all beaten to create the current bottom three. Belgrave are already five points clear even of the playoff place.

Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Locksley (2-1 AET)
Newrook City 2-0 Sutcroft
Southfell United 3-1 Aries Solitaire
Brinemouth 1-0 Starling
Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Mantlegrove
Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Crossroads Town (2-2 AET, 1-3 PKs)
Cypher Town 1-1 Crisisbless United (1-1 AET, 0-3 PKs)
AFC Treason 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers (2-1 AET)
Bishop 3-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Hackett 0-1 Chatswood
AFC Corvistone 0-1 Creed United
Brookford Otters 0-4 Coret Hawks
Belgrave 6-2 Lazuli Diamonds
North Sabrefell 4-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Coret Rovers 3-1 Southriver
Leichhardt 1-0 Sabrefell Moths

Brookford Otters get… somewhat a taste of their own medicine, having put down South Brill 11-0 away. They’re promptly dropped 4-0 at home by a Coret side that have clearly figured they’re not doing anything in the league, so may as well give the Cup a full tilt. Mostly, though, this is the round the giants fall. Sur Arora has absolutely not been able to solve the Moths’ recent flaky streak, and has struggled to manage all the competitions (don’t mention the Globe Cup) - a 1-0 defeat to Leichhardt with a second-string side doesn’t help. But at least they aren’t Sabrefell Athletic. Try though they might, they slip to third-tier Crossroads Town, sitting on their 2-0 lead in the 70th minute and getting sucker-punched by Conrad Webber’s brace, before ultimately falling on penalties. At home. Starling’s Cup defence falls as well, though somewhat more respectably, it’s an away defeat at Brinemouth. Treason almost fall as well, a resilient, assured performance from a Cranequin Wanderers side that struggles for fluency in the second tier but looks right at home in the Gauntlet, but Roddy Fraser comes off the bench and looks relieved when he curls a strike beyond Olivia Selkie in the 117th minute. Creed beat Corvistone, while Cypher Town’s Cup tilt comes to an end when they fail to score a single penalty against Crisisbless United.
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Vermillion Wanderers 2-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Stahlburg Rovers 2-0 AFC Serpentine
Locksley 1-0 Brookford Otters
Iron City 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Gonen's Bridge 1-4 Extreme Hills
Diamondqueen 1-0 Chatswood
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Armstrong
Parrhesia United 0-0 Hackett
Morningstar 0-0 Stahlburg City
Cranequin City 1-0 Sheridan
Greygate 1-3 Coret Rovers
West Brinemouth 0-1 Stonegrave
AFC Serpentine 3-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Brookford Otters 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Extreme Hills 2-2 Locksley
Chatswood 0-2 Iron City
Armstrong 2-1 Gonen's Bridge
Hackett 1-3 Diamondqueen
Stahlburg City 4-1 Corvette Maulers
Sheridan 2-2 Parrhesia United
Coret Rovers 1-3 Morningstar
Stonegrave 2-2 Cranequin City
West Brinemouth 2-0 Greygate
Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Brookford Otters
AFC Serpentine 1-4 Chenoworth Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Extreme Hills
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Chatswood
Locksley 2-1 Armstrong
Iron City 1-1 Hackett
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Stahlburg City
Diamondqueen 2-0 Sheridan
Corvette Maulers 2-3 Coret Rovers
Parrhesia United 6-1 Stonegrave
Morningstar 1-2 West Brinemouth
Cranequin City 0-1 Greygate
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Extreme Hills 1-2 Brookford Otters
Chatswood 0-0 AFC Serpentine
Armstrong 0-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Hackett 0-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Stahlburg City 3-0 Locksley
Sheridan 1-1 Iron City
Coret Rovers 3-1 Gonen's Bridge
Stonegrave 1-0 Diamondqueen
West Brinemouth 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Greygate 2-0 Parrhesia United
Cranequin City 1-0 Morningstar
Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Extreme Hills
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Chatswood
Brookford Otters 5-1 Armstrong
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Hackett
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Stahlburg City
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 Sheridan
Locksley 1-1 Coret Rovers
Iron City 1-1 Stonegrave
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 West Brinemouth
Diamondqueen 2-0 Greygate
Corvette Maulers 4-1 Cranequin City
Parrhesia United 3-3 Morningstar
Chatswood 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Armstrong 1-2 Extreme Hills
Hackett 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg City 2-0 Brookford Otters
Sheridan 0-2 AFC Serpentine
Coret Rovers 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Stonegrave 1-3 Stahlburg Rovers
West Brinemouth 1-2 Locksley
Greygate 3-2 Iron City
Cranequin City 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Morningstar 2-0 Diamondqueen
Parrhesia United 1-5 Corvette Maulers
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Armstrong
Chatswood 1-0 Hackett
Extreme Hills 2-3 Stahlburg City
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Sheridan
Brookford Otters 2-2 Coret Rovers
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Stonegrave
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 West Brinemouth
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 Greygate
Locksley 1-0 Cranequin City
Iron City 0-1 Morningstar
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Parrhesia United
Diamondqueen 2-4 Corvette Maulers
Hackett 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Stahlburg City 2-0 Armstrong
Sheridan 1-1 Chatswood
Coret Rovers 2-2 Extreme Hills
Stonegrave 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
West Brinemouth 1-4 Brookford Otters
Greygate 0-2 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin City 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Morningstar 4-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Parrhesia United 1-2 Locksley
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Iron City
Diamondqueen 3-1 Gonen's Bridge
Vermillion Wanderers 0-2 Stahlburg City
Hackett 3-0 Sheridan
Armstrong 3-0 Coret Rovers
Chatswood 1-0 Stonegrave
Extreme Hills 1-1 West Brinemouth
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Greygate
Brookford Otters 2-2 Cranequin City
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Morningstar
Cranequin Wanderers 2-2 Parrhesia United
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Locksley 0-2 Diamondqueen
Iron City 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Sheridan 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Coret Rovers 1-2 Stahlburg City
Stonegrave 0-1 Hackett
West Brinemouth 0-2 Armstrong
Greygate 0-2 Chatswood
Cranequin City 4-1 Extreme Hills
Morningstar 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Parrhesia United 2-1 Brookford Otters
Corvette Maulers 3-1 AFC Serpentine
Diamondqueen 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Iron City 2-1 Locksley
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Coret Rovers
Sheridan 0-1 Stonegrave
Stahlburg City 2-0 West Brinemouth
Hackett 2-1 Greygate
Armstrong 1-1 Cranequin City
Chatswood 2-2 Morningstar
Extreme Hills 0-2 Parrhesia United
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Brookford Otters 2-2 Diamondqueen
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Iron City
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Locksley

Matchday 13: Extreme Hills, managed by an increasingly beleagured Bryony Johansen, pick up a vital three points in some style. A change in formation pays dividends, with Desdemona Schuster much more comfortable in the hole of a 4-3-1-2, chalking up three assists in a 4-1 away win over Gonen's Bridge. Lowly Coret pick up an impressive win of their own, beating Greygate 3-1 in a match where Wardens midfielder Matthew Rawson picks up the headlines for an off-the-ball headbutt on Bosko Roman. "I just didn't like the cunt," Rawson says, by way of explanation. Morningstar vs. Stahlburg City is exactly the scoreless grindfest one would imagine, but at least a bench-clearing brawl in injury time livens up proceedings.

Matchday 14: Is this the time where Stahlburg really click for the first time under Douglas Tibet? They rout Corvette, Isabella Shi showing her power and ruthlessness with a couple of strikes where she simply bulldozed defenders, before a couple of goals off set pieces rounds out a crushing 4-1 win. It might do for Benjamin Nyao to work on defending set pieces, for that matter - his Saints have no business drawing 2-2 with Sheridan, but it's what happens after some lamentably slack marking. Yet again, Gonen's get to be the step up for a struggling side, this time Armstrong taking them out 2-1 with out-of-favour Rho Efthimiou coming off the bench to score the winner.

Matchday 15: The Saints have been sputtering in fits and starts this season. Finally, they explode... in the right direction, that is. Maybe it's more accurate to say that Stonegrave explode. The Diggers have been really impressive this season, Calcifer Anderson generally heroic between the posts, but today they look thoroughly, well, Second Division as Parrhesia annihilate them 6-1. Like so many other teams this season, Stonegrave have no answer to Abigail Teris.

Matchday 16: Greygate manage a solid, impressive 2-0 win over Parrhesia, and early signs seem fairly good for a Greygate side that's made a habit of looking very strong after promotion and then going down anyway. This side, by comparison, doesn't look too sharp but, under the seasoned eye of Augustine Houghton, is getting all the basics right. Stonegrave, too, are denying early predictions of doom - they recover admirably from the Parrhesia defeat to edge Diamondqueen 1-0, the charmingly arrogant Whiteside winning and then slotting home a penalty.

Matchday 17: Are Corvette slipping? They've had one point from their last three games... but they put those fears to rest by crushing Cranequin City 4-1. "This isn't just a lucky streak," boasts Daniella Strauss post-match. "We're at the top and we're not going away." Christos Tsiavis helps dig Morningstar out of a hole in a comeback 3-3 draw against a flaky Parrhesia, Armstrong are binned 5-1 by Brookford while Cranequin Wanderers calmly and assertively pass a frustrated, tired Stahlburg City to death.

Matchday 18: Nepharim don't make a habit of pouring out of the exits early. Your club, right or wrong. Well, an understandable exception is made as Parrhesia are turned over 5-1 on home soil by Corvette Maulers, Norval's Midas touch in front of goal, Voleimann's actualisation, even the underrated defensive work of young Coleman and goalkeeper Lin all just clicking together in, it bears reminding, Daniella Strauss' first season of management. This is not that strong a team! Most of the Saints would, on paper, walk into the Maulers' side! But, somehow, middling high-1Div/low-Premiership fullback Eloise Davison utterly shuts down Teris, probably the best player in the division, all game.

Matchday 19: Five defeats in a row spell the end for Brun Kissinger at Armstrong, after conceding a cruel late sucker-punch to ten-man Vermillion Wanderers' Alexis Farrier. Promising new manager Warner Dranz is quickly choppered in from The Hanged Man. Stahlburg City have been improving a lot of late after their slow start and Isabella Shi takes the reins to overturn Hills with a dominant hat-trick. But it's matched by Fiona Norval, who has simply been on fire for the Maulers (and probably making River regret selling her), notching three in the last half-hour to help the Maulers to a 4-2 win over Diamondqueen.

Matchday 20: Dranz has a difficult opening brief at Armstrong, having to visit Stahlburg City right off the bat and succumbing to an understandable 2-0 defeat. There's just... so much wrong at Armstrong. He switches to a 4-4-2, hoping that Busch and Efthimiou will combine to be more than the sum of their dismal parts, while Fowler looks terribly past it and Boatman never really reached 'it'. There seem to be a lot of 4-1 wins this season - the Otters slam West Brinemouth away and Morningstar smash Stahlburg Rovers by that scoreline, leading to calls for Raskine's head. For all his talk of the project, where are the Rovers going?

Matchday 21: 2-2 away against Cranequin Wanderers isn't a strictly bad result, but Parrhesia are now winless in six, their promotion push floundering, and there's calls for Nyao's head. Elsewhere, it's a good time for turnarounds. Stahlburg Rovers still score just the one, but impressively keep a clean sheet against an out-of-sorts Corvette, while miracles of miracles Efthimiou, Busch and Own Goal lead Armstrong to a 3-0 hammering of Coret Rovers.

Matchday 22: Another convincing win for Armstrong, this one 2-0 over West Brinemouth. "I don't want to denigrate my predecessor's work," says Dranz, about to do so anyway, "but you can sometimes see defensive-minded teams really retreat too far into their own shells. I want people to fear us again." Nobody ever really feared Armstrong before, but you can't knock him for confidence. Bryony Johansen can only watch as her Extreme Hills side are wiped out 4-1 (that score again!) by Cranequin City, not exactly an attacking powerhouse, and she's given the axe too. The Hounds pick up Malta Falconer, fired last season from Coret Rovers but no stranger to relegation dogfights (which this very much now is), to replace her.

Matchday 23: A top of the table clash! Chenoworth Rovers, currently at the crest, manage to drag Corvette down into a proper slug on home territory. Unfortunately for them, the only goal of the game comes off a set piece anyway, Voleimann's corner nodded home by Fallon for Corvette's winner, putting them at the top. Stahlburg City win to round out the top three, Morningstar's unsurprisingly bitty 2-2 draw with Chatswood putting them in fourth. Parrhesia beat Extreme Hills 2-0 as Falconer watches from the stands, but they're still just in tenth. Armstrong get a point and Bridge win, but remain in the bottom four with Sheridan and Hills. It's still very close, though.

Iron United 1-3 Rochford
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Riverkey
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Strephonage 0-0 AFC Shale
Brindleton 0-0 The Hanged Man
Crossroads Town 1-3 Peregrine
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Sutcroft
Ritter Town 2-0 Mantlegrove
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Ox River United 1-5 The Strongest
Falston United 2-3 Southriver
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Ballardine FC
Riverkey 0-2 Iron United
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Rochford
AFC Shale 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
The Hanged Man 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Peregrine 4-1 Strephonage
Sutcroft 1-1 Brindleton
Mantlegrove 2-1 Crossroads Town
Dartmouth Terriers 2-2 Crisisbless Athletic
The Strongest 1-1 Ritter Town
Southriver 3-1 East Laithland Harriers
Ballardine FC 2-0 Ox River United
Corinthians No Longer 1-3 Falston United
Iron United 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Riverkey 1-2 AFC Shale
Rochford 0-1 The Hanged Man
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Peregrine
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Sutcroft
Strephonage 0-2 Mantlegrove
Brindleton 2-4 Dartmouth Terriers
Crossroads Town 3-1 The Strongest
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Southriver
Ritter Town 0-0 Ballardine FC
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Ox River United 0-1 Falston United
AFC Shale 1-0 Iron United
The Hanged Man 3-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Peregrine 1-1 Riverkey
Sutcroft 0-2 Rochford
Mantlegrove 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Dartmouth Terriers 0-3 Chardonnay Rangers
The Strongest 1-1 Strephonage
Southriver 2-1 Brindleton
Ballardine FC 2-0 Crossroads Town
Corinthians No Longer 2-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Falston United 0-8 Ritter Town
Ox River United 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Iron United 1-1 The Hanged Man
AFC Shale 0-1 Peregrine
Lazuli Diamonds 6-1 Sutcroft
Riverkey 0-1 Mantlegrove
Rochford 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 The Strongest
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Southriver
Strephonage 1-2 Ballardine FC
Brindleton 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Crossroads Town 2-0 Falston United
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Ox River United
Ritter Town 5-1 East Laithland Harriers
Peregrine 1-1 Iron United
Sutcroft 1-1 The Hanged Man
Mantlegrove 3-0 AFC Shale
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Lazuli Diamonds
The Strongest 2-0 Riverkey
Southriver 0-1 Rochford
Ballardine FC 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Falston United 0-1 Strephonage
Ox River United 3-0 Brindleton
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Crossroads Town
Ritter Town 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Iron United 0-0 Sutcroft
Peregrine 2-3 Mantlegrove
The Hanged Man 0-1 Dartmouth Terriers
AFC Shale 0-1 The Strongest
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Southriver
Riverkey 0-0 Ballardine FC
Rochford 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Falston United
Chardonnay Rangers 5-0 Ox River United
Strephonage 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Brindleton 2-0 Ritter Town
Crossroads Town 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Mantlegrove 1-1 Iron United
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Sutcroft
The Strongest 1-0 Peregrine
Southriver 1-1 The Hanged Man
Ballardine FC 0-2 AFC Shale
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Falston United 1-3 Riverkey
Ox River United 1-2 Rochford
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Ritter Town 4-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Strephonage
Crossroads Town 0-1 Brindleton
Iron United 2-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Mantlegrove 2-4 The Strongest
Sutcroft 1-1 Southriver
Peregrine 1-1 Ballardine FC
The Hanged Man 0-0 Corinthians No Longer
AFC Shale 1-1 Falston United
Lazuli Diamonds 0-2 Ox River United
Riverkey 0-2 East Laithland Harriers
Rochford 1-0 Ritter Town
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Chardonnay Rangers 4-0 Crossroads Town
Strephonage 1-0 Brindleton
The Strongest 0-1 Iron United
Southriver 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Ballardine FC 3-2 Mantlegrove
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Sutcroft
Falston United 2-0 Peregrine
Ox River United 1-1 The Hanged Man
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 AFC Shale
Ritter Town 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 Riverkey
Crossroads Town 0-1 Rochford
Brindleton 0-3 Pillars of Southfell
Strephonage 0-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Iron United 1-2 Southriver
The Strongest 3-1 Ballardine FC
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 Corinthians No Longer
Mantlegrove 2-1 Falston United
Sutcroft 1-2 Ox River United
Peregrine 0-2 East Laithland Harriers
The Hanged Man 0-1 Ritter Town
AFC Shale 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Lazuli Diamonds 1-4 Crossroads Town
Riverkey 0-0 Brindleton
Rochford 2-0 Strephonage
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 Boleyn Town
Falston Town 7-3 South Parrhesia
Brokenarch 4-1 Hartford Glade
Sirencall FC 0-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Aries Solitaire 2-3 Kensey Town
Kommissar 2-0 West Hook
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Rushe United
Barossia United 3-0 Gosmouth Swans
Martella Jazz 1-0 Mapleford
Ingram Township 1-1 Long Lake
Gridlock 0-0 Pravenna Saints
Downsparrow 2-1 Brunyard FC
South Parrhesia 0-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Hartford Glade 1-0 Boleyn Town
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Falston Town
Kensey Town 1-1 Brokenarch
West Hook 1-0 Sirencall FC
Rushe United 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Kommissar
Mapleford 2-1 Alliance Barossia
Long Lake 2-0 Barossia United
Pravenna Saints 0-1 Martella Jazz
Brunyard FC 3-0 Ingram Township
Downsparrow 5-3 Gridlock
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Hartford Glade
South Parrhesia 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Boleyn Town 0-2 Kensey Town
Falston Town 1-2 West Hook
Brokenarch 2-1 Rushe United
Sirencall FC 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Aries Solitaire 8-1 Mapleford
Kommissar 2-1 Long Lake
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Pravenna Saints
Barossia United 4-0 Brunyard FC
Martella Jazz 0-0 Downsparrow
Ingram Township 1-0 Gridlock
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Kensey Town 1-2 Hartford Glade
West Hook 1-0 South Parrhesia
Rushe United 0-1 Boleyn Town
Gosmouth Swans 3-0 Falston Town
Mapleford 2-2 Brokenarch
Long Lake 0-2 Sirencall FC
Pravenna Saints 0-1 Aries Solitaire
Brunyard FC 0-3 Kommissar
Downsparrow 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Gridlock 1-1 Barossia United
Ingram Township 2-1 Martella Jazz
Sutcroft Athletic 1-4 Kensey Town
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 West Hook
Hartford Glade 2-1 Rushe United
South Parrhesia 1-4 Gosmouth Swans
Boleyn Town 1-0 Mapleford
Falston Town 2-2 Long Lake
Brokenarch 1-1 Pravenna Saints
Sirencall FC 1-2 Brunyard FC
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Downsparrow
Kommissar 2-0 Gridlock
Alliance Barossia 3-0 Ingram Township
Barossia United 0-0 Martella Jazz
West Hook 5-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Rushe United 3-3 Kensey Town
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Mapleford 0-1 Hartford Glade
Long Lake 0-1 South Parrhesia
Pravenna Saints 1-1 Boleyn Town
Brunyard FC 4-3 Falston Town
Downsparrow 4-1 Brokenarch
Gridlock 0-1 Sirencall FC
Ingram Township 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Martella Jazz 2-1 Kommissar
Barossia United 0-0 Alliance Barossia
Sutcroft Athletic 4-1 Rushe United
West Hook 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Kensey Town 0-1 Mapleford
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Long Lake
Hartford Glade 2-0 Pravenna Saints
South Parrhesia 1-1 Brunyard FC
Boleyn Town 1-4 Downsparrow
Falston Town 1-1 Gridlock
Brokenarch 2-1 Ingram Township
Sirencall FC 4-2 Martella Jazz
Aries Solitaire 1-3 Barossia United
Kommissar 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Mapleford 1-1 Rushe United
Long Lake 0-1 West Hook
Pravenna Saints 1-1 Kensey Town
Brunyard FC 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Downsparrow 0-0 Hartford Glade
Gridlock 1-2 South Parrhesia
Ingram Township 1-0 Boleyn Town
Martella Jazz 2-2 Falston Town
Barossia United 1-0 Brokenarch
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Sirencall FC
Kommissar 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Sutcroft Athletic 1-3 Mapleford
Gosmouth Swans 1-3 Long Lake
Rushe United 0-1 Pravenna Saints
West Hook 0-1 Brunyard FC
Kensey Town 1-1 Downsparrow
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Gridlock
Hartford Glade 2-0 Ingram Township
South Parrhesia 3-1 Martella Jazz
Boleyn Town 0-2 Barossia United
Falston Town 1-2 Alliance Barossia
Brokenarch 1-2 Kommissar
Sirencall FC 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Long Lake 3-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Pravenna Saints 0-0 Mapleford
Brunyard FC 0-0 Gosmouth Swans
Downsparrow 3-1 Rushe United
Gridlock 1-2 West Hook
Ingram Township 2-2 Kensey Town
Martella Jazz 1-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Barossia United 1-0 Hartford Glade
Alliance Barossia 0-0 South Parrhesia
Kommissar 4-1 Boleyn Town
Aries Solitaire 1-3 Falston Town
Sirencall FC 1-2 Brokenarch
Sutcroft Athletic 0-3 Pravenna Saints
Long Lake 1-2 Brunyard FC
Mapleford 0-2 Downsparrow
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Gridlock
Rushe United 0-0 Ingram Township
West Hook 0-2 Martella Jazz
Kensey Town 2-1 Barossia United
Boltcroft Thorns 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Hartford Glade 1-2 Kommissar
South Parrhesia 2-0 Aries Solitaire
Boleyn Town 2-0 Sirencall FC
Falston Town 0-1 Brokenarch

Pos Team                      P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Crisisbless 23 14 5 4 38 17 +21 47
2 Starling 23 14 5 4 40 21 +19 47
3 Brinemouth 23 13 6 4 57 34 +23 45
4 Newrook City 23 14 2 7 36 22 +14 44

5 Chenoworth Harriers 23 13 5 5 33 20 +13 44
6 Sabrefell Moths 23 13 4 6 42 32 +10 43
7 Sabrefell Athletic 23 12 5 6 40 31 +9 41

8 AFC Treason 23 12 3 8 29 22 +7 39
9 Violence Chariots 23 11 5 7 46 36 +10 38
10 Southfell United 23 10 6 7 47 30 +17 36
11 Vermillion Rage 23 10 4 9 29 27 +2 34
12 North Laithland 23 9 6 8 36 34 +2 33
13 Creed United 23 10 3 10 32 32 +0 33
14 Coret Hawks 23 8 7 8 25 25 +0 31
15 Cypher Town 23 8 6 9 22 29 -7 30
16 AFC Corvistone 23 8 3 12 35 42 -7 27
17 North Sabrefell 23 8 2 13 31 44 -13 26
18 Raven River 23 6 6 11 35 52 -17 24
19 Bishop 23 5 7 11 24 33 -9 22
20 Goodfeather FC 23 5 6 12 25 38 -13 21
21 Crisisbless United 23 5 4 14 28 45 -17 19
22 Leichhardt 23 4 5 14 14 33 -19 17
23 South Laithland 23 4 4 15 23 45 -22 16
24 Belgrave 23 3 5 15 29 52 -23 14

Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Corvette Maulers 23 16 3 4 47 24 +23 51
2 Chenoworth Rovers 23 15 4 4 43 19 +24 49
3 Stahlburg City 23 14 4 5 33 14 +19 46

4 Morningstar 23 13 4 6 39 20 +19 43
5 Brookford Otters 23 11 6 6 39 24 +15 39
6 Chatswood 23 10 8 5 24 20 +4 38
7 Diamondqueen 23 11 4 8 35 25 +10 37
8 Stahlburg Rovers 23 10 7 6 34 31 +3 37
9 Hackett 23 10 6 7 24 21 +3 36
10 Parrhesia United 23 9 7 7 44 34 +10 34
11 Cranequin Wanderers 23 9 6 8 27 24 +3 33
12 AFC Serpentine 23 9 5 9 27 29 -2 32
13 Vermillion Wanderers 23 9 5 9 29 32 -3 32
14 Iron City 23 8 6 9 21 26 -5 30
15 Locksley 23 8 5 10 26 33 -7 29
16 Greygate 23 8 4 11 25 33 -8 28
17 West Brinemouth 23 6 7 10 20 25 -5 25
18 Stonegrave 23 6 6 11 17 30 -13 24
19 Cranequin City 23 6 5 12 20 31 -11 23
20 Coret Rovers 23 5 6 12 34 49 -15 21
21 Gonen's Bridge 23 4 8 11 20 34 -14 20
22 Armstrong 23 5 4 14 22 39 -17 19
23 Sheridan 23 3 9 11 13 29 -16 18
24 Extreme Hills 23 3 7 13 27 44 -17 16

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Mantlegrove 23 16 3 4 44 23 +21 51
2 Ritter Town 23 13 6 4 44 13 +31 45
3 The Strongest 23 11 7 5 42 27 +15 40
4 Rochford 23 12 4 7 28 16 +12 40

5 Peregrine 23 11 6 6 37 28 +9 39
6 Ballardine FC 23 10 7 6 26 21 +5 37
7 Pillars of Southfell 23 9 9 5 24 17 +7 36
8 Southriver 23 11 3 9 32 34 -2 36
9 The Hanged Man 23 8 8 7 20 20 +0 32
10 Iron United 23 8 7 8 29 30 -1 31
11 East Laithland Harriers 23 8 7 8 27 33 -6 31
12 Lazuli Diamonds 23 8 6 9 34 32 +2 30
13 Crisisbless Athletic 23 7 9 7 32 31 +1 30
14 AFC Shale 23 7 9 7 19 20 -1 30
15 Dartmouth Terriers 23 7 8 8 24 27 -3 29
16 Crossroads Town 23 8 4 11 42 42 +0 28
17 Riverkey 23 7 7 9 20 25 -5 28
18 Ox River United 23 8 4 11 21 33 -12 28
19 Corinthians No Longer 23 5 12 6 27 30 -3 27
20 Chardonnay Rangers 23 7 4 12 33 30 +3 25
21 Falston United 23 7 3 13 26 42 -16 24
22 Strephonage 23 6 4 13 16 33 -17 22
23 Brindleton 23 4 9 10 21 37 -16 21
24 Sutcroft 23 2 6 15 16 40 -24 12

Pos Team                    P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Alliance Barossia 23 18 3 2 37 10 +27 57
2 Kommissar 23 14 6 3 40 21 +19 48
3 Barossia United 23 13 6 4 39 19 +20 45
4 West Hook 23 12 6 5 29 18 +11 42

5 Downsparrow 23 11 6 6 40 31 +9 39
6 Brunyard FC 23 11 6 6 32 29 +3 39
7 Boltcroft Thorns 23 11 3 9 36 26 +10 36
8 Gosmouth Swans 23 10 4 9 28 29 -1 34
9 Hartford Glade 23 10 4 9 22 28 -6 34
10 Kensey Town 23 8 8 7 37 30 +7 32
11 South Parrhesia 23 9 5 9 32 33 -1 32
12 Falston Town 23 8 6 9 35 31 +4 30
13 Brokenarch 23 7 9 7 29 28 +1 30
14 Martella Jazz 23 8 6 9 27 35 -8 30
15 Aries Solitaire 23 7 8 8 40 30 +10 29
16 Mapleford 23 7 8 8 22 30 -8 29
17 Ingram Township 23 7 7 9 19 30 -11 28
18 Long Lake 23 7 6 10 26 28 -2 27
19 Sutcroft Athletic 23 8 1 14 29 39 -10 25
20 Pravenna Saints 23 5 9 9 17 22 -5 24
21 Sirencall FC 23 6 4 13 27 39 -12 22
22 Boleyn Town 23 6 3 14 13 32 -19 21
23 Gridlock 23 4 5 14 13 32 -19 17
24 Rushe United 23 3 3 17 30 49 -19 12

Pos Team                     P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Fully Sick XI 23 14 7 2 42 23 +19 49
2 FC Seierstad 23 13 9 1 49 23 +26 48

3 Fischer 23 13 8 2 38 22 +16 47
4 Iberia Chenoworth 23 13 3 7 48 28 +20 42
5 Ringway 23 13 2 8 30 23 +7 41
6 Grovebank 23 9 8 6 39 29 +10 35
7 Crownsend Journey 23 9 7 7 40 31 +9 34
8 Courser 23 9 7 7 35 27 +8 34
9 Stonesthrow Town 23 9 5 9 26 26 +0 32
10 Lockheed Zenith 23 9 5 9 30 31 -1 32
11 Harrington 23 8 7 8 30 33 -3 31
12 AFC Hellerine 23 7 6 10 24 32 -8 27
13 Fenland Albion 23 7 5 11 23 30 -7 26
14 Coleman Ridge 23 6 7 10 24 35 -11 25
15 Dross Rovers 23 5 8 10 19 28 -9 23
16 AFC Brackwold 23 5 7 11 23 33 -10 22
17 Aspen Grove 23 6 4 13 25 38 -13 22
18 Sleetwell Rangers 23 5 7 11 25 43 -18 22
19 Capricopia Rangers 23 4 6 13 26 41 -15 18
20 Swag Hill Rovers 23 4 6 13 19 39 -20 18

Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Autumnstone 23 16 2 5 56 25 +31 50
2 South Brill 23 14 7 2 40 22 +18 49

3 Rochford Pilgrims 23 14 5 4 38 26 +12 47
4 Bodkin Road 23 13 6 4 42 24 +18 45
5 Stamper Road 23 13 3 7 36 24 +12 42
6 Brookford Vantablack 23 12 3 8 50 38 +12 39
7 The Travellers FC 23 9 8 6 43 37 +6 35
8 Coral Bay 23 9 5 9 43 41 +2 32
9 Constance Park 23 8 7 8 19 20 -1 31
10 Brookway Town 23 7 8 8 27 27 +0 29
11 Corvistone City 23 7 7 9 28 27 +1 28
12 Rookwall 23 8 4 11 35 35 +0 28
13 AFC Burchess 23 7 5 11 27 33 -6 26
14 AFC Volksgarten 23 7 5 11 18 28 -10 26
15 Rhyburn Swifts 23 7 5 11 29 42 -13 26
16 Twelvetrees 23 6 7 10 17 22 -5 25
17 Blaze 23 5 7 11 29 43 -14 22
18 Gridlock Rovers 23 4 6 13 14 37 -23 18
19 Mainstream Fist 23 3 8 12 24 42 -18 17
20 Corby Hubris 23 3 8 12 23 45 -22 17
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Postby Nephara » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:51 am

Belgrave 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
South Laithland 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
North Sabrefell 0-2 AFC Treason
Crisisbless United 1-7 Vermillion Rage
North Laithland 6-4 Violence Chariots
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Coret Hawks
Cypher Town 1-0 Starling
Leichhardt 1-0 Creed United
Goodfeather FC 6-0 Newrook City
Crisisbless 3-1 Bishop
Southfell United 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Brinemouth 3-0 Raven River

Right. Talking points in almost every game! A few weak teams get some strong, capital-R Results here, a scrappy South Laithland forcing a win against the Moths albeit in controversial fashion, Bentzen clattering Griffin as he claimed a long diagonal ball and Vesuvia Carrick smashing home the loose ball for a late 2-1 winner. It has to be said that Reinhard Meixner was exceptional between the posts for the Southrons, too. Leichhardt get the win they get best, too, beating Creed 1-0, Michael Koller heading home Hatherton’s free kick. Another struggling side getting a win is, uh, Goodfeather beating Newrook… 6-0? Yet again, Andreu Bartolnicci is gone, this time before half-time with the scores at 2-0, reacting to a supposed goal from Farrell being pulled back for a narrow offside by putting his immaculate loafer through the nearest camera. At least he has company, though; Temperance Nkembe and Ifrit Coynborough both follow him down the tunnel by the end of the match. And maybe he’d feel better looking at other defences across the league; North Laithland and the Chariots ripped chunks out of each other in a ten-goal thriller, but a late red card from deputy defensive midfielder Packie Milner opened the floodgates in the last 13 minutes. The Chariots’ 4-3 lead evaporated into a 6-4 defeat, Webster scoring a direct free kick (off the foul Milner was sent off for), Han cutting inside and guiding a bullet into the corner to take the lead and Erinys Hart coming off the bench to hit them off the break for the finale. But the worst of all - with the biggest consequences - comes as Crisisbless United are treated to a punishing 7-1 defeat on home soil. Andrea Betancourt watches impassively as Vermilion shred them on the counter, again and again and again and again and again, Breremond and Porter ripping open the inexperienced Bruun and Law on the flanks, and the manager who took them up is given the axe not long afterwards. Konrad Evans is snapped up to take her place, but the mood is grim.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 South Laithland
Belgrave 1-1 North Sabrefell
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Treason 2-0 North Laithland
Vermillion Rage 4-1 AFC Corvistone
Violence Chariots 1-1 Cypher Town
Coret Hawks 1-0 Leichhardt
Starling 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Creed United 1-0 Crisisbless
Newrook City 3-1 Southfell United
Bishop 2-0 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Harriers 1-2 Raven River

You know, all credit to Newrook, they recover nicely. Without Coynborough or Nkembe, additionally dropping Hedlund, Foster and even the captain Woods, and with Bartolnicci glowering from the stands, they produce a vastly improved performance. Granted, stand-in centre-half Glenn Baumann does score a spectacular diving header past his own goalkeeper seven minutes in, but Couturiaux (a little further forward than usual) orchestrates goals for Bothroyd and Ironhewer, before the maligned but recently improved Lorne Winter’s grass-cutter makes it 3-1 against a strong Southfell side. Vermillion just keep doing the same thing as they did last time, though, this time shredding a hapless Corvistone side 4-1. Vermillion haven’t exactly shone this season - their defence has not really stood up - but the pace of their wingers and the ruthlessness of Carlos Conte, who scores one and sets up substitute Nizarut for the final goal today, is not to be underestimated. Bishop rely on their methods under Conan Estelline, Ierardi a giant in defence and Risdon solid between the posts, as Brinemouth bring down the thunder. But the Dockers haven’t always been decisive this season, and too often lose their nerve under pressure. Huyton and Mersiades fall over in the box in the second half to give Penbrooke two penalties, both clinically dispatched, to hand Bishop a remarkable 2-0 win. That’s the same scoreline that the Stags beat their rivals, the Spiders, by, in a match where they’re simply better and harder all over the park.

North Sabrefell 5-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless United 3-3 South Laithland
North Laithland 4-2 Belgrave
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Cypher Town 1-1 AFC Treason
Leichhardt 0-0 Vermillion Rage
Goodfeather FC 0-2 Violence Chariots
Crisisbless 4-2 Coret Hawks
Southfell United 0-2 Starling
Brinemouth 1-1 Creed United
Raven River 2-1 Newrook City
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Bishop

Crisisbless United improved markedly against the Moths in Konrad Evans’ first game, and go into a match against South Laithland anticipating a rare win. Things are looking up early on; Na’Ryibi’s cleaning house in the centre, Lukas Antelmi - making his first start back from injury - gets an early goal by simply powering a shot past the normally reliable Meixner at his near post, and then Lennox and Novkovic ratchet up the scores, Richard Kester’s chip over a stranded Sparwasser a minor fly in the ointment in the middle of that. But then Sparwasser fumbles Alweather’s cross straight into Bentzen to make it 3-2 on the hour mark, and then United press hard, Na’Ryibi picks up a booking that reduces his impact and then the talented but inexperienced Bruun’s slack pass is cut out by the flying Carrick, then slotted in past a despairing Sparwasser. A lot of work for Evans to do. But save all the plaudits for North Sabrefell - they play with the kind of muscular, swaggering arrogance that is, honestly, fairly reminiscent of the Cormorants right now. And what a result! Erika Wolff leads the line with absolute confidence, even if she’s not the most polished finisher, and thumps home two strikes sandwiching a knocked-down assist for Kranevitter. Roxel belts one in from outside the box, through a sea of legs, before countrywoman Esther Abner finishes a 5-0 rout. Stinnett doesn’t directly chalk up a goal or assist, but is pivotal in the build-up, while the defence is rough as anything and Sparr makes six strong saves. Their opponents? Sabrefell Athletic.

Starling 4-1 Newport Sirens

With all respect to Newport Sirens, not really one of the first names a side thinks of when it comes to the legitimate powers of Port Christopher, you’d have to say a convincing 4-1 win for Starling makes it job done here.

Sabrefell Athletic 3-2 Crisisbless United
North Sabrefell 1-2 North Laithland
South Laithland 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Belgrave 1-0 Cypher Town
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Leichhardt
AFC Treason 5-0 Goodfeather FC
Vermillion Rage 3-3 Crisisbless
Violence Chariots 0-3 Southfell United
Coret Hawks 1-1 Brinemouth
Starling 2-0 Raven River
Creed United 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Newrook City 1-0 Bishop

South Laithland have pace, power, graft and ruthlessness, all qualities notably lacking from a Corvistone side for whom a 2-1 defeat is flattering. A sixth straight defeat for the Crows spells the end for Davalei Evatee, the likable Cenian managing to give the Crows their great leap forward but unable to make the most of the investment on offer. Former Nephara international Jess Carragher steps up from her assistant post to take interim charge. Goodfeather, meanwhile, come on the receiving end of a 5-0 thumping from a Treason side that’s really starting to click under Cheney Bittencourt, flowing moves down the wings with the iron of Misidjan and Tarashaj in the middle, and just as Roddy Fraser’s starting to lose a little dynamism (he’s rested for 21-year old talent Aristide Metzger, who scores a neat header), John Fletcher is really starting to get to grips with the Premiership standard. Vermillion and Crisisbless lock horns in a masterclass of ruthlessness. Six flawless shots on target, neither Clement nor Marciak able to get more than a sprawling fingertip to any of them, in a match that ends a deserved 3-3.

Belgrave 0-1 Creed United
Mantlegrove 0-2 Newrook City
North Sabrefell 1-2 Crossroads Town
Chatswood 2-0 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless United 1-3 Brinemouth
Bishop 3-0 Southfell United
Gonen's Bridge 1-3 AFC Treason
Coret Rovers 0-1 Leichhardt

Just three First Division teams left coming into the Fifth Round, just one particularly strong one. Coret Rovers face Leichhardt in an entertaining game (one containing the Stargazers! Fancy that!), the Premiership side clearly not giving too much of a fuck and playing a mostly second-string side. But the giant goalkeeper Kozak is imperious between the posts, evidently not having gotten the memo the day before his 35th birthday, and young midfielder Reiziger takes Hartley’s pass, turns Roman inside-out, surges forward and threads the winner home in the 71st minute. Gonen’s also try gamely, but Treason are just… better, winning 3-1, leaving Chatswood to keep the flag flying with a determined, gritty 2-0 win over the Hawks. Surprisingly, one of the two surviving third-tier sides makes it through as well. Newrook prove a step too far for Mantlegrove, but Crossroads Town turn the tables on North Sabrefell when their teenage midfielder Annika Netzach rifles home within two minutes. North Sabrefell are forced out of their shell, do manage to hit back with a composed penalty won and converted by Erika Wolff, but a neatly angled header from veteran striker Conrad Webber bundles the Bohemians out. As far as other Premiership teams are concerned, Belgrave lack the cutting edge and are bundled out by Creed, Crisisbless United are unsurprisingly steamrolled 3-1 by Brinemouth and Bishop stun a Southfell side genuinely giving their all 3-0 by just taking their chances in a way that Miranda Gail, on an awful day in front of goal, cannot.

Newport Sirens 1-0 Starling
Starling win 4-2 on aggregate.

Sisu Cassidy makes things interesting just seven minutes in with an exquisite dipping volley beyond a diving, despairing Smordal, hard enough to bounce right into the arms of the Vloo forward Na’Bengna following in, and he pumps his fist and raises the crowd… and that’s about as good as it gets for the Sirens. A strong result on the day, but the margin was too far.

North Laithland 1-3 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Corvistone 4-0 Crisisbless United
Cypher Town 2-0 North Sabrefell
Leichhardt 1-1 South Laithland
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Belgrave
Crisisbless 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Southfell United 1-2 AFC Treason
Brinemouth 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Raven River 0-2 Violence Chariots
Chenoworth Harriers 1-2 Coret Hawks
Bishop 3-1 Starling
Newrook City 2-0 Creed United

It’s probably a bit cruel and premature to say that, with Evatee gone, the limiter has been removed from AFC Corvistone. But when the Crows effortlessly hammer Crisisbless United 4-0 with a clinical, classy performance, it’s tempting. Krista Morham continues to be the driving heart of the team, while Seth Veloz - reinstated between the posts - comes out confidently to claim everything that comes his way, as the defender Ilyana Brosch has another impressive performance… and, well, the Chequers are just awful, really. Conan Estelline is as unspoken as ever, decrying his doubters after a disciplined performance sees Bishop overturn Starling 3-1. The Passerines actually score first, Andisori masterfully spinning past Rosenbauer before bashing a shot into the top corner, but Bishop hold the faith, hold the line, level through a beautifully arcing Mersiades free kick before hitting twice on the counter, through Jensen and Feisser. “Ingrid’s [Feisser] really come along this season because nobody but me has known how to get the best out of her at this level,” Estelline boasted. “You all thought she just didn’t have the muscle or the guts for it. All she needed this whole time... was trust.” Alright, Captain Planet, calm down.

Sabrefell Athletic 5-0 AFC Corvistone
North Laithland 0-1 Cypher Town
Crisisbless United 0-1 Leichhardt
North Sabrefell 1-0 Goodfeather FC
South Laithland 0-3 Crisisbless
Belgrave 0-0 Southfell United
Sabrefell Moths 4-1 Brinemouth
AFC Treason 1-0 Raven River
Vermillion Rage 4-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Violence Chariots 2-1 Bishop
Coret Hawks 0-5 Newrook City
Starling 1-1 Creed United

And Corvistone… crash immediately back down to earth, perhaps even through the earth into the core to die in fire. Sabrefell Athletic are better in every conceivable metric, the Crows’ heads drop after the first somewhat fluky goal (did Ens use a hand to control Webber’s cross? Probably) and they just get annihilated 5-0. The same scoreline as Newrook demolish Coret by, and there’s a certain haunted look in Jessica Loque’s eyes that suggests all she really wants to do is depart this midtable hell. Such a crap Corvistone having cracked their streak by destroying Crisisbless United, of course, bodes even worse for the Chequers, who celebrate by losing 1-0 at home to Leichhardt. Chenoworth Harriers have been settling into a pattern of solidity this season but that disintegrates as Alexis Spurlock’s Rage conjure up yet another clinical battering. Nike Rouphos is a good young leftback! Pretty promising! He’s crushed by Cheney Breremond, who disposes of him time and again with all the ruthlessness of a bully shoving a fat kid into a hedge. 4-0 is the final score. Meanwhile, Sur Arora will be hoping this match is the defining moment of his early tenure, the Moths having struggled for consistency… but today, they all click, perfectly, in a thrilling 4-1 win over a stuttering Brinemouth. Imriel Townsend particularly impresses, blazing constantly down the right. It hasn’t been a vintage season for the Sabrefell giants, self-styled with some justification as Nephara’s biggest club, but… it’s easy to see how a handful of transfers in the right positions could put them back as favourites. Romano and Vol are starting to really click up front, Shone is having a wonderful season (though still, from time to time, occasionally raw - it’s Shone that loses her mark, Chalk, in the lead-up to Brinemouth’s goal) and flying stopper Griffin is probably the best goalkeeper in the league, maybe even world. It’s just having an aging, creaking Weiss and Weaver ahead of him that sometimes leaves him exposed.

Cypher Town 2-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Leichhardt 0-3 AFC Corvistone
Goodfeather FC 0-2 North Laithland
Crisisbless 0-0 Crisisbless United
Southfell United 1-3 North Sabrefell
Brinemouth 2-2 South Laithland
Raven River 2-0 Belgrave
Chenoworth Harriers 1-3 Sabrefell Moths
Bishop 0-2 AFC Treason
Newrook City 0-0 Vermillion Rage
Creed United 2-0 Violence Chariots
Starling 1-4 Coret Hawks

It’s felt like this season there hasn’t been much focus at the top, largely because the top has been marked at times by awful inconsistency. With the Crisisbless derby coming up, Konrad Evans decides he needs to get the basics right, uncharacteristically plays more defensively against the Heelers - a slaughter would really turn the fans against him, after all - and a double pivot of Na’Ryibi (then Salz, on the hour) and Kitzbichler manages to just kick Crisisbless’ creative elements into submission, and the impressive Kitzbichler is even player of the match in just her sixth start all season. It winds up a scoreless draw. Corvistone continue to have the consistency of an overcooked asparagus spear, just sort of deciding last week never happened and steamrolling a bilious Leichhardt 3-0 away. Spare a thought for Hawks manager Jessica Loque. Overnight, she got to see all the papers run with a well-sourced story that her club was trying to sniff out Daniella Strauss, currently leading the Corvette Maulers to unexpected victory. Strauss decides to stay put. Loque clearly feels she needs to prove herself, drops many more experienced players who won’t provide leadership or valour - Draxler, Achaion, Valkanis and Ulster all axed - what results is a gutsy, brave performance away against Starling, marked by high pressing and lethal finishing from 29-year old markswoman Dani Harper, who many people had written off as a pace merchant with flagging pace, leading into a 4-1 stunner.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 Leichhardt
Cypher Town 2-1 Goodfeather FC
AFC Corvistone 0-2 Crisisbless
North Laithland 2-3 Southfell United
Crisisbless United 3-4 Brinemouth
North Sabrefell 1-2 Raven River
South Laithland 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Belgrave 1-2 Bishop
Sabrefell Moths 2-2 Newrook City
AFC Treason 4-2 Creed United
Vermillion Rage 0-1 Starling
Violence Chariots 1-1 Coret Hawks

Treason chalk up a fifth win on the trot as it starts to feel like they’re really finding their feet under Cheney Bittencourt. Sure, Creed score first through former Stags man Mordecai Brandtner, and it’s 2-2 at half-time, but it always feels as though Treason would find their way in the end. Just like the best Nepharim sides, especially Treason sides, always do. But there’s the sniff of something different about Crisisbless too, this season, as they effortlessly break the Crows and it feels like a mercy to let them get away with just a 2-0 defeat, Airik Ruhl and Marisha Staunton coming up with the goods, Maeve Bronte reinforcing her shout as player of the season with yet another complete performance in the centre of the park. River, meanwhile, have improved on their calamitous early form. This is thanks in no small part to the trust Anders has placed in the aggressive, fearless Farf rightback Chuy Villaverde, who marks his 21st birthday with the winning assist in a 2-1 win over North Sabrefell. Breisgau finding his finishing boots has helped immensely, as well - after a slow start, the former Crisisbless and Callodown striker is starting to lead the line like a genuine warhorse.

Goodfeather FC 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless 1-0 Leichhardt
Southfell United 0-0 Cypher Town
Brinemouth 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Raven River 1-1 North Laithland
Chenoworth Harriers 2-2 Crisisbless United
Bishop 0-0 North Sabrefell
Newrook City 1-0 South Laithland
Creed United 4-1 Belgrave
Starling 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Coret Hawks 1-1 AFC Treason
Violence Chariots 0-1 Vermillion Rage

What is with Corvistone this season? For that matter, what’s with Brinemouth? By all rights the Dockers should mop the floor with the Crows, with an expectant home crowd baying for blood. For whatever reason, it doesn’t happen. Instead, the Dockers stutter, with all control of the ball in midfield until suddenly a slack pass from, of all people, Mr. Reliable himself, Stig Soederquist, is snatched up by Morham, played through for Pangallo who, after a clever one-two with Afolayan lashes the ball past Morales for the opener, off both posts and in. Former Brinemouth winger Jess Silkman doubled the Crows’ lead on the stroke of half-time with a neat far-post finish and despite a Helland red card and a Scotti goal Brinemouth aren’t able to pull back. Belgrave have been in poor form of late, but can at least welcome back captain Quin Markranstadt, their starting leftback, injured for a while now. Perhaps he was rushed back before he was ready - Joel Conway rips him to pieces over the first 57 minutes, and already has a goal and an assist to his name before Markranstadt twists wrong and is forced to limp off again. It’s another setback, as Cassandra Posipal - promising! Not ready yet for regular starts - is pushed back into the firing line as Creed romp to a 4-1 win. Starling host the Moths for a highly-anticipated clash that turns into a keeper duel - indeed, it’s perhaps the moment where Sean Smordal really stakes a name for himself as Starling’s number 1, charging out time and again as Meier, Shone and Townsend try and exploit the space behind Starling’s high line, but Smordal’s always there first. Starling do get the first goal, and it’s a beauty - Padilla trusting Andisori with her back to goal, the Chromatik swivelling past a flat-footed Weaver, hurdling the big Nepharim’s desperate swipe, sashaying past a wrong-footed Gayle (it’s a bad time for Weiss to be suspended) and just carefully placing the ball into the bottom corner. But finally, the Moths’... well, the same tactic, really. It does pay dividends in the end, as Meier drops the ball over the top, the pace of Sigrid Eisenhauer comes rushing in and just nudges the ball beyond Smordal before being utterly cleaned out. She stumbles, almost goes to ground but with Visser running in to clear she just manages to right herself with her hands before sidefooting the ball into the empty net. It saves Smordal a red card, sure - but in the circumstances, the Moths were happy for an equaliser, and local lass Eisenhauer became the toast of the town.

Nacional 1-0 Brinemouth
Baskita FC 0-3 Crisisbless

Brinemouth come out swinging in Valladares, but are matched by a tenacious, crafty Nacional whose youth and energy see them constantly swarming the Dockers’ more seasoned veterans, especially on a day where the Brinemouth midfield is marshalled by 37-year old captain Jonathan Bosetti. Mario Ovalle scores the only goal of the game, a fairly straightforward one, Revault setting him up in space and he just tees it up for himself and slides it home across Morales. Crisisbless do markedly better. They play with the passion and swaggering confidence of a home team when visiting Baskita, none moreso than Airik Ruhl who gets a brace and a caution. As Baskita surge upfield to try and at least get one back, Kosa Bajnok manages a clearance of titanic proportions to get the ball all the way to Brigitte Coppinger on the counterattack, who slaloms past her wrong-footed man, rushes beyond the goalkeeper and taps home the third unanswered away goal that likely kills the tie.

Starling 0-2 Real Azuris

Oh dear. Bryger Tidesson, subject to an eyewatering 65-million bid from Brinemouth (with all suggestions being that it’ll be repeated between seasons) and he shows exactly why. It didn’t seem as though Akarenaa’s threaded pass was to anyone… until suddenly Tidesson threw himself forward, slid and skidded forward and slammed the ball past Smordal. Starling try and get back into the game, but they lack the finishing touch. Jeremy Benedict has no such concerns, breaking past the Starling line late on and slotting calmly past Smordal.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-2 Crisisbless
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Southfell United
Leichhardt 0-2 Brinemouth
Cypher Town 1-2 Raven River
AFC Corvistone 4-2 Chenoworth Harriers
North Laithland 2-1 Bishop
Crisisbless United 4-1 Newrook City
North Sabrefell 2-1 Creed United
South Laithland 0-1 Starling
Belgrave 3-1 Coret Hawks
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Violence Chariots
AFC Treason 1-1 Vermillion Rage

It’s a good day to be from Crisisbless. Well, okay, with one of the sides that actually has the city name in the club name; Goodfeather and Bishop both lose. But Crisisbless, faced with a tough visit against Sabrefell Athletic, know the task they face. “What I admire about the red bastards,” Aidan Brosque says genially pre-game, “is when they get a chance, Ens and Hawke and Bereveskos, they snap it right up. I can respect that.” So their job, evidently, is to make sure there is no chance that falls to either of them - and there almost, almost isn’t. But in the 68th minute, Crisisbless up 1-0 through Staunton’s dinked strike, Ojala cuts a cross across the face of goal and Estrella Hawke crooks a leg to get to it and… scuffs it over the bar, from five yards! A sliding doors moment; Bronte sets up the substitute Barbarouses to ratchet home the clincher. Across town, Konrad Evans tries out his double pivot again, and Olga Kitzbichler - she of perhaps the most ‘Nepharim stereotyped thuggish villain in dated foreign crime thriller’ name in the league - impresses yet again alongside Na’Ryibi. Was Hippolyta Theophile’s hamstring injury a blessing in disguise? Probably. In the interim, Kitzbichler lamps in an early goal for United, and while that man, Alan Bothroyd, stabs home a leveller on the stroke of half-time for Newrook, it’s the Chequers who come out far stronger. Lennox, Schoenauer and Rivers finish the job in the second half for a resounding 4-1 win. Belgrave are the other big winners of the day, cruising to a 3-1 win over Coret. Amazing what happens when you defend well and take your chances.

Brinemouth 2-3 Nacional
Nacional win 4-2 on aggregate.

Crisisbless 1-0 Baskita FC
Crisisbless win 4-0 on aggregate.

Nacional finish the job. Brinemouth don’t help themselves - it’s been a difficult year for Marcin Close, and there’s really no reason for him to clatter Velez for a penalty the captain steps up to convert himself - but they do pull two goals back. Still, by that point, they need another - and get hit twice more on the break trying to get it. Nacional go through, deservedly, leaving Crisisbless alone to bear the Nepharim flag following a professional 1-0 win over Baskita, Bronte yet again positively janitorial in the centre of the park, Tia Drenas with a clinical finish.

Real Azuris 1-1 Starling
Real Azuris win 3-1 on aggregate.

A brilliant start from Starling! Keira Andisori plays provider, pushed and jockeyed away from a threatening position before spinning abruptly in place, turning past Vanzanto and centring for Woodwind to strike home. Two minutes in! But that’s as good as it gets; Tidesson equalises, Padilla has a shot cleared off the line by captain Chisenhall and Real Azuris, in the end, go through to the final.

Southfell United 1-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Brinemouth 2-0 Crisisbless
Raven River 0-2 Goodfeather FC
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Leichhardt
Bishop 1-1 Cypher Town
Newrook City 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Creed United 2-2 North Laithland
Starling 3-0 Crisisbless United
Coret Hawks 1-3 North Sabrefell
Violence Chariots 1-0 South Laithland
Vermillion Rage 4-1 Belgrave
AFC Treason 1-0 Sabrefell Moths

The floundering, inconsistent Dockers host the Heelers, who are currently top of the table. “We need a result here,” says Lujendra Mescalin, a manager whose Brinemouth career certainly does. It’s a match defined by key moments. should Brymora have been sent off for an appalling challenge on Staunton? He wasn’t, six minutes into the game - Staunton was stretchered off, likely out for the rest of the season and, for that matter, the World Cup. Should Marciak have claimed the corner that Conjure swung in? He didn’t; Brymora headed home. And could anyone but Alyss Montague have found the top corner from as acute a free kick? Well, it was irrelevant; it curled in, sealing a 2-0 win for the Dockers. It’s not enough to knock them off the top, or indeed put the Dockers anywhere near them, but a resilient performance from Treason and a well-taken goal from Tarashaj sees them beat the Moths to take second, two points behind. Starling batter Crisisbless United 3-0, leaving them third (and three behind), the Moths a point and a place further behind and Athletic, who surprisingly lose to Southfell, a point and a place behind them in turn. Brinemouth and Newrook (stunned by Corvistone at home) round out the Globe Cup places, whereas victories for the Harriers, Rage and Chariots ensure they’re within striking distance of the top seven, though their hopes are beginning to fade.

At the bottom, things are really narrowing down to just the bottom six. And that might be generous - Bishop, after a 1-1 draw against Cypher, have kept up the point-per-match pace and look well-drilled and disciplined under Conan Estelline, nine points above danger. Goodfeather, thanks to a resilient defensive showing and opportunistic strikes from Leitner and Sharpe, take home a 2-0 win over River to pull five points clear, as the bottom four - three separated only on goal difference on 25 points, Belgrave on 23 - all lose convincingly. South Laithland, kept easily at bay by the Chariots, and Belgrave, carved open at will by Vermillion, simply don’t have the quality, while Leichhardt have simply run out of momentum. Crisisbless United, though, have been a massive disappointment thus far, and are showing only sporadic improvements under Konrad Evans.

Stonegrave 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
West Brinemouth 1-3 Coret Rovers
Greygate 2-0 Sheridan
Cranequin City 1-0 Stahlburg City
Morningstar 1-0 Hackett
Parrhesia United 1-4 Armstrong
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Chatswood
Diamondqueen 5-1 Extreme Hills
Gonen's Bridge 0-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Iron City 2-0 Brookford Otters
Locksley 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Stahlburg Rovers 0-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 West Brinemouth
Stonegrave 1-3 Greygate
Coret Rovers 2-1 Cranequin City
Sheridan 0-0 Morningstar
Stahlburg City 1-1 Parrhesia United
Hackett 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Armstrong 1-1 Diamondqueen
Chatswood 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Extreme Hills 0-1 Iron City
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 Locksley
Brookford Otters 0-0 Stahlburg Rovers
AFC Serpentine 2-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Greygate 0-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Cranequin City 1-0 West Brinemouth
Morningstar 2-0 Stonegrave
Parrhesia United 1-1 Coret Rovers
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Sheridan
Diamondqueen 1-0 Stahlburg City
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Hackett
Iron City 1-0 Armstrong
Locksley 1-1 Chatswood
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Extreme Hills
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Serpentine 2-3 Brookford Otters
Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Cranequin City
Greygate 1-0 Morningstar
West Brinemouth 0-1 Parrhesia United
Stonegrave 2-3 Corvette Maulers
Coret Rovers 0-2 Diamondqueen
Sheridan 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
Stahlburg City 1-1 Iron City
Hackett 1-0 Locksley
Armstrong 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Chatswood 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Extreme Hills 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Brookford Otters
Morningstar 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Parrhesia United 2-1 Cranequin City
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Greygate
Diamondqueen 3-1 West Brinemouth
Gonen's Bridge 3-0 Stonegrave
Iron City 0-2 Coret Rovers
Locksley 0-0 Sheridan
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 Stahlburg City
Cranequin Wanderers 2-2 Hackett
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Armstrong
Brookford Otters 3-3 Chatswood
Chenoworth Rovers 2-3 Extreme Hills
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Parrhesia United
Morningstar 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Cranequin City 2-4 Diamondqueen
Greygate 1-2 Gonen's Bridge
West Brinemouth 2-0 Iron City
Stonegrave 1-1 Locksley
Coret Rovers 1-3 Stahlburg Rovers
Sheridan 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Stahlburg City 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Hackett 1-1 Brookford Otters
Armstrong 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Chatswood 0-0 Extreme Hills
Corvette Maulers 3-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Diamondqueen 1-0 Parrhesia United
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Morningstar
Iron City 0-1 Cranequin City
Locksley 1-1 Greygate
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 West Brinemouth
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Stonegrave
AFC Serpentine 0-3 Coret Rovers
Brookford Otters 0-0 Sheridan
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Stahlburg City
Extreme Hills 4-1 Hackett
Chatswood 1-1 Armstrong
Vermillion Wanderers 0-2 Diamondqueen
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Parrhesia United 2-2 Iron City
Morningstar 4-0 Locksley
Cranequin City 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Greygate 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
West Brinemouth 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Stonegrave 2-2 Brookford Otters
Coret Rovers 1-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Sheridan 1-2 Extreme Hills
Stahlburg City 1-2 Chatswood
Hackett 0-1 Armstrong
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Iron City 0-3 Diamondqueen
Locksley 1-3 Corvette Maulers
Stahlburg Rovers 3-1 Parrhesia United
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Morningstar
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Cranequin City
Brookford Otters 3-0 Greygate
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 West Brinemouth
Extreme Hills 2-0 Stonegrave
Chatswood 0-1 Coret Rovers
Armstrong 2-0 Sheridan
Hackett 2-3 Stahlburg City
Vermillion Wanderers 0-0 Iron City
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Locksley
Diamondqueen 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Parrhesia United 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Morningstar 2-0 Brookford Otters
Cranequin City 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Greygate 0-2 Extreme Hills
West Brinemouth 0-2 Chatswood
Stonegrave 2-1 Armstrong
Coret Rovers 2-0 Hackett
Sheridan 0-0 Stahlburg City
Locksley 0-5 Vermillion Wanderers
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Iron City
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
AFC Serpentine 3-1 Diamondqueen
Brookford Otters 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Parrhesia United
Extreme Hills 2-0 Morningstar
Chatswood 0-0 Cranequin City
Armstrong 1-1 Greygate
Hackett 0-2 West Brinemouth
Stahlburg City 3-0 Stonegrave
Sheridan 0-1 Coret Rovers

Matchday 24: Things are getting untenable in Parrhesia. Benjamin Nyao faces calls from the stands to quit or, ideally, leave the country forever after the Saints, faced with a visiting Armstrong team in the relegation zone, are... humiliated. "They just didn't look like they gave a single fuck, to be honest with you," said Jasmine Furrier, player of the match in a 4-1 thrashing. Stahlburg City stumble at the top, a string of impressive saves from Cranequin City goalkeeper Stefan Ledo denying them before Kirsten Gemmill flicks home a tidy finish against the run of play at the other end.

Matchday 25: Nyao's still at the club as the Saints visit Stahlburg, and in a vastly improved performance do enough for a point - one of seven draws. The pace looks to be picking up at the bottom of the table; Armstrong pick up a decent if slightly fortunate point against Diamondqueen (Busch was offside for the leveller, but it stood) to extend their undefeated streak, Coret Rovers pick up their second straight win over ten-man Cranequin City and an assured performance from Wynona Short and a first goal in years for veteran rightback Elisa Defaye snares a draw for Gonen's Bridge away at Chatswood.

Matchday 26: On an otherwise cagey matchday, Serpentine vs. Brookford is easily the one to watch. Dragons winger Stijnen opens the scoring with a cross (well, he denies it, but...) that sneaks over Giannou, but the Otters hit back, Cecchini, Mithradates and Shrewsbury seemingly giving them a strong lead on the hour mark. But then Mithradates misses from six yards, before Chilton has a penalty saved by Marietta Briggs... and then, on the break, the ball is moved quickly to Langbauer who rushes through an exposed Brookford defence and chips Giannou to pull one back. Serpentine press hard, Giannou makes an outstanding double save from Zalan and Nanemoru hits a post... but the Otters hold on, the only team to score three goals this round. Corvette surprisingly drop points at home against Sheridan, but for all their resilience, Sherries are in a position where they really need to be taking three points at a time, not just one.

Matchday 27: Nine teams secure clean sheets on a fairly dreary matchday. A mature, confident showing from Cranequin Wanderers shows how Jens Reiniger has really learned from his prior season as a manager, and his side looks far more composed, organised and disciplined than the chaos of last season. They pass their way around Chatswood, a screamer from Vahid Kudelka cracking the Woodsmen's armour before a tap-in for veteran Renzo Padrione seals the deal. Chatswood are enduring another season of struggle, but who to blame? Leigh Fletcher talks sourly about net spend post-match, and she might have a point. "We're doing our best, and our best is maybe not up to the standards that this club is accustomed to. But what more can I do?"

Matchday 28: A big day at the bottom of the table as a number of sides secure impressive wins; Coret Rovers continue their good form and comfortably beat Iron City 2-0, Bridge stomp Stonegrave 3-0 and the Hounds, surprisingly, stun the overly-physical Rovers 3-2 with a last-minute winner from Maribel Garrido, just returned from injury. Sheridan probably should get one too, but have a stonewall penalty not given in a scoreless draw with Locksley - in the aftermath of the non-call, Perspective Merson doesn't live up to her namesake and complains about a biig-club conspiracy. Honey. It's fucking Locksley. The Stahlburg derby is all brawn and no brain, two goals from corners levelling the scores.

Matchday 29: Another good win for Gonen's Bridge, Steward picking out Sol for a last-minute winner against Greygate, but their excellent goalkeeper Fyona Matthews wins few friends post-match admitting it was "really exhausting trying to cover for all our lost possession. Honestly, every game they get like, twelve shots on target. It's a rough workout, and some days you just hope Premiership teams are watching." Probably fewer of them now. Another humiliation for Parrhesia, not so much in the scoreline - 1-1 away against Vermillion Wanderers - but in their local semi-rivals chanting their desires to have Benjamin Nyao stay. The Chromatik manager winces. This really has been a baptism of fire for him.

Matchday 30: Malta Falconer's Hounds savage an unsuspecting Hackett 4-1, Desdemona Schuster managing to roll back the years to truly dominate in her favoured attacking midfield role, as the cunning forward Coretta Rooke has been in electrifying form since Falconer showed up with almost a goal a game. The midfield diamond really suits Hills, mostly since their wingers are terrible. Coret Rovers smash Serpentine 3-0 through a Sylvia Janik hat-trick - should they go down, the classy Gloriax forward is likely to field plenty of offers at this level. Chatswood are now winless in eight, having had six draws in that time, and as a result have seen their promotion hopes skid down the drain. They should probably have beaten Armstrong, but were uncharacteristically profligate while Rho Efthimiou, equally uncharacteristically, wasn't.

Matchday 31: Sheridan's looking increasingly despondent these days, increasingly ramshackle, increasingly outdated. Increasingly Second Division. They do try and play more assertively against the Hounds, brutalising them at every chance of course but also testing Tournay sharply between the posts. But ultimately, the pace of the Hounds pays off - two slick counterattacking moves are both finished by Coretta Rooke, and while Mullen gets a late consolation, it's only that. Morningstar utterly gub Locksley 4-0 in a match that not only establishes that Locksley are quite bad but also exhibits just how slick a unit Stars are now under Helena Fleischer's iron discipline. They're hard at the back, they're hard-working all around the pitch, they're clinical up front and have, in Christos Tsiavis, a player finally living up to his potential.

Matchday 32: Chatswood managed to snap their winless streak against the Smiths last time around, so perhaps that explains their complacency this time, resting on their single laurel before Rodger Covington snatches on a defensive mix-up in the box to gift Coret Rovers a valuable away winner. Bess Gannon's team have surged out of trouble in recent weeks, their foreign strikers worth their weight in gold. Hopeful signs in Armstrong after an appallingly gritty affair against Sheridan is settled; Yeoman saves a penalty on the stroke of half-time, Milan Fenwick lamps home his first of the season on the hour mark before 36-year old centre-half Sauro Costabile heads home a corner in injury time amidst complaints he'd elbowed one Sheridan player with each elbow.

Matchday 33: Everyone knows how Corvette will play - they will push and shunt and fight to try and get that win, using their pace and creativity to force a breakthrough. Stopping it is a task of its own. Stopping it while retaining the solid, possession-based philosophy you've built... that's remarkable. Jens Reiniger trusts in his players to survive the Maulers' harrying, admittedly relying on Selkie to make a couple of sharp one-on-one saves before Helena Loxton's driving run is rewarded by a powerful finish into the corner. Corvette are shaken at the top - the Wanderers are starting to be in with a faint shout of promotion. Stonegrave finally win again, beating Armstrong, while Hills and Bridge also take unlikely wins at the bottom.

Matchday 34: It's not the most convincing win, but Fiona Norval's strike seals a 1-0 win for Corvette against Brookford that extends their lead at the top of the table to four points, as Chenoworth are cancelled out by Parrhesia, Morningstar are stunned 2-0 by Extreme Hills and Diamondqueen are well beaten by Serpentine. Both major Stahlburg sides and Cranequin Wanderers, meanwhile, all win... but their promotion hopes are still slim. Of those sleepwalking into danger, Cranequin City haven't scored in three games while Locksley, after a 5-0 hammering at home to Vermillion Wanderers, have lost their last four games 14-1 on aggregate. West Brinemouth and the Hounds clamber closer to safety with brave 2-0 wins. Bridge, Stonegrave and Sheridan all lose, with Armstrong arguably fortunate to take a point at home against Greygate - still, they look the likeliest of the bottom four to escape, even if Dranz's honeymoon has run off somewhat. But they're still five points from safety, Stonegrave six and Sheridan a surely-insurmountable thirteen.

Ballardine FC 2-0 Iron United
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Southriver
Falston United 1-3 The Strongest
Ox River United 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 Mantlegrove
Ritter Town 3-2 Sutcroft
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Peregrine
Crossroads Town 2-0 The Hanged Man
Brindleton 0-1 AFC Shale
Strephonage 4-4 Lazuli Diamonds
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Riverkey
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Rochford
Iron United 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Ballardine FC 1-1 Falston United
Southriver 1-1 Ox River United
The Strongest 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Ritter Town
Mantlegrove 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Sutcroft 0-3 Crossroads Town
Peregrine 4-2 Brindleton
The Hanged Man 0-0 Strephonage
AFC Shale 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Riverkey 0-0 Rochford
Falston United 2-0 Iron United
Ox River United 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Ballardine FC
Ritter Town 2-1 Southriver
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 The Strongest
Crossroads Town 5-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Brindleton 2-2 Mantlegrove
Strephonage 2-1 Sutcroft
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Peregrine
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 The Hanged Man
Rochford 1-1 AFC Shale
Riverkey 0-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Iron United 0-2 Ox River United
Falston United 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Corinthians No Longer 3-1 Ritter Town
Ballardine FC 0-6 Crisisbless Athletic
Southriver 0-1 Crossroads Town
The Strongest 2-3 Brindleton
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Strephonage
Mantlegrove 1-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Sutcroft 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
Peregrine 2-0 Rochford
The Hanged Man 1-1 Riverkey
AFC Shale 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
East Laithland Harriers 4-2 Iron United
Ritter Town 1-0 Ox River United
Crisisbless Athletic 4-1 Falston United
Crossroads Town 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Brindleton 2-1 Ballardine FC
Strephonage 0-1 Southriver
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 The Strongest
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Rochford 1-1 Mantlegrove
Riverkey 1-0 Sutcroft
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Peregrine
AFC Shale 1-1 The Hanged Man
Iron United 0-2 Ritter Town
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Ox River United 1-3 Crossroads Town
Falston United 1-1 Brindleton
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Strephonage
Ballardine FC 1-5 Chardonnay Rangers
Southriver 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
The Strongest 4-2 Rochford
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 Riverkey
Mantlegrove 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Sutcroft 1-1 AFC Shale
Peregrine 1-1 The Hanged Man
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Iron United
Crossroads Town 3-3 Ritter Town
Brindleton 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Strephonage 0-2 Ox River United
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Falston United
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Rochford 3-0 Ballardine FC
Riverkey 1-1 Southriver
Lazuli Diamonds 6-1 The Strongest
AFC Shale 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
The Hanged Man 2-0 Mantlegrove
Peregrine 2-1 Sutcroft
Iron United 1-2 Crossroads Town
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Brindleton
Ritter Town 0-1 Strephonage
East Laithland Harriers 3-4 Chardonnay Rangers
Ox River United 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Falston United 2-1 Rochford
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Riverkey
Ballardine FC 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Southriver 1-4 AFC Shale
The Strongest 1-1 The Hanged Man
Dartmouth Terriers 0-2 Peregrine
Mantlegrove 2-0 Sutcroft
Brindleton 2-0 Iron United
Strephonage 0-0 Crossroads Town
Chardonnay Rangers 2-4 Crisisbless Athletic
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Ritter Town
Rochford 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Riverkey 0-2 Ox River United
Lazuli Diamonds 2-0 Falston United
AFC Shale 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
The Hanged Man 2-0 Ballardine FC
Peregrine 6-4 Southriver
Sutcroft 1-1 The Strongest
Mantlegrove 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Iron United 1-0 Strephonage
Brindleton 0-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Crossroads Town 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Rochford
Ritter Town 2-1 Riverkey
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Ox River United 0-0 AFC Shale
Falston United 1-1 The Hanged Man
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Peregrine
Ballardine FC 2-1 Sutcroft
Southriver 0-1 Mantlegrove
The Strongest 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 Iron United
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Strephonage
Rochford 1-1 Brindleton
Riverkey 1-0 Crossroads Town
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Shale 0-2 Ritter Town
The Hanged Man 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Peregrine 1-2 Ox River United
Sutcroft 1-1 Falston United
Mantlegrove 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Dartmouth Terriers 1-4 Ballardine FC
The Strongest 2-1 Southriver
Brunyard FC 1-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Downsparrow 3-2 Pravenna Saints
Gridlock 1-1 Long Lake
Ingram Township 2-1 Mapleford
Martella Jazz 3-1 Gosmouth Swans
Barossia United 1-2 Rushe United
Alliance Barossia 1-1 West Hook
Kommissar 2-2 Kensey Town
Aries Solitaire 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Sirencall FC 4-1 Hartford Glade
Brokenarch 2-2 South Parrhesia
Falston Town 0-1 Boleyn Town
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Downsparrow
Brunyard FC 0-0 Gridlock
Pravenna Saints 1-1 Ingram Township
Long Lake 2-3 Martella Jazz
Mapleford 2-3 Barossia United
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Rushe United 2-4 Kommissar
West Hook 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Kensey Town 3-2 Sirencall FC
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Brokenarch
Hartford Glade 0-3 Falston Town
South Parrhesia 2-0 Boleyn Town
Gridlock 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Ingram Township 4-1 Downsparrow
Martella Jazz 2-1 Brunyard FC
Barossia United 2-0 Pravenna Saints
Alliance Barossia 3-0 Long Lake
Kommissar 3-1 Mapleford
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Sirencall FC 2-3 Rushe United
Brokenarch 2-1 West Hook
Falston Town 0-4 Kensey Town
Boleyn Town 0-2 Boltcroft Thorns
South Parrhesia 1-3 Hartford Glade
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Ingram Township
Gridlock 0-2 Martella Jazz
Downsparrow 2-2 Barossia United
Brunyard FC 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Pravenna Saints 1-1 Kommissar
Long Lake 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Mapleford 2-0 Sirencall FC
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Brokenarch
Rushe United 3-0 Falston Town
West Hook 0-1 Boleyn Town
Kensey Town 2-2 South Parrhesia
Boltcroft Thorns 3-0 Hartford Glade
Martella Jazz 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Barossia United 1-1 Ingram Township
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Gridlock
Kommissar 3-1 Downsparrow
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Brunyard FC
Sirencall FC 1-0 Pravenna Saints
Brokenarch 1-1 Long Lake
Falston Town 0-1 Mapleford
Boleyn Town 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
South Parrhesia 1-3 Rushe United
Hartford Glade 1-2 West Hook
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Kensey Town
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Barossia United
Martella Jazz 2-1 Alliance Barossia
Ingram Township 1-1 Kommissar
Gridlock 0-1 Aries Solitaire
Downsparrow 1-4 Sirencall FC
Brunyard FC 3-4 Brokenarch
Pravenna Saints 2-4 Falston Town
Long Lake 1-0 Boleyn Town
Mapleford 1-1 South Parrhesia
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Hartford Glade
Rushe United 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
West Hook 3-1 Kensey Town
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Kommissar 0-2 Barossia United
Aries Solitaire 4-1 Martella Jazz
Sirencall FC 1-1 Ingram Township
Brokenarch 1-0 Gridlock
Falston Town 3-1 Downsparrow
Boleyn Town 1-1 Brunyard FC
South Parrhesia 1-0 Pravenna Saints
Hartford Glade 1-0 Long Lake
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Mapleford
Kensey Town 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
West Hook 4-2 Rushe United
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Sirencall FC 3-1 Kommissar
Brokenarch 0-5 Alliance Barossia
Falston Town 0-2 Barossia United
Boleyn Town 0-1 Martella Jazz
South Parrhesia 2-2 Ingram Township
Hartford Glade 0-0 Gridlock
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Downsparrow
Kensey Town 3-5 Brunyard FC
West Hook 2-0 Pravenna Saints
Rushe United 1-3 Long Lake
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Mapleford
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Sirencall FC
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Brokenarch
Kommissar 1-1 Falston Town
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Boleyn Town
Barossia United 3-0 South Parrhesia
Martella Jazz 5-1 Hartford Glade
Ingram Township 0-4 Boltcroft Thorns
Gridlock 1-1 Kensey Town
Downsparrow 3-2 West Hook
Brunyard FC 2-0 Rushe United
Pravenna Saints 0-3 Gosmouth Swans
Long Lake 0-0 Mapleford
Brokenarch 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Falston Town 4-2 Sirencall FC
Boleyn Town 0-1 Aries Solitaire
South Parrhesia 1-1 Kommissar
Hartford Glade 0-0 Alliance Barossia
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Barossia United
Kensey Town 2-0 Martella Jazz
West Hook 2-1 Ingram Township
Rushe United 1-2 Gridlock
Gosmouth Swans 0-4 Downsparrow
Mapleford 1-1 Brunyard FC
Long Lake 1-0 Pravenna Saints

Pos Team                      P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Crisisbless 34 20 8 6 57 27 +30 68
2 AFC Treason 34 20 6 8 51 28 +23 66
3 Starling 34 19 8 7 54 32 +22 65
4 Sabrefell Moths 34 19 7 8 61 42 +19 64

5 Sabrefell Athletic 34 19 6 9 62 47 +15 63
6 Brinemouth 34 17 10 7 75 50 +25 61
7 Newrook City 34 19 4 11 53 39 +14 61

8 Chenoworth Harriers 34 16 8 10 48 41 +7 56
9 Vermillion Rage 34 15 9 10 54 36 +18 54
10 Violence Chariots 34 15 7 12 59 52 +7 52
11 Southfell United 34 14 9 11 60 44 +16 51
12 North Laithland 34 14 8 12 58 54 +4 50
13 Coret Hawks 34 12 10 12 41 46 -5 46
14 Cypher Town 34 12 10 12 34 39 -5 46
15 Creed United 34 13 6 15 46 47 -1 45
16 North Sabrefell 34 13 4 17 48 56 -8 43
17 AFC Corvistone 34 13 3 18 54 63 -9 42
18 Raven River 34 11 7 16 46 67 -21 40
19 Bishop 34 8 10 16 36 47 -11 34
20 Goodfeather FC 34 7 9 18 38 55 -17 30
21 South Laithland 34 6 7 21 35 63 -28 25
22 Crisisbless United 34 6 7 21 43 74 -31 25
23 Leichhardt 34 6 7 21 17 48 -31 25
24 Belgrave 34 5 8 21 40 73 -33 23

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Corvette Maulers 34 22 6 6 63 33 +30 72
2 Chenoworth Rovers 34 21 5 8 57 28 +29 68
3 Morningstar 34 20 6 8 52 24 +28 66

4 Diamondqueen 34 20 5 9 59 33 +26 65
5 Stahlburg City 34 17 8 9 44 24 +20 59
6 Cranequin Wanderers 34 16 9 9 43 31 +12 57
7 Stahlburg Rovers 34 16 9 9 47 41 +6 57
8 Brookford Otters 34 13 11 10 51 38 +13 50
9 Chatswood 34 12 14 8 34 31 +3 50
10 AFC Serpentine 34 13 9 12 42 44 -2 48
11 Parrhesia United 34 11 13 10 55 49 +6 46
12 Vermillion Wanderers 34 12 9 13 42 43 -1 45
13 Hackett 34 12 9 13 33 38 -5 45
14 Coret Rovers 34 12 7 15 51 59 -8 43
15 Iron City 34 11 9 14 28 38 -10 42
16 Greygate 34 12 6 16 36 47 -11 42
17 West Brinemouth 34 10 7 17 30 39 -9 37
18 Locksley 34 9 10 15 33 53 -20 37
19 Extreme Hills 34 9 9 16 46 58 -12 36
20 Cranequin City 34 10 6 18 28 43 -15 36
21 Gonen's Bridge 34 8 11 15 32 44 -12 35
22 Armstrong 34 8 7 19 34 51 -17 31
23 Stonegrave 34 7 9 18 26 52 -26 30
24 Sheridan 34 3 14 17 15 40 -25 23

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ritter Town 34 20 7 7 61 26 +35 67
2 Mantlegrove 34 20 6 8 55 36 +19 66
3 The Strongest 34 16 10 8 60 45 +15 58
4 Peregrine 34 16 8 10 57 44 +13 56

5 Crisisbless Athletic 34 14 13 7 53 36 +17 55
6 Pillars of Southfell 34 14 13 7 34 22 +12 55
7 Chardonnay Rangers 34 16 5 13 57 41 +16 53
8 Rochford 34 14 10 10 40 29 +11 52
9 Crossroads Town 34 15 6 13 63 52 +11 51
10 Ballardine FC 34 14 8 12 39 44 -5 50
11 The Hanged Man 34 11 15 8 30 27 +3 48
12 Lazuli Diamonds 34 12 11 11 52 43 +9 47
13 Ox River United 34 13 8 13 34 41 -7 47
14 East Laithland Harriers 34 12 9 13 41 46 -5 45
15 AFC Shale 34 9 16 9 30 31 -1 43
16 Corinthians No Longer 34 9 15 10 42 44 -2 42
17 Riverkey 34 9 14 11 27 33 -6 41
18 Southriver 34 12 5 17 43 56 -13 41
19 Dartmouth Terriers 34 8 13 13 33 44 -11 37
20 Iron United 34 10 7 17 34 48 -14 37
21 Brindleton 34 7 13 14 35 52 -17 34
22 Falston United 34 9 7 18 36 59 -23 34
23 Strephonage 34 8 8 18 25 46 -21 32
24 Sutcroft 34 2 9 23 24 60 -36 15

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Alliance Barossia 34 24 5 5 54 15 +39 77
2 Kommissar 34 18 11 5 59 37 +22 65
3 Barossia United 34 18 9 7 57 31 +26 63
4 West Hook 34 18 8 8 49 32 +17 62

5 Boltcroft Thorns 34 17 7 10 55 32 +23 58
6 Martella Jazz 34 16 7 11 51 50 +1 55
7 Brunyard FC 34 15 9 10 50 45 +5 54
8 Aries Solitaire 34 13 12 9 57 41 +16 51
9 Downsparrow 34 14 9 11 57 53 +4 51
10 Kensey Town 34 12 12 10 58 48 +10 48
11 Falston Town 34 13 7 14 52 49 +3 46
12 Sutcroft Athletic 34 14 4 16 41 47 -6 46
13 Brokenarch 34 11 12 11 44 49 -5 45
14 South Parrhesia 34 11 11 12 45 50 -5 44
15 Hartford Glade 34 12 7 15 31 49 -18 43
16 Long Lake 34 10 11 13 37 40 -3 41
17 Gosmouth Swans 34 11 7 16 38 48 -10 40
18 Mapleford 34 9 13 12 34 44 -10 40
19 Ingram Township 34 9 12 13 33 47 -14 39
20 Sirencall FC 34 10 6 18 47 57 -10 36
21 Boleyn Town 34 9 5 20 19 43 -24 32
22 Pravenna Saints 34 6 11 17 24 41 -17 29
23 Rushe United 34 8 4 22 50 70 -20 28
24 Gridlock 34 5 11 18 19 43 -24 26

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Fully Sick XI 34 21 9 4 65 31 +34 72
2 Fischer 34 19 11 4 55 30 +25 68

3 FC Seierstad 34 18 11 5 62 38 +24 65
4 Iberia Chenoworth 34 18 5 11 69 45 +24 59
5 Lockheed Zenith 34 16 7 11 48 40 +8 55
6 Ringway 34 16 5 13 42 42 +0 53
7 Grovebank 34 14 10 10 52 41 +11 52
8 Crownsend Journey 34 13 12 9 57 43 +14 51
9 Harrington 34 14 7 13 47 49 -2 49
10 Stonesthrow Town 34 14 6 14 37 40 -3 48
11 Courser 34 11 9 14 46 44 +2 42
12 Dross Rovers 34 10 9 15 33 38 -5 39
13 Fenland Albion 34 10 9 15 32 41 -9 39
14 AFC Hellerine 34 9 12 13 33 46 -13 39
15 Sleetwell Rangers 34 10 9 15 40 55 -15 39
16 Capricopia Rangers 34 9 9 16 47 55 -8 36
17 Coleman Ridge 34 8 9 17 37 57 -20 33
18 AFC Brackwold 34 7 10 17 31 48 -17 31
19 Swag Hill Rovers 34 7 10 17 28 54 -26 31
20 Aspen Grove 34 7 9 18 37 61 -24 30

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Bodkin Road 34 23 7 4 62 25 +37 76
2 Rochford Pilgrims 34 23 7 4 66 33 +33 76

3 Autumnstone 34 23 4 7 75 34 +41 73
4 South Brill 34 21 8 5 57 28 +29 71
5 Brookford Vantablack 34 16 8 10 65 47 +18 56
6 The Travellers FC 34 13 12 9 59 51 +8 51
7 Stamper Road 34 14 6 14 44 43 +1 48
8 Corvistone City 34 11 12 11 44 37 +7 45
9 Rookwall 34 13 6 15 52 50 +2 45
10 Constance Park 34 11 11 12 28 31 -3 44
11 AFC Burchess 34 12 7 15 37 39 -2 43
12 Coral Bay 34 12 7 15 57 66 -9 43
13 Brookway Town 34 10 11 13 41 43 -2 41
14 Rhyburn Swifts 34 11 8 15 48 58 -10 41
15 Twelvetrees 34 11 7 16 26 35 -9 40
16 AFC Volksgarten 34 11 7 16 30 44 -14 40
17 Blaze 34 6 10 18 41 65 -24 28
18 Corby Hubris 34 6 10 18 35 66 -31 28
19 Mainstream Fist 34 5 12 17 31 60 -29 27
20 Gridlock Rovers 34 4 8 22 20 63 -43 20
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Postby Nephara » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:44 pm

Creed United 2-1 Newrook City
Crossroads Town 1-2 Chatswood
Brinemouth 5-1 Bishop
AFC Treason 0-1 Leichhardt

Luck of the draw plays out in such a way that a lower-league side is guaranteed to make the semifinals - on the balance of it, that’s likely to be Chatswood. Leigh Fletcher’s hard-running Woodsmen simply outbattle Crossroads, first to every ball, and while Baltasar Gensch fumbles a cross into his own net it’s made up for in the second half with goals from Caulker and Vestal. Creed United outpunch Newrook City in a match where both sides are going full tilt for silverware, but the Oathmen show the greater courage and resolve on the night. Conway wins and then misses a penalty, but he doesn’t lose a beat as he urges his teammates forward, laying on assists for Korborg and Vettriano before Ifrit Coynborough pulls a deserved goal back. Treason are toothless against Leichhardt, as Andrea Vardalos notes that the Stags “just didn’t seem to consider the possibility we’d show up.” Bittencourt fires back; “Well, they never do show up!” Brinemouth can probably be waved through by this point, with thunderous pace, power and cunning to punch through Bishop for a 5-1 win.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Brinemouth
Southfell United 3-3 Raven River
Crisisbless 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Goodfeather FC 0-3 Bishop
Leichhardt 0-3 Newrook City
Cypher Town 1-2 Creed United
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Starling
North Laithland 4-3 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless United 1-4 Violence Chariots
North Sabrefell 1-3 Vermillion Rage
South Laithland 0-3 AFC Treason
Belgrave 1-1 Sabrefell Moths

The relegation dogfight, various incidents in the middle… all those are engaging, sure. But it’s the business end of the season now, and eyes are starting to turn towards the top. Or, as it might be, towards the teams who are conspicuously not at the top, as Brinemouth visit Athletic, two teams slated to seriously challenge for the title, rather show why they… haven’t been. Athletic line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation from which Coltrane is too withdrawn to really impact on the attack, and Tanith Rainsford is, sadly, starting to reach the end. Xixi Ens does use his space to swing beyond two midfielders and score against the run of play after a blistering run, but it’s deservedly levelled after Dragana cuts inside, cuts back outside and then shoots across a flat-footed Gautier. Crisisbless are very nearly undone by a determined, dogged Harriers side, but as ever, they find a way - even without Airik Ruhl, suspended for ten yellow cards - as Tia Drenas finds a finish from an impossible angle to salvage a point from a decidedly mediocre performance. As the Moths run aground to Belgrave, somehow, and Starling labour to a 2-1 win over Corvistone with a contentious if justly awarded first goal (goalline technology shows Andisori’s strike narrowly crossed the line as it bounced off the underside of the crossbar, but the naked eye wasn’t so sure), Cheney Bittencourt can only laugh after his Stags cruise to a 3-0 win over South Laithland. “Sometimes you have to wonder if the other teams… you know, if they really want to win the league.” They pull level on points with Crisisbless, and were it not for their slow start, how far would they have gone? At the bottom of the table, Goodfeather FC have a chance to host Bishop across town - a demoralised Bishop, just hammered in the Cup - and not only prove a point but pull away from the bottom four. They fail. Conclusively. Catastrophically. Milligan, Driver and a Boarspear own goal seal an easy 3-0 win for a partially-rested Bishop side. As Goodfeather shape up for their only shot on goal of the match, which Jewel fires straight at Risdon, Conan Estelline yawns. Twelve points clear of danger, you’d have to say the Cardinals are probably safe.

1. Crisisbless - 69, 30
2. Treason - 69, 26
3. Starling - 68, 23
4. Moths - 65, 19
5. Newrook - 64, 17
6. Athletic - 64, 15
7. Brinemouth - 62, 25
19. Bishop - 37, -8
20. Goodfeather - 30, -20
21. South Laithland - 25, -31
22. Crisisbless United - 25, -34
23. Leichhardt - 25, -34
24. Belgrave - 24, -33

Newrook City 1-0 Creed United
2-2 on aggregate. Newrook City win on away goals.

Chatswood 2-2 Crossroads Town
Chatswood win 4-3 on aggregate.

Bishop 1-1 Brinemouth
Brinemouth win 6-2 on aggregate.

Leichhardt 0-3 AFC Treason
AFC Treason win 3-1 on aggregate.

Joel Conway’s missed penalty came back to bite Creed in the end, as a resolute defensive showing from Newrook - and Couturiaux’s direct free kick, lofted beautifully over the wall (clipping Rodrigues’ head on the way) into the top corner - ensures a dry 1-0 win on the day, and progress on away goals. Crossroads actually take a 2-0 lead away against Chatswood on the hour mark, but the hosts manage to avoid an upset (and a frankly massive choke) thanks to promising young winger Severa Conleth coming off the bench, threading through Crossroads’ tiring defence, netting a brace and looking exasperated. Bishop and Brinemouth… well, they both know it’s over, especially when Brinemouth score first, but at least Chloe Asquith’s piledriver from halfway (which catches Jakob Carter stumbling) gives the highlight reel some material. Treason do not repeat their mistakes against Leichhardt; it’s a conclusive 3-0 thumping.

Raven River 2-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Harriers 2-2 Brinemouth
Bishop 1-2 Southfell United
Newrook City 0-1 Crisisbless
Creed United 2-0 Goodfeather FC
Starling 1-0 Leichhardt
Coret Hawks 1-0 Cypher Town
Violence Chariots 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Vermillion Rage 2-1 North Laithland
AFC Treason 1-1 Crisisbless United
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 North Sabrefell
Belgrave 1-0 South Laithland

Things are getting agonisingly tight at both ends of the table. Treason, the only top seven side to secure a convincing win last season, are now the only top five side to drop points and slip to third for their trouble, paying dearly for an offside trap that didn’t quite work since Novkovic was, well, not actually offside, and simply slipped past Gideon Fletcher to take the lead. A somewhat more routine equaliser followed, Corrello’s long throw bouncing around the box a bit before being converted by the flying head of Roddy Fraser, but it’s just one point. More than welcome for Crisisbless United, of course, but even they fall further behind, as Belgrave seize the playoff place. They’ve been playing without moxie or spirit or verve, they just… are out of their depth at this level, and Meriadoc Griffiths probably wishes he’d just taken the Kingsgrove job… but Emeraude Tanner hammers home the difference against an uninspired South Laithland. Leichhardt, after slipping to a stodgy 1-0 defeat to Starling, fall to last place.

1. Crisisbless - 72, 31
2. Starling - 71, 24
3. Treason - 70, 26
4. Moths - 68, 21
5. Athletic - 67, 16
6. Newrook - 64, 16
7. Brinemouth - 63, 25
19. Bishop - 37, -9
20. Goodfeather - 30, -22
21. Belgrave - 27, -32
22. Crisisbless United - 26, -34
23. South Laithland - 25, -32
24. Leichhardt - 25, -35

Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Raven River 0-2 Bishop
Brinemouth 1-2 Newrook City
Southfell United 0-0 Creed United
Crisisbless 2-2 Starling
Goodfeather FC 3-1 Coret Hawks
Leichhardt 0-2 Violence Chariots
Cypher Town 2-3 Vermillion Rage
AFC Corvistone 2-0 AFC Treason
North Laithland 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless United 2-1 Belgrave
North Sabrefell 2-3 South Laithland

Treason’s 16-game unbeaten streak ends. Of course it’s to Corvistone, who are still a fake club with no fans or consistency, but they’ve got moments of magic from Pangallo and Haight, with Maria Kovacic (third time this season the goalkeepers have swapped) making some great saves between the posts. It was deserved, though. Damn it. The eyes are elsewhere, though, on a pulsating draw between the sides above them, Ruhl vs. Andisori a battle of polar opposites, the Cosumar international scrapping and scrounging and even biting, at one point, to get Visser’s hand off his shoulder - that caused a brawl and some scattered cautions, and Ruhl celebrated by metaphorically punching home Isaia Urso’s cross. But then Andisori snatches the ball from the normally resolute Bronte’s feed, plays a lovely one-two with Padilla, scampers past Molovi before sliding her leveller low and hard past Marciak, and would on the stroke of halftime turn provider for Sleipnir Woodwind to turn home. But Crisisbless kept just… becoming more and more themselves, a resolutely competitive side from top to bottom, clamping down on any hint of Starling possession before finally capitalising on an error from substitute Willow Creek - Jevdjevic-Hadsic was on that loose ball like lightning, and volleyed the ball first-time with impossible pace beyond Smordal for the leveller. The promoted sides play one another, with Crisisbless United simply superior to Belgrave but having to wait until injury-time for the scoreline to reflect it, Lukas Antelmi driving through the Gargoyles’ weary midfield and defence before driving home past Connell, while North Sabrefell… mostly look like they’re happy to have the job mostly done. A win against South Laithland would have helped, though, but despite Erika Wolff driving home a brace of powerful strikes, she’s let down by the pace and slackness of those behind her. Vesuvia Carrick drives home an impeccable cross across the face of goal by… North Sabrefell rightback Meg Owley, to secure a vital comeback win for the Southrons. Goodfeather outplay the Hawks, a rare goal for Dimitar flanked by goals from rather more usual suspects in Rannon and Sharpe for a vital 3-1 win that keeps them four points clear of danger. Bishop beating River impressively means that they’re now eleven points clear, and their relegation becomes more mathematically than realistically possible.

1. Crisisbless - 73, 31
2. Starling - 72, 24
3. Moths - 71, 23
4. Treason - 70, 24
5. Athletic - 68, 16
6. Newrook - 67, 17
7. Brinemouth - 63, 24
20. Goodfeather - 33, -20
21. Crisisbless United - 29, -33
22. South Laithland - 28, -31
23. Belgrave - 27, -33
24. Leichhardt - 25, -37

Bishop 1-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Newrook City 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Creed United 2-0 Raven River
Starling 3-2 Brinemouth
Coret Hawks 0-0 Southfell United
Violence Chariots 0-4 Crisisbless
Vermillion Rage 2-2 Goodfeather FC
AFC Treason 1-1 Leichhardt
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 Cypher Town
Belgrave 1-2 AFC Corvistone
South Laithland 2-1 North Laithland
North Sabrefell 0-1 Crisisbless United

No rest for the wicked. Starling plunge straight in to another top-class opponent, this time facing off against an ailing Brinemouth side. The Dockers score first, Pablo Scotti - whose goalscoring pace has decidedly slowed this season - lunging to stab home a cross from Bartley - whose goalscoring pace has stalled. But Starling seize the match back after sleepwalking through the first ten minutes, and Armstrong, Padilla and Kymeri take back the lead. Malachi Chalk pulls one back, but that’s all the Dockers can do, and they’re now thirteen points out of top spot and six away from the CC places. Crisisbless maintain the punishing pace at the top by pulverising the Chariots 4-0 away from home, while Treason stall to a draw against Leichhardt through a too-rare Hatherton screamer. Crisisbless United outplay a sluggish North Sabrefell, Sigrun Rivers stabbing home the only goal of the game in the 39th minute. “We aren’t on the beach,” insisted Alcuin Sharp after the game. “But maybe we’re… you know… maybe we’ve been reminded it’s there, a bit too much.” Meanwhile, a Laithland derby isn’t usually the most violent affair, as the sides rather consider themselves together against the world. But nobody told the Southrons on this occasion - they go in hard for every challenge, every loose ball, Alweather’s cross knocked down by Bentzen for Carrick to slam home for the first goal before Natasha goes flaring down the right, cutting in on the left and then stabbing her finish past Fairweather, and while Han is more or less hipchecked by de Naam for a penalty Finlay confidently finishes and Tess Pell somehow contrives to shank over the bar from four yards, the Spiders don't really get the chances to deserve their win, loads of possession and nothing to do with it. Sums up their season really, one where they’ve failed to hit the heights.

1. Crisisbless - 76, 35
2. Starling - 75, 25
3. Moths - 74, 25
4. Treason - 71, 24
5. Athletic - 71, 18
6. Newrook - 67, 16
7. Brinemouth - 63, 23
20. Goodfeather - 34, -20
21. Crisisbless United - 32, -32
22. South Laithland - 31, -30
23. Belgrave - 27, -34
24. Leichhardt - 26, -37

Sabrefell Athletic 4-2 Newrook City
Bishop 1-1 Creed United
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Starling
Raven River 0-2 Coret Hawks
Brinemouth 1-1 Violence Chariots
Southfell United 0-1 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless 1-0 AFC Treason
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Leichhardt 2-0 Belgrave
Cypher Town 2-2 South Laithland
AFC Corvistone 4-1 North Sabrefell
North Laithland 4-1 Crisisbless United

“We’re on the top of the table,” says Crisisbless manager Aidan Brosque. “This club has everything to prove. We’re literally called the Heelers, for fuck’s sake. What other club in this country’s got a nickname that’s making fun of them, hey? Whatever, we’re going to win every match, it’s in our own hands.” No pressure, then. But his side can walk the walk as well as he talks the talks, and prove it against a resilient Treason. Centre-halves normally make the headlines for their mistakes, so it’s worth highlighting that Molovi’s grace and Bajnok’s low, murderous cunning, a nearly unbroken partnership throughout the season, form an impassable barrier throughout the game, Marciak’s comfortable with every shot that comes his way and Delphi Barbarouses, deputising for the injured Swan, proves the Heelers’ depth with the only goal of the game in the 63rd minute. Better still, there’s failings elsewhere; Starling are cold-cocked by Chenoworth Harriers. Nikita Loeher has had something of a barren streak of late, and at 35 just looks… well… a bit cooked, really, but she’s still able to come off the bench in the right place at the right time to tuck home a late winner. Brinemouth stumble against the Chariots, but, really, they aren’t contending for anything anymore, and likely neither are Newrook after a second-half flurry from Athletic downs them 4-2. Belgrave fail to find a way past Leichhardt, and another Hatherton piledriver, and Auttenberg’s capitalisation on a defensive mixup, ensure a vital win for Leichhardt. This is one of those relegation battles that’s really being enlivened by the playoff place, now occupied by South Laithland after a brave 2-2 draw against Cypher, won despite a red card for Bentzen on the hour.

1. Crisisbless - 79, 36
2. Moths - 77, 26
3. Starling - 75, 24
4. Athletic - 74, 20
5. Treason - 71, 23
6. Newrook - 67, 14
7. Brinemouth - 64, 23
20. Goodfeather - 34, -21
21. South Laithland - 32, -30
22. Crisisbless United - 32, -35
23. Leichhardt - 29, -35
24. Belgrave - 27, -36

Creed United 0-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Starling 1-2 Newrook City
Coret Hawks 1-0 Bishop
Violence Chariots 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Vermillion Rage 1-4 Raven River
AFC Treason 2-4 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Southfell United
Belgrave 0-3 Crisisbless
South Laithland 1-2 Goodfeather FC
North Sabrefell 3-0 Leichhardt
Crisisbless United 1-2 Cypher Town
North Laithland 1-1 AFC Corvistone

So the Stargazers haven’t had the best of seasons, but the Bohemians have lost five in a row. If there’s any time to visit them, if there’s anywhere to take some points, it’s surely here. Well, no, apparently, because Erika Wolff goes crashing in at the far post to punch home a killer ball from Montag just seventy-three seconds in. Leichhardt protest for a foul - she did rather drag Cranshaw to the ground as she went in - but to no avail, and they never regain their structure. Roxel and Stinnett finish the job in the second half. Top faces bottom and, unsurprisingly, crushes them, Crisisbless resting a number of key players and striding to a 3-0 win over Belgrave anyway, and that’s even better considering so many beneath them stumble. The Moths are held by Southfell, Starling toppled by a resilient, uncompromising but oddly breathtaking Newrook side to watch in flight, Raquel Woods with a bombing run from leftback to lash home a late winner. Treason are forced to open up when Brinemouth, surprisingly, open them up from a set piece - Conjure’s free kick nodded in by Magnozzi. The Stags are cut open on the counter twice, 3-0 down by half-time, and despite improving after the break still slip to a crushing defeat and four points from the top four. Once famed for their depth and endurance, they’ve simply run out of steam - and players. At the bottom, Aurora Jewel holds back two players, before turning on a coin and bulldozing them both and smashing the ball into the net for a vital, vital winner for Goodfeather over a luckless South Laithland.

1. Crisisbless - 82, 39
2. Moths - 78, 26
3. Starling - 75, 23
4. Athletic - 75, 20
5. Treason - 71, 21
6. Newrook - 70, 15
7. Brinemouth - 67, 25
20. Goodfeather - 37, -20
21. South Laithland - 32, -31
22. Crisisbless United - 32, -35
23. Leichhardt - 29, -38
24. Belgrave - 27, -39

Centralis Heart 0-3 Crisisbless

Crisisbless are big winners here. They came, they saw, they conquered. Allison Swan was particularly dominant on her old stomping grounds in the Terranean League, but really it’s just a day where it all comes together. Swan, Ruhl and Urso get the goals that should, realistically, all but secure the Heelers’ place in the last four.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Starling
Creed United 1-2 Coret Hawks
Newrook City 2-0 Violence Chariots
Bishop 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 AFC Treason
Raven River 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Brinemouth 1-0 Belgrave
Southfell United 2-3 South Laithland
Crisisbless 3-1 North Sabrefell
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Crisisbless United
Leichhardt 0-1 North Laithland
Cypher Town 1-2 AFC Corvistone

Starling face Athletic in a match where only the winner will retain a realistic chance of the title. Estrella Hawke opens the scores, Alcander Visser with a rare error as he swipes and misses a Bereveskos pass he should’ve cut out easily. Hawke snatches up the rebound, rushes past Loredan and forces her strike past Smordal, predictably refraining from open celebration. Starling think they hit back four minutes later, but Kaelin controlled with her hand before firing home. They actually hit back in the 41st minute, slick interplay culminating in Andisori, shunted out to the left, sending in a hopeful cross that Evangeline Aschenbach of all people hustles in to nod home at the near post. The second half is all hustle and no end product, though Coltrane rifles a beautiful thirty-yard strike off the crossbar that rebounds with such force to come straight back to him. Starling are taking no chances, though - Kymeri just fouls him. Anyway, the draw doesn’t do much good for either of them, particularly as Crisisbless and the Moths ahead of them and Newrook and Brinemouth behind them all chalk up easy wins against Sabrefell opposition, with Treason also belying recent form to beat the solid but uninspiring Harriers 1-0. At the bottom, Leichhardt and Belgrave slip further out of contention and realistically it feels it’s going to come down to 1.5 slots and three teams. Goodfeather FC could have made themselves a hell of a lot more secure, but a vicious downward header from Markos Schoenauer slips through Forster’s grasp to give Crisisbless United a late winner, while South Laithland edge out a disinterested Southfell in a 3-2 thriller where Natasha provse her (admittedly sporadic) class at this level and Meixner gets down brilliantly to punch away Marlowe’s late penalty.

1. Crisisbless - 85, 41
2. Moths - 81, 27
3. Starling - 76, 23
4. Athletic - 76, 20
5. Treason - 74, 22
6. Newrook - 73, 17
7. Brinemouth - 70, 26
20. Goodfeather - 37, -21
21. South Laithland - 35, -30
22. Crisisbless United - 35, -34
23. Leichhardt - 29, -39
24. Belgrave - 27, -40

Crisisbless 2-1 Centralis Heart
Crisisbless win 5-1 on aggregate.

A crisp volley from Santo Zito - the Sameban winger booed with every touch - sneaks under Marciak to silence the crowd early on, just making people… wonder. But Centralis’ dream is snuffed out by a forceful Tia Drenas header, before young forward Kurtis Laiota comes off the bench late on and taps in his first Champions Cup goal with his first touch of the game, though Sutton did most of the work.

Coret Hawks 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Violence Chariots 2-2 Starling
Vermillion Rage 4-1 Creed United
AFC Treason 1-0 Newrook City
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Bishop
Belgrave 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
South Laithland 3-1 Raven River
North Sabrefell 2-3 Brinemouth
Crisisbless United 4-1 Southfell United
North Laithland 0-2 Crisisbless
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Goodfeather FC
Cypher Town 1-1 Leichhardt

Athletic stumble to defeat against Coret Hawks and Starling are pegged back by a late Aniske Riske free kick to draw disappointingly with the Chariots. Both of them, and Treason despite another cagey win over Newrook, are practically out of the title race following more confident wins from Crisisbless and the Moths; Newrook and Brinemouth are now mathematically out of the race, despite the Dockers’ late winner from the recently blunted and maligned Kyron Bartley against North Sabrefell. Definitely one of those days where things are spicier in the danger zone, in which Belgrave and Leichhardt secure draws that could best be described as ‘far too little, far too late’, but more importantly, South Laithland battle their way past Raven River. River take an early lead, Kesteren with a low, darting strike that the normally redoubtable Meixner really should have saved, but it’s Meixner’s distribution that enables the Southrons’ leveller as he claims Hateley’s cross and immediately fires it straight back down the wing, Alweather crosses and Kester slams home. A tight finish from Carrick and a cold-blooded penalty from Sherry Bickermann (yes, still knocking about at 33) ensures the three points, while Crisisbless United get a thrilling 4-1 win as they overrun Southfell United. The Southrons are in the clear, the Chequers in the playoff place… for how did the Quakers respond? They… didn’t. They were thumped 3-0 by Corvistone, without so much as a shot on target to their name.

1. Crisisbless - 88, 43
2. Moths - 84, 29
3. Starling - 77, 23
4. Treason - 77, 23
5. Athletic - 76, 19
20. South Laithland - 38, -28
21. Crisisbless United - 38, -31
22. Goodfeather - 37, -24
23. Leichhardt - 30, -39
24. Belgrave - 28, -40

12 points left to play for.

Newrook City 1-0 Chatswood
Brinemouth 1-1 AFC Treason

These are some proper semifinals. The Rooks are faced with a resilient Chatswood side who excel in their traditional way, hard as nails at the back with goalkeeper Aleksovic in defiant form. Newrook shove and shove, almost undone at the back by a failure to cut out a long throw from Karling, star striker Vestal takes an almighty swing at it… and slices it over the bar, practically unmarked. Newrook make them pay for it, Ville Pakkanen racing down the right,cutting inside and out until Karling actually just falls over before lashing in a powerful strike. Aleksovic palms away, Farrell is brutally felled by Rashkin trying to snatch up the rebound, Rashkin takes the red card gracelessly and Bothroyd slots away the penalty anyway. Brinemouth against Treason was once the fight between the uncontested giants of the game. Well, it’s that no longer, but it’s still a good match to watch between sides that just don’t like each other. Stig Soederquist, playing more advanced than he usually does in an industrious midfield setup, gets the first goal as he snatches a loose ball off Tarashaj, starts a passing move with an innocuous pass across to Close and then, fifteen passes later, ends it with an unmarked tap-in. Treason’s leveller is far more… well… Treason. Neptune crosses, John Fletcher rises above to head powerfully into the bottom corner, 1-1 the final score.

Sabrefell Athletic 9-2 Violence Chariots
Coret Hawks 0-2 Vermillion Rage
Starling 4-1 AFC Treason
Creed United 5-1 Sabrefell Moths
Newrook City 4-2 Belgrave
Bishop 2-0 South Laithland
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 North Sabrefell
Raven River 4-2 Crisisbless United
Brinemouth 1-1 North Laithland
Southfell United 3-0 AFC Corvistone
Crisisbless 2-0 Cypher Town
Goodfeather FC 0-2 Leichhardt

It’s a crazy few nights. In no particular order; Belgrave fight hard against Newrook City, but their ‘naivete at the back’ (read: they still can’t defend for beans) gifts Farrell a late winner before the luckless Naess clinically drills Pakkanen’s cross into the bottom corner to add insult to injury. They are now, officially, relegated. Leichhardt cling on for another week, thanks in large part to Goodfeather FC going completely missing in completely the wrong game. With River and South Laithland losing winnable fixtures, it’s the perfect opportunity to sweep the lowly Stargazers at home… and they just don’t take it, dominating possession but with no idea how to actually put the ball past Raihane Stern. Ylissa Hatherton may have the ire of the supporters on her back with almost every touch, but she silences both home and away crowd with a breathtaking free kick whipped into the top corner before turning provider, threading a brilliant diagonal ball. Zuzana Streiss should just lamp it, but decides to guide it into the net with a twirling backheel instead and winds up hitting the inside of both posts before the ball finally nestles into the net, sealing a 2-0 win. At the top, Crisisbless’ routine 2-0 home win over Cypher Town is… well, the sort of match you get the idea just from the opposition and scoreline. But as ever, it’s the Heelers’ ability to just rack up routine wins that’s setting them apart from the pack this time, and this is when all beneath them slip and fall. The Moths play, well, echoes of last year, really, in how Creed United dominate them. Sabrefell Athletic wanted their firebrand winger, Joel Conway, who opted to join the Oathmen instead due to better prospects of minutes. Well, Reds fans will have been salivating at how easily Conway shredded the Moths defence, scoring up a hat-trick of assists, while assertive forward Korborg just gets a hat-trick of goals in a conclusive 5-1 win. Behind them, Starling play off against Treason in a match that, well… Treason play like a team that knows they’re out of the title race. Starling play like a team that knows there’s still the top four to fight for, and win 4-1. But their performance doesn’t even come close to Sabrefell Athletic’s, not even remotely. A 9-2 win, against their second-fiercest rivals, the Chariots? Athletic bombard the Chariots’ box with crosses and evidently the luckless Mirka Ceciu, who picks a great moment to deputise for the injured Tarrasch, doesn’t cope with it. After the 90 minutes are up, Ceciu’s scored a hat-trick! Of own goals. The first in Premiership history. “We’ll just have to move on from that,” says Isla Safarova, convincing nobody in particular.

1. Crisisbless - 91, 45
2. Moths - 84, 25
20. South Laithland - 38, -30
21. Crisisbless United - 38, -33
22. Goodfeather - 37, -26
23. Leichhardt - 33, -37

9 points left to play for.

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

AFC Treason 0-1 Brinemouth
Brinemouth win 2-1 on aggregate.

Sadly, the Cup semifinals don’t really provide much (if anything?) in the way of entertainment. Chatswood don’t offer anything more at home against the Rooks, effectively contained and pressed to their own half, Hedlund dominant in the centre of the park, sealed by a single powerful strike from Couturiaux. Treason, meanwhile, get hoist by their own petard. In a very direct affair against Brinemouth, the only goal of the game comes through a slick Conjure corner that Kyron Bartley, entering a fine vein of form near the end of the season, rushes in to flick home past Rustwyth at his near post. Could the young goalkeeper have done better? Probably - but in the hour remaining, the Stags never really look like scoring, and crash out. Newrook vs. Brinemouth - the Rooks, tied for most relegations in modern history, might manage to tie for the most Cup wins (three, like Crisisbless), while Brinemouth will aim to make their advantage on paper count on the pitch, particularly in what could be Lujendra Mescalin’s last match in charge.

Vermillion Rage 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Treason 1-0 Violence Chariots
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Coret Hawks
Belgrave 0-3 Starling
South Laithland 2-1 Creed United
North Sabrefell 1-4 Newrook City
Crisisbless United 1-0 Bishop
North Laithland 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Raven River
Cypher Town 0-3 Brinemouth
Leichhardt 2-1 Southfell United
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Crisisbless

Things are getting red-hot at the bottom. Goodfeather do manage to scrape a point against Crisisbless on a day where Raven Forster makes up for her errors with a player of the match performance… but they still just can’t score. Leichhardt can score, and do so twice as they beat Southfell for their third straight victory. Could they actually pull out the great escape? Almost certainly not, especially after Crisisbless United edge Bishop in an ugly, scrappy affair that was settled by rightback Kari Bruun coming up for a last-minute corner and rising above practically everyone to smash home Antelmi’s corner. And they say, back in Mriin, she’s remarkably short. For a satyr. South Laithland edge out Creed 2-1 as well. That Crisisbless draw keeps the Moths in theoretical contention, five points adrift following a convincing win over a Coret Hawks side that just sort of exists to be a jobber at this stage of the season. There hasn’t been a lot of managerial upheaval during this season. Even most of the struggling sides have chosen to stick rather than twist at the end of this season, and you can see why - it was a miracle Griffiths got Belgrave (broken down 3-0 at home by Starling) promoted in the first place, Andrea Vardalos won the Manager of the Year award two seasons back, Ezra Stonewaters has been a stoic presence and left his team’s slide until it was too late to do anything, Lyn Hartmann is, well, same deal as Griffiths, while Crisisbless United are one of just two Premiership teams to have swung the axe all season. Maybe it’s made the difference for them. Konrad Evans has left it late… but the impact has been made. Point is, a lot of axes are probably going to be saved for the offseason, when Coret Hawks manager Jessica Loque’s contract expires, and she’ll leave behind a legacy of basically dead air. Then again, maybe that’s as good as Coret can hope for.

1. Crisisbless - 92, 45
2. Moths - 87, 27
20. South Laithland - 41, -29
21. Crisisbless United - 41, -32
22. Goodfeather - 38, -26
23. Leichhardt - 36, -36

6 points left to play for.

Crisisbless 1-3 Lammerton

Ah, well. This could well be where it ends for the Heelers, as Aidan Brosque’s squad grinds to a halt against a Lammerton side that’s just harder, faster, stronger, better on the day, and more clinical to boot on a match where the aging Pawlo Marciak doesn’t cover himself in glory. 3-1’s the final score, with it all to do back in Schottia.

Sabrefell Athletic 3-1 AFC Treason
Vermillion Rage 5-3 Sabrefell Moths
Violence Chariots 4-0 Belgrave
Coret Hawks 2-0 South Laithland
Starling 2-0 North Sabrefell
Creed United 1-6 Crisisbless United
Newrook City 1-1 North Laithland
Bishop 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Cypher Town
Raven River 1-0 Leichhardt
Brinemouth 2-0 Goodfeather FC
Southfell United 1-0 Crisisbless

Well, it wasn’t the most glamorous way to win a title, but you suspect Heelers cans will take it. They’re just unable to break down an infuriatingly stubborn, inconsistent Southfell side, who win when Cordean lofts a diagonal ball across to the brash striker Erik Marlowe who just hammers a volley into the top corner. That almost set up a title race on the final day. It didn’t, because the Moths are beaten down 5-3 on a day where the Rage simply decide, fuck it, let’s just hurl everything at them like the old days. Starling beat North Sabrefell 2-1 to slide into third while a crunch match sees Athletic simply have too much for a wearying, paper-thin Treason side, beating them 3-1 as Estrella Hawke makes the difference and continues to canter towards the Iron Boot. Treason are now behind Brinemouth (who beat Goodfeather 2-0) and Newrook (who draw with North Laithland) on GD, in a three-way tie across the Globe Cup places. Title, CC, GC, it’s all locked in.

Things are going to be more interesting at the bottom, and for a while there has been the sense that it’ll come down to the three-team death-grip around the top of the relegation battle. Leichhardt, who have conceded fewer goals than Brinemouth, were nominally in that race too. Were. They can’t make it four wins in a row, can’t find a way through against Raven River on a day where Kia Anders throws a bone to troublemaking forward Povilas Kaukenas, throws him on in the 70th minute, is rewarded with a powerful strike to break the deadlock in the 84th and then the sight of Kaukenas ripping off his shirt to reveal a muscle vest reading ‘Kia Anders is a wanker’. Anders still has a substitute left, and promptly yanks Kaukenas off for young midfielder Feather Graves. Thus is the Stargazers’ fate sealed. Goodfeather continue to lag behind due to their failure to lay a glove on Brinemouth. Failing to score in five games hasn’t helped. They will need, non-negotiably, to break that run on the final day. South Laithland slip behind, losing 2-0 in a tired, pedestrian performance to the by-the-numbers Hawks, and worse, they lose their heavy GD advantage to Crisisbless United… who come to a Creed side that aren’t so much merely on the beach as having already set up the deck chairs and towels, and thrash them 6-1 in a match where Jessica Lennox nets four in the second half, truly coming alive with a righteous vengeance. She refuses to get relegated again!

Lammerton 1-2 Crisisbless
Lammerton win 4-3 on aggregate.

Almost, almost, almost. And indeed, Crisisbless do strike back two goals in the first half, but still have a third to chase due to away goals. Instead, they’re hit on the counter by Raquel Naeher, and Airik Ruhl misses a last-minute header. Just not their day - but Lammerton were the better side.
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Vermillion Wanderers 3-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Locksley 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Iron City 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Gonen's Bridge 0-2 Brookford Otters
Diamondqueen 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Extreme Hills
Parrhesia United 1-0 Chatswood
Morningstar 3-2 Armstrong
Cranequin City 3-0 Hackett
Greygate 1-2 Stahlburg City
West Brinemouth 0-0 Sheridan
Stonegrave 1-1 Coret Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Brookford Otters 2-1 Locksley
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Iron City
Extreme Hills 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Chatswood 4-1 Diamondqueen
Armstrong 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Hackett 1-2 Parrhesia United
Stahlburg City 1-1 Morningstar
Sheridan 0-0 Cranequin City
Coret Rovers 2-3 Greygate
Stonegrave 0-1 West Brinemouth
Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Brookford Otters
Stahlburg Rovers 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Locksley 2-3 Extreme Hills
Iron City 0-0 Chatswood
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Armstrong
Diamondqueen 1-1 Hackett
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Stahlburg City
Parrhesia United 1-0 Sheridan
Morningstar 2-1 Coret Rovers
Cranequin City 0-1 Stonegrave
Greygate 0-2 West Brinemouth
Brookford Otters 2-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Extreme Hills 1-4 Cranequin Wanderers
Chatswood 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Armstrong 1-2 Locksley
Hackett 0-2 Iron City
Stahlburg City 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Sheridan 0-1 Diamondqueen
Coret Rovers 0-2 Corvette Maulers
Stonegrave 0-2 Parrhesia United
West Brinemouth 2-0 Morningstar
Greygate 0-1 Cranequin City
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Brookford Otters 2-0 Extreme Hills
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Chatswood
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Armstrong
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Hackett
Locksley 0-1 Stahlburg City
Iron City 1-0 Sheridan
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Coret Rovers
Diamondqueen 1-2 Stonegrave
Corvette Maulers 4-0 West Brinemouth
Parrhesia United 1-1 Greygate
Morningstar 1-1 Cranequin City
Extreme Hills 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Chatswood 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Armstrong 2-1 Brookford Otters
Hackett 3-0 AFC Serpentine
Stahlburg City 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Sheridan 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Coret Rovers 0-0 Locksley
Stonegrave 0-2 Iron City
West Brinemouth 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Greygate 2-3 Diamondqueen
Cranequin City 0-3 Corvette Maulers
Morningstar 1-3 Parrhesia United
Vermillion Wanderers 0-4 Chatswood
Extreme Hills 2-1 Armstrong
Chenoworth Rovers 3-0 Hackett
Brookford Otters 2-0 Stahlburg City
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Sheridan
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Coret Rovers
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Stonegrave
Locksley 0-3 West Brinemouth
Iron City 1-0 Greygate
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 Cranequin City
Diamondqueen 0-1 Morningstar
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Parrhesia United
Armstrong 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Hackett 0-2 Chatswood
Stahlburg City 1-0 Extreme Hills
Sheridan 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Coret Rovers 1-4 Brookford Otters
Stonegrave 0-1 AFC Serpentine
West Brinemouth 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Greygate 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Cranequin City 4-1 Locksley
Morningstar 1-0 Iron City
Parrhesia United 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Diamondqueen
Vermillion Wanderers 3-3 Hackett
Armstrong 0-3 Stahlburg City
Chatswood 2-0 Sheridan
Extreme Hills 1-1 Coret Rovers
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Stonegrave
Brookford Otters 4-2 West Brinemouth
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Greygate
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Cranequin City
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Morningstar
Locksley 0-1 Parrhesia United
Iron City 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Diamondqueen
Stahlburg City 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Sheridan 0-1 Hackett
Coret Rovers 0-2 Armstrong
Stonegrave 0-1 Chatswood
West Brinemouth 2-3 Extreme Hills
Greygate 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Cranequin City 1-2 Brookford Otters
Morningstar 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Parrhesia United 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Diamondqueen 1-1 Locksley
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Iron City
Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Sheridan
Stahlburg City 1-1 Coret Rovers
Hackett 0-1 Stonegrave
Armstrong 1-0 West Brinemouth
Chatswood 3-2 Greygate
Extreme Hills 1-1 Cranequin City
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Morningstar
Brookford Otters 2-2 Parrhesia United
AFC Serpentine 2-3 Corvette Maulers
Cranequin Wanderers 1-3 Diamondqueen
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Locksley 0-1 Iron City

Matchday 35: Cranequin City have been quietly extremely disapponting, but Kirsten Gemmill's just a pace ahead of others at this level, and pretty much single-handedly guides the Terracotta Army to a 3-0 hammering of Hackett. She draws and then converts a penalty, touching the ball beyond Belsky before being smashed to the ground by her, before neat finishes from inside the box leave Samara without a chance. A 3-2 thriller between Morningstar and Armstrong is largely enabled by early red cards for Andreas and Fenwick, forcing both teams to reshuffle their defences and open up in search of glory. Giant Armstrong keeper Constantine Yeoman is almost the hero, saving Tsiavis' penalty... but it just bounces straight back to the striker, who stabs it home for the winner anyway.

Matchday 36: Shakeups at both ends of the table, Corvette running aground against a determined, hard-hitting Armstrong side who have a third-minute goal against the run of play chalked off for a rightful offside, but seem to play with a firm sense of righteous indignation from that point on and battle to a 1-1 draw. Chatswood demolish Diamondqueen in an inspired performance. Outnumbered in midfield? No problem - just open them up through a set piece goal, then go direct with the pace and physicality of Suttner and Vestal up front to really smash them 4-1.

Matchday 37: Unfortunately, Chatswood's masterstroke can't be replicated against an Iron City side who are entirely happy with their scoreless draw, thank you very much. Stahlburg City can't successfully brutalise Corvette either, in a match where the Smiths' fans start to question Tibet's conservatism. When Oughtred is sent off after 29 minutes with the Maulers 1-0 up, surely the time is right for two up front? But Tibet disagrees, and while Isabella Shi does force a late equaliser, they can't take the three points and slip further from promotion. Armstrong, Extreme Hills and Stonegrave manage crucial away wins over relegation rivals.

Matchday 38: Parrhesia's easy win over Stonegrave is their fourth in a row, and exacerbates the fact that Stonegrave... well, they've just run out of legs, and warm bodies. Their backups are often barely of third-tier quality, and being forced to start Synod Blake up front is... painful, as he utterly fluffs three presentable chances. Mostly, though, it's a low-scoring weekend, though nobody told Cranequin Wanderers - the promotion bird has probably flown this season, but a 4-1 hammering of Hills highlights how they really only are a couple of players away from promotions... and, of course, keeping upcoming stars like wingers Kudelka and Loxton.

Matchday 39: Grace under pressure. Corvette sweep West Brinemouth into the bin 4-0 in a decisive, dominant performance. So what? So, Chenoworth Rovers grind to a halt in an excruciating 1-1 draw against a direct Vermillion Wanderers side, Morningstar draw against Cranequin City and a thunderous strike from leftback Kennet gives Stonegrave a 2-1 away shock over Diamondqueen. Gonen's Bridge also get a 1-0 win, thanks to the quality of Sol up front and Matthews between the posts (since reconciled with the fans after her earlier comments) over Coret Rovers, while Armstrong break Cranequin Wanderers' momentum constantly and nab a nice away point.

Matchday 40: Sheridan get a win over Stahlburg Rovers, but, really, it's too late in the day to bother reporting on them. Yet again, top teams stumble - Morningstar overturned 3-1 at home by Parrhesia in a performance of slick technique and lightning pace that really makes you wonder what the Saints have been doing for the first 3/4 of the season, the Rovers grinding out scoreless against Chatswood, Diamondqueen only narrowly scraping past an enthusiastic and physical Greygate... but yet again, Corvette simply glide to an easy 3-0 win, this time away at Cranequin City. This is not a strong Maulers side! They've been handing semi-regular starts to Con Neofitides! Daniella Strauss has never had a managerial job before... and why not, on this evidence? Armstrong tried to keep it tight and conservative against Brookford, but it didn't work - they're fortunate to be only 1-0 down at the break. To Warner Dranz's credit, he makes the changes, throws on Rho Efthimiou... and the powerful forward changes the game, scoring twice and having a hat-trick denied only by wrestling Traugott to the ground as he scuffed home. Even so, they notch a vital and unexpected win.

Matchday 41: Vermillion Wanderers may need to find a second dimension at some point. Sure, they defend okay, and pump it long and finish well, but what they don't have - and Chatswood do - is the ability to move it along the ground. Grear and Kouroglou dominate in the centre of the pitch, with Conleth repeatedly skinning Routledge, Vestal with a hat-trick and Aleksovic quietly continuing to stake a claim to being the best goalkeeper at this level. Another side to find another string to their bow is... West Brinemouth? Maybe it's more worrying for Locksley that they let the decidedly mediocre Gulls pass them on the pitch, and the Brewers really are playing like none of them have ever played with each other before. Or with a football. Or on grass.

Matchday 42: Locksley fall to pieces again, actually taking the lead through an increasingly rare goal from Makhone Djite and then just sort of melting at the other end, Cranequin City playmaker Amberstone not exactly amazing at this level but still easily finding the gaps with her passing, Gemmill with her finishing. Corvette remain near-implacable, Diamondqueen outplaying them but unable to find a way past Michael Lin, who is finally beaten on the stroke of half-time by an own goal from the hapless Laursen. But Corvette find a way back - first against the run of play, a surging run from Norval matched by a whipped finish, before Haines comes off the bench and breaks them on the counterattack.

Matchday 43: Catheline Harper looks sick on the touchline. Having just choked and lost 1-0 to lowly Sheridan, her Chenoworth Rovers get sucked-punched 1-0 on home soil by Stonegrave. But Corvette slip to a draw against Iron City - maybe they can still be reined in? A couple of derbies catch the eye. In Cranequin, the Wanderers are undone by the forceful purpose of a revitalised City side who seem to have clawed their way to safety on the strength of Kirsten Gemmill belatedly finding her finishing boots and the rock-hard defender, Heinz Kreis, finally trading in red cards for clean sheets. In Stahlburg, meanwhile, City just outclass a tired Armstrong side. Kantaroff and Voegel are too much to deal with on the wings, while Brujah and Pearce seize all possession in the centre before recycling it back forwards. Shi, Brujah and the leftback Keane get the goals in a convincing 3-0 win. Promotion is in their sights, but should they fall short, many of their best players could well leave them behind to move upwards...

Matchday 44: Not a lot happens, but that suits some teams better than others - the gap narrows to six points at the top as the Maulers are held by Stahlburg Rovers and indeed hold out against a late surge, while Chenoworth Rovers easily beat Greygate. Gonen's Bridge get a point, which is nice, but not nearly as nice as the three they were denied by a late Iron City penalty. Fyona Matthews giveth, and sometimes with her impetuous charges off her line, Fyona Matthews taketh away. Armstrong might just have clinched a decisive result, tough as nails at the back, Busch and Cavazos with the lethal finishes up front - Warner Dranz appears to have gotten his honeymoon back. Somewhat belatedly, Malta Falconer appears to have had one... at all, as her Extreme Hills side battles back from 2-1 down at the break to a 3-2 win over West Brinemouth in a proper back-to-back punchout. With less terrible finishing on both sides (or, to be fair, with goalkeepers Terrano and Tournay in less excellent form), it could've been 5-5.

Matchday 45: Corvette mathematically secure the title, beating Serpentine 3-2. The Rovers in second place are also assured of their promotion, beating third-placed Morningstar 1-0 thanks to a controversial late penalty for Ynoa's handball, leaving Stars in a three-person scrap with Diamondqueen a point behind (beating Cranequin Wanderers 3-1 away) and Stahlburg City one behind the Diamonds (who choke, with a 1-1 draw at home against Coret Rovers that feels like defeat). Immediately behind them, Brookford and Parrhesia draw 2-2. The Saints are actually unbeaten in their last thirteen, winning nine... and it may just have saved Benjamin Nyao's job. Too late for their promotion hopes, though, and it's very possible they'll be the only relegated team not to come straight back up. Sheridan, Locksley and Stonegrave are all down, but a win for Gonen's Bridge over Stahlburg Rovers keeps them in the hunt for safety, with Coret's brave draw against the Smiths giving them a two-point lead. Armstrong beat West Brinemouth and Hills draw with Cranequin City - the two sides aren't safe yet, either.

Iron United 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Rochford
Strephonage 1-1 Riverkey
Brindleton 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Crossroads Town 1-1 AFC Shale
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 The Hanged Man
Ritter Town 1-0 Peregrine
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Sutcroft
Ox River United 0-0 Mantlegrove
Falston United 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 The Strongest
Ballardine FC 2-1 Southriver
Rochford 1-1 Iron United
Riverkey 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
AFC Shale 1-0 Strephonage
The Hanged Man 0-0 Brindleton
Peregrine 2-2 Crossroads Town
Sutcroft 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Mantlegrove 1-1 Ritter Town
Dartmouth Terriers 3-0 East Laithland Harriers
The Strongest 1-1 Ox River United
Southriver 0-0 Falston United
Ballardine FC 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Iron United 1-1 Riverkey
Rochford 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 AFC Shale
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 The Hanged Man
Strephonage 1-4 Peregrine
Brindleton 1-2 Sutcroft
Crossroads Town 0-1 Mantlegrove
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Ritter Town 1-0 The Strongest
East Laithland Harriers 3-1 Southriver
Ox River United 0-2 Ballardine FC
Falston United 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Iron United
AFC Shale 0-1 Riverkey
The Hanged Man 0-2 Rochford
Peregrine 3-2 Pillars of Southfell
Sutcroft 0-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Mantlegrove 0-0 Strephonage
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Brindleton
The Strongest 1-1 Crossroads Town
Southriver 1-4 Crisisbless Athletic
Ballardine FC 1-3 Ritter Town
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Falston United 0-1 Ox River United
Iron United 3-1 AFC Shale
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 The Hanged Man
Riverkey 1-3 Peregrine
Rochford 2-2 Sutcroft
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Mantlegrove
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Strephonage 0-2 The Strongest
Brindleton 0-4 Southriver
Crossroads Town 1-2 Ballardine FC
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Ritter Town 1-2 Falston United
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 Ox River United
The Hanged Man 0-0 Iron United
Peregrine 1-1 AFC Shale
Sutcroft 1-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Mantlegrove 0-2 Riverkey
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Rochford
The Strongest 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Southriver 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Ballardine FC 0-0 Strephonage
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Brindleton
Falston United 1-2 Crossroads Town
Ox River United 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Ritter Town
Iron United 1-2 Peregrine
The Hanged Man 1-0 Sutcroft
AFC Shale 1-0 Mantlegrove
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Riverkey 0-1 The Strongest
Rochford 1-0 Southriver
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Ballardine FC
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Strephonage 0-0 Falston United
Brindleton 1-1 Ox River United
Crossroads Town 0-0 East Laithland Harriers
Crisisbless Athletic 2-2 Ritter Town
Sutcroft 1-2 Iron United
Mantlegrove 2-0 Peregrine
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 The Hanged Man
The Strongest 1-1 AFC Shale
Southriver 0-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Ballardine FC 1-1 Riverkey
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Rochford
Falston United 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Ox River United 0-0 Chardonnay Rangers
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Strephonage
Ritter Town 2-0 Brindleton
Crisisbless Athletic 0-4 Crossroads Town
Iron United 2-2 Mantlegrove
Sutcroft 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Peregrine 4-5 The Strongest
The Hanged Man 2-1 Southriver
AFC Shale 1-0 Ballardine FC
Lazuli Diamonds 4-1 Corinthians No Longer
Riverkey 1-0 Falston United
Rochford 3-1 Ox River United
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Ritter Town
Strephonage 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Brindleton 0-3 Crossroads Town
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Iron United
The Strongest 2-1 Mantlegrove
Southriver 2-0 Sutcroft
Ballardine FC 1-2 Peregrine
Corinthians No Longer 3-0 The Hanged Man
Falston United 0-2 AFC Shale
Ox River United 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
East Laithland Harriers 0-0 Riverkey
Ritter Town 4-1 Rochford
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Crossroads Town 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Brindleton 1-0 Strephonage
Iron United 2-2 The Strongest
Dartmouth Terriers 0-3 Southriver
Mantlegrove 4-2 Ballardine FC
Sutcroft 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Peregrine 3-1 Falston United
The Hanged Man 2-0 Ox River United
AFC Shale 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Ritter Town
Riverkey 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Rochford 2-1 Crossroads Town
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Brindleton
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Strephonage
Sutcroft Athletic 2-5 Falston Town
Brokenarch 1-1 Boleyn Town
Sirencall FC 2-0 South Parrhesia
Aries Solitaire 3-3 Hartford Glade
Kommissar 0-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Kensey Town
Barossia United 2-0 West Hook
Martella Jazz 2-0 Rushe United
Ingram Township 1-4 Gosmouth Swans
Gridlock 1-0 Mapleford
Downsparrow 1-3 Long Lake
Brunyard FC 1-0 Pravenna Saints
Boleyn Town 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
South Parrhesia 3-0 Falston Town
Hartford Glade 3-1 Brokenarch
Boltcroft Thorns 0-3 Sirencall FC
Kensey Town 2-3 Aries Solitaire
West Hook 0-1 Kommissar
Rushe United 1-4 Alliance Barossia
Gosmouth Swans 1-2 Barossia United
Mapleford 1-1 Martella Jazz
Long Lake 2-0 Ingram Township
Pravenna Saints 2-0 Gridlock
Brunyard FC 2-4 Downsparrow
Sutcroft Athletic 4-1 South Parrhesia
Boleyn Town 2-2 Hartford Glade
Falston Town 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Brokenarch 2-1 Kensey Town
Sirencall FC 0-2 West Hook
Aries Solitaire 3-1 Rushe United
Kommissar 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Alliance Barossia 2-1 Mapleford
Barossia United 2-0 Long Lake
Martella Jazz 2-0 Pravenna Saints
Ingram Township 1-0 Brunyard FC
Gridlock 3-1 Downsparrow
Hartford Glade 2-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 South Parrhesia
Kensey Town 1-0 Boleyn Town
West Hook 2-0 Falston Town
Rushe United 2-1 Brokenarch
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Sirencall FC
Mapleford 2-2 Aries Solitaire
Long Lake 1-1 Kommissar
Pravenna Saints 0-3 Alliance Barossia
Brunyard FC 0-3 Barossia United
Downsparrow 5-2 Martella Jazz
Gridlock 0-2 Ingram Township
Sutcroft Athletic 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Hartford Glade 8-2 Kensey Town
South Parrhesia 0-2 West Hook
Boleyn Town 0-1 Rushe United
Falston Town 1-5 Gosmouth Swans
Brokenarch 1-0 Mapleford
Sirencall FC 0-2 Long Lake
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Pravenna Saints
Kommissar 0-0 Brunyard FC
Alliance Barossia 4-1 Downsparrow
Barossia United 2-0 Gridlock
Martella Jazz 1-1 Ingram Township
Kensey Town 4-0 Sutcroft Athletic
West Hook 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Rushe United 0-1 Hartford Glade
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 South Parrhesia
Mapleford 2-1 Boleyn Town
Long Lake 2-0 Falston Town
Pravenna Saints 0-0 Brokenarch
Brunyard FC 4-3 Sirencall FC
Downsparrow 3-3 Aries Solitaire
Gridlock 1-0 Kommissar
Ingram Township 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Martella Jazz 0-2 Barossia United
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 West Hook
Kensey Town 6-2 Rushe United
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Hartford Glade 2-0 Mapleford
South Parrhesia 2-0 Long Lake
Boleyn Town 1-0 Pravenna Saints
Falston Town 3-0 Brunyard FC
Brokenarch 1-1 Downsparrow
Sirencall FC 0-1 Gridlock
Aries Solitaire 2-2 Ingram Township
Kommissar 2-2 Martella Jazz
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Barossia United
Rushe United 2-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 West Hook
Mapleford 4-3 Kensey Town
Long Lake 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Pravenna Saints 2-1 Hartford Glade
Brunyard FC 1-3 South Parrhesia
Downsparrow 2-2 Boleyn Town
Gridlock 0-1 Falston Town
Ingram Township 0-1 Brokenarch
Martella Jazz 1-0 Sirencall FC
Barossia United 1-0 Aries Solitaire
Alliance Barossia 3-2 Kommissar
Sutcroft Athletic 0-3 Gosmouth Swans
Rushe United 1-0 Mapleford
West Hook 1-1 Long Lake
Kensey Town 1-0 Pravenna Saints
Boltcroft Thorns 3-0 Brunyard FC
Hartford Glade 2-1 Downsparrow
South Parrhesia 2-0 Gridlock
Boleyn Town 1-0 Ingram Township
Falston Town 2-2 Martella Jazz
Brokenarch 2-0 Barossia United
Sirencall FC 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Aries Solitaire 1-6 Kommissar
Mapleford 2-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Long Lake 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Pravenna Saints 2-1 Rushe United
Brunyard FC 1-3 West Hook
Downsparrow 0-1 Kensey Town
Gridlock 1-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Ingram Township 1-0 Hartford Glade
Martella Jazz 5-1 South Parrhesia
Barossia United 0-1 Boleyn Town
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Falston Town
Kommissar 3-1 Brokenarch
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Sirencall FC
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Long Lake
Mapleford 2-1 Pravenna Saints
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Brunyard FC
Rushe United 3-1 Downsparrow
West Hook 1-0 Gridlock
Kensey Town 1-0 Ingram Township
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Martella Jazz
Hartford Glade 0-2 Barossia United
South Parrhesia 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Boleyn Town 1-1 Kommissar
Falston Town 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Brokenarch 1-3 Sirencall FC

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Crisisbless 45 27 11 7 77 33 +44 92
2 Sabrefell Moths 45 26 9 10 82 57 +25 87
3 Starling 45 25 11 9 76 45 +31 86
4 Sabrefell Athletic 45 25 10 10 90 61 +29 85

5 Brinemouth 45 22 14 9 96 64 +32 80
6 Newrook City 45 25 5 15 73 52 +21 80
7 AFC Treason 45 24 8 13 63 44 +19 80

8 Vermillion Rage 45 22 10 13 78 53 +25 76
9 Chenoworth Harriers 45 20 12 13 63 55 +8 72
10 Violence Chariots 45 20 9 16 78 74 +4 69
11 North Laithland 45 18 11 16 74 70 +4 65
12 Coret Hawks 45 18 11 16 56 60 -4 65
13 Southfell United 45 17 13 15 74 59 +15 64
14 AFC Corvistone 45 19 4 22 74 76 -2 61
15 Creed United 45 17 9 19 62 64 -2 60
16 Cypher Town 45 13 12 20 43 59 -16 51
17 Bishop 45 13 11 21 51 60 -9 50
18 Raven River 45 14 8 23 61 89 -28 50
19 North Sabrefell 45 14 4 27 60 83 -23 46
20 Crisisbless United 45 12 8 25 64 92 -28 44
21 South Laithland 45 11 8 26 51 82 -31 41
22 Goodfeather FC 45 9 11 25 46 74 -28 38
23 Leichhardt 45 9 9 27 25 62 -37 36
24 Belgrave 45 6 10 29 47 96 -49 28

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Corvette Maulers 45 28 10 7 84 42 +42 94
2 Chenoworth Rovers 45 27 7 11 69 34 +35 88
3 Morningstar 45 25 8 12 63 36 +27 83

4 Diamondqueen 45 25 7 13 74 47 +27 82
5 Stahlburg City 45 23 12 10 59 31 +28 81
6 Brookford Otters 45 21 12 12 76 50 +26 75
7 Parrhesia United 45 20 15 10 72 55 +17 75
8 Chatswood 45 19 17 9 52 36 +16 74
9 Cranequin Wanderers 45 19 11 15 53 45 +8 68
10 Stahlburg Rovers 45 19 10 16 54 54 +0 67
11 Vermillion Wanderers 45 17 11 17 59 61 -2 62
12 AFC Serpentine 45 17 10 18 53 59 -6 61
13 Iron City 45 16 12 17 38 44 -6 60
14 West Brinemouth 45 15 9 21 44 52 -8 54
15 Hackett 45 14 11 20 43 57 -14 53
16 Cranequin City 45 14 10 21 40 52 -12 52
17 Greygate 45 15 7 23 48 64 -16 52
18 Armstrong 45 13 9 23 47 64 -17 48
19 Extreme Hills 45 12 12 21 58 76 -18 48
20 Coret Rovers 45 12 11 22 58 77 -19 47
21 Gonen's Bridge 45 10 15 20 36 53 -17 45
22 Stonegrave 45 11 10 24 32 62 -30 43
23 Locksley 45 10 12 23 41 72 -31 42
24 Sheridan 45 6 16 23 18 48 -30 34

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ritter Town 45 26 10 9 80 37 +43 88
2 Mantlegrove 45 24 10 11 67 46 +21 82
3 Crisisbless Athletic 45 21 15 9 69 46 +23 78
4 The Strongest 45 21 15 9 78 57 +21 78

5 Peregrine 45 22 10 13 81 62 +19 76
6 Rochford 45 19 14 12 55 42 +13 71
7 Chardonnay Rangers 45 20 8 17 68 50 +18 68
8 Crossroads Town 45 19 10 16 80 63 +17 67
9 Pillars of Southfell 45 17 15 13 41 33 +8 66
10 Lazuli Diamonds 45 16 17 12 66 51 +15 65
11 Ballardine FC 45 18 10 17 52 58 -6 64
12 AFC Shale 45 14 20 11 40 38 +2 62
13 The Hanged Man 45 14 19 12 36 37 -1 61
14 Riverkey 45 13 19 13 36 40 -4 58
15 East Laithland Harriers 45 15 13 17 53 60 -7 58
16 Corinthians No Longer 45 13 17 15 55 59 -4 56
17 Ox River United 45 14 13 18 40 55 -15 55
18 Iron United 45 13 13 19 48 60 -12 52
19 Southriver 45 15 7 23 57 70 -13 52
20 Dartmouth Terriers 45 10 18 17 41 54 -13 48
21 Falston United 45 12 10 23 44 71 -27 46
22 Strephonage 45 10 12 23 30 57 -27 42
23 Brindleton 45 8 17 20 41 69 -28 41
24 Sutcroft 45 4 12 29 34 77 -43 24

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Alliance Barossia 45 32 6 7 76 25 +51 102
2 Barossia United 45 26 9 10 73 36 +37 87
3 West Hook 45 24 11 10 63 39 +24 83
4 Kommissar 45 22 16 7 77 47 +30 82

5 Boltcroft Thorns 45 23 11 11 74 43 +31 80
6 Martella Jazz 45 20 11 14 70 67 +3 71
7 Kensey Town 45 19 12 14 82 68 +14 69
8 Aries Solitaire 45 16 17 12 77 64 +13 65
9 Brunyard FC 45 17 11 17 60 69 -9 62
10 Hartford Glade 45 17 10 18 55 65 -10 61
11 Falston Town 45 17 9 19 69 70 -1 60
12 Downsparrow 45 16 12 17 77 79 -2 60
13 Brokenarch 45 15 15 15 56 63 -7 60
14 Long Lake 45 15 13 17 51 51 +0 58
15 Sutcroft Athletic 45 16 9 20 58 71 -13 57
16 Gosmouth Swans 45 16 8 21 57 59 -2 56
17 South Parrhesia 45 15 11 19 58 70 -12 56
18 Mapleford 45 13 15 17 48 60 -12 54
19 Ingram Township 45 12 14 19 41 60 -19 50
20 Sirencall FC 45 13 8 24 60 72 -12 47
21 Boleyn Town 45 12 10 23 30 54 -24 46
22 Pravenna Saints 45 10 12 23 32 53 -21 42
23 Rushe United 45 12 5 28 64 92 -28 41
24 Gridlock 45 9 11 25 26 57 -31 38
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:24 pm

The well-liked Boltcroft Thorns know that they have a decent shout of promotion as long as they win their match - if Kommissar fail to beat Hartford Glade, or West Hook lose to Martella Jazz, both top ten sides, they’ll be overtaken. There’s just one minor issue; the Thorns have to visit Alliance Barossia, top of the table by a country mile with over a hundred points already. Annoyingly for them, both the sides above them choke - Kommissar just can’t break Glade down, try though they might, conceding an early penalty and leaving it late to pull one back too. West Hook forward Altenna Cliving almost becomes a hero for her side, the 32-year old journeyman with a powerful header and a viciously powerful strike in the last 15 minutes to give Hook the draw they need against Martella Jazz in a 3-3 thriller… but it’s all a little pointless anyway, as the Thorns are kept at arm’s length against Alliance, and the only goal they score is an own goal as they lose. Alliance, Hook and Kommissar are joined by Barossia United in promotion. At the bottom of the table, it’s a straight fight between Sirencall and Boleyn. But Sirencall only need a draw, sit back, hit on the counter on the half-hour mark and clinch the 1-0 win they need. Boleyn Town, a side that was in the Premiership two seasons before Nephara joined UICA, slink down to the Conference, along with Pravenna Saints, Rushe United and Gridlock. The Saints have many logistical issues in their participation at the semi-professional level, and will be given a certain number of exemptions next season in exchange for temporary relocation. They should, however, retain their hard-won place in the pyramid.

Like in the league below, three teams fight over third and fourth, two fight over 20th. Ritter Town stamp down their place as champions with a 3-1 win over the Hanged Man. Mantlegrove, nailed on for second place, visit Falston United, currently in 21st, and their early goal off a corner is nullified when Josef Mariner wins (generously…) and then converts (clinically) an eleventh-minute penalty. But carelessness undoes Falston in the end, a slack pass from goalkeeper Elen Partridge going… straight to opportunistic striker Paul Rashkin (younger brother of Chatswood defender Darius), who slams home Mantlegrove’s winner. The Terriers would have been safe anyway, as they impressively beat Corinthians No Longer 3-1 away. Further anti-climax in the promotion chase - Crisisbless Athletic edge AFC Shale but as soon as Tasha Kite gets her opener it’s clear Shale can’t get anything past fringe Abanhfleft international Qatintiki, while The Strongest hammer Ballardine 4-0 and Peregrine, well, slump to a 3-0 defeat to an East Laithland side that still clearly has some surprises left in it.

Pravenna Saints 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Brunyard FC 2-0 Long Lake
Downsparrow 4-1 Mapleford
Gridlock 2-3 Gosmouth Swans
Ingram Township 1-1 Rushe United
Martella Jazz 3-3 West Hook
Barossia United 1-1 Kensey Town
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Kommissar 1-1 Hartford Glade
Aries Solitaire 1-0 South Parrhesia
Sirencall FC 1-0 Boleyn Town
Brokenarch 2-6 Falston Town

Southriver 0-1 Iron United
Ballardine FC 0-4 The Strongest
Corinthians No Longer 1-3 Dartmouth Terriers
Falston United 1-2 Mantlegrove
Ox River United 2-0 Sutcroft
East Laithland Harriers 3-0 Peregrine
Ritter Town 3-1 The Hanged Man
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 AFC Shale
Crossroads Town 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Brindleton 0-1 Riverkey
Strephonage 2-4 Rochford
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Pillars of Southfell

Uncannily, it’s also third, fourth and 21st that are up for grabs here, though made more intriguing due to the playoff place at the top and four teams being involved at the bottom. There’s also a top of the table clash that almost means everything, but in this case, it doesn’t. Chenoworth Rovers get some catharsis by smashing Corvette 3-0 away, but that just makes it more insulting when the Maulers lift the First Division trophy anyway, in front of fans whose enthusiasm has not even slightly dimmed. There’s more almosts in that promotion race, too, as Stahlburg City, stranded in fifth, can only grind to a scoreless, miserable halt against West Brinemouth. That’s still enough to make Diamondqueen sweat, but as Morningstar grind their way to a 1-1 draw with Chatswood, Auburn Weber (naturally!) flights an arcing shot into the top corner late on… well, the top corner intersection of post and bar, anyway. But it’s all good, Fortounis is there to nod home the rebound and seal a 1-0 win over the Otters, and third place for the Diamonds, with Stars slipping to fourth. The Smiths must surely be wondering what they might have missed. Unfortunately, the thrilling relegation battle… doesn’t really happen, since Bridge are 2-0 down against Serpentine at half-time and go on to lose 3-1, sparing the Hounds’ blushes as they’re beaten 4-2 by Parrhesia on a day where they lose all defensive composure. Coret Rovers, it’s worth mentioning, managed a late winner from the unlikely source of veteran midfielder Rachel Tsicaderis over Vermillion, and while ultimately immaterial, it’s still important symbolically. Bridge, Locksley (who beat Stahlburg Rovers on an emotional day for their manager, Reinhard Drake, who is knitted into the framework of the club and is surely set for the axe this offseason), Stonegrave and Sheridan (whose nineteenth goal of the season comes as they beat Stonegrave away) go down; the Maulers, Rovers and Diamonds seal promotion, with Stars left to sweat it in the playoff.

Coret Rovers 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Stonegrave 0-1 Sheridan
West Brinemouth 0-0 Stahlburg City
Greygate 1-0 Hackett
Cranequin City 2-1 Armstrong
Morningstar 1-1 Chatswood
Parrhesia United 4-2 Extreme Hills
Corvette Maulers 0-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Diamondqueen 1-0 Brookford Otters
Gonen's Bridge 1-3 AFC Serpentine
Iron City 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Locksley 3-1 Stahlburg Rovers

Unfortunately, this is not going to be a last-day nailbiter. There will still be some good matches - a Sabrefell derby, most obviously, with the winner finishing higher on the table - but only 1.5 relegation places are in play, with the three relevant teams three points apart. Crisisbless United host Coret Hawks, needing just a point to stay safe. South Laithland have a slightly but surmountably inferior goal difference (3, but with vastly inferior GS), three points behind United. They host the tough but beatable Vermillion. A win catches them up to a defeated United, defeat would allow Goodfeather, three points behind with a superior GD and hosting the Harriers, to catch up.

In other matches, last-placed (by a country mile) Belgrave face a Treason side in poor form, a North Sabrefell side that is very much on the beach (and has failed to get the 50-point landmark, though never really been in danger) faces one final test against the Chariots, North Laithland host Starling, Corvistone face Creed United in the most who-gives-a-shit match of the day, Cypher and Southfell will host the B-teams of Newrook and Brinemouth sides with both eyes on the upcoming Cup finals, Leichhardt face Bishop and Crisisbless will lift the Premiership trophy in front of their own fans after they’re done with Raven RIver.

1 mins - And we’re off! Most eyes on the relegation battle, despite the drama of a Sabrefell derby that has its first foul fourteen seconds in, Deandre James crunching through Oscar Coltrane. Mmm. That’d be a yellow if it wasn’t… well… fourteen seconds in.
2 mins - GOAL! That didn’t take long. Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic lofts a ball over the top of River’s slumbering high line. Airik Ruhl gets under it, chests it down and rather than simply going around Althea Taliadoros, just slams home a volley past the young River goalkeeper. Early signs here that Crisisbless are going to celebrate their title win in style. CRI 1-0 RVR.
3 mins - The Heelers aren’t going to go down in history as one of the great Premiership teams, that’s for sure, but… it’s hard not to admire how they just grind out forceful wins. Something that they haven’t exactly made a habit of, over their history. They deserved this title.
4 mins - Leichhardt look sharp early on, surprisingly. In fact, they’ve looked good in the entire late stages of the season, just not nearly good enough, playing unburdened by expectation and with the quality of Streiss and Hatherton to hurt people. Woodspur eases past Shore and lashes a strike against the crossbar that leaves Julian Alderweiss, Bishop’s third attempted goalkeeper of the season, motionless.
5 mins - GOAL! Surprisingly, the second goal of the match happened in one of the… no point in mincing words, nobody is watching this game. Even fans of the relevant teams are probably watching other games. And that’s a shame, because after much prying and teasing, close to a minute of pressure on Newrook’s inexperienced defence, Nygard threatens the shot, before sliding across to McCosgraigh who has the simplest of finishes to guide past Hesketh for the opener. CYT 1-0 NRC.
6 mins - In an ominous sign for the other teams at the bottom, Crisisbless United look sharp at the start. They’re finally playing like the team they were meant to be from the start, as Rivers, Banerman, Stokes and Antelmi have adjusted to the standard, Lennox has had actual service, and second-string nobodies like Kitzbichler and Schoenauer have stood up to be counted. Coret just look like Coret, enigmatic as ever.
7 mins - Across town, Crisisbless (prime) nearly make it two, a long ball over the top from Swan trapped and fired by Ruhl - but Taliadoros came out quickly, made herself big, blocks it with her chest, and Kendrick gets back to slice a clearance away. Villaverde gets on the end of it and tries to start a counterattack but is shut down by Staunton.
8 mins - GOAL! The silk and steel of the Bohemians on display. Granted, this rather more the latter. The Schottic connection combines for the goal, Abner centring the ball to no-man’s land as Wolff strays offside, but Valentine Roxel runs in from midfield, leaps and heads low and hard, the ball bouncing off the turf and skimming beyond Commerford. NSF 1-0 VIC.
9 mins - South Laithland are also coming strong out the traps, despite injury forcing them to start Erik Paston, a bustling sort who looks out of his depth in a Premiership central midfield. But he’s winning everything in the centre of the park, at least, and Natasha’s been good at finding the players ahead of her. Just now, Kester’s cross goes straight to Bentzen, no giant… but he can only head straight at Ramelow.
10 mins - Meanwhile, in Sabrefell, attempted murder seems to be more important than style. It’s as if the same could really be said of most of the thugs that live in Nephara’s rightful capital.
11 mins - Yep, inbox is filling fast after that one...
12 mins - GOAL! Typical Leichhardt fare. They’ve been playing more assertively against Bishop, and win a corner as Streiss forces a sharp save from Alderweiss. Hatherton whips the corner venomously into the middle, and the 36-year old Chiron Amarantidis, in his last match before retirement, puts his skull through it and scores. LEI 1-0 BIS.
13 mins - “Typical out-of-touch Eastsider,” eyerolls Erhard Graf, who I can tell from his name is a handlebar-moustached, bristly man ramming his ham of a fist into a smartphone while sinking copious pints of that swill they call Northwestern lager. He says more words that I don’t particularly care about, and they are very angry. You are a very angry man, Erhard Graf.
14 mins - GOAL! More importantly, River have sharpened since those early scares, and seal a not-entirely-deserved leveller! Kaya Naumoff finally realises that when Jevdjevic-Hadsic has the ball, he needs it stripped, and does so, and then jackknifes the ball forward to Leonard to drives into the space, pressured by Bajnok but manages to cut it aside to the hugely impressive Chuy Villaverde, who hits it first time with utmost confidence to batter home his third goal of the season. CRI 1-1 RVR.
15 mins - Thou preparest a minute-by-minute before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with social media privileges; my inbox runneth over.
16 mins - GOAL! Well, that’s the Hawks for you. A ball bounces near Athanasios Nikolaidis and he lamps it hopefully towards goal. Into the top corner. CRU 0-1 COH.
17 mins - The news gets to the Laith, and a cheer erupts. The boys are pumped, and that bleeds onto the pitch - Natasha has a dig from an optimistic range, straight to Ramelow, and soon after Alweather has a pop too, well over the bar. Vesuvia Carrick looks pleading.
18 mins - A clear chance in Sabrefell! Finally! It comes from a clever bit of improvisation from Ens to capitalise on an error from Vicelich, her sweeping ball upfield abruptly cut out by Ens’ flying boot before the Farf flicked the ball over Weiss’ head… and into Estrella Hawke’s path, but out comes Griffin, makes himself big and blocks the shot with a powerful wrist.
19 mins - GOAL! It’s just not been the Stags’ season, though it’s been a lot less painful than last season. Lazarou’s pace gets her clear of their midfield, before she cuts inside away from Sandor and fires… and it’s not the strongest shot, really, but the luckless Vornander deflects it into his own net, arrowing clinically into the bottom corner off his instep. The Gargoyles’ first real half-chance of the game. BEL 1-0 TRE.
20 mins - To all those wondering why I haven’t been responding to your queries, I’d like to introduce you to my friend; ‘Clear 461 unread notifications’.
21 mins - GOAL! As I laughed at my empty inbox, the Spiders got a decent enough goal, too. Starling aren’t fast enough to get back after a promising free kick clanks into the wall, Sabitzer lamps it upfield and suddenly there’s a break on, and Tess Pell, one of the league’s fastest players, is on the end of it. She races all the way through on goal before her shot is deflected by Smordal and spins away… across the face of goal, and Deborah Stokes taps it home. NLA 1-0 STA.
22 mins - Close for Crisisbless United! A great set of interplay culminates in Novkovic hammering a shot… straight at Lethbridge, who stiff-palms the ball away, Valkanis hoofs it away… straight into the Chequers midfielder Kitzbichler, who sets up Rivers to take a first time shot that stings Lethbridge’s palms as it goes over! But that should be 1-1.
23 mins - And they almost concede on the counterattack! Antelmi’s corner - well, the Chequers are not a tall side, you can understand him going short to Rivers, whose low cross… is hammered away by the imperious Pavlovic, Ivana Henderson hits and hopes forward and suddenly it’s Dani Harper sprinting past the Chequers’ exposed defence, she gets on the end of the long ball but her touch is too heavy and Sparwasser’s able to sprint out and clear away.
24 mins - GOAL! The Gargoyles’ glass jaw strikes again, Raquel Accardi surging down the right, Neptune finding her with a ball over the top, Markranstadt out of position and Accardi makes a spectacular volley look simple, dragging it low and hard past Connell. BEL 1-1 TRE.
25 mins - Which of these Gargoyles will even be sought-after by Premiership teams? Sansa Dreyfuss, the rightback, has been tidy throughout. The young wingers, Lazarou and Conrad, have surely shown enough, and they might lose Muscat, too, someone who can get the ball in the net. And besides those four players who they’ll probably lose, they have… very little. Next season will be difficult for them.
26 mins - GOAL! The Tanners take the lead against the Dockers in what hopefully nobody is calling the Malachi Chalk derby. Some people accuse Miranda Gail of having nothing but pace, but the Chromatik international shows what else she’s capable of. She stands off Magnozzi, before feinting one way, jinking the other, cutting back inside past Calabrese and sidefooting into the bottom corner past Morales’ near post. SFU 1-0 BRI.
27 mins - Deserved, on the run of play, you’d have to say. Brinemouth have the personnel but as ever this season just can’t join it all together. From Southfell’s perspective, Ivan Hemeyer has been immense in holding midfield, as he has all season. And Metan Cordean… finally doing things… wow.
28 mins - GOAL! Speaking of, a goal from the man himself. From notorious flat-track bully to hammering home against Brinemouth, albeit this isn’t the most impressive of efforts. Marlowe takes on a strike, as he usually does when given any space, at all, and lashes it powerfully against the right post from outside the box. It evades both Kuepper and Close following in, but Cordean did better at anticipating it, takes one touch to control and then toebashes it into the roof of the net. SFU 2-0 BRI.
29 mins - It has to be said that the Dockers have looked… pretty staggeringly not great this season. Lujendra Mescalin will be 70 next season, and while all signs seem to be that he’ll be handed a contract extension, he’s not the only aging quality in this side. They’ll need more than just Tidesson next season, having made it clear they’ll be back for the Azuris winger - Bosetti and Roenoujya are retiring, they could really use a new centre-half, and they’ll want to have a replacement lined up for Soederquist, now 29, down the line.
30 mins - GOAL! Erika Wolff is quite good, isn’t she. She looks isolated when Kranevitter rolls her the ball, too acute an angle, but she just drops the shoulder, cuts inside and lamps one past Commerford. NSF 2-0 VIC.
31 mins - Wolff’s been talked about as a potential Nephara international. You can see why. She’s got the strength and pace, the athleticism that Michael Brandon likes in his strikers, and a ruthless edge on top of that. If you’re looking for a B-list Estrella Hawke...
32 mins - Speaking of, the A-List Estrella Hawke almost scores, flashing a header barely inches over after Ens plays in Ojala to whip in a lethal cross. The Moths have had the better of the play, but Athletic have had the clearer chances so far, and managed to keep Claudio Romano quiet.
33 mins - Ooh, that… that could have been a red, surely! South Laithland rightback Sauber’s heavy touch cedes the ball to Ramona Porter, who streaks past her and gets scythed down from behind for her trouble. Sauber wanders off looking innocent, and players in both purple and orange (which clash horribly, by the way, this is a terrible clash from an aesthetic perspective) crowd the referee. But referee Rufus Conrad opts for mercy, and a caution.
34 mins - For aesthetics, the match of the round has to be Goodfeather versus the Harriers. Goodfeather’s quartered jade and bottle green against the iconic red with white pinstripes of the Harriers… mmm. The actual match has been pretty terrible, though. The only news of any excitement is that Harriers captain and defensive midfielder Kutris has just limped off, replaced by the uninspiring Micah Horner. That raises the chance of something happening, at least - he was shutting Rannon down with ease.
35 mins - GOAL! Is anyone going to patriotically flay me alive if I say that Xixi Ens is better than Estrella Hawke? Because he is. Dropping deep to take up possession, he turns, skims effortlessly past two Moths and then flights a shot brilliantly into the bottom corner, Griffin’s dive for show more than any real hope of saving it. The Moths will say it was against the run of play. Maybe so. But it was a damn good goal. SFM 0-1 SFA.
36 mins - The crowd do not like that. They’re saying Hawke was offside - she kind of was, but wasn’t interfering with… anything, really. You can see the Moths aren’t complaining at all, they’ve just kicked straight off and already a botched cross from Meier has sailed majestically into the side netting.
37 mins - GOAL! It was only a matter of time. Belgrave have lost control, with wild passes and marking more out of desperation than cunning, without ever really creating a chance since the goal. Still, they seemed to have cleared a Stags attack, Naess clearing but only as far as Trahearne, who chests it down and then flights a long ball over the top. Aristide Metzger steals a match on the flat-footed Gargoyles’ defence and heads past a stranded Connell to put the Stags in the lead. BEL 1-2 TRE.
38 mins - Cypher Town against Newrook City was the second match to see a goal. Nothing has happened in the 33 minutes since. It’s a chance for the Rooks’ lesser lights, players like Lorne Winter and Isobel Foster, to shine. They aren’t taking it.
39 mins - GOAL! Brinemouth pull one back. It’s Malachi Chalk, running into the box at just the right moment, Martane finding him brilliantly and he just drags it somewhat unwieldily between Aldous’ legs with his left boot. He fist-pumps before realising he shouldn’t celebrate against his old club, and then tries to look studiously sombre and actually just looks embarrassed as his teammates mob him. SFU 2-1 BRI.
40 mins - Sauber, who has already had the most orange-hued of yellow cards, is somewhat reckless in rising for a header, Ramona Porter slammed to the ground and instantly rising back up, grabbing Sauber by the shoulders before they’re separated. Conrad decides they basically even one another out, and neither gets booked. One would suspect Rage would prefer they both were… that definitely appears to be the point that Spurlock is making, gesticulating furiously at an impassive fourth official.
41 mins - GOAL! The Chariots pull a goal back against the Bohemians. Seamster puts one over the top, Ruskin surges through everyone to get ahold of it, but his shot is beaten away by Sparr. Ruskin takes back the rebound, sees his angle narrowing and Abner chasing him… then slides the ball across to overlapping fullback Brill, making a genuine box into the run, and she hits it first-time past Sparr. NSF 2-1 VIC.
42 mins - “Is anyone else just happy that Sparr isn’t suffering a fourth relegation?” asks Yolanda Corren from Riverkey. Well, not yet, anyway. He was chased by most of the poor teams, and that’s his curse. He’s an excellent shot-stopper, but he’s not UICA material unless he’d be content as a backup. He’ll be 33 next season.
43 mins - Sparr reportedly rebuffed Bishop in the offseason. Now there’s a team that needs a goalkeeper. Risdon’s just not good enough, Scannell’s past it, Alderweiss… well… his first Premiership appearance has mostly been ‘panic’. He’s managed a couple of good scrambling saves, as Leichhardt have been all over Bishop so far, but that’s about it.
44 mins - GOAL! You know who’s a good goalkeeper? Althea Taliadoros. The Raven River stopper clips a goalkick all the way down the left, with Jessika Donath hustling out of her way to get onto it… before chipping the ball into the box. Breisgau seemingly overruns it, but it’s actually to backheel it flamboyantly to Petkovic, who steals ahead of her mark to stab home. River have had two shots. They have two goals. CRI 1-2 RVR.
45 mins - PENALTY! Crisisbless United have been getting more haphazard and… just plain tired, with their passing. With their tacking, too. Skapetis skips inside Stamatellis, who isn’t up to much at this level, tries to hack away the ball and hacks down the fiery winger instead. Nikolaidis, cool as ice, steps up… and, mind, the Hawks have missed fully half their penalties this season, with three different takers. Sparwasser needs to save this.
Injury time - GOAL! He can’t. Nikolaidis rattles the underside of the crossbar, power over placement, with an unsavable shot. Konrad Evans’ team talk just got more complicated. Will they really be able to get two goals past a semi-tight Coret defence? CRU 0-2 COH.

Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Belgrave 1-2 AFC Treason
South Laithland 0-0 Vermillion Rage
North Sabrefell 2-1 Violence Chariots
Crisisbless United 0-2 Coret Hawks
North Laithland 1-0 Starling
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Creed United
Cypher Town 1-0 Newrook City
Leichhardt 1-0 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless 1-2 Raven River
Southfell United 2-1 Brinemouth

As things stand, Crisisbless United are safe, South Laithland stay in the playoff place, Goodfeather are relegated.

46 mins - And we’re off again. As things stand, South Laithland will be safe with a win. You can tell they know; they’re going for it from the off, but a rather optimistic shot from Natasha is easy for Leila Ramelow.
47 mins - GOAL! A thing happened! A good thing, even! Promising teenage winger Petrarch Karaiskakis has been given the nod to start against Corvistone, and after a quiet first half in a sterile match burst abruptly into action, cutting violently inside, then back outside before hammering a left-footed strike across Kovacic to give the Oathmen an opener. CVS 0-1 CRD.
48 mins - Penalty shout for Vermillion! Porter slides a ball forward to overlapping leftback Katarec, whose first touch is a little heavy and Meixner comes out, takes the ball a split second before taking out Katarec for good measure. You’ve seen them given. Rufus Conrad does not. The Southrons have had the 50/50s this match so far, though this was really more a 20/80. That won’t appease the Rage’s fans, though.
49 mins - Crisisbless have been all over a Raven River side that seems content to sit back and try and absorb pressure with the lead. Taliadoros has already been tested, though, and now Allison Swan sends a snap-shot inches over. Workmanlike holding midfielder Aline Ruthers is warming up for River on the touchline, so it looks as though Kia Anders is going to commit to a more defensive strategy - assuming she’s replacing a forward or something, not the excellent Naumoff.
50 mins - It’ll be nice to see Chenoworth Rovers back in the top flight after this season. It’s been weird seeing them so far removed from their local rivals of late. That cuts both ways, too. I’m happy for the Harriers’ newfound success and all, but it was more fun when they and the Rovers were both rubbish, constantly being bounced out of the top flight. Who are your favourite old-school crap Harriers?
51 mins - Come to think of it, the two sides who have been relegated the most - Iron City and Newrook City on five - have both been very stable of late. It’s not like the old days where there were only about 32 teams big enough for the Premiership and they’d just rotate, constantly. Newrook have been stable in the top flight, even at the sharp end; Iron City just finished thirteenth in the second tier, were recently in the third, and have shown nothing to suggest they’ll trouble the top four anytime soon.
52 mins - GOAL! From nowhere! Alright, from consistent pressure, but whatever, the Moths have scored a fabulous goal! The ball had been in Athletic’s half for about three minutes but not quite able to get the shot off - at least, until Federico Serra gets the ball at his feet and just shoots, without pressure, flighting it beautifully into the side of the net past a sprawling Gautier! Game on! SFM 1-1 SFA.
53 mins - “A bit over a decade ago,” reminisces Patrik Kearney from Crisisbless, the best city in Nephara, “I remember the Harriers hired on a bunch of Brenecian players to cut costs. Russ Shorten was one of my favourites, he was rubbish. A large, glowery man who just clattered people in midfield. Couldn’t pass to save his life, of course, but he’d try these thirty-yard screamers that would just keep rising.” Shorten made a better laughing-stock, it has to be said, before he reached the Globe Cup final with North Hall.
54 mins - Vermillion have been in the ascendancy since the half’s started, and are just starting to get the better of South Laithland down the flanks. Porter knocks the ball past Sauber, races past her and cuts across goal, but Conte can’t get there and Breremond, turning on the afterburners, reaches it… to blaze over, from about eight yards! It was an acute angle, to be sure, but that was an abysmal effort and the young winger knows it.
55 mins - Crisisbless United haven’t shown anything to suggest they’re about to challenge Coret Hawks. In frustration, Evans pulls Kitzbichler and Novkovic for Koppel and Schoenauer. Which… would seem to indicate a switch to 4-4-2? The canny veteran Kaija Koppel’s proven she can more or less do a job at this level, and in any case this isn’t working. Maybe they’ll go more direct as a result.
56 mins - GOAL! It’s been coming. Takes a stroke of fortune, though, as Crisisbless break loose on the River defence, Staunton tries to play in Ruhl… but Caravel slides in to try and clear. But it bounces… unfortunately, and winds up going behind the burly centre-half, and Brigitte Coppinger is left with a simple enough finish to whip past a badly exposed Taliadoros. The champions are level, the home fans delighted! CRI 2-2 RVR.
57 mins - PENALTY! Not in any of the relevant games, though. Corvistone playmaker Pangallo swings in an indirect free kick at a dangerous angle, but it floats harmlessly over… everyone. But referee Martel Streiber sees what replays confirm; Afolayan was being dragged to the floor by Reisman!
58 mins - GOAL! Krista Morham sends Matraxis the wrong way from the spot. CVS 1-1 CRD.
59 mins - GOAL! What the fuck? Out of nowhere! Ulrica Rannon takes the ball in an innocuous enough space for the Quakers, then bursts past Horner, muscles past Dmitriev who gets a fair kick of her shins, stumbles but recovers in time to smash a vital opener past Markus Sheffield! GDF 1-0 CHH.
60 mins - That match had been absolutely terrible to that point, the home fans booing. Now they’re bouncing. If South Laithland lose, that will give Goodfeather the playoff place, and Vermillion have been the better team thus far.
61 mins - Back on the subject of crap Harriers of yore. “Remember Gareth Westmead?” asks Michaela Stryger. Of course we do, Michi. May I call you Michi? He was the next great hope to Solve the rightback position for the Cormorants, until he wasn’t. “Remember his dad, Royce? He can’t have given Gareth much of his genepool. He was just big, slow, plodding and, well, the peak of an early-50s Premiership defender, really. Club legend around those parts though, by all accounts.”
62 mins - GOAL! Starling take a deserved equaliser in a match I’ve barely been paying attention to because, well, would you? It’s a simple enough thing, though. Armstrong with a dangerous free kick that breaks up the Spiders’ defensive line, Keira Andisori does what the best goalscorers do and chances it, sticking out a boot for the ball and getting rewarded as it glances past a bewildered Fairweather. NLA 1-1 STA.
63 mins - News has reached the Southrons that they need not only to win and overcome the Chequers, but not to lose and fall behind the chasing Quakers. And now as the home fans perk up, Vermillion gets behind their back line again! Cassadore with a ball over the top, Conte looks to have stolen a march but there’s Duviel de Naam with a brilliant covering challenge, getting some of the man but all of the ball as he sweeps it away!
64 mins - GOAL! People don’t realise just how good at set pieces the Bohemians are. They should. A neat little routine culminates in the big centre-half Tamerlane nodding across goal as miniscule leftback Karagounis dashes in unmarked at the far post, lashing the ball back across goal. Alcuin Sharp gets on the end of it to toebash it into the net. NSF 3-1 VIC.
65 mins - Perhaps unsurprisingly, going ahead has stirred the Quakers into life. Jewel’s already hit the top of the post with a looping header, and now Marisa Leitner, not known as a particularly dynamic midfielder, leads by example and cracks a shot towards the top corner that Sheffield springs magnificently to claw away.
66 mins - GOAL! Belgrave have been tidy in the second half, dominating possession but constantly shunted out to the fringes by the disciplined, muscular Stags. Until now. Ilary Muscat takes the ball, turns and shoots, low and hard, somehow finding the bottom corner. A fantastic goal for a pretty damn good match that nobody is watching. BEL 2-2 TRE.
67 mins - Coret score a third… ? No, it’s chalked off. Kasmeer Jewell (not to be confused with single L Jewel of Goodfeather) steals ahead of the line, stretches out a leg and taps home Draxler’s diagonal ball. Steals too far ahead of the line, as it happens; it’s chalked off for offside, and she’s booked for her protests.
68 mins - Konrad Evans is imploding on the touchline. If that had been a third, that would’ve been game over, surely. He throws on Salz for the superior but booked and exhausted Na’Ryibi. Crisisbless United really need to do this - and they’ve looked better lately, going a bit more direct.
69 mins - “The Harriers produced Gerhard Thunder and Hadrian Belfast,” objects Anna Lauren from Chenoworth (wonder who she supports?). And she has a point. They did. They then immediately ran to Sabrefell to actually build their careers.
70 mins - GOAL! The champions pull ahead! Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic with a little piece of magic, knocking a bouncing ball over the top of Ruthers, letting it bounce once off the luckless midfielder’s head before striking it hard on the volley as it comes down, firing past Taliadoros with searing pace! A touch of slapstick, a touch of brilliance. CRI 3-2 RVR.
71 mins - Olenna Reus gets more into the spirit of it. “My favourite crap Harrier is Daniel Payne. All he could do was hang off the last defender’s shoulder and sprint really fast. Then he got old and couldn’t sprint really fast anymore, or really do anything. His finishing was rubbish, his first touch was terrible and he couldn’t hold up the play. What summarises him most, though, was the fact that he was pushed out of the picture by Juergen Evans. Finally left the team in his early 30s, if I recall.” Daniel Payne makes me think of Daniel Canady, one of my favourite dominant early journeyman Premiership strikers who would struggle to get minutes in the First Division these days. Do not get me started on Daniel Canady.
72 mins - GOAL! They did it! With four four fucking two! Schoenauer stood off with Sorrell before slyly passing the ball across to Stamatellis, who lamps an abysmal cross first-time over everyone. It bounces… to Karii Bruun at the far end, and Bruun collects the ball calmly and fires in her own[i] cross. Lennox rises above Valkanis and heads down powerfully into the base of the post, Lethbridge stumbles and Kaija Koppel throws out a boot to scuff the ball into the net! Ugly as anything, but United are back in this... CRU 1-2 COH.
73 mins - South Laithland, for their part, have firmed up defensively over the past few minutes. Vermillion have lacked a little penetration. Hasn’t helped that Reinhard Meixner is a properly good goalkeeper. AFC Treason are said to be among his suitors, whether or not the Southrons stay up - and of course they have a long and storied history of nicking South Laithland’s best players. It’s just that South Laithland’s best players have generally been pretty naff, lately.
74 mins - GOAL! Newrook B equalises against Cypher. Scrappy set piece goal, the burly rightback Conrad Trelliston actually on the end of it, attacking the far post and blindly heading home Winter’s corner. Enough said, really. CYT 1-1 NRC.
75 mins - So how about Corvette Maulers coming back, hey? It’s not a club I’ve ever particularly liked, it’s not [i]that
big a club, but you just can’t keep the Valesiders down. Even with a totally new manager, even with a fairly mediocre squad, they’ve bossed the First Division. Fiona Norval’s been an inspired signing for them, Vicki Coleman has been outstanding and Dimitrius and Ankergren are excellent wingers by second-tier standards. They’ve traded out a high-octane low-drag approach for something more patient, and that really plays to their wingers strengths - and lets Voleimann really strut his stuff. You fancy they’ll be busy in the window, though. A starting quality rightback, centre-half, and midfielder at bare minimum.
76 mins - GOAL! Vyntra crosses, Magnozzi heads away, Marica Kuepper follows its flight and volleys into the far corner. Brinemouth B just doesn’t look like they have a particular fuck to give. This one’s done, you’d imagine. SFU 3-1 BRI.
77 mins - GOAL! The Quakers cement their advantage. Chenoworth have tried to level the scores, they just haven’t looked particularly inspired, Forster’s made some sharp saves and Ursa Dimitar has been a rock in midfield. It’s Dimitar who gets the ball off Sanna with a sliding challenge, hooking the ball over to Leitner, who plays in Rannon who rattles a shot… off Dimitriev. But only as far as Case, who surges into the box and curls a shot across Sheffield to put the Quakers 2-0 ahead! GDF 2-0 CHH.
78 mins - Morningstar fans will be eagerly awaiting which of the three opponents they’ll face in the playoff. Their defence is excellent, very disciplined - Emily Ynoa’s been the best defender in the league by a mile. But they have the pace to hurt teams, and a fully-actualised Tsiavis. One thing’s for sure; they aren’t going to melt down like last season, Helena Fleischer’s done a brilliant job. Will they want to play talented but flaky United, brusque and unexceptional South Laithland or the dour, tippy-tappy Quakers? Probably the Quakers - that’s a match where their own strengths play well to the Quakers’ weaknesses.
79 mins - GOAL! So much for the optimism in Crisisbless; the situation has officially changed! It’s a simple, inelegant goal, but there’s some beauty in it in a very specific way, Natasha threading a gap in Vermillion’s defence, Esteban Bentzen firing low and hard, Ramelow - who has been excellent - throwing out a boot to scuff the ball away, it bounces back towards goal and Vesuvia Carrick races past the sluggish Jeong to ram the ball across the line! Bentzen looks more than a little like he’s just had a goal stolen, but what does it matter? They milk the hell out of the celebration, and for good reason; as things stand, they are safe! SLA 1-0 VRR.
80 mins - The news hits Crisisbless. United fans spur on their team. They do not want this playoff. They’re rewarded by a speculative shot from Rivers after the winger turns Rudkine inside out, but it goes high and wide. The Quakers, meanwhile, slump. They know they really should have stayed up. Now, that looks a further prospect than ever.
81 mins - “Get started on Daniel Canady,” eggs on Lorenz Palmer from Brookford. I fucking love Daniel Canady. Formerly of Stahlburg Rovers, Sabrefell Athletic (for one glorious season before throwing a strop because they were crap), Parrhesia United, Corvette Maulers, Thor Rellhovn and Bishop - what a career! He was big, strong and ruthless enough to make up for having no real technical skill. His daughter Amelia’s done well at rightback for Bishop this season, actually.
82 mins - RED CARD! Machalat Sauber got lucky earlier for South Laithland, and could have taken a second caution later on before being spirited away for Henrik Raubell… but there’s no such luck for Erik Paston, who clatters Ryan Paulsson with two studs. He’s sent off… and Paulsson’s stretchered off. The bitch of it for Alexis Spurlock is that she just used her last substitute! Both sides down to ten, and Hartmann throws on 17-year old Constantine Jurman, a promising and muscular midfielder but, uh, not exactly ideal. Still, Vermillion are down their playmaker.
83 mins - God… talking about all these players, watching these twelve screens… this league’s come a long way. To all the young people out there who maybe don’t remember, this league… don’t listen to the nostalgics, this was a crap league back in the day. Players drank, they smoke, there wasn’t the technique and after joining the WCC and UICA, well, it was just worse for a while because it meant the best players left. The 47 Moths won the title easily enough, but they’d be a Second Division team at best these days. Maybe only three or four of the Baptism Cormorants could’ve played at this standard, and not for top-half teams at that.
84 mins - GOAL! Sabine Montag had been outstanding for the Bohemians today - she’s been outstanding all season. She was applauded by the fans four minutes ago when she came off for Bethany Madine. Well, Madine just scored. Insult to injury for the Chariots. NSF 4-1 VIC.
85 mins - GOAL! Brinemouth B pull one back, and that’s nice, isn’t it; 36-year old substitute leftback Dre Roenoujya bends his first goal of the season but just one of many for the Dockers in his final match, played through for one last run on goal and curling a drive underneath Aldous, who could probably have gotten down faster, with the outside of his boot. They’re losing, but he celebrates anyway. So do the away fans. I would too - Roenoujya’s a beloved figure around these parts. SFU 3-2 BRI.
86 mins - South Laithland almost clinch it! Meixner claims Nizarut’s cross, before roundhousing the ball down the wing to Alweather, who slips in Bentzen, to Natasha over the top to Carrick, who hurtles through on goal and tries to chip over Ramelow - but the rangy Rage goalkeeper stands tall and manages to punch the ball clear!
87 mins - GOAL! The Quakers cough up a cheap goal just as they looked to have absorbed an attack, Bierofka with a heavy touch in defence seized on by Nikita Loeher - another substitute playing her last match at 35 - who sidefoots calmly past a furious Forster, racing past her to grab the ball and race back to halfway. GDF 2-1 CHH.
88 mins - Oh, almost! The lively Vermillion substitute Nizarut gets on the end of an optimistic cross from Austad, via a contested header between the heroic de Naam and Conte, and arrows a header towards the top corner… but Meixner goes flying to claw it away! Maybe, just maybe, the Southrons--
89 mins - GOAL! No! Broken purple hearts in the Laith as United, pressing hard, get a leveller they don’t particularly deserve! The Hawks overcommit going forward, and are left horribly exposed when Stokes hammers the ball clear down the right, Sigrun Rivers goes running, then slows, before rolling the ball across to Lennox who hits it forward, Rivers hurtling past Rudkine with feverish pace, clipping the ball over Lethbridge - but that’s a fool’s game, with Lethbridge’s height, and he’s able to fingertip the ball clear across goal - but Kaija Koppel seizes on it, and hammers the ball into an empty net! Hints of offside there, but the referee’s not seeing it, and the substitute takes her damn time celebrating her second of the match! As things stand, United are clear! CRU 2-2 COH.
90 mins - The news falls in South Laithland, and the stadium goes quiet. They’re still in with a good chance of survival. That’s more than anyone thought they’d have. But… Coret don’t seem too interested in retaking the lead. The final whistle blows in Goodfeather, no extra time given - Nikita Loeher doesn’t like that, gets right in the referee’s face and is booked in her final match. Hey, she’d have a suspension for accumulated yellows, if it mattered.
Injury time - GOAL! In Crisisbless! The news Southrons and Quakers had been waiting for. But… alas… it is not the right team for them, all the Hawks can muster before the final whistle is a routine shot from Crowford that floats placidly into Sparwasser’s arms. The final whistle blows and the fans start to flood back onto the field, they are back and they are staying. But elsewhere across the town, there’s still more joy to be had as Isaia Urso, who else? Recently off the bench, takes a long ball from Lohengrin delicately on a raised right boot, wrongfoots a stumbling Hateley and hammers the ball past Taliadoros with her left. It is, as has been so rarely the case, Crisisbless’ year. Aidan Brosque has done what he’s come to do, and hammered a losing culture out, a culture happy with second best. Perhaps they’ve lost something of themselves in the process, that traditional appreciation for beautiful, crisp attacking football. But what they do have, what nobody can take away, is the true prize; the Premiership trophy in Urso’s hands. CRI 4-2 RVR.

Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Belgrave 2-2 AFC Treason
South Laithland 1-0 Vermillion Rage
North Sabrefell 4-1 Violence Chariots
Crisisbless United 2-2 Coret Hawks
North Laithland 1-1 Starling
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Creed United
Cypher Town 1-1 Newrook City
Leichhardt 1-0 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless 4-2 Raven River
Southfell United 3-2 Brinemouth

So the Southrons heroically won on the final day, and while that wasn’t as good as it could have been, it averted disaster. Morningstar had automatic promotion in their grasp, but let it slip in a rough draw against Chatswood. They’re well-matched opponents - both very strong, sturdy and physical sides, perhaps lacking in creative edge.

It is a terrible game, as expected. After a tortuous first half, it becomes clear that the match will go to whoever can fashion and finish the first real chance, though the Southrons twice almost took leads from shots fumbled but recovered from by Stars’ 37-year old goalkeeper, Hawthorn. But it is the Warriors who force the first chance, and it is both started and, ultimately, finished by Valeri Longship, as she rolls the ball to Coridan Ryder and then surges down the flank, powerfully, and when Vanstrattan rifles a low cross across the face of goal and de Naam blocks it, it falls to Niko Boldman who looks up and sends a ball over the top of the defence for Longship, somehow Stars’ furthest forward, to stab forcefully past Meixner at his near post. It is a cruel way for the Southrons to bow out, and the sixth straight time the First Division side has won the playoff. But it is what it is. Stars complete a remarkable turnaround within a season.

South Laithland 0-1 MORNINGSTAR

“Winning the Cup,” barks Newrook’s psychotic young manager, Andreu Bartolnicci - fresh off being handed a well-deserved Manager of the Year award for taking the Rooks to fifth, and to this final - “will confirm to the peanut gallery what we already know. This is a big, relevant club. It’s not a matter of physical size, or solely tradition - Stahlburg City are in the second tier and have never won anything, while Starling are the first Premiership club a lot of foreigners will name. No, the Rooks are big from accomplishment.”

Three minutes in, Bartolnicci has one up over his Cosumarite colleague, Lujendra Mescalin, thirty years his senior - Ville Pakkanen, so dangerous, scythes inside and sends a cutting cross that Maladict Farrell, fearless, dives his head onto and drives into the bottom corner. Farrell does, unfortunately, catch the end of Magnozzi’s boot as well, and is guided off, feebly protesting, with a concussion. But it’s that fearless spirit that has Newrook surging forward the rest of the first half, Jakob Carter doing brilliantly to save a well-angled header from Liesel Ironhewer who later drew what she felt was a penalty, off a sly boot from Brymora, that was deemed fair. But the young striker would get the last laugh, albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances - Alessa Marconi rattled a shot against the crossbar that bounced down, into her face, and into the net.

Something had to change, and in the second half it did. Brinemouth surged forward, dominating possession the whole half, but unlike the Rooks, they struggled to get the ball on target. Soon after Conjure, free in midfield, had drawn a remarkable save from Kattner, Alan Bothroyd was taken off for a burly defensive midfielder in Ronan Fallon. Not the most popular move with the fans, and indeed it looked to have backfired just two minutes later when Jazmin Dragana’s stylish, practically decadent swipe of the outstep curled beyond Kattner, whose fingertips brush against the strike but no more. But the hard-nosed, hard-booted Rooks hold out, not quite unscathed - Coynborough is sent off after a vicious lunge on Conjure for a second yellow that could’ve been a straight red - and not without scares, as Scotti rifled a late strike against the bar from ten yards, deflected out of the way only by Zagorec’s shoulder. But come the final whistle, for all the Dockers’ complaints, the job is done. Newrook City become just the second club (after Crisisbless) to win three Cups, their second in four years. Between this and a Globe Cup position… yes, Bartolnicci is right. They have made it.

NEWROOK CITY 2-1 Brinemouth

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Crisisbless 46 28 11 7 81 35 +46 95
2 Sabrefell Moths 46 26 10 10 83 58 +25 88
3 Starling 46 25 12 9 77 46 +31 87
4 Sabrefell Athletic 46 25 11 10 91 62 +29 86

5 Newrook City 46 25 6 15 74 53 +21 81
6 AFC Treason 46 24 9 13 65 46 +19 81
7 Brinemouth 46 22 14 10 98 67 +31 80

8 Vermillion Rage 46 22 10 14 78 54 +24 76
9 Chenoworth Harriers 46 20 12 14 64 57 +7 72
10 Violence Chariots 46 20 9 17 79 78 +1 69
11 Southfell United 46 18 13 15 77 61 +16 67
12 North Laithland 46 18 12 16 75 71 +4 66
13 Coret Hawks 46 18 12 16 58 62 -4 66
14 AFC Corvistone 46 19 5 22 75 77 -2 62
15 Creed United 46 17 10 19 63 65 -2 61
16 Cypher Town 46 13 13 20 44 60 -16 52
17 Bishop 46 13 11 22 51 61 -10 50
18 Raven River 46 14 8 24 63 93 -30 50
19 North Sabrefell 46 15 4 27 64 84 -20 49
20 Crisisbless United 46 12 9 25 66 94 -28 45
21 South Laithland 46 12 8 26 52 82 -30 44
22 Goodfeather FC 46 10 11 25 48 75 -27 41
23 Leichhardt 46 10 9 27 26 62 -36 39
24 Belgrave 46 6 11 29 49 98 -49 29
28 - Hawke (SFA)
26 - Andisori (STA)
24 - Ruhl (CRI)
23 - Romano (SFM), Conte (VRR)
22 - Scotti (BRI), Êns (SFA)
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Estrella Hawke (SFA)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Maeve Bronte (CRI)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Amalie Asghar (STA)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Claudio Romano (SFM)
Team of the Year: Griffin (SFM); Corrello (TRE), Svensson (TRE), Bajnok (CRI), Lohengrin (CRI); Townsend (SFM), Coltrane (SFA), Bronte (CRI), Meier (SFM); Ruhl (CRI), Hawke (SFA) - Bench: Hesketh (NRC); Pakkanen (NRC), Loredan (STA), Armstrong (STA), Couturiaux (NRC), Êns (SFA), Andisori (STA)
Manager of the Year: Andreu Bartolnicci (NRC)

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Corvette Maulers 46 28 10 8 84 45 +39 94
2 Chenoworth Rovers 46 28 7 11 72 34 +38 91
3 Diamondqueen 46 26 7 13 75 47 +28 85
4 Morningstar 46 25 9 12 64 37 +27 84

5 Stahlburg City 46 23 13 10 59 31 +28 82
6 Parrhesia United 46 21 15 10 76 57 +19 78
7 Brookford Otters 46 21 12 13 76 51 +25 75
8 Chatswood 46 19 18 9 53 37 +16 75
9 Cranequin Wanderers 46 19 12 15 53 45 +8 69
10 Stahlburg Rovers 46 19 10 17 55 57 -2 67
11 AFC Serpentine 46 18 10 18 56 60 -4 64
12 Vermillion Wanderers 46 17 11 18 60 63 -3 62
13 Iron City 46 16 13 17 38 44 -6 61
14 West Brinemouth 46 15 10 21 44 52 -8 55
15 Cranequin City 46 15 10 21 42 53 -11 55
16 Greygate 46 16 7 23 49 64 -15 55
17 Hackett 46 14 11 21 43 58 -15 53
18 Coret Rovers 46 13 11 22 60 78 -18 50
19 Armstrong 46 13 9 24 48 66 -18 48
20 Extreme Hills 46 12 12 22 60 80 -20 48
21 Gonen's Bridge 46 10 15 21 37 56 -19 45
22 Locksley 46 11 12 23 44 73 -29 45
23 Stonegrave 46 11 10 25 32 63 -31 43
24 Sheridan 46 7 16 23 19 48 -29 37
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Fiona Norval (CVM)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Fiona Norval (CVM)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Valeri Longship (MRN)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Abigail Teris (PAR)
Team of the Year: Aleksovic (CHT); Siegrist (BRO), Ynoa (MOR), Hartley (DMQ), Laslow (CHR); Teris (PAR), Coleman (CVM), Weber (DMQ), Voegel (SBC); Shi (SBC), Norval (CVM)
Manager of the Year: Daniella Strauss (CVM)

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ritter Town 46 27 10 9 83 38 +45 91
2 Mantlegrove 46 25 10 11 69 47 +22 85
3 The Strongest 46 22 15 9 82 57 +25 81
4 Crisisbless Athletic 46 22 15 9 70 46 +24 81

5 Peregrine 46 22 10 14 81 65 +16 76
6 Rochford 46 20 14 12 59 44 +15 74
7 Pillars of Southfell 46 18 15 13 42 33 +9 69
8 Crossroads Town 46 19 11 16 81 64 +17 68
9 Chardonnay Rangers 46 20 8 18 68 51 +17 68
10 Lazuli Diamonds 46 16 18 12 67 52 +15 66
11 Ballardine FC 46 18 10 18 52 62 -10 64
12 AFC Shale 46 14 20 12 40 39 +1 62
13 The Hanged Man 46 14 19 13 37 40 -3 61
14 Riverkey 46 14 19 13 37 40 -3 61
15 East Laithland Harriers 46 16 13 17 56 60 -4 61
16 Ox River United 46 15 13 18 42 55 -13 58
17 Corinthians No Longer 46 13 17 16 56 62 -6 56
18 Iron United 46 14 13 19 49 60 -11 55
19 Southriver 46 15 7 24 57 71 -14 52
20 Dartmouth Terriers 46 11 18 17 44 55 -11 51
21 Falston United 46 12 10 24 45 73 -28 46
22 Strephonage 46 10 12 24 32 61 -29 42
23 Brindleton 46 8 17 21 41 70 -29 41
24 Sutcroft 46 4 12 30 34 79 -45 24

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Alliance Barossia 46 33 6 7 77 25 +52 105
2 Barossia United 46 26 10 10 74 37 +37 88
3 West Hook 46 24 12 10 66 42 +24 84
4 Kommissar 46 22 17 7 78 48 +30 83

5 Boltcroft Thorns 46 23 11 12 74 44 +30 80
6 Martella Jazz 46 20 12 14 73 70 +3 72
7 Kensey Town 46 19 13 14 83 69 +14 70
8 Aries Solitaire 46 17 17 12 78 64 +14 68
9 Brunyard FC 46 18 11 17 62 69 -7 65
10 Falston Town 46 18 9 19 75 72 +3 63
11 Downsparrow 46 17 12 17 81 80 +1 63
12 Hartford Glade 46 17 11 18 56 66 -10 62
13 Brokenarch 46 15 15 16 58 69 -11 60
14 Gosmouth Swans 46 17 8 21 60 61 -1 59
15 Long Lake 46 15 13 18 51 53 -2 58
16 Sutcroft Athletic 46 16 9 21 58 72 -14 57
17 South Parrhesia 46 15 11 20 58 71 -13 56
18 Mapleford 46 13 15 18 49 64 -15 54
19 Ingram Township 46 12 15 19 42 61 -19 51
20 Sirencall FC 46 14 8 24 61 72 -11 50
21 Boleyn Town 46 12 10 24 30 55 -25 46
22 Pravenna Saints 46 11 12 23 33 53 -20 45
23 Rushe United 46 12 6 28 65 93 -28 42
24 Gridlock 46 9 11 26 28 60 -32 38

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Fully Sick XI 38 23 10 5 74 36 +38 79
2 Fischer 38 21 11 6 59 35 +24 74

3 FC Seierstad 38 20 11 7 70 45 +25 71
4 Iberia Chenoworth 38 19 6 13 77 56 +21 63
5 Grovebank 38 17 11 10 57 42 +15 62
6 Lockheed Zenith 38 18 8 12 54 45 +9 62
7 Ringway 38 18 5 15 48 45 +3 59
8 Harrington 38 16 9 13 55 51 +4 57
9 Crownsend Journey 38 14 14 10 60 45 +15 56
10 Stonesthrow Town 38 15 7 16 41 46 -5 52
11 Courser 38 14 9 15 55 50 +5 51
12 Dross Rovers 38 12 10 16 37 40 -3 46
13 AFC Hellerine 38 11 13 14 38 50 -12 46
14 Sleetwell Rangers 38 11 12 15 45 59 -14 45
15 Capricopia Rangers 38 11 9 18 50 59 -9 42
16 Fenland Albion 38 11 9 18 36 51 -15 42
17 Swag Hill Rovers 38 9 10 19 33 61 -28 37
18 Aspen Grove 38 9 9 20 44 66 -22 36
19 Coleman Ridge 38 8 9 21 39 64 -25 33
20 AFC Brackwold 38 7 10 21 32 58 -26 31

Promoted: Riverkey Shells, Chenoworth Teutons

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Bodkin Road 38 26 8 4 70 27 +43 86
2 Autumnstone 38 27 4 7 84 38 +46 85

3 Rochford Pilgrims 38 24 8 6 70 41 +29 80
4 South Brill 38 23 9 6 70 35 +35 78
5 Brookford Vantablack 38 18 8 12 69 50 +19 62
6 The Travellers FC 38 14 14 10 66 59 +7 56
7 Stamper Road 38 16 7 15 46 44 +2 55
8 Constance Park 38 14 11 13 33 33 +0 53
9 Coral Bay 38 14 7 17 63 72 -9 49
10 Rookwall 38 13 9 16 61 60 +1 48
11 Corvistone City 38 11 14 13 45 41 +4 47
12 AFC Burchess 38 13 8 17 41 47 -6 47
13 Rhyburn Swifts 38 13 8 17 53 64 -11 47
14 AFC Volksgarten 38 13 8 17 36 49 -13 47
15 Brookway Town 38 11 12 15 46 47 -1 45
16 Twelvetrees 38 11 8 19 28 41 -13 41
17 Blaze 38 8 10 20 49 73 -24 34
18 Corby Hubris 38 7 11 20 38 71 -33 32
19 Mainstream Fist 38 6 12 20 41 72 -31 30
20 Gridlock Rovers 38 5 10 23 22 67 -45 25

Promoted: Caldwick Strand, Cranequin Souths
Last edited by Nephara on Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:08 pm

Season 72 Preview


League Finish: 10th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Scythes (29,500)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Anise Riske
Top Scorers: Sierra (19), Riske (14), Escrow (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Commerford (29); 2 - Strauss (26), 5 - Tarrasch (25), 4 - Na’Duha (25), 3 - Brill (29); 7 - Seamster (24), 8 - Tsiolkas (28), 11 - Riske (27, c); 12 - Lazarou (24), 15 - Sierra (24), 16 - Kaelin (26)
In: Elsa Kaelin (Starling, 6m), Alexandra Lazarou (Belgrave, 4m), Achileas Tsiolkas (Crossroads Crusaders, 3m)
Promoted: Lorena Strausz (CM, 19)
Out: Varga Neury (Hackett, 1.5m), Drago Ward (Stahlburg City, 1m), Packie Milner (Manehattan Dragons, free), Inka Quiverell (Salt Lick City HC, free)

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

71: Premier - 10th - 69 pts
70: Premier - 9th - 73 pts
69: Premier - 11th - 62 pts
68: Premier - 14th - 59 pts
67: Premier - 11th - 64 pts

The Chariots had an… eventful season, scoring 79 and conceding 78 goals as they managed to stay in the top 10 against the odds. It was a quietly good year, but it’ll probably be most remembered for Mirka Ceciu scoring the first hat-trick of own goals in Premiership history. With big changes at boardroom level, Safarova’s won the trust of the board to build the Chariots into a UICA contender.

However, there have been Changes around the Scythes. Not least, you’ll notice you are reading the Chariots overview at the start, not the end; they are now Aries Chariots, as in Aries the state, rather than Violence the dirty east Sabrefell suburb full of Licentian immigrants. That name change reflects their aspirations, which are to get back to their glory days. They might seem distant now, but the Chariots did once come second in the league. They wound up looking at home for the signings who would propel them there, fringe Nephara international Elsa Kaelin and the sharp, clever Lazarou bolstering their forward line, while another former Belgrave player in Tsiolkas comes home, exactly the kind of technical but uncompromising holding midfielder this team demands. Varga Neury looked promising at a young age but failed to kick on, but a desperate Hackett side were willing to pick him up, while Drago Ward would apparently rather be a third-choice striker at Stahlburg than Aries. Well, it’s his career.

Isla Safarova did great things with a middling squad that played confident, fast-paced football. Now they have the personnel and, it’s hoped, the cutting edge to really punish teams. There’s an adept passing midfield, one of the fastest forward lines in the league and, remarkably, not a single player on the roster above 29. There’s a real belief fostered under Safarova, a strong identity, and now they have the investment to back that up.

With Claudia Escrow - linked with a move abroad that ultimately didn’t materialise - not exactly pulling up trees, fans asked the question; why not just put Rowena Sierra up front? It was trialled late last season, and has been her consistent place in preseason. It’s worked. No longer the coltish, flighty winger of her youth, Sierra’s a determined forward, direct when she needs to be but happy to float around if it works best at the time, and clinical in front of goal with a penchant for carefully placed, measured shots.

While Giselher Ruskin probably doesn’t get into the strongest XI anymore, the muscular 21-year old winger should still play a strong part in the gruelling 46-match season. Last season, he was a constant for the side, not only a busy and willing attacker but the kind of defensive, almost Osarian winger who pressed high and hard. If he adds a bit more cutting edge to his game, a Nephara callup can’t be far away.

There’s a neat little Cosumarite connection running down the side, perhaps unsurprisingly given the manager. Commerford is a composed head between the posts, and has been exactly the kind of calm voice needed to reassure a young, somewhat inexperienced defence, generally playing a risky high line. Na’Duha has emerged as a leader of that line despite her young age, and while she still has a mistake or two in her, she makes up for it with her match intelligence. Tarran Seamster had good days and bad last season, but when on song he was a great player, bombing box-to-box and hitting his targets with killer balls. He took a while to adapt to Premiership physicality, but seems more confident these days.

A shift in mentality, momentum and backing. A few good signings and another year’s experience in a young team isn’t going to guarantee them a UICA berth - certainly not in this cycle - but they’re headed in the right direction, and aren’t too far off.

Manager: Isla Safarova (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Vance Commerford (COS), 20 - Jasper Kirkland, 25 - Erhard Klein
Defenders: 2 - Barak Strauss, 3 - Alexis Brill (COS), 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch, 13 - Mirka Ceciu, 18 - Ansom Payne, 19 - Harper Ashcroft, 36 - Oskar Burnside
Midfielders: 6 - Laura Belfry, 7 - Tarran Seamster (COS), 8 - Achileas Tsiolkas, 11 - Anise Riske (c), 24 - Molly Cunning, 34 - Lorena Strausz
Forwards: 9 - Claudia Escrow, 10 - Giselher Ruskin, 12 - Alexandra Lazarou, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 16 - Elsa Kaelin, 17 - Isabella Chaplain, 22 - Sujet Carsley


League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Crossgate (23,000)
Nickname: the Bishops
Captain: Ansel Penbrooke
Top Scorers: Feisser (10), Penbrooke (7), Mersiades (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Krieven (24); 2 - Canady (27), 19 - Ierardi (31), 5 - Rosenbauer (31, c), 3 - Shore (23); 4 - Beresford (34), 13 - Driver (22); 12 - Huyton (23), 11 - Rannon (26), 17 - Feisser (27); 21 - Jensen (24)
In: Stovar Krieven (Interblag FC, 3m), Ulrica Rannon (Goodfeather FC, 2.5m), Claire Beresford (Port James Athletic, free)
Promoted: Holden Beckwith (ST, 20), Camus Mortenson (GK, 19), Esther Vorster (LAM, 18)
Out: Juliet Bezemer (Coret Hawks, 3m), Odette Longstocking (Cloudsdale Colts, free), Lysander Corsell (Army Patriot, free), Julian Alderweiss (Mawford United, free), Nicki Reed (Real Maredrid, free)
Retired: Rebecca Scannell (GK, 36)

First Division Champions (58)

71: Premier - 17th - 50 pts
70: Premier - 19th - 45 pts
69: Premier - 13th - 58 pts
68: Premier - 10th - 70 pts
67: Premier - 12th - 64 pts

Predicted to go down last season by most, the Cardinals never really looked in danger of it. Solid, disciplined and drilled to within an inch of their lives by Conan Estelline, they hovered in lower midtable all season, Ierardi a giant for them and Ingrid Feisser finally kicking into full flight.

A net spend of 2.5 million, in a cycle where those around them splashed hugely by comparison, underlines why Bishop just might not have the catchment to sustain a Premiership club. They badly needed an upgrade at goalkeeper, with Risdon not quite up to it and Scannell (now retired, with fond memories) well past her best, and Squornshelan international Krieven scratches that itch. Ulrica Rannon, meanwhile, gets another chance to prove she’s up to Premiership standard, and that was all well and good until Coret snatched Juliet Bezemer, the defensive midfielder key to Bishop’s survival hopes. Last-ditch replacement Claire Beresford was a superior player in her heyday, but now she’s, well, 34. She offers the pure mongrel that was perhaps lacking last season, but lacks Bezemer’s calm in possession. Of those who were released, only Reed could perhaps have really made it at this level, but Rannon’s signing left her surplus to requirements.

Conan Estelline’s been making unhappy noises to the press about how he’s been undercut in the transfer window, and there was some talk in the offseason of him leaving in protest at the situation. He didn’t, and the Cardinals are better for it. The former Llamaland NT assistant manager’s use of precise analytics let him play the percentages, particularly at the set pieces where Bishop became a real threat, and conceded the second-fewest of any team. They play a slow, possession-heavy style, a little too patient for most fans’ tastes.

Ingrid Feisser can be a frustrating player, often prone to being unsettled by physicality or fading out of games, or sometimes overthinking things. But Estelline brought the best out of her last season, and she was (mostly) on form. Bishop didn’t make many clear cut chances, but Feisser was at the heart of many of them, converting possession into clever passes no defender could see coming and chalking up ten goals for herself.

Alyss Driver announced herself last season as the beating heart of the Bishop midfield, generally found in one box or the other causing trouble. Nobody on the team fouled more, got carded more or ran as much as her, and it showed. She’s still a little raw, unsurprisingly, but her potential is high as anything, and the longer Bishop get to be the ones benefiting from it, the better. Perhaps, with the more defensive Beresford alongside her, she’ll even have more room to flourish?

Joscelyn Rosenbauer is an experienced, disciplined defender, good with the ball at her feet and calming in front of her people. When it comes to a ball-playing defender, there’s few better at the lower end of the league. Faiza Huyton, similar to Feisser, took a while to adapt to Premiership physicality. It took her longer. But there’s still flickers and starts of something, and a promise of the X-Factor the Cardinals will need to stay up. And while Ulrike Jensen up front is a fine enough striker with a growing confidence and a knack for throwing herself into 50/50s, the option to inject seasoned international poacher Ansel Penbrooke off the bench sets them apart from many of their relegation rivals.

It just looks a season too far for the Cardinals. It’s unfortunate for Estelline, who will surely pick up interest from top leagues at home or abroad if Bishop are relegated, but he’s not a miracle-worker. Unless he is.

Manager: Conan Estelline (SLL)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Stovar Krieven (SRS), 20 - Connor Risdon, 30 - Camus Mortenson
Defenders: 2 - Amelia Canady, 3 - Kirsten Shore, 5 - Joscelyn Rosenbauer, 6 - Darren Crinion, 18 - Kearney Smith, 19 - Deshawn Ierardi (AUD), 24 - Andrey Mincham, 25 - Connor Wettin
Midfielders: 4 - Claire Beresford, 7 - Corinne Mersiades, 8 - Chloe Asquith, 11 - Ulrica Rannon, 12 - Faiza Huyton (EFL), 13 - Alyss Driver, 15 - Gared Kuepher, 17 - Ingrid Feisser, 22 - Jacqui Milligan, 33 - Esther Vorster
Forwards: 9 - Holden Beckwith, 10 - Ansel Penbrooke (SLL, c), 21 - Ulrike Jensen


League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Runners-up
UICA Run: Champions Cup 1st Knockout Round
CdC Run: First Round
Stadium: Portsgate (57,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Stig Soederquist
Top Scorers: Scotti (22), Dragana (20), Conjure (16)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 20 - Bull (27); 2 - Brymora (27), 6 - Magnozzi (25), 5 - Windtide (27), 3 - Close (22); 7 - Tidesson (24), 21 - Soederquist (29, c), 10 - Conjure (28), 14 - Dragana (28); 17 - Saitou (25), 4 - Kuznetsov (23)
In: Bryger Tidesson (Real Azuris, 65m), Desya Kuznetsov (Cazadores Cathair, 50m), Ryan Bull (Honeybadgers, 9m)
Promoted: Zara Cormann (ST, 19), Alphonse Royer (LB, 18)
Out: Claudia Martane (Belgrave, 3m), Jakob Carter (Morningstar, 2.5m), Lacuna Harlequin (Apple Orchard HC, free)
Retired: Jonathan Bosetti (DM, 37), Drê Roenoujya (LB, 36)

6 Premiership titles (53, 54, 55, 61, 62, 70)
NFA Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

71: Premier - 7th - 80 pts - GC
70: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
69: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC
68: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC
67: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC

Brinemouth matched their goal output from last year, but couldn’t back it up with defensive work. They started flash, but couldn’t really sustain a title challenge, and fell away near the end. They almost won the Cup, but not quite; they didn’t do much internationally. Stretched, perhaps, a little too thin.

Last season’s dead-cat act had put everyone on notice. This time, Brinemouth actually pulled it through. Bryger Tidesson becomes the most expensive player in Premiership history. Desya Kuznetsov becomes… the second-most expensive player in Premiership history. Perhaps the world’s best right winger and certainly the world’s angriest striker weren’t enough, though, and Ryan Bull comes in from Eura - exactly as ogrish as you’d expect from the name, but marrying that to a comfort playing the ball out from the back you rarely see in this country. Martane and Carter, both good players, leave for what is relatively pocket change - Bosetti and Roenoujya, however, were both very important to the club and will be remembered very fondly.

Mescalin is going all out this season. Last time around they lost something - this time that isn’t the case. In preseason they’ve thrashed teams ten ways to Sunday, the highlight a 10-0 friendly win over West Brinemouth, and have looked to press high, pass confidently through the channel of the exceptional pivots Conjure and Soederquist, who look to release quick, incisive wingers (who can both get on the scoresheet themselves) who can in turn feed the voracious beast, Kuznetsov, or his capable aides. They want the ball, they want to do things with it, they want to hurt teams.

Pretty much every Brinemouth player dipped in form last season. The same can be said of Evelyn Conjure, but to be fair, she was coming off perhaps the best season any player has had in Premiership history. She has every single thing you could ask for from a midfielder - not far behind a goal every other game, a great eye for set pieces, the engine to run box-to-box and the intelligence to know when to run box-to-box, and she’s entirely willing to play a more holding role, as well. That’s going to be tested this season, in a deeper berth alongside Soederquist.

The defence is the weakness of the side, relatively, and there’s still all four internationals in it. One of them is Marcin Close, ‘just’ 22, who is perhaps surprisingly for the team a defender first and foremost. He times his runs to perfection, and has the pace and energy to ensure he’s never caught out, as well as the discipline to avoid picking up cards. Dragana doesn’t really track back, so a player like Close to help her with unselfish runs and diligent defending is essential.

Miri Windtide is the leader of the defence, a commanding statuesque figure who commands her squad with complete confidence. Handy with the ball at her feet, too, as you’d expect from a Cenian. Stig Soederquist is similar to Conjure, but less inspired and more physical. He is, however, a renowned leader in the dressing room, as well as on the pitch, often seen rallying when heads drop. Jazmin Dragana, meanwhile, has hit the real prime of her career as an incisive, creative and individualistic winger, the kind of talent who needs space and time to do her thing. Sometimes, though, that will win you a game.

After nine figures of investment, anything less than the title is failure.

PREDICTION - Champions.
Manager: Lujendra Mescalin (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Juan Pablo Morales (CEN), 20 - Ryan Bull (EUR), 25 - Simon Robinson
Defenders: 2 - Danijel Brymora, 3 - Marcin Close, 5 - Miri Windtide (CEN), 6 - Giorgio Magnozzi (MRC), 18 - Gerik Morlock, 19 - Moxie Crowe, 22 - Gianluigi Calabrese (OSR), 32 - Alphonse Royer
Midfielders: 8 - Malachi Chalk, 10 - Evelyn Conjure (SCT), 11 - Ilona Duerden, 12 - Alyss Montague (CMT), 13 - Morena Deventer, 14 - Jazmin Dragana (CMT), 15 - Kyron Bartley (OSR), 21 - Stig Soederquist (COS)
Forwards: 4 - Desya Kuznetsov (AUD), 9 - Pablo Scotti (VLD), 16 - Sven Ascalon, 17 - Iori Saitou (HIN), 31 - Zara Cormann


League Finish: 9th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers, the Reds
Captain: Diogenes Kutris
Top Scorers: Crowther (13), Braugher, Rexmont (12), Sanna (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Sheffield (31); 16 - Dalton (29), 19 - Carroll (25), 19 - Dmitriev (26), 3 - Rouphos (23); 10 - Stensholt (25), 12 - Kutris (31, c); 7 - Crowther (24), 8 - Sanna (29), 11 - Rexmont (29); 9 - Whittaker (24)
In: Tom Whittaker (Carsby, 8m), Catheline Stensholt (Cypher Town, 5m), Lionel Dalton (Cirelbourne, 3.25m)
Promoted: Nikita Charisteas (CM, 18), Darius Nagant (DM, 21)
Out: Harriet Skiff (Cranequin City, 1.5m), Micah Horner (Lhanaton Xavam FC, free)
Retired: Nikita Loeher (ST, 35)

First Division title (64)

71: Premier - 9th - 72 pts
70: Premier - 8th - 76 pts
69: Premier - 8th - 75 pts
68: Premier - 6th - 68 pts - GC
67: Premier - 4th - 82 pts - CC

It feels weird to call 9th the Harriers’ worst finish in six years, but that’s what it was. After long stretches of overachievement, last season was… well… achievement. It was about right. They scored the fewest goals of any of the top ten, and fell away from a legitimate top four push in the back half of the season.

In a very competitive window, the Harriers needed to boost their personnel - especially after drift last season, largely due to failure to reinforce. Angela Braugher, bluntly, is not as good as she thinks she is. Tom Whittaker is certainly not as good as he thinks he is, but his staggering ego leaves a lot of room to be an excellent striker. Could be an excellent signing, could be a liability. Stensholt, though, is a rock-solid signing. 5 million for a lock as a starter for 5 years, a technical midfielder, captain at Cypher Town, with the pace and graft to link attack and defence. Dalton, meanwhile, is a somewhat surprising signing, but is an experienced Ko-oren international who should patch up the defence. Skiff never really got to break through, but Nikita Loeher hangs up the boots with a lot of fond memories, a couple of Nephara caps and an Iron Boot, with a career spent at Starling, the Otters, Rozelle and the Harriers.

Sedder’s philosophy has always been to make up for talent with graft, for technique with sweat… but with no small amount of technique at his side, either. Still, the strategy going forward is mostly based on grunt work, everyone doing their part to press high and win back the ball and do things with it. That might be the direct route, lumping it to Whittaker, but mostly the side relies on getting their excellent wingers into play.

Brae Crowther is their best player when on song, and that consistency is slowly working its way into her game. You have to have a tough mentality to survive as a Brenecian in Nephara, and after her temper got the better of her in the past, she’s clearly getting mentally stronger. Her pace is electrifying, she’s losing her tunnel vision, and her clever runs and tricks pay off more often than not. Perhaps most importantly, she chalked up thirteen goals, picking up the slack. If the Harriers can’t keep up with Crowther, she’s headed somewhere that can. Sooner rather than later.

The unexpected success story of last season was a sturdy little local leftback called Nike Rouphos, who was quietly handed the #3 shirt vacated by Jascha Bekkwaters and locked down the position for herself all season. “Nike’s the Goddess of Victory,” the well-read Rouphos told the press after the first of her two POTM awards, “and I live to embody that in my training and my conduct.” She’s rough when she has to be, of course, and a real competitor, but what catches the eye most of all is her eye for crosses. She’s hung around Whittaker a promising amount in the off-season...

Sheffield remains the most quietly above-average goalkeeper in the league, not the kind to make flashy saves or 10/10 performances, but he’ll give you a 7 or an 8 time and again. Valery Dmitriev, the Harriers’ one signing last season, is a typical Audioslavian grafter, but with a penchant for forceful sliding challenges that has made him the toast of the town. Steven Rexmont, meanwhile, missed a step last season, but even then he was lethal in front of goal. The sturdy Schottia international freely admitted he wasn’t at his best, and has knuckled down to get back there.

For all the investment, the Harriers still aren’t a Globe Cup lock. It’s set to be a very close-run thing, though, and if Whittaker gives them ten more goals than Braugher could, if Stensholt adds that touch of sharpness in midfield, that could make the difference.

Manager: John Sedder (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Leonard Patterson (AUD), 20 - Markus Sheffield (SLL), 25 - Theold Bracewell
Defenders: 2 - Reinhard Armstrong, 3 - Nike Rouphos, 5 - Victoria Carroll, 6 - Matthew Braylock, 16 - Lionel Dalton (KOR), 18 - Alessandra Guiliani (OSR), 19 - Valery Dmitriev (AUD), 35 - Gwen Kite
Midfielders: 4 - Katja Christensen, 7 - Brae Crowther (BRE), 8 - Bonifacio Sanna (OSR), 10 - Catheline Stensholt, 11 - Steven Rexmont (SCT), 12 - Diogenes Kutris (c), 13 - Charybdis Kou, 15 - Darius Nagant, 21 - Monica Bairstow, 23 - Soren Coleman, 36 - Nikita Charisteas
Forwards: 9 - Tom Whittaker (EUR), 17 - Angela Braugher, 22 - Sequel Bathanay


League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Captain: Julia Thane
Top Scorers: Bazin (16), Paterson (14), Eason (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 20 - Britton (30); 13 - Fife (27), 19 - Ibex (28), 6 - Capradossi (24), 22 - Laslow (24); 7 - Thane (29, c), 4 - Svenskah (30), 10 - Paterson (26), 12 - Rowell (22); 9 - Bazin (33), 17 - Murray (24)
In: Nya Murray (Chromatik Capitalizt, 4m), Iona Britton (Alnio Union, 3m), Ender Fife (Exton FC, 3m), Yeri Ibex (Baskita FC, free), Lexi Farrakhan (Bufelino, free), Luella Svenskah (Klyde, free)
Promoted: Radamel Curtis (LB, 19), Rashica Horvath (CM, 18)
Out: Orestis Kalyvas (Cranequin City, 1m), Raelene Marinello (Southwind HC, free), Lyn Partisan (Honeyame Anitas, free), Adino Eliot (Chardonnay Rangers, free)
Retired: Autumn Starbuck (ST, 35), Felix Shaw (GK, 35)

First Division title (53)

71: 1Div - 2nd - 91 pts - Promoted
70: 1Div - 7th - 76 pts
69: 1Div - 15th - 58 pts
68: 2Div - 2nd - 88 pts - Promoted
67: 2Div - 5th - 78 pts

Through the time-honoured method of ‘buying a lot of really good, experienced players’, the Rovers were pretty much in the promotion frame all season, surprisingly overtaken by the Maulers but never looking like they’d slip out. Oh, and a derby win over the Harriers in the Cup will only have whetted their appetite for the season ahead. The main thing they need; goals.

Fortunately, the hope is that Nya Murray can provide them. The Eastfielder striker went from strength to strength in Chromatika, and the hope is that continues to be a finishing school for Premiership talent. She’s a sturdy, physical poacher, the kind of player who was born for this kind of team. Also from Chromatika returns Iona Britton, a proven shot-stopper at this level, while fiery Ender Fife fell out with the dressing room at Exton and will fit right in to a fiery Rovers outfit. And the three free agents were great pickups to add meat to the squad - experienced defensive players in Ibex and the rough-and-tumble brawler Svenskah, and the unpredictable confidence striker Farrakhan is a long shot who might just work out. Iskandervale international Autumn Starbuck was a fondly thought of figure, but realistically the Premiership would have been a step too far - perhaps not for Felix Shaw, but he gave the Rovers two brilliant seasons to cap off a very solid career.

Catheline Harper is a motivator first and foremost. As a former captain of the Cormorants, the outspoken manager knows how to speak to players, and commands sincere respect around the dressing room. It’s her second run at the Premiership as a manager after a rather strange stint at Stahlburg Rovers where she was thrust into the spotlight as caretaker player-manager (albeit only after a season-ending injury), and she’s learned a lot of tricks since. Her playstyle is physical, direct and often rather cynical.

It’s easy to overlook Misha Paterson in a tall, strong, meaty Rovers side, thanks in part to Misha Paterson being 5’2”. A relative late-bloomer who only really cracked the First Division with Greygate at 22 - in a season where they were immediately relegated - Paterson seems to have everything it takes to succeed at this level. She’s a fearless, vicious, spiteful midfield terrier off the ball, but on it, she’s a direct, hard-running player who can be playmaker or finisher as the situation demands, more one for the quick, short passes under pressure than the Hollywood long balls. This season is a huge test for her, but she should have what it takes.

Mortola Teffeteller is perhaps unfortunate to have been gently shepherded out of the picture for now, having won a regular place in the side as a teenager late last season, but it’s understandable that they want to let the young prospect continue to acclimatise. While the first-choice defensive partnership is Capradossi and Ibex, Teffeteller’s intelligence belies her age, and her youthful vigour underlines it. She’s an obscure name on these shores, but keen students of the game back home in Cosumar will be tracking for her breakthrough.

Karla Laslow is a sharp attacking fullback, one of those inelegant shuttling players who just always seems to be sprinting into position. But it’s the defensive part of her game which will come under scrutiny this season - but she’s got the wits and the guile to step up. Julia Thane - the captain on the right wing, reminiscent of Harper herself - has had a couple seasons of Premiership experience, one with hometown club Belgrave, another with Stahlburg Rovers. Relegated both times, but she’s been consistently far too good for the second tier. A real classic crossing winger. Nega Bazin, meanwhile, is getting his first taste of the league at 33. He’s a seasoned head, a Banija international, and while he wasn’t exactly prolific at second-tier level, he showed enough to warrant Harper’s continued faith in him.

Even this season, when things are kind of crazy all across the board with unprecedented investment, well… an already strong promoted side, bolstered by a nine million net spend and three experienced free agents on top of that, and a manager who genuinely commands respect? The Rovers should stay up with a buffer.

Manager: Catheline Harper
Goalkeepers: 1 - Janneke Chaeffer, 20 - Iona Britton, 25 - Friedrich Church
Defenders: 2 - Camilla Arkwright, 3 - Mortola Teffeteller (COS), 5 - Jakob Trench, 6 - Markus Capradossi (ETN), 13 - Ender Fife (APX), 19 - Yeri Ibex (CMT), 22 - Karla Laslow, 31 - Radamel Curtis
Midfielders: 4 - Luella Svenskah (SCT), 7 - Julia Thane, 8 - Chris Bronzebridge, 10 - Misha Paterson, 14 - Florencio Lozada (AUD), 16 - Jasper Dyer, 23 - Tormod Joiner, 33 - Rashica Horvath
Forwards: 9 - Nega Bazin (BNJ), 11 - Rene Eason (CMT), 15 - Yannick Rodgers, 17 - Nya Murray (EFL), 21 - Lexi Farrakhan


League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Cormak Lethbridge
Top Scorers: Henderson (15), Ulster (9), Skapetis (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Lethbridge (35, c); 2 - Sorrell (29), 5 - Pavlovic (29), 20 - Constantini (32), 3 - Bronwyne (26); 7 - Skapetis (23), 21 - Nikolaidis (28), 4 - Bezemer (26), 13 - Naeher (29); 9 - Henderson (25), 21 - Amokachi (34)
In: Penumbra Amokachi (Eastweald, 5m), Ambrosio Constantini (Gwinevra Barbarians, 4m), Raquel Naeher (Lammerton, 4m), Juliet Bezemer (Bishop, 3m)
Out: Thanasi Holland (Ulsa Rovers, free), Dani Harper (Seaddle Sounders, free), Amalie Sulzer (Whitetail Rangers, free), Spyros Achaion (Fillydelphia Union, free)

First Division title (56)

71: Premier - 13th - 66 pts
70: Premier - 12th - 65 pts
69: Premier - 12th - 61 pts
68: Premier - 8th - 81 pts
67: Premier - 13th - 62 pts

Coret Hawks’ position in the first, second, third and fourth quartile of the season; 13th, 14th, 13th, 13th. The most noteworthy thing they did was choke a two-goal lead to Crisisbless United on the final day to help them stay up. Jessica Loque’s contract expired, and she was let go without much fanfare.

Things are different this time. All that money unspent in seasons gone by has finally been stamped down, largely on short-term acquisitions who can secure Coret’s place roughly adjacent to the best of the rest. The hulking brute Constantini shores things up at the back, and Coret’s weak point - their midfield - has been reinforced by tasty acquisitions in the shape of intelligent holding midfielder Bezemer and Nephara international winger Naeher, who is kind of a meme as far as her goalscoring presence goesn’t, but she’s going to be brilliant dropping her crosses on the feet of… yes, that is Penumbra motherfucking Amokachi. Bow before the Queen. Okay, so things didn’t go… consistently, at Eastweald. But still, Nephara’s greatest-ever goalscorer, a World Cup champion, has put pen to paper on a two-year deal that finally brings her home after over a decade away.

Jessica Loque wasn’t so much fired as she just kind of drifted out of the job, and it has to be said that Nick Feeney isn’t the most inspiring replacement. If this was in his playing days, sure, the Hawks would be singing, but Feeney’s got to rebuild his reputation. He quietly overachieved with Blackfields for a number of seasons, earning the board’s trust to spend… and how’d that work out of them? Bottom of the league. The Hawks really need to pray history doesn’t repeat there. He’s clearly intelligent, and clearly a good manager on paper, and has emphasised quick and direct attacking play this season.

He’s kind of a mouthy git, and is inevitably at the heart of any handbags. Helpfully, Nikolaidis is also at the heart of most Coret goals, and plenty of defensive efforts as well. A classic box-to-box man whose metaphorical finger is metaphorically glued to R1 as he throws himself around the pitch. His physicality unnerves other midfielders. But he’s more than just a thug, of course, and he offers plenty going forward as well.

Skapetis is just a fantastic player to watch, always driving forward into the channels, with the confidence to flick and trick and sneak past players. To score or assist, that isn’t enough - Skapetis has a sense of style that can sometimes be a source of exasperation, but if she wasn’t the sort of player to take risks, she’d surely be nowhere near as effective. One of the few players last season who didn’t seem to let the ennui get to her.

Cormak ‘the ‘Spider’ Brigadier’ Lethbridge is a commanding presence who calms his defenders and intimidates opponents. Past his peak? Maybe a little, and he struggles to get down quickly enough these days. But he’ll still get the job done, probably for a couple years to come. Overlapping fullback Sorrell has repeatedly told press and social media she’s thrilled to be working with one of the best in her position. And that’s handy, because she clearly needs sharpening - but underneath the sporadic defensive lapses is a brilliant overlapping fullback. Hopefully her lungs can keep up, because Coret’s defensive depth is… not inspiring. Meanwhile, Ivana Henderson is an unselfish target woman, but one who can get the goals anyway. She throws herself selflessly into aerials any chance she gets, will gamble to get on the end of chances, and is more than happy to set them up for others. She likes backheels a lot for some reason.

You can’t help but feel that for 16 million, the Hawks could have - should have - needed to do better. They’re a good team, but at this level, who isn’t?

Manager: Nick Feeney (EUR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Cormak Lethbridge (COS, c), 12 - Mariam Brookhouse, 25 - Malta Stark
Defenders: 2 - Talisca Sorrell, 3 - Lithe Bronwyne, 5 - Dario Pavlovic (PAS), 6 - Eva Valkanis, 18 - Barack Schuyler, 19 - Alexis Rudkine, 20 - Ambrosio Constantini (MBT), 24 - Thorsten Croft
Midfielders: 4 - Juliet Bezemer, 7 - Atalanta Skapetis, 8 - Beatrice Stubbs, 10 - Athanasios Nikolaidis, 11 - Leila Crowford, 13 - Raquel Naeher, 16 - Trifon Draxler, 23 - Constance Best
Forwards: 9 - Ivana Henderson, 15 - Tarquin Ulster, 17 - Sigmund Ambrose, 21 - Penumbra Amokachi, 22 - Kasmeer Jewell


League Finish: Champions (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: The Bullrush (30,000)
Nickname: the Maulers
Captain: Trish Plutarch
Top Scorers: Norval (32), Dimitrius (17), Ankergren (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Lin (24); 19 - Auteberry (23), 5 - Goodharvest (24), 3 - King (27), 6 - Seraph (23); 10 - Clarke (27), 14 - Coleman (25), 21 - Voleimann (26); 7 - Dimitrius (30), 23 - Norval (27), 16 - Ankergren (30, c)
In: Canaya Seraph (Lhor Orcas, 3m), Lena Auteberry (Equestrian Strike HC, 2m), Gloria King (Dwile Warriors, 2m), Gerwyn Clarke (AFC Ruby, 2m), Julian Parable (Westgreen & Trent Albion, free)
Out: Ana Laursen (Bedha English, free), Maria Richter (Freeport United, free)
Retired: Olenna Drake (CM, 36)

71: 1Div - 1st - 94 pts - Promoted
70: Premier - 22nd - 39 pts - Relegated
69: 1Div - 4th - 79 pts - Promoted
68: Premier - 23rd - 34 pts - Relegated
67: Premier - 20th - 47 pts

The Maulers have yo-yoed dramatically over the past couple of seasons, but nobody really expected them to come straight back up this time. They had a manager in her first job, in Daniella Strauss, who pledged patience. They didn’t need patience, and Fiona Norval turned on beast mode to fire them to the title. Do they have enough to avoid continuing the cycle? Probably not!

The board made a decent fist of investment, and it’s to absolutely nobody’s surprise that three new defenders, all expected to slot right into regular starts, are the number one priority. Of these, Gloria King - a cultured player used to maintaining a high line with Dwile Warriors, though not quite up to the required standard, hence the departure - is probably the most important, though the young fullbacks aren’t to be underestimated. The burly midfielder Clarke adds bulk to the centre of the park, and is a handy player to have around. Meanwhile, 33-year old utility Julian Parable on a free is perhaps the least exciting transfer in league history, but makes a lot of sense, a seasoned head who can do a job in a variety of positions for a thin squad.

Daniella Strauss was a cultured, intelligent forward in her day, so it’s perhaps to be expected she encourages cultured, intelligent forward play. That’s different to the traditional ‘Maulers way’, but Strauss recognised she had a serious playmaker in Voleimann and great wingers who preferred to drift inside, and none of them particularly fast. They’ll still press high - they have a young, quick defence - and try to constrict their opponents, before unpicking them with short, clever passes and well-practiced interplay between an unchanged front four (counting Voleimann) from last season.

Fiona Norval mullered the second tier last season with 32 goals; 17 with her left, 14 with her right and just the one header. None were penalties. So you can see why Maulers fans are convinced that Norval, who already has 59 Premiership appearances over three seasons at Raven River to her name, will fire them to safety in the top flight. She’s no mere poacher, either, with the grace and intelligence to drift out of position if necessary, and she found the time to add seven assists to her tally too. For the most part, though, she’s here to score a bucketload, and if she struggles or (Heaven forbid) gets injured, the Maulers might as well throw in the towel.

This could be Michael Lin’s moment to shine. He was bought young, at 22, and after having endured a terrible season at 1940, proceeded to endure a terrible season with the Maulers. But it wasn’t his fault, and the fans learned to see that. Seeing him finally have a chance to grow confidence, become the sweeping, active goalkeeper the team relies on and to make some heart-stopping saves along the way? Lin’s come far since he was last at this level. He’s set to make a far stronger impression.

Long have Corvette’s fans been singing the praises of Vicki Coleman, an industrious defensive midfielder who classily interposes herself in her opponents’ attacking play, more entangling than clattering them in the process, and recycling the ball reliably. Jasko Voleimann has been an inconsistent player at this level in the past, but the tall, powerful playmaker - like an own-brand Konrad Gosforth - will need to reclaim last year’s brilliant form. Sascha Dimitrius is a tall, elegant and cunning forward whose pace is starting to drop, but her game has matured past her coltish early days. No more tunnel vision, and she finally has the end product on her side judging by last year’s 17 goals.

Remarkably strong last season though they were, it would be an even more impressive feature for an inexperienced managed to lead this patchwork of a side to safety.

Manager: Daniella Strauss
Goalkeepers: 1 - Michael Lin (SLL), 12 - Marcia Folkhard, 25 - Acatha Feldman
Defenders: 2 - Stefan Oughtred, 3 - Gloria King (APX), 5 - Rook Goodharvest, 6 - Canaya Seraph (ISK), 13 - Eloise Davison, 18 - Rudi Fallon, 19 - Lena Auteberry (FPT), 24 - Garrick Fraser
Midfieders: 4 - Sebastian Vassall, 8 - Julian Parable, 10 - Gerwyn Clarke, 14 - Vicki Coleman, 15 - Trish Plutarch, 20 - Narcissus Milligan, 21 - Jasko Voleimann
Forwards: 7 - Sascha Dimitrius, 9 - Patches Rathbone, 11 - Gabriel Haines, 16 - Johanna Ankergren, 17 - Aristomenios Karnezis, 22 - Seth Blunt, 23 - Fiona Norval


League Finish: 14th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: the Crows
Captain: Krista Morham
Top Scorers: Afolayan (17), Morham, Stanford (15), Pangallo (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Kovacic (27); 2 - Muhren (27), 18 - Heston (26), 4 - Brosch (21), 22 - Lindgren (30); 23 - Pangallo (29), 8 - Eriksen (26), 11 - Morham (25, c); 7 - Afolayan (27), 9 - Kvanderwyk (31), 10 - Beretti (27)
In: Kathryn Kvanderwyk (Cornellians, 4m), Charmine Beretti (Rozelle United, 3.5m), Corinne Eriksen (Barbury Town, 2.5m), Nikola Lindgren (Anomalies FC, 2m)
Promoted: Olexander Green (CB, 19)
Out: Jess Silkman (Leichhardt, 2.5m), Markus Kaufmann (Peregrine, 1.5m), Nechtan Malley (Condottiere, free), Morgan Halfhill (Ulsa Rovers, free), Parvizdzhon Borrowfield (Perlabuhan Bersekutu, free)

71: Premier - 14th - 62 pts
70: Premier - 15th - 58 pts
69: 1Div - 2nd - 89 pts - Promoted
68: 1Div - 5th - 76 pts
67: 2Div - 3rd - 84 pts - Promoted

Six defeats in a row spelt the end for Davalei Evatee, a manager who did very well for the Crows in the second tier but seemed paralysed in the top flight. Afolayan and Morham’s brilliance made the difference for them, but their defence was pretty appalling at times.

Jess Silkman leaves after one season for a debit of 2 million pounds, after making a lukewarm impact at Phoenix Rise. Depth striker Kaufmann also departs, while Borrowfield and former captain Malley will be remembered for their roles in getting Corvistone this far. Brought in is the flashy winger Beretti, attacking leftback Lindgren (formerly of the Stags), former Cosumar international Kvanderwyk - an energetic, spirited forward, an instant favourite among the fans and the dressing room for her sparkling attitude - and, in a bid to encourage some balance in the team, destructive midfielder Corinne Eriksen will attempt to prove she has more strings to her bow than her management at Barbury Town believed.

Trust the Crows to go with the marquee signing. They failed in their audacious bid for former league winner and Nephara manager Reinhard Shale, but have perhaps found a better fit in Hadrian Belfast, still Nephara’s most legendary player and a successful manager to date at Brookford. He plays a high-octane, high-energy system, valuing pace and industry more than his predecessor, and might well have some lessons to teach his centre-halves - the impetuous Heston, the inexperienced Brosch. Jess Carragher, interim manager at the end of last season, returns to the assistant position.

Krista Morham is beloved by the fans - hell, she’s so well-loved even neutrals like her. She stuck it out with the Crows from all the way in the third tier, so getting the captaincy now (though she still wore the armband plenty last season) is a just reward. She’s an energetic, quick-footed and quick-witted midfielder who excels at raising the tempo and getting things rolling, and she’s a sharp shot from outside the box.

Ilyana Brosch is set to be the first official Corvistone youth product to really Make It, though she was born in Crisisbless - her parents came across for economic opportunity, and it wound up working out great for their daughter. A classy defender, confident in possession, who will not be rushed on the ball - and that leads to some heart-in-mouth moments. Don’t worry, though, she’s more than capable of sticking a boot in where needed.

Ivan Pangallo is the centre of all possession, the former Caza midfielder letting most significant play pass through him. He’s an Audioslavian, so no pushover, but he’s at his best on the ball, picking out passes unerringly and quickly. He has a reasonable eye for goal, too. Chibuzo Afolayan is the star up front, dynamic, athletic, direct and ruthless off the right wing. And when it comes to depth up front, the 30-year olds Stanford (a pure striker) and Haight (a versatile forward) are both seasoned operatives at a high level, who can really give them an extra level off the bench.

It’s starting to look like the Crows really will make the Globe Cup someday. Someday annoyingly soon. Not now, though. They’re good, sure. But not as good as they think they are.

Manager: Hadrian Belfast
Goalkeepers: 1 - Seth Veloz (AUD), 12 - Maria Kovacic (SLL), 25 - Bryson Vilna (EFL)
Defenders: 2 - Katenza Muhren, 3 - Daniyal Helland (EFL), 4 - Ilyana Brosch, 5 - Gerrit Tatu (CMT), 18 - Calcipher Heston, 22 - Nikola Lindgren, 24 - Silvester Streeton, 39 - Olexander Green
Midfielders: 6 - Indartsu Lekea (AST), 8 - Corinne Eriksen (APX), 11 - Krista Morham (SCT, c), 21 - Rain Delacruz (BJK), 23 - Ivan Pangallo (AUD), 33 - Bryce Leicester
Forwards: 7 - Chibuzo Afolayan (BNJ), 9 - Kathryn Kvanderwyk (COS), 10 - Charmine Beretti (EFL), 14 - Cass Rayle, 15 - Erica Manson, 17 - Robby Stanford (ESH), 20 - Alyssa Haight
Last edited by Nephara on Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:54 pm


League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Gardengate (26,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Captain: Georgia Rodrigues
Top Scorers: Korborg (16), Conway (10), Brandtner (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Matraxis (25); 2 - Sanger (20), 19 - Rodrigues (28, c), 4 - Cohen (30), 18 - Seip (29); 21 - Barbarouses (22), 6 - Keskin (23), 8 - Bristoll (26); 7 - Conway (22), 9 - Corvell (30), 16 - Theoharous (26)
In: Mordecai Brandtner (AFC Treason, 3m), Joel Conway (Nukon, 2m)
Promoted: Petrarch Karaiskakis (LW, 18), Anita Sanger (RB, 19), Irene Vintner (DM, 20), Lothar Zander (CM, 19)
Out: Raquel Accardi (AFC Treason, 6m), Ulysses Mithradates (Brookford Otters, 2.75m), Karena Braham (Greygate, free), Kristian Comiskey (Battlebrook United, free), Pandora Dukakis (Marvel Team, free), Karena Bittner (Titania City, free)

First Division title (61)

71: Premier - 15th - 61 pts
70: Premier - 17th - 50 pts
69: Premier - 16th - 54 pts
68: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
67: Premier - 9th - 69 pts

Under Hestia Canaan, the Oathmen managed to avoid last year’s… ‘excitement’, and appear to have firmed into a lower midtable side. They specialise in young, exciting players, and have played quick, relatively entertaining football that attracts both fans and rival scouts like flies. So, it went fine.

Canaan opted for experience in what is an overall fairly unexciting window. Unfortunately, Creed do what Creed do, and yet again have their best player - the outstanding, energetic midfielder Brandtner - depart for more promising shores, in this case Newrook, who are being the fresh new medium-market flavour in the UICA places that Creed used to be themselves. Arriving instead; Delphi Barbarouses, a rather more technical and less physical midfielder than Brandtner, Seip, a proven quantity with UICA experience, and perhaps most intriguingly, Dejan Corvell. Corvell struggled at this level in his early 20s with Stahlburg City, but did better in the SPL after a time flat-track bullying the First Division - he’s back now, and with a point to prove. Hopefully he’s more reliable than the… mercurial Axel Korborg.

Creed aren’t pretty, let’s get that out of the way. But they are combative, solid and disciplined, and willing to hurt opponents if they must. The addition of the 6’ Seip to the back line only underlines that further. They play fairly conventional football going forward, with a holder, a runner (Bristoll) and a playmaker, hopefully, in Barbarouses, two fast wingers and a finisher. They’re a real threat from set pieces, as well - another good thing Barbarouses offers.

Georgia Rodrigues was pivotal in keeping Creed up a couple of seasons ago, and she was just as important in ensuring their stability last season - the armband is her just reward. She’s no brute, though she definitely has that edge to her, waiting, for when she needs it. She’s a calm, intelligent commander, marshalling like a born leader, and her early-career yips have never seemed further away. This could well be her last season before a UICA club comes calling.

Anita Sanger has overcome the Premiership’s most chronic case of resting bitch face to win the starting role off the capable but mediocre Wright. She’s lean, has bad body language, and that kind of got the fans’ back up at first… then they saw her bombing down the wing, hitting impeccable low first-time crosses that perfectly land on their targets, before tracking back diligently to clatter an opposing forward. She’s stronger than she looks, and tougher still than that. And still only 20! She’s already won a couple of caps for Nephara, and more beckon.

Anthoulis Matraxis' feast-or-famine goalkeeping has kept Creed’s fans on their seats for a while now, and it’s probably for the best his backup Caldwick is the most 6/10 goalkeeper in the league. Still, on the balance, you’d have to say Matraxis wins points for them. Over the season. Young midfielder Spahi Keskin is a pure destroyer with no particular interest in passing the ball further forward than to an advancing fullback, but he’s a welcome safety net ahead of the defence. Joel Conway isn’t consistent, yet, and his decision-making needs work, but his relentless drive and directness give Creed a much-needed extra angle for goals.

The Oathmen have stood still at a time when the league perhaps looks stronger than it ever has. And that’s a worry. Still, it’s hard to consign a side with a 7.5m striker, even an annoyingly inconsistent one, on their bench, to relegation. They should really have enough about them.

Manager: Hestia Canaan
Asst. Manager: Jennifer Hooper
Goalkeepers: 1 - Byron Caldwick, 12 - Anthoulis Matraxis, 20 - Eupraxia Teuton
Defenders: 3 - Ash Reisman, 4 - Micaiah Cohen, 5 - Valeria (USI), 17 - Agamemnon Wright, 18 - Arran Marr, 19 - Georgia Rodrigues (SLL, c), 22 - Mircea Boleyn, 34 - Anyta Sanger
Midfielders: 6 - Spahi Keskin, 8 - Kurtis Bristoll, 14 - Irene Vintner, 15 - Sophia Beckner, 21 - Mordecai Brandtner, 32 - Lothar Zander
Forwards: 7 - Joel Conway (EUR), 9 - Valentin Vettriano (AUD), 10 - Justina Donau, 13 - Axel Korborg (SLL), 16 - Menelaus Theoharous, 23 - Conan McMillan (TLI), 31 - Petrarch Karaiskakis


League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Third Round
UICA Run: Champions Cup Semifinals
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Isaia Urso
Top Scorers: Ruhl (24), Coppinger (15), Jevdjevic-Hadsic (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Na’Kefir (27); 2 - Rafford (26), 5 - Molovi (33), 4 - Bajnok (25), 3 - Lohengrin (28, c); 11 - Swan (28), 6 - Bronte (28); 12 - Coppinger (26), 15 - Jevdjevic-Hadsic (32), 10 - Staunton (23); 14 - Ruhl (26)
In: Shjegrzh Na'Kefir (Handon United, 10m)
Promoted: Beruka Danning (LAM, 19), Farina Luhukay (CM, 18)
Out: Gerhard Hartmuth (South Laithland, 3m), Delphi Barbarouses (Creed United, 3m), Lienke Vesper (KF Atlant, 1m)

2 Premiership titles (59, 71)
3 NFA Cups (47, 61, 64)
Cup Winners’ Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

71: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
70: Premier - 2nd - 92 pts - CC
69: Premier - 6th - 77 pts - GC
68: Premier - 4th - 87 pts - CC
67: Premier - 3rd - 86 pts - CC

Once Brosque’s Heelers picked up momentum, midway through last season, and didn’t seem to want to drop it. They were especially imperious near the end of the season, powerful in depth, determined at the back, and they came damn close to a Champions’ Cup final as well. Aidan Brosque might just have shattered Crisisbless’ Heeler mentality for good.

Good, but it could have been great. Shjegrzh Na’Kefir, one of the world’s best goalkeepers, comes in and slots straight into that starting lineup - with the best will in the world, club legend Pawlo Marciak was beginning to show his age - but a 20m courtship of another Cosumarite, Isla Sibucic, ended in precisely nothing. Hartmuth and Barbarouses were good players who had to leave to kick on in their careers, while former World Cup winner Lienke Vesper goes out to Qusmo to see out her career.

Aidan Brosque came preaching discipline, hard work and an uncompromisingly cynical approach to defending that hasn’t really been a part of the Heelers’ culture. He refused to allow celebrations at Crisisbless coming second, and that’s probably been a big part of them winning the title for only the second time in their history. But they’re not just brutes, of course. They have a very classy midfield and rely on their fullbacks for attacking width, and at their best are a fluid, creative attacking unit.

Maeve Bronte came largely uncontested as the league’s Player of the Season, unerring in the tackle and the pass alike. Her role was crucial in breaking down attacks and immediately starting Crisisbless back up on the front foot, whether short to her fellow midfielders or taking a touch to lash one down the flanks for the wingers or fullbacks. Very plausibly the world’s best defensive midfielder.

In a very experienced, hard-bitten squad, Marisha Staunton, 23, stands out as a relative greenhorn. She’s done a lot to impress and surprise pundits and fans lately, after early on in her career being stereotyped as a standard fast-running orthodox winger. She still doesn’t really have a right boot, in fairness, but in the past couple of years she’s made massive strides, better decision-making, more genuine creativity… and is, just in general, twice the player she once was.

Nephara’s first-choice fullbacks Leona Rafford and Sieglinde Lohengrin really do have to be considered as a pair by this point, the short, scrappy Rafford a firebrand down the right, the tall, elegant Lohengrin a nice foil who wears the armband most matches. Andrea Molovi is an often overlooked presence between them, but the 33-year old Equestrian veteran offers a world of calm, and just seems to keep things under control. Up front, Airik Ruhl’s temperamental nature may have pinballed him in and out of the Cosumar national team (not helped by excellent competition), but the Heelers wouldn’t swap him for the world. Brosque always - well, usually - gets the best out of the pugnacious, brawling striker, who lashed home 24 goals last season to complement his excellent all-round play.

Crisisbless have made one strong acquisition to reinforce a powerful squad - their direct rivals have made four or five. There’s a lot to be said for solidity, and this is a strong squad… and it’s set to be a very tight race at the top. Crisisbless will be in and around it.

Manager: Aidan Brosque
Goalkeepers: 1 - Pawlo Marciak (BYN), 23 - Gerhard Hartmuth, 25 - Kay Szarbach
Defenders: 2 - Leona Rafford, 3 - Sieglinde Lohengrin, 4 - Kósa Bajnok (FFD), 5 - Andrea Molovi (EQS), 13 - Osmosis Gandhi (APX), 18 - Ayn Zwayer, 19 - Amelia Warner, 22 - Henrik Parrish
Midfielders: 6 - Maeve Bronte (PCR), 7 - Birgit Snowe, 8 - Isaia Urso (OSR, c), 10 - Marisha Staunton, 11 - Allison Swan (CEN), 12 - Brigitte Coppinger, 15 - Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic (FFD), 21 - Lauro Tedesco (OSR), 26 - Johanna Sutton, 33 - Farina Luhukay, 35 - Beruka Danning
Forwards: 9 - Tia Drenas (EFL), 14 - Airik Ruhl (COS), 17 - Kurtis Laiota


League Finish: 20th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chessmen, the Chequers
Captain: Jasmine Stokes
Top Scorers: Lennox (17), Rivers (13), Antelmi (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Meixner (27); 17 - Bruun (21), 19 - Stokes (27, c), 6 - Banerman (26), 3 - Soto (24); 11 - Solbachen (24), 4 - Na’Ryibi (30), 13 - Antelmi (24); 7 - Rivers (24), 21 - Lennox (26), 16 - Novkovic (25)
In: Reinhard Meixner (South Laithland, 4m), Asha Solbachen (Brookford Otters, 3m), Giovanni Soto (Hoventon & Corlington Town, 2m), Besart Schankelen (San Marcos FC, free)
Promoted: Cedella Verlander (CB, 18)
Out: Andreas Sparwasser (Starling, 2m), Paul Muswell (Samaj FC, free), Carla Briarman (Condottiere, free), Hippolyta Theophile (Rybalty, free), Ixion Stamatellis (Rottor Lake FC, free)

First Division title (70)

71: Premier - 20th - 45 pts
70: 1Div - 1st - 102 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 8th - 69 pts
68: 1Div - 6th - 78 pts
67: 1Div - 5th - 80 pts

The Chequers brought in Andrea Betancourt as a last-minute replacement for Bronwyn Sadler, who had abruptly left after securing their promotion. It was never quite the right fit. Out went Betancourt after a 7-1 demolition by Vermillion Rage, and things got worse before they got better. Under Konrad Evans, they clung to life by the skin of their teeth, haemorrhaging close to a hundred goals - though scoring more, in fairness, than the Stags in 6th.

Sensible consolidation. Sparwasser was a solid enough backup for a stronger club, while Meixner - a former Starling backup himself - is easily of the given quality, and excels at distribution. As far as Meixner’s backup goes, Briarman out, former Stags man Schankelen in… less excitement there. Schankelen’s known to be a dressing room firebrand, which it at least something. And other gaps in last season’s starters are patched up, too - Theophile and Stamatellis lacked the ability to cope with Premiership pace, classy technician Solbachen (who has a little bit of experience at this level) and the energetic Soto hopefully have what it takes. Tall, austere Verlander’s promising enough to maybe get some minutes under her belt.

Konrad Evans is well-known as a player, one of Nephara’s first internationally-recognised Good Strikers with a career spent at its peak in Astograth, and he’s well on his way to becoming a Good Manager too. He did pretty well with the Maulers in a glorious defeat kind of scenario, and managed to help Crisisbless United avoid the same last season while keeping up their style of high-octane, high-pressing, counter-attacking football that forces mistakes and pounces on them.

Some midfielders drift in and out of games, and can go entire 90-minute 7/10 performances without really being noticed. Lukas Antelmi is not one of them. He’s always in the heart of the action, taking shots and hard tackles and arguing with officials, and is that beloved combination of being genuinely good on the ball with a great first touch and sense of vision… and being a real bastard, on top of that. For a 5’8” midfielder, three of his eight league goals were headers.

21-year old Karii Bruun is hilariously considered diminutive by satyr standards, but she’s got more than enough about her to succeed this season. Okay, there were times last season - especially early - where she was badly out of her depth. But just after Betancourt finally lost faith in her, Evans threw her back into the starting lineup, and she rewarded that faith by continuing her gradual improvement. Strong, fast, physical and eager to contribute to the high press.

Moray Banerman might not be the best defender in the league, but he looks like a nightclub bouncer and has a similarly… unrefined style of defending. It’s endeared the Schottic centre-half to the locals. Sigrun Rivers is a fearless, direct winger who chalked up a strong goal tally last season, but matched it with 13 assists as well - and she presses hard from the front, and she’s got seemingly limitless energy. A great weapon for them. Her goal tally was only bettered by Jessica Lennox, who has had a… mixed time of things in the Premiership, but last season was a highlight, and she thrived given the responsibility of a lone striking brief.

All is in flux in the league, and the Chequers have had to make progress to stay standing. At least, in theory, they look around lower-midtable. But it’s a lot harder to see them imploding in the same way...

Manager: Konrad Evans
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Meixner, 20 - Besart Schankelen, 25 - Rebecca Schmidt
Defenders: 2 - Asmir Casserley, 3 - Giovanni Soto (CEN), 6 - Moray Banerman (SCT), 12 - Laura Naismith, 17 - Karii Bruun (MRN), 18 - Praxil Law, 19 - Jasmine Stokes (c), 34 - Cedella Verlander
Midfielders: 4 - Zouheir Na'Ryibi (COS), 11 - Asha Solbachen, 13 - Lukas Antelmi, 14 - Olga Kitzbichler, 16 - Sasha Wheaton, 23 - Bastian Salz
Forwards: 7 - Sigrun Rivers, 9 - Kaija Koppel (SCT), 10 - Markos Schoenauer, 15 - Beth Pike, 16 - Andrya Novkovic (SCT), 21 - Jessica Lennox (SCT), 22 - Fabula Plath


League Finish: 16th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Captain: Brigitte Anderton
Top Scorers: Nygård (14), McCosgraigh (11), Tihamer (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Ruo (27); 2 - Hamilton (26), 4 - Hertzka (28), 6 - Brind (29), 3 - Anderton (28, c); 15 - Voeller (22), 5 - Roben (22), 21 - Ferryman (29); 10 - McCosgraigh (25); 9 - Tihamer (29), 7 - Nygård (23)
In: Alexa Ferryman (Myana Islanders, 3.5m), Cressida Voeller (Cranequin City, 3m), Coretta Rooke (Extreme Hills, 2.5m)
Promoted: Echidna Skapoulis (RB, 18)
Out: Catheline Stensholt (Chenoworth Harriers, 5m), Cohen Alexander (Belgrave, 2m), Toni Bliss (Mawford United, free), Barth Krueger (Real Maredrid, free)

71: Premier - 16th - 52 pts
70: Premier - 16th - 53 pts
69: 1Div - 1st - 101 pts - Promoted
68: 1Div - 11th - 64 pts
67: 1Div - 7th - 73 pts

First Division title (69)

Yet again; pegged for 16th, basically spent the whole season in 16th, finished 16th. Yet again; scored less than a goal a game, but solid defence carried them through. Even the same Fourth Round Cup run, knocked out on pens by the Chequers. Cypher are a side with a small enough catchment to be content with midtable mediocrity, which is handy, since they seem glued to it.

Cypher find themselves in the middleman in a switch of three midfielders - they endure the crippling loss of their captain, Catheline Stensholt, to the Harriers, look to the league below for deft young Voeller from Cranequin City, who look for a budget replacement and find... Harriet Skiff, now surplus to requirements at Chenoworth Harriers. Alexa Ferryman is an experienced journeyman midfielder, crisp and technical, while sturdy poacher Coretta Rooke has been pulling up trees in the second tier and offers something different to the tall timber of Tihamer. She replaces the capable all-round (except pace) forward Alexander, who lacked cutting edge at this level.

Rivka Keaton believes in making the best of what she has, even if it involves - shudder with me - analytics. She tapes her opponents extensively, and drills her players through them - even when those opponents are sixth-tier sides in the Cup. Her critics say it gets exhausting for players, but she’s done a great job to build this side, take them to the top flight and sustain them there, despite being one of the smaller teams in the league.

Cypher don’t score many goals, but the ones they do get often come from their diligent fullbacks. Anderton on the left is the new captain, but it’s Mei Hamilton on the right who is the better player, coming to the club as a cut-price firebrand but having been a willing student of the discipline Keaton teaches. She still has a temper, and it still sometimes boils over, but most of the time she just puts her head down and puts herself through the sprints up and down the pitch that Keaton demands.

Anton Roben was a curious transfer last window, put straight into the firing line under Keaton. Granted, he didn’t have the most complicated brief - ‘just hit people’ seemed the extent of his instructions, and he barely played a forward pass all season. But for a first season at a strong league, at a club under pressure? He broke down attacks well, physical and yet disciplined enough not to give away stupid fouls. If he can just add another string to his bow...

Marika Brind is a real late bloomer. She only really had a season of regular football for the Otters, and that was in the second tier. But that was enough to convince Keaton to take a punt on her, and the towering, commanding defender has proven her right time and again. McCosgraigh had the pedigree, and the price tag, but was too easily isolated last season. Maybe this time around, she’ll have more luck - as it stood, 11 goals was still a very tidy contribution. Meanwhile, don’t let Cypher’s goal issues fool you - it’s a matter of service for Vanorian international Olivia Nygård. Ambitious and driven, when she gets chances, she finishes them. Surely a better side beckons sooner rather than later.

Things get tighter at the bottom, and it’s a bad time to lose your excellent captain. But Keaton’s a good manager, and should keep the ship steady.

Manager: Rivka Keaton
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ruo Xiaolan (YZH), 12 - Jacqui Gambeson, 25 - Brendan Fallowland
Defenders: 2 - Mei Hamilton (COS), 3 - Brigitte Anderton (c), 4 - Andros Hertzka, 6 - Marika Brind, 13 - Meghan Foerster, 18 - Agate Whitespire, 22 - Kari Bardiche, 33 - Echidna Skapoulis
Midfielders: 5 - Anton Roben (USD), 8 - Sophia Petridis, 10 - Freya McCosgraigh (SCT), 11 - Vuesala Frey, 14 - Malte Cairn, 15 - Cressida Voeller, 19 - Caspar Madine, 21 - Alexa Ferryman
Forwards: 7 - Olivia Nygård (VAL), 9 - Borbas Tihamer (PAS), 17 - Coretta Rooke, 23 - Branko Kurz, 36 - Augustine Rahn


League Finish: 3rd (First Division)
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The New Overlook (17,500)
Nickname: the Diamonds
Captain: Karena Hartley
Top Scorers: Weber (20), Kowalczyk (18), Fortounis (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-3-2) 1 - Jonason (27); 2 - Abel (31), 4 - Ystrad (25), 6 - Hartley (30, c), 3 - Fairbairn (24); 8 - Taheri (27), 5 - Reeve (22), 15 - Jeweler (28); 22 - Weber (33); 20 - Horn (25), Kowalczyk (28)
In: Sett Horn (Dundee, 3.5m), Zemen Ystrad (Olympia Arkintoofle, 2.5m), Carina Taheri (Seniors FC, 2m)
Out: Marko Fortounis (Culmere Condor, free)

First Division title (67)

71: 1Div - 3rd - 85 pts - Promoted
70: Premier - 21st - 40 pts - Relegated
69: Premier - 20th - 44 pts
68: Premier - 20th - 41 pts
67: 1Div - 1st - 95 pts - Promoted

People didn’t really expect the Diamonds to make it, but they managed to ride a slightly slow start to the season, the defence in particular sharpening noticeably in the second half of the season, Auburn Weber remaining their talisman in midfield, Karena Hartley an inspiration at the back. But they don’t look as strong as they did when they were last up.

It was always going to take more than the Diamonds could probably afford to make them look ready for this level but, damn it, they gave it their best. Cosumar lower-league hero to SPL stalwart Sett Horn is an intriguing choice of striker in a team that badly needed them, and they really can’t afford for him to take any time to assimilate. Taheri may have been relegated last season, but showed enough class about her to prove she offers something different, while the brutalist centre-half Ystrad’s penchant for cautions may have been seen as a weakness in his homeland, but less so here. It’s also a fond farewell to Marko Fortounis, a consistent striker in the second tier, not so much the first.

Tana Colbright believes in her players, first and foremost. They press hard and play daring football, willing to adapt but Plan A is always to try and play their style of football. It’s a small side, and not especially physical in general, so they’re reliant on passing around opponents to get ahead. The ball is round, after all.

Auburn Weber wanted to leave the Diamonds after their relegation, but at 32, nobody took a punt on her. No hard feelings - she just lifted the team on her slim shoulders and hauled them back to the top flight herself. There really wasn’t a playmaker in the second tier who could come close to matching her. Still, the years are getting to her - she doesn’t track back or press like she used to, and her energies will be focused on what she does best. Craft and guile.

Eyes are on Mercedes Reeve, another star of last season. The 22-year old was practically ever-present for the side, appearing not only in holding midfield but sometimes further forward and, at times, leftback. But make no mistake, it’s that pivot role that she excels in, calm, intelligent and confident on the ball, clinical in the way she strips her opponents of possession, and she’ll be keen to take those skills to stronger opposition. She’ll certainly be tested.

Former Brinemouth goalkeeper Karel Jonason between the posts was plagued by inconsistency earlier in his career. Now, though, the stocky keeper can match his distribution and his slight overconfidence with the ball at his feet with the reliable shot-stopping the Diamonds need from him most of all. Karena Hartley has been a model captain, a tall oak tree of a centre-half, slow as molasses but always with the presence of mind to get where she needs to be ahead of time. Rangy forward Danil Kowalczyk’s scoring record in the Premiership is… unimpressive, but he will have to step up if the Diamonds are to survive. Even if he can’t score, he’s always done his job pressing and defending high, from the front.

For all that, the Diamonds have a fair chance of staying up, and it’s perhaps better to take on the Premiership bravely on the front foot than succumb to negativity. That theory will be tested.

Manager: Tana Colbright
Goalkeepers: 1 - Karel Jonason, 12 - Leda Tristram, 30 - Manuel Keller
Defenders: 2 - Francesca Abel (SLL), 3 - Valentina Fairbairn (QAD), 4 - Zemen Ystrad (SRS), 6 - Karena Hartley (c), 13 - Matthis Ainsworth, 18 - McKinley Sanabria (AUD), 19 - Adze Beckerman, 23 - Gareth Unworth
Midfielders: 5 - Mercedes Reeve, 7 - Christian Baylor, 8 - Carina Taheri, 10 - Minka Bronson, 15 - Imogen Jeweler, 21 - Yolanda Sparrow, 22 - Auburn Weber, 23 - Leander Frantisek
Forwards: 9 - Dionysus Lyritzis, 11 - Danil Kowalczyk (CSN), 16 - Cornelian Stryger, 20 - Sett Horn (COS), 34 - Elias Carmine


League Finish: 4th (First Division)
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Warriors, the Stars
Captain: Emily Ynoa
Top Scorers: Tsiavis (24), Boldman (14), Longship (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Carter (29); 2 - Longship (21), 18 - Ynoa (30, c), 6 - Kirkland (32), 19 - Andreas (30); 7 - Feist (31), 14 - Ryder (22), 4 - Kuijer (30), 11 - Vanstrattan (28); 9 - Tsiavis (25), 16 - Blessed (23)
In: Martin Blessed (Myana Islanders, 3m), Jakob Carter (Brinemouth, 2.5m), Ana Kuijer (Anomalies FC, 2m), Sloane Kirkland (CA Paulinthal, free), Konrad Feist (Crossroads Crusaders, free)
Promoted: Varina Roebling (CM, 18)
Out: Niko Boldman (Wesisle Wizard FC, free), Artemis Katsamatis (Cranequin Wanderers, free)
Retired: Malta Hawthorn (GK, 37), Adrian Heffernan (D/CM, 35), Barak Sahar (CB, 35)

71: 1Div - 4th - 84 pts - Promoted
70: Premier - 24th - 27 pts - Relegated
69: Premier - 17th - 52 pts
68: Premier - 19th - 46 pts
67: Premier - 18th - 55 pts

Helena Fleischer has the Warriors - and their fans - just about eating from the palm of her hand. Getting a tune at last out of the long-promising, long-underachieving Tsiavis was a huge part of that. Less than impressive up front, Tsiavis aside, but they were a disciplined and physical outfit, very difficult to beat, playing with real heart.

The Warriors are up against it, and have taken something of a scattergun approach to reinforcement. In theory, the former Directus and Eura youth international Blessed should offer guaranteed goals alongside Tsiavis’, uh, not necessarily guaranteed goals, and the sturdy Brinemouth backup Carter is an undoubted upgrade over the redoubtable, retired veteran Malta Hawthorn (formerly of the Moths and Stahlburg Rovers in a stellar career). Classy, willowy midfielder Kuijer adds a touch of X-Factor to the midfield while former Schottia international Kirkland and Harriers winger Feist offer genuine class off the free market. Will it be enough?

It’s… Morningstar, Lineker or not, and they do what you expect them to do. Helena Fleischer broke up the dressing room schisms and drilled discipline back into a team whose physicality had become a liability. She’s already beloved of the fans and board, and is firmly in ‘almost certainly not going to be sacked, relegation or not’ territory. But they won’t be pretty to watch, kits aside.

Emily Ynoa has been inconsistent at times in her career, but that was mostly at Brookford Otters, who played riskier football. Here, the tall centre-half seems more comfortable and confident, and is a titan for Morningstar. Their survival rests on her broad shoulders, and given that she was reportedly a central figure in calming shit down behind the scenes a couple of seasons ago, she’s a more than worthy captain.

The raw-boned, long-faced Valeri Longship may have a perpetually morose look that compares to Anita Sanger, but fortunately, she can come close to matching Sanger’s ability at rightback. The First Division’s Young Player of the Season, and deservedly so. She bought in to Fleischer’s discipline, and barks orders with a confidence belying her age. Best of all, though, are crosses that any striker would love. Six goals, though? Not bad either.

Coridan Ryder is another important young player, an athletic box-to-box runner who will likely sweat for the more cerebral Kuijer. Easily underestimated, but there’s a lot to be said for a selfless water-carrier at this level who can help the more creative influences to play freely. Karo Vanstrattan is their main creative presence down the left, backed up by the muscular, limited veteran Andreas, and her peach of a left foot is a huge asset for Morningstar’s direct play. Up front, Christos Tsiavis has it all. Muscles, pace, instinct… but can he finally put it together in the top flight and produce the 15-goal showing the Warriors need from him?

It doesn’t look good. It’s an old side cobbled together hastily, and while they have a good strike partnership which goes a long way, the structure elsewhere is too flimsy to sustain survival. In a strange way, they really needed another season in the second tier to rebuild.

Manager: Helena Fleischer
Goalkeepers: 1 - Jakob Carter, 20 - Vicki Bassett, 30 - Arran Ritchard
Defenders: 2 - Valeri Longship, 3 - Gareth Carney, 5 - Karl Linstead, 6 - Sloane Kirkland (SCT), 18 - Emily Ynoa (SLL, c), 19 - Lothar Andreas, 22 - Barry Inkster, 31 - Grant Bespoke
Midfielders: 4 - Ana Kuijer, 7 - Konrad Feist, 8 - Hecate Dransfeld, 11 - Karo Vanstrattan, 13 - Johanna Rosen, 14 - Coridan Ryder, 21 - Tristan Lavendor, 23 - Lowen Barr, 35 - Varina Roebling
Forwards: 9 - Christos Tsiavis, 10 - Lilith Thornwood, 15 - Romeo Varrick, 16 - Martin Blessed (EUR), 33 - Ballista Meade


League Finish: 5th
Cup Run: Champions
UICA Run: Globe Cup Playoff Round
Stadium: Anchorwright Arena (30,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Raquel Woods
Top Scorers: Farrell (17), Bothroyd (15), Couturiaux (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Hesketh (31); 18 - Pakkanen (27), 5 - Nkembe (31), 6 - Zagorec (29), 11 - Woods (30, c); 12 - Brandtner (23), 4 - Hedlund (23), 13 - Couturiaux (30); 21 - Ocokoljic (22); 7 - Farrell (26), 15 - Wardenier (30)
In: Jezdimir Ocokoljic (Crvena Zvezda, undisclosed), Avila Wardenier (New Belfast Warriors, 5m), Mordecai Brandtner (Creed United, 4m), Gabrielle Reinhardt (Crossroads Crusaders, 3.5m), Claudia Solwood (Mucusia, free)
Out: Isobel Foster (Mantlegrove, 1.75m), Lorne Winter (Cloudsdale Colts, free), Conrad Trelliston (Helfin Fief, free), Liesel Ironhewer (Forest Park FC, free), Mikael Acland (Alliance Barossia, loan)

3 NFA Cups (57, 68, 71)

71: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC CWC
70: Premier - 7th - 77 pts - GC
69: Premier - 9th - 65 pts
68: Premier - 18th - 50 pts - CWC
67: Premier - 19th - 53 pts

Stunning work from Andreu Bartolnicci, deservedly Manager of the Season. Newrook’s best ever finish, and another Cup win on top of that. Only blemishes? They failed to actually reach the Globe Cup proper, and were beaten 5-0 by Treason and 6-0 by Goodfeather in quick succession around the middle of the season.

It’s unclear where Newrook got all the money - they raised a little shuffling promising playmaker Foster down a tier - but by God, they’ve spent. Largely on Nepharim, largely on those returning from the Homecoming. Wardenier is an international striker, technical and silky, Brandtner is a muscular, diligent box-to-box man, Reinhardt an exceptionally promising young defender. Claudia Solwood is, well, maybe a little better a backup rightback than Conrad Trelliston. The biggest name, though - even if it’s probably got the one with the least household recognition on these shores - is Jezdimir Ocokoljic, a classy young forward who outgrew the Mytenar league, is already a key part of the national team, and whose maturity is helping to give his homeland someone to rally behind. Already, he’s become a fan favourite in Newrook, seeming to take the small city to heart already.

There is nothing worse than patient, flaccid possession. The slightly unhinged Cosumarite manager Andreu Bartolnicci agrees. He wants the ball so that his team can do exciting things with the ball, and tells his players to press high, attack in packs, and move the ball quickly down the middle. Physical and uncompromising defending helps keep things secure at the other end, too. They’re always a good watch.

The Rooks rely a lot on the workrate of their fullbacks to provide attacking width, and it’s Ville Pakkanen who tends to catch the eye and win the plaudits. Energetic both physically and mentally, Pakkenen stays alert and sharp, and his approach to moving forward is far more fluid than the simple ‘dash it and lash it’ approach of many Nepharim overlapping fullbacks. Sometimes that’s how he’s stereotyped, but just pay attention to him for 90 minutes. You’ll learn something.

There's much flashier players in the squad, sure. Much bigger names. But Perica Zagorec is the name the fans sing out. Tall, strong and assured, the Pasargan's grown with the club and even speaks with a pretty firm east Nepharim accent these days. She's also grown in confidence taking the ball out from defence, which is important when playing out from the back in the way Bartolnicci expects.

Mats Hedlund plays on the other side of the diamond to where Ocokoljic will most likely be set up, and is a similar sort of personality - 23, hailing from dystopic Buyan, and with an endearing good nature. As a player, though, he’s nothing alike - a compact brick of muscle most at home smashing people into the ground, wresting the ball away and lashing it forward, time after time. The sort of player who can commit the most brutal excesses, then smile, pick you up, and assure you; no hard feelings, right? And you’ll just nod.

Statuesque Perica Zagorec cuts a titanic figure at the heart of defence, and her accent reflects how embedded she is with the side by this point. Confident not only at the back but with the ball at her feet, but keeps that confidence in check - she won’t overplay her hand. Will Couturiaux is a set piece specialist who proved to be far more than that, a player who could do beautiful things with the ball at his feet but quickly learned in Nephara how to play under pressure with the perfect first touch. Maladict Farrell up front is expected to retain his starting place, as at last his finishing ability matches up to his athleticism and dog-like willingness to slam into people in search of the ball. A great foil for the more cerebral Wardenier.

After all the investment, and the steadily improving finishes, you have to start putting Newrook in the category of Champions Cup contenders. But there’s a long way between putting them in that bracket and actually predicting them to end there. More UICA football, though, should come their way.

Manager: Andreu Bartolnicci (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Karena Hesketh, 20 - Magda Kattner, 25 - Jess Oaktree
Defenders: 2 - Claudia Solwood, 3 - Aries Kohler, 5 - Temperance Nkembe, 6 - Perica Zagorec (PAS), 11 - Raquel Woods (c), 18 - Ville Pakkanen (COS), 19 - Glenn Baumann, 22 - Gabrielle Reinhardt
Midfielders: 4 - Mats Hedlund (BYN), 8 - Alessa Marconi, 12 - Mordecai Brandtner, 13 - Will Couturiaux (COS), 14 - Markus Hyde, 21 - Jezdimir Ocokoljic (MYT), 23 - Ronan Fallon, 24 - Ifrit Coynborough
Forwards: 7 - Maladict Farrell, 9 - Orson Deckard, 10 - Alan Bothroyd (VLD), 15 - Avila Wardenier, 16 - Tatiana Brandis
Out on Loan: 31 - Mikael Acland


League Finish: 12th
Cup Run: Third Round
UICA Run: Globe Cup Group Stage
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Captain: Robyn Sabitzer
Top Scorers: Stokes (19), Webster (16), Han (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Fairweather (30); 2 - Kendrick (27), 18 - Anderson (21), 17 - Serjeant (28), 3 - Riordan (29); 8 - Sabitzer (28, c), 4 - Finlay (29), 25 - Croxteth (27); 7 - Pell (28), 9 - Stokes (25), 11 - Han (23)
In: Irsa Croxteth (Zakhoro Aces, 2.5m)
Promoted: Matej Beltrame (CM, 19), Holger Varney (GK, 19)
Out: Josie Webster (Raynor City United, 9m), Koloman Reaves (Workers Union, free), Gerhard Sinstadt (Foxchester Raiders, free)

71: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
70: Premier - 6th - 82 pts - GC
69: 1Div - 3rd - 83 pts - Promoted
68: Premier - 21st - 41 pts - Relegated
67: Premier - 17th - 56 pts

Premiership title (51)
NFA Cup (67)

Back down to earth for the Spiders, though midtable comfort isn’t the worst Earth to be on. Still, some of their everymen who raised themselves to new levels in the 70 season reverted to the mean.

Irsa Croxteth probably doesn’t feel great upon her return to the league, just a year after leaving for Zakhoro Aces under grea- well, some fanfare. In some circles. She returns a year later, the Aces relegated after she had a personally indifferent and inconsistent year, and whose shoes does she have to step into? Oh, only Josie Webster, already embedded in the Cormorants and fresh off to RCU for big money. No pressure! For a bit of trivia: yes, Holger Varney is the younger brother of 22-year old striker, Lexander.

Leo Santander always demands maximum effort from his players, and his focus on fitness seems to be paying off, minimising rotation and the stretching of a thin squad. Koloman Reaves made seven starts last season, for Christ’s sake. Still, as is so often the case, sweat makes up for talent, and his players are buying what he’s selling. Pace is essential up front, and makes for some thrilling, high-octane football.

Robyn Sabitzer is the new icon of the midfield, and cuts a very different figure to the classy former Bohemian Webster. Sabitzer, by contrast, was from Chatswood, and was brought through under Emery Lineker. She’s shortish at 5’7”, compact, muscular and unafraid to stick a boot in, usually seen shouting at the players around her to track back more, never seen shirking her duty. A box-to-box hard woman who plays a key role in keeping the side afloat.

Raimund Anderson won a regular starting place a bit over halfway into last season, and that’s pretty impressive given the general scepticism towards youth in the Premiership. Sure, he made mistakes from time to time, but he made up for them with brave tackles, confidence on the ball and, most importantly, the turn of pace needed to sustain a high line. Further improvements are hoped for, with further trust placed on his shoulders.

Kosovare Fairweather didn’t quite live up to her first season back in the league, but even so, as a reliable sweeper-keeper with excellent distribution, she was indispensable to the game plan. Ga-yeong Han is still working herself out at this level, tiny, creative, direct and eager to take shots, a respectable 12 of which wound up in the back of the net. Deborah Stokes, meanwhile, has quietly made a name for herself as someone who reliably finds the back of the target at a close to 1-in-2 rate, and someone who will fulfil her defensive duties selflessly. Surely, better sides must be watching.

In a cycle where almost every team in the league improved, the Spiders lost by far their best player and replaced her with, bluntly, a panic buy. That’s inevitably going to lead to a slide, but despite their thin squad, they shouldn’t get caught up in the relegation fight. Think of it more as regression to the mean.

Manager: Leo Santander
Goalkeepers: 1 - Kosovare Fairweather, 20 - Ophelia Rattin, 30 - Holger Varney
Defenders: 2 - Dorian Kendrick, 3 - Karsten Riordan, 5 - Gabriel Traustram, 13 - Marit Stoeger, 17 - Christian Serjeant, 18 - Raimund Anderson, 19 - David Maskin, 23 - Harald Reuser
Midfielders: 4 - Ross Finlay (TLI), 6 - Marcia Lapwing, 8 - Robyn Sabitzer (c), 22 - Beck Pruttan, 25 - Irsa Croxteth, 31 - Matej Beltrame
Forwards: 7 - Tess Pell, 9 - Deborah Stokes, 10 - Griffin Kendall, 11 - Ga-yeong Han (CMT), 14 - Lexander Varney, 15 - Erinys Hart, 21 - Patricia Etheridge
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Postby Nephara » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:27 pm


League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Frangipani Court (16,000)
Nickname: the Bohemians
Captain: Jesper Thorn
Top Scorers: Wolff (20), Montag (12), Kranevitter (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 12 - Sparr (33); 5 - Abner (32), 6 - Clinton (29), 18 - Thorn (29, c), 3 - Karagounis (24); 7 - Roxel (23), 23 - Sharp (26); 15 - Kranevitter (25), 21 - Montag (24), 17 - Stinnett (29); 11 - Wolff (25)
In: Basmath Clinton (Myana Islanders, 3m), Cecille Petrovic (Kyrinson, free)
Promoted: Mercurio Kastriot (CM, 19), Marnid Volland (GK, 20)
Out: Garnet Tamerlane (Everfree Guardians, free), Sam Kerr (Crystal City United, free), Meg Owley (Stahlburg City, free)
Retired: Ashleigh Aveline (CM, 36)

71: Premier - 19th - 49 pts
70: 1Div - 2nd - 99 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 6th - 74 pts
68: 1Div - 7th - 74 pts
67: 1Div - 8th - 73 pts

The Bohemians endured a streaky debut in the top flight, facing a run of seven straight defeats in the middle of the season, and not ending too hot either. They did fail to reach the sacred fifty-point mark. At the end of the day, though, they pretty much did what was asked of them, asserting their style of possession football in what is most likely the world’s most competitive and intense league.

Very understated this window. Basmath Clinton is the sole purchase for cash, a defender who commanded a faintly exorbitant fee of 10m to head to Myana and took a relatively economical three to get back. She’s a seasoned, intelligent defender, a cool head under pressure. Cecille Petrovic is acquired on a free, a conservative 24-year old fullback with a sweet right boot, who will be given the chance to stake her claim to nudge out the aging Abner. And a moment to pay respects to Ashleigh Aveline, retiring captain of the side, who established herself at her hometown club, AFC Serpentine, then Crisisbless United (briefly) and Vermillion Rage as a classy, clean-heeled technical midfielder who excelled at set pieces.

It’s easy to point out North Sabrefell’s weakness under Gareth Blackthorn - in tactics and personnel, they are a slow side, and can lack dynamism. What’s harder is turning that knowledge into victory. The Bohemians cherish the ball, they don’t let it go easily, and they’re no pushovers when it comes to winning it back, either. Blackthorn runs a technically ambitious and adept outfit, and it’s won him plenty of admirers - especially from outside the country.

Erika Wolff absolutely pasted the First Division in the Bohemians’ promotion season with 36 strikes and the league’s first back-to-back hat-tricks, and she was able to take that form into the top flight, scoring almost one in every two. But she’s more than tall timber with an eye for goal. What attracts fans, and attracted Cormorants manager Michael Brandon to capping her, is her intelligence. She drops back, drifts behind her midfielders and helps hold up play for them, and is unselfish when she has to be.

Valentine Roxel was thought to just be some random guy on a tidy free transfer. What the Bohemians got was an all-action box-to-box midfielder who started 44 league games, ignoring all seemingly immutable rules about how the human body responds to fatigue. He fits in perfectly in the side for his penchant for short, sharp passes, and he generally makes sure they’re going forwards.

The Bohemians may not be a fast side or one that specialises in conventional wing play, but the veteran Schottic international Esther Abner has nevertheless provided much of their attacking width, her intelligence and skill on the ball ensuring she’s always an option that can always do damage. No slouch defensively, either. Minka Kranevitter is a dangerous winger who adds another new dimension to the team, driving and direct with the ball, always looking to try something. Sabine Montag, meanwhile, glues the attack together. She’s almost creepily composed in possession, and a tall, powerful physique ensures she’s rarely knocked out of her stride. She excels at taking shots from a distance, or looking nonchalant shortly before destroying a defender’s career with a nutmegged killer ball.

Once again, it’s a fairly thin squad lacking significant Premiership experience. Also, their transfer activity was minimal. That shouldn’t be held too much against them, though. The youth of their core means that most of their players have grown from last season’s travails. Maybe it’s a little too optimistic, but...

Manager: Gareth Blackthorn
Asst. Manager: Julius Kennedy
Goalkeepers: 1 - Jasmine Rondel, 12 - Lukas Sparr, 20 - Marnid Volland
Defenders: 2 - Cecille Petrovic (EFL), 3 - Drachma Karagounis, 5 - Esther Abner (SCT), 6 - Basmath Clinton, 18 - Jesper Thorn (c), 19 - Jack Cranshaw (SCT), 22 - Caspar Sanders, 25 - Roy Coyner
Midfielders: 4 - Bethany Madine, 7 - Valentine Roxel (SCT), 13 - Marcel Thrace, 14 - Cosette Espeleta, 15 - Minka Kranevitter, 17 - Alexis Stinnett (ETN), 21 - Sabine Montag, 23 - Alcuin Sharp, 24 - Amber Broadis, 33 - Mercurio Kastriot
Forwards: 9 - Simone Cheney, 11 - Erika Wolff, 16 - Garrett Norwood


League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Rookridge (42,000)
Nickname: River, the Ravens, the Ferrymen
Captain: Matt Bowerman
Top Scorers: Breisgau, Donath (14), Petkovic (8), Kesteren (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 20 - Taliadoros (24); 2 - Villaverde (21), 19 - Lampshire (25), 4 - Kendrick (26), 3 - Hateley (25); 21 - Leonard (30, vc), 12 - Dimitar (31), 13 - Kesteren (25); 8 - Petkovic (29); 10 - Breisgau (28), 11 - Donath (24)
In: Dennis Lampshire (Bruncester, 2.5m), Ursa Dimitar (Goodfeather FC, 2m)
Promoted: Harriet Novac (AM, 19)
Out: Kaya Naumoff (Sabrefell Athletic, 5.5m), Lysander Brandis (Rudar, free), Hannes Caravel (Mansestra, free)

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

71: Premier - 18th - 50 pts
70: Premier - 14th - 59 pts
69: Premier - 15th - 55 pts
68: Premier - 9th - 73 pts
67: Premier - 15th - 57 pts

Matchday 6, 15 minutes in, Cheney Bittencourt’s Treason visiting Rookridge and already leading 2-0. The home crowd calls for Bittencourt to come back. The Ferrymen will finally manage their first point next match… against a Belgrave side who had just been gubbed 10-1 by Southfell. That will be the enduring image of a season Kia Anders just about salvaged, though it’s their worst season since returning to the top flight.

The enduring memory of last window was letting Fiona Norval go for a relative pittance, shortly before shredding the second tier with the Maulers. Oh, well. This time around, despite attempts to sign more attack-minded players, they wound up with a more defensive focus. This is to some degree enforced - Kaya Naumoff, their clever little harrier of a holding midfielder, moved across the former capital to rivals Athletic. Rough, huh? The stalwart holding midfielder Dimitar, formerly of Belgrave, Starling, Brookford and latterly Goodfeather, will hope to avoid a third relegation in four years. But how can she replace the craft of the diminutive, cunning Naumoff? Dennis Lampshire, though, could be one of the signings of the season. He’s aggressive and demands high standards of the people around him, but the core truth every fan knows is; Ko-orenites know how to defend. This team needs a bit of that.

Kia Anders is a safety-first kind of manager, one of those stable hands at the tiller, though she wasn’t the most popular figure around these parts after a very tempestuous start to last season. She won back the fan’s favour with a trust in youth and a knack for a telling substitution. She likes to focus on making the most out of counterattacks and set pieces, and is willing to either seek or abandon possession as the situation demands.

Michi Leonard is not the best player in the squad, but she might just be the most crucial. A colossus in the dressing room, the midfielder - who spent the bulk of her career in the SPL - is more or less the de facto captain, as Matt Bowerman has been demoted to backup goalkeeper (more on that later). She runs hard, shouts loud and puts some stick about, while at the sharp end of things she’s unafraid to take on a shot herself. Not very creative, but knows her limits.

Miniscule Farf Chuy Villaverde won a regular starting berth at rightback towards the tail end of last season, and having grabbed ahold of it, he sure doesn’t seem willing to let it go. Anders isn’t willing to let him go, either, and why should she? He’s… well, he’s a Farf, which tells you everything you need to know about his attack-minded mentality and penchant for improvisation, but he’s taken Nephara’s lessons to heart, and there’s plenty of mongrel in him.

Althea Taliadoros had a couple of mistakes in her personal baptism of fire last season, but on the whole, the agile shot-stopper stepped up to the challenge and excelled with some memorable performances. Her distribution is excellent, and enables things to click. Franz Kesteren is a highly-skilled player who has really stepped up to lead by example, someone unafraid to shove himself down the opponents’ throat and do something to change a game. Jessika Donath’s campaign was a little disappointing, from her perspective, but there’s plenty of faith in her. As a striker, she just loves shooting and scoring goals, with thunderous boots and a knack for pinpoint headers despite her 5’7” frame.

Kia Anders seems to have stabilised the Ferrymen, a state of affairs which will probably continue this season. Losing Kaya Naumoff seriously hurts, and they’ll likely be looking somewhat over their shoulder in what’s set to be a tight race to avoid the drop, but River shouldn’t be embroiled in it.

Manager: Kia Anders (CMT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Matt Bowerman (c), 20 - Althea Taliadoros, 25 - Frieda Pearce
Defenders: 2 - Chuy Villaverde (FFD), 3 - Diane Hateley, 4 - Istvan Kendrick, 5 - Carin Black, 6 - Jasmine Kaeman, 17 - Lazarus Pepper, 18 - Hywel Wodework, 19 - Dennis Lampshire (KOR)
Midfielders: 8 - Zivka Petkovic (PAS), 12 - Ursa Dimitar, 13 - Franz Kesteren, 15 - Aline Ruthers, 21 - Michi Leonard, 22 - Feather Graves, 23 - Inge Wildsmith, 35 - Harriet Novac
Forwards: 9 - Povilas Kaukenas (BYN), 10 - Klaus Breisgau, 11 - Jessika Donath, 16 - Thea Longhurst, 33 - Merric Summers


League Finish: 4th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
UICA Run: Globe Cup Group Stage
Stadium: The Barbarossa (72,000)
Nickname: the Rams, the Reds
Captain: Oscar Coltrane
Top Scorers: Hawke (28), Êns (22), Bereveskos (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Gautier (27); 2 - Fox (23), 6 - Farina (29), 19 - Campbell (29), 3 - Jaentti (29); 21 - Bereveskos (28), 15 - Coltrane (30, c), 4 - Naumoff (27), 11 - Ojala (26); 9 - Êns (23), 10 - Hawke (26)
In: Kaya Naumoff (Raven River, 5.5m), Maeon Vlahos (Cornellians, 3m)
Promoted: Elsebeth Celustka (CM, 18)
Out: Erika Morningstar (Cloudsdale Flyers, 5m)
Retired: Tanith Rainsford (D/CM, 35)

3 Premiership titles (50, 58, 67)
2 NFA Cups (50, 66)
2 Ramsey Shields (67, 68)
Globe Cup (56)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (59)
Gang of Six member

71: Premier - 4th - 86 pts - CC
70: Premier - 3rd - 90 pts - CC
69: Premier - 7th - 76 pts - GC
68: Premier - 2nd - 99 pts - CC
67: Premier - 1st - 99 pts - CC

Athletic did the minimum, a top four place, while failing to really impact in UICA despite arguably the world’s strongest strike partnership. Tanith Rainsford, unfortunately, was visibly past her best. Still, there were plenty of highlights, and a lot of thrills. Just… needed more beef.

Rainsford hangs up her boots after a scintillating career for her clubs and for country, a World Cup to her name. Kaya Naumoff was probably as good a replacement as they could manage at short notice. A short, sharp harrier, relentless in her efforts, and without undue ambition to go forward. Naumoff’s never been capped, but she’s never seemed far off one, either. Maeon Vlahos came at a perhaps overly keen pricetag, but he has caps to his name - the 31-year old defender is a sturdy, muscular rightback by trade but can fill in elsewhere if required. And he’s still an overall profit compared to Erika Morningstar, the Chromatik international veteran he effectively replaces.

This could be the aging Tom Benedict’s last season at Athletic… then again, they say that most every year. But the craggy old bastard knows how to get a tune out of the team, and he does so attractively. It’s rendered as a 4-4-2 on paper but in practice, going forward, resembles more a 4-1-4-1 - Naumoff dropping back, Ens and Coltrane as roving troublemakers, Ojala and Bereveskos as creative wingers with licence to switch. Athletic look great going forward, and they’re no pushovers defensively, either.

Oscar Coltrane was the (equal) record signing in Premiership history, up until Bryger TIdesson washed up on the east coast. As a result it’s fair to say he’ll look to show the young Cosumarite a thing or two about the league. He is a world-class footballer, noted not so much for the frightening array of what he can do as the seeming lack of things he cannot. He’s got pace, power and an almost effortless skill backed by clear effort in his work rate. If that wasn’t enough, he scores goals. Maybe not enough last season… by his lofty standards.

Xixi Ens is still the one to keep an eye on, and his partnership with Hawke worked out even better than hoped. Ens finds the channels nobody else finds, certainly not hapless defenders. Hawke’s the battering ram - Ens is the rapier. And he’s only going to get better with time, combining the best instincts of the poacher with a winger’s pace, a playmaker’s eye and the versatility to be whichever he needs to be at the time.

Aurelian Gautier’s a lanky bastard who takes up most of the goal just by star-jumping aggressively at his opponents - unsurprisingly, he saves a lot of one-on-ones. But he’s an excellent goalkeeper generally, who has worked hard to stamp the errors out of his game. Michael Campbell is another world-class player, the star of the back four. He’s not flashy, nor would you expect him to be. He doesn’t mess about, doesn’t fuck up, just leads his crew and gets the job done. And, yes, that can in fact be enough at this level. Up front, Hawke is a genuine beast, both physically and in terms of her implacable mental fortitude. Hawke… loves scoring goals. And she’s unselfish bringing others into play and pressing forward, too.

Athletic are a strong side, and they’ve got a lot to recommend them - stability with a touch of regeneration. Even so, can they catch up to the breakneck pace of the sides around them?

Manager: Tom Benedict (EUR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Aurelian Gautier (ESH), 20 - Alistair Swepstone, 25 - Arden Luther
Defenders: 2 - Steve Fox (EUR), 3 - Johana Jaentti (PAS), 5 - Gareth Krane, 6 - Graciano Farina (OSR), 17 - Maeon Vlahos, 18 - Balduin Friedel, 19 - Michael Campbell (PCR), 22 - Lena Iserlohn
Midfielders: 4 - Kaya Naumoff, 7 - Grey Meisler, 8 - Martel Ceulemann, 11 - Hakki Ojala (COS), 14 - Valerie Webber, 15 - Oscar Coltrane (EUR), 21 - Andrea Bereveskos, 31 - Elsebeth Celustka, 32 - Anja Ruthenbeck
Forwards: 9 - Xíxì Êns (FFD), 10 - Estrella Hawke, 12 - Harriet Corver, 16 - Salavat Caszely, 23 - Sinan Uzunlar


League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Fourth Round
UICA Run: Globe Cup Group Stage
Stadium: Farham Arena (88,000)
Nickname: the Moths
Captain: Solara Vol
Top Scorers: Romano (23), Townsend (19), Vol (16)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Griffin (30); 2 - Haines (26), 5 - Elden (28), 20 - Hamilton (31), 22 - Vicelich (25); 7 - Townsend (24), 4 - Serra (29), 6 - Shone (21), 11 - Aedelbrandt (24); 14 - Vol (30, c), 10 - Romano (26)
In: Brix Hamilton (Handon United, 16m), Joachim Elden (Celtic Noviodunum, 8m), Zoe Aedelbrandt (OAS Royal FC, 7m), Helene Corridan (Anomalies FC, 3m)
Promoted: Swansea Reach (CM, 18)
Out: Scheherazade Meier (Cassandra City, 4m), Pavel Weaver (Lynx FC, 2.5m), Jacqui Edmond (Chardonnay Rangers, 1.5m)
Retired: Jessica Weiss (CB, 34)

4 Premiership titles (47, 60, 68, 69)
2 NFA Cups (58, 65)
3 Ramsey Shields (66, 69, 70)
2 Globe Cups (64, 67)
Gang of Six member

71: Premier - 2nd - 88 pts - CC
70: Premier - 5th - 85 pts - GC
69: Premier - 1st - 100 pts - CC
68: Premier - 1st - 102 pts - CC
67: Premier - 2nd - 89 pts - CC

Not quite as dynamic as last season, perhaps, but they did stabilise somewhat, and in a cantering end to the season pushed Crisisbless hard for the title. In the end, though, the distance was just too far. Still, Sur Arora’s made himself a very popular man already around these parts. Gerhard who? Aaliyah who? Mark Uente- okay, they really missed Mark Uenterhausen at times. Still.

They acquired Uenterhausen for 15m, lost him for 23 to Spartangrad - now they’ve upped the ante further, spending 24m on two centre-halves with significant foreign experience. Brix Hamilton caused controversy, given her past times at Sabrefell Athletic, which turned into bemusement when she hotly denied it, even passing a lie detector on gimmicky local football show Iron Goal. Elden’s an experienced, taciturn figure, much less controversial, the steel to Hamilton’s silk. Meanwhile, the OAS Royal connection saw Arora snatch Zoe Aedelbrandt away, a quick-footed winger who isn’t afraid to make mistakes, and generally rectifies them with decisive action. Meier, who is definitely more Nepharim than she is Farfish, for the record, heads the other way to the HL, the incumbent centre-halves of Weaver and Weiss depart and retire respectively - Weiss citing a desire to leave at the top of her game - while backup goalkeeper Jacqui Edmond heads to the third tier. Helene Corridan, who has had national team callups in the past, will make an able deputy for Griffin.

Already, the fans chant Sur Arora’s name. They like their strikers here, and Arora was one of the best Cosumar produced. He was a veteran by the time he showed up on Nepharim shores with Crisisbless, and now he’s a relatively young upstart manager, hoping his full-throttle brand of football will lead the Moths to glory. Unsurprisingly, his focus is on strong forward play, but really he doesn’t mind who is going forward as long as someone is. The Moths are relatively direct for a top side, the strikers in the box, the wingers relatively conventional, the midfielders mostly staying in place.

Robert Griffin did not have the most… robust of support, last year. Even with the upgrade to personnel, he’s still likely to get exposed from time to time just by the nature of the Moths’ attack-minded play. Good thing he’s one of the world’s best, then. He excels as a modern goalkeeper, someone who is always alert and attentive to danger, and sweeps up to snuff it out before anything can happen. His distribution is also peerless. The days when a goalkeeper simply had to keep goal - which he still does excellently - are over. Griffin’s a genuine asset.

Tawny Shone has quickly made herself a pivotal part of the Moths going forward. She’s quick-witted and quick-footed, not the regal kind of holding midfielder Nepharim classics have been - she’s a cunning, underhanded battler. She’s also capable of moving forward in a more attack-minded role when it’s required, and so far it’s clear she’s still building herself into the player she’ll someday become. It’s going to be a good one.

Imriel Townsend has it all on the right wing, electric pace married to creativity and flair, that rare but beloved combination of someone who will track back and run hard while leaving just enough in the tank to punch through at critical moments. And even when she doesn’t take on shots herself, she has some nice big targets to find… Solara Vol is the brawling, hulking captain, a true beast when it comes to the physical side of the game, while Claudio Romano is a drifting, frictionless forward who always looks to take on strikes himself, making clever runs in behind or going straight for the throat.

It’s clear Arora has the command of the dressing room, and the trust of the board. They’ve reinforced their squad intelligently, and look set to really take the fight to Brinemouth this term.

Manager: Sur Arora (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Robert Griffin (EUR), 12 - Helene Corridan, 25 - Corentin Tausig
Defenders: 2 - Jon Haines (EUR), 3 - Theresa Desantis (ETH), 5 - Joachim Elden (MBT), 18 - Cressida Gayle, 19 - Charade Tipton, 20 - Brix Hamilton (EQS), 22 - Lux Vicelich, 23 - Kodiak Grant
Midfielders: 4 - Federico Serra (OSR), 6 - Tawny Shone, 7 - Imriel Townsend (APX), 11 - Zoe Aedelbrandt (COS), 13 - Glory Bellinger, 15 - Adalmar Sturrock, 20 - Valencia Ashburner, 21 - Deandre James (ESH), 33 - Swansea Reach
Forwards: 9 - Alexis Rohrabacher, 10 - Claudio Romano (PAS), 14 - Solara Vol (MRN, c), 17 - Sigrid Eisenhauer, 36 - Marten Beyard


League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Scipio Arena (38,000)
Nickname: the Tanners
Captain: Chris Grant
Top Scorers: Marlowe, Gail (19), Cordean (10), Nikas (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-3-2) 1 - Aldous (28); 2 - Vercauteren (28), 5 - Grant (29, c), 6 - Beitar (31), 3 - Evans (22); 8 - Hemeyer (27); 10 - Kuepper (20), 7 - Cordéan (29), 11 - Fairfax (24); 9 - Marlowe (29), 12 - Gail (25)
In: Sergei Evans (Crossroads Crusaders, 4m), Karolina Marko (AFC Lochtown, free)
Out: Leona Catterick (Salt Lick City HC, free), Vasilis Nikas (Makarki, free)

First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

71: Premier - 11th - 67 pts
70: Premier - 13th - 63 pts
69: Premier - 14th - 56 pts
68: Premier - 16th - 52 pts
67: 1Div - 2nd - 94 pts - Promoted

The only real highlight - hell, the only real event of the season from the Tanners’ perspective was a 10-1 annihilation of Belgrave. They were in midtable basically all season, as their slight upward crawl continues.

Pretty understated. Time is not on Scylla Vyntra’s side, and she was unable to get the minutes through her legs Southfell needed - in comes the promising young leftback Sergei Evans, Sabrefell Moths academy graduate, to fill in there. A young Pasargan midfielder arrives, too - Karolina Marko is tall and powerful for a flair midfielder, but her temper can flare as well.

Felipa Medina is, as you’ve surely heard a thousand times before, still in her 30s. She’s perhaps not done quite as much with the Tanners as people have hoped, but she’s clearly sharp, conducts herself well in interviews and while her instinct to fiddle with tactics sometimes betrays her, she’s well-liked both by her fans and the league. She likes to have her side play a high-intensity, high-pressing game, sustained with lots of rotation between fixtures.

Chris Grant is the fulcrum of the defensive unit, and a deserving captain. He’s only gotten stronger year-by-year, as a redoubtable rock in defence whose calm, firm hand settles those around him. He isn’t the most ambitious of defenders, and ball-playing duties are usually deferred to former Crisisbless defender Mahe Beitar alongside him, but he so, so very rarely puts a foot wrong.

Marica Kuepper, now 20, has already made 49 league appearances for her hometown club. She doesn’t look remotely out of her depth - or, for that matter, does she look actually 20. She’s rangy, raw-boned and rarely sprints, more saunters forward, unhurried until the exact moment she breaks past her man and whips in the cross or the shot. She’s a fluent passer with fantastic vision and technique, and time will only hone her further. Just needs a little more end product. It’ll come.

Ivan Hemeyer is nicknamed ‘Haymaker’ for a reason. He lives up to it. Roanne Fairfax was a major creative influence last season, and stepped up admirably from the second tier. What she struggled to provide herself was goals, striking just three times in the league throughout, but she racked up plenty of assists to make up for it. Though Gail had an excellent season last time around, Erik Marlowe is Southfell’s premier goalscorer - and God, does he love to score goals. He’ll take a shot with any appendage, from anywhere on the park, and he’s easily physical enough to give himself the space to.

Southfell are an entirely solid proposition, but it seems like its blend of mercurial talents just doesn’t quite have what it takes to all fire off at the upper echelons of level.

Manager: Felipa Medina (OSR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sigrid Cooper, 20 - Stefan Heidenreich, 25 - Incubus Stratton
Defenders: 2 - Fantine Vercauteren, 3 - Sergei Evans, 5 - Chris Grant (SCT, c), 6 - Mahe Beitar, 18 - Scylla Vyntra, 19 - Lars Blacktown, 22 - Hasdrubal Stubbs, 31 - Svenja Bowyer
Midfielders: 4 - Yolandi Heimat, 7 - Metán Cordéan (COS), 8 - Ivan Hemeyer (COS), 10 - Marica Kuepper, 11 - Roanne Fairfax, 13 - Maria Petridis,16 - Lissa Anselm, 23 - Karolina Marko (PAS)
Forwards: 9 - Erik Marlowe, 12 - Miranda Gail (CMT), 14 - Pristine Rutten, 15 - Vander Kruse, 21 - Harriet Michail


League Finish: 3rd
Cup Run: Fourth Round
UICA Run: Globe Cup Group Stage
CWC Run: Semifinals
Stadium: Jade Park (24,000)
Nickname: the Passerines
Captain: Liam Armstrong
Top Scorers: Andisori (26), Armstrong (13), Padilla (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Smørdal (22); 2 - Asghar (21), 5 - Berg (23), 4 - Visser (26), 3 - Castor (25); 11 - Armstrong (27, c), 21 - Kymeri (24), 8 - Aschenbach (24); 13 - Padilla (26), 7 - Dostalok (23); 9 - Andisori (27)
In: Daniel Dostalok (Handon United, 15m), Christian Berg (Lammerton, 5m), Andreas Sparwasser (Crisisbless United, 2m)
Promoted: Konrad Lovelace (ST, 18)
Out: Elsa Kaelin (Aries Chariots, 6m), Sleipnir Woodwind (Keenan Athletic, 4.5m), Mathis Orsay (Stahlburg City, 2.5m), Justinian Hargrave (Wrexton FC, 1.2m), Cezary Helmuth (Rudar Trkev, free)

2 Premiership titles (63, 64)
NFA Cup (70)
First Division title (60)
Champions Cup (64)
Super Cup (64)
Ramsey Shield (71)

71: Premier - 3rd - 87 pts - CC
70: Premier - 4th - 89 pts - CC CWC
69: Premier - 2nd - 97 pts - CC
68: Premier - 5th - 86 pts - GC
67: Premier - 6th - 78 pts - GC

Starling pressed Crisisbless hard, but faltered away in the final stretch. They perhaps lacked the freescoring nature of the Sabrefell sides, or the pure solidity of Crisisbless, but they nevertheless put in a good showing and a fair tilt at the CWC.

Another reshuffle from Lisa Amos, who is favourite to take over at Nephara for the CR at the end of the season. Raiding Schottia for Daniel Dostalok, a striker with a ferocious strike rate at international level who has proven himself as a top marksman in the SPL, and he’s got all the physicality to suggest he could thrive here, too. Also departing Schottia is Christian Berg, whose determination can’t be questioned, nor his athleticism. But the 23-year old does have something of a reputation for rashness to shake. Sparwasser’s a reasonably okay sweeper-keeper, unambiguously backup to Smørdal, after Justinian Hargrave chose to leave for Apox. Burly defender Mathis Orsay was also surplus to requirements. Unsurprisingly, the biggest reshuffle is in midfield, with fringe Nephara international Kaelin going out to the Chariots, clever playmaker Woodwind to Cosumar and the deft, promising Helmuth actually let go on a free.

Amos has the convictions and intelligence to say that “cynicism is the privilege of the weak” in a post-match interview and have journalists nod, rather than scoff. She’s an idealist who believes that the Right Way to Play Football is to do so with a focus on the attack, on technical play, to seek out the ball. That’s not to say she’s naive; Starling’s physicality in defence is undeniable, and was what they built their original run of form on. Amos’ belief in youth helps sustain that.

After Hargrave’s departure, Liam Armstrong’s been rewarded with the armband to go along with a broader tendency for younger captains across the league. But Armstrong’s good for it. He’s an all-round kind of player, all-action as well, a world-class box-to-box man with the versatility to play in a variety of positions. Playing as the most assertive of three central midfielders, though, should play to his strengths - giving him plenty of space to build up momentum bursting forwards, while close enough to dash into attacks others start. Also a crucial goalscorer in a team that tends to spread them around.

Sean Smørdal won a starting place late last season over club legend Hargrave, putting to rest concerns over whether the Starling move was too much, too soon. No, he has thoroughly earned his place with his fearless sweeping, excellent distribution and, of course, acrobatic shot-stopping. Goalkeepers at top sides need to focus on concentration far more than their counterparts tested more regularly at poor sides, and Smørdal never lets his focus drop for a second. Remarkable, for his age.

Alcander Visser is set to be Berg’s regular partner in the heart of defence, and should complement the hot-headed centre-half perfectly. Visser’s attentive, calm and uses his muscle to ease attackers off the ball, not to slam them to the ground. Good with his feet, too. Nova Kymeri will now be shielding that line alone at the base of the diamond, using her brawn to wrest away the ball and her brain to get it moving quickly forward, either short or long and with either foot. Keira Andisori, meanwhile, is an all-round striker per excellence, and should complement Dostalok as she used to complement Hawke. She’s got all the pace and finish you could ask for, but with the ability to glide back and link up with the midfield as well.

For all the excitement of their transfers, they do feel somewhat more like Starling are, yet again, starting fresh, rather than building on their existing blueprint. But Amos does know what she’s doing, and the Passerines are set to stubbornly continue being a UICA side.

Manager: Lisa Amos (CMT)
Asst. Manager: Markus Horst
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sean Smørdal (VAL), 12 - Andreas Sparwasser (BRE), 25 - Agatha Storrin
Defenders: 2 - Amalie Asghar (VAL), 3 - Lyre Castor, 4 - Alcander Visser, 5 - Christian Berg (SCT), 6 - Taddeo Loredan (COS), 17 - Siren Moon, 18 - Victor Sorloth, 19 - Dario Paterson
Midfielders: 8 - Evangeline Aschenbach, 11 - Liam Armstrong (EUR), 13 - Mateo Padilla (VLD), 14 - Willow Creek, 15 - Excelsior Stroud, 21 - Nova Kymeri (CEN), 22 - Darren Halfhill, 23 - Fernand Way
Forwards: 7 - Daniel Dostalok (CEN), 9 - Keira Andisori (CMT), 10 - Cesar Corvalan (CEN), 16 - Erik Mevlya, 36 - Konrad Lovelace


League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Semifinals
Stadium: The Gauntlet (65,000)
Nickname: the Stags
Captain: Peter Svensson
Top Scorers: J. Fletcher (19), Fraser (15), Metzger, Accardi (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - G. Fletcher (33); 23 - Corrello (27), 5 - Svensson (33, c), 19 - Vornander (25), 20 - Bayliss (28); 7 - Accardi (23), 4 - Misidjan (26), 15 - Trahearne (24), 11 - Neptune (26); 9 - Fraser (32), 22 - J. Fletcher (25)
In: Tessa Bayliss (Tihon Tide, 4m), Saturn Mastiff (Parrhesia United, 2.5m)
Promoted: Machua Cronin (CM, 18), Fasolt Senninger (GK, 20)
Out: Vedran Tarashaj (Klyde, 7m), Augustine Catapan (Honeybadgers, free), Constantine Sandor (Hackett, loan)

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

71: Premier - 6th - 81 pts - GC
70: Premier - 10th - 72 pts
69: Premier - 4th - 88 pts - CC
68: Premier - 7th - 83 pts - GC
67: Premier - 7th - 77 pts - GC

A streaky season for the Stags. An indifferent beginning broke into a sudden 16-match unbeaten run in which they sprinted into the title race… and then fell away again in the closing stages, taking just 11 points from the last 10 games right after it was broken. It’s definitely a recovery, and Bittencourt has a clear head, but Treason need… more than they’re getting, and the likelihood of Brinemouth matching their seventh titles will rankle.

Unfortunately, Treason's transfer situation is such that they were unable to pip Cypher bloody Town to Alexa Ferryman, who wanted regular football. Saturn Mastiff, stranded in the second tier, was unsurprisingly less picky - she’s picked up for not terribly much. And they manage to get Tessa Bayliss, too, a former Brinemouth leftback who made her name helping Tihon punch well above their weight. She’s great going forward, but stalwart in defence. Vedran Tarashaj departs for a tidy sum, his temperament too much for Bittencourt to tolerate. Still, a net profit isn’t encouraging.

Cheney Bittencourt’s a former striker of some renown around these parts, and so was a popular choice to take over. He managed to heal the dressing room rift, while continuing the Stags’ tradition of supporting youth. Well-liked by the fans, the club, the media… basically everyone. His side plays assertive, up-tempo football, uncompromising at the back and generally fairly direct in attack.

Treason are no longer a world-class club - sorry, Stags fans - but Peter Svensson remains, at 33, a world-class defender. His class is unparalleled, favouring brains over brawn, not simply overpowering forwards with brute strength - though, of course, he’s no pushover. When he’s shouting, people listen. And he’s one hell of a threat when he lumbers forward for set pieces, at that. Players don’t retire all that often in the Premiership these days, often finding berths abroad to wind down their career, but there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Svensson is wanted to see out his playing days here.

For Treason’s record signing, Roddy Fraser has had two middling seasons in a row, and as the veteran striker goes deeper into his 30s more focus is likely to fall on the muscular, fresh-faced Aristide Metzger. He managed a respectable handful of goals last season, and always manages to get his defensive yards in, doing all the right things to catch the eye. He’s perhaps another season of being eased in away from becoming a regular, and the 22-year old will need to hone his finishing edge this season. Hopefully he can learn from Bittencourt’s example.

Rian Corrello is maybe a little too confident, but she’s one of those players who Treason fans love and the rest just love to hate. Brash, confident and decisive on the charge. Lorelei Neptune is Nephara’s second left winger in recent history to be poached away from her rightful country to play for her fatherland, in her case Cosumar - and you can see why the Dragons were interested. She’s a jet-heeled, creative winger, unafraid to run down the throat of goal but could perhaps improve her goalscoring. John Fletcher up front is as big as the big lads up top come, and he even has the patented nice touch for a big man. His second season was encouraging, and he appears to be warming to his task as the designated target for all aerial balls.

Again, the Stags are stranded in a holding pattern while those around them thrive. They’re solid, though, and all pulling in the right direction.

Manager: Cheney Bittencourt
Asst. Manager: Juergen Stone
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gideon Fletcher, 12 - Sigurd Rustwyth, 25 - Fasolt Senninger
Defenders: 2 - Rian Corrello (SCT), 5 - Peter Svensson (COS, c), 6 - Medea Tsicaderis, 13 - Gabriel Lockheed, 18 - Lowen Rosenthal, 19 - Konrad Vornander, 20 - Tessa Bayliss, 24 - Hasret Kaveci
Midfielders: 4 - Servet Misidjan, 7 - Raquel Accardi (EFL), 8 - Saturn Mastiff, 11 - Lorelei Neptune, 14 - Adelaide Tallow, 15 - Amber Trahearne, 16 - Aura Keynes, 23 - Clarisse Ulreich, 31 - Machua Cronin
Forwards: 9 - Roddy Fraser (AUD), 10 - Matthias Bergander, 17 - Lukas Boldfont, 21 - Aristide Metzger, 22 - John Fletcher
Out on Loan: 3 - Constantine Sandor


League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Iron Hill (49,500)
Nickname: the Rage, the Lads
Captain: Isabella Cassadore
Top Scorers: Conte (23), Breremond (16), Cassadore (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 20 - Ramelow (26); 2 - Austad (25), 22 - Skapoulis (26), 5 - Barksdale (28), 6 - Katarec (21); 13 - Cassadore (28, c), 8 - Horvat (31), 7 - Paulsson (31); 15 - Breremond (23), 10 - Conte (29), 23 - Porter (22)
In: Robard Horvat (Lammerton, 3.5m), Melosa Salek (Easthaven Centurion, free)
Promoted: Syrene Fleetwood (CM, 19), Dimitri Skondreas (CB, 19)
Out: Kosta Ouzoundis (Mareseilles HC, free), Adelaide Southers (Langlois Oceanic, free), Marios Tzavellas (HK Metall Jarnstad, free)
Retired: Hye Min Jeong (CB, 35)

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

71: Premier - 8th - 71 pts
70: Premier - 11th - 67 pts
69: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC
68: Premier - 11th - 68 pts
67: Premier - 8th - 76 pts

Vermillion have their teeth back. This, despite the loss of one of their best players in Coppinger - but far more crucial, it turned out, was having a proper striker in Carlos Conte who didn’t have to do a whole lot other than just put the ball in the net, time and again. In the end, they came surprisingly close to Globe Cup contention, just four points out.

Pretty dull compared to last season’s relentless Saints-trolling. They benefit, like many of their peers, from the SPL’s foundering finances, snapping up the redoubtable veteran Horvat from Lammerton, a typical no-messing-about midfield anchor. And they’ve picked up a 20-year old defensive-minded Eastfielder rightback on a free, and… that’s about it. Of those outgoing, by far the most damaging is the retirement of Hye Min Jeong, the Quebecois captain and a bona fide club legend. He’d slowed down perhaps a touch too far last season, but the defensive unit will miss him.

Spurlock made her name as a disciplined counter-attacking specialist with Bishop, but last season threw at least most of the brakes off, letting the Rage just slam into their opponents time and again. They play fast and aggressive football, pressing high and aggressively to win the ball back, and they tend to rack up the cards. Just how the fans like it.

Conte got the plaudits, but Cheney Breremond is perhaps the key to the front line. A burly, ambitious winger, Breremond’s generally direct, but not so much as to be predictable. He’s two-footed, has a great eye for goal, and puts in a shift defensively. He’s like if Corvid Alemane wasn’t your relaxed favourite cousin and was instead a hyper-aggressive gym rat. You might not want a beer with him, but you’d welcome the wanton mayhem he wreaks on opponents.

Sander Katarec worked his way into the side late last season, and then into Cormorants contention. He’s an obsessive trainer, leaving no stone unturned in squeezing every inch of ability out of his lean, clean-cut body. Sometimes he runs too hard to think, or his touch is too strong - sometimes he’s too hard in the tackle, or overthinks things. But there’s a great player lurking in there, and he’s not far off blooming.

Orpheus Clement was regrettably clearly past his prime last season. Fortunately, Leila Ramelow proved the solution to the malaise. A natural sweeper who doesn’t have to be told twice to stride out and contribute, Ramelow’s tall, strong and agile enough to mix it with anyone. Isabella Cassadore had her best season yet, going from a classy technician to an all-action bomber, without losing what made her good in the first place. The captaincy’s a fitting reward. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget the 23 goals of Carlos Conte. Fast, sturdy, and with a low centre of gravity, it’s hard as hell to shove Conte hard enough he won’t try a shot. And when he shoots, he rarely misses.

If the new front three clicks, this is definitely a side that could push for the Globe Cup. Worst case scenario, however, the team's age catches up with it, and they're stranded in upper-midtable purgatory once again. That would probably mean Spurlock's job.

Manager: Alexis Spurlock
Goalkeepers: 1 - Orpheus Clement, 20 - Leila Ramelow, 25 - Sylvia Hargreaves
Defenders: 2 - Esther Austad, 3 - Aysu Damjana (CMT), 5 - Hecia Barksdale, 6 - Sander Katarec, 17 - Melosa Salek (EFL), 18 - Tomas Banks, 22 - Leontios Skapoulis, 31 - Dimitri Skondreas
Midfielders: 4 - Ferena Rauch, 7 - Ryan Paulsson (VLD), 8 - Robard Horvat (COS), 13 - Isabella Cassadore (c), 24 - Anja Spinnett, 33 - Syrene Fleetwood
Forwards: 9 - Haroun Maynard, 10 - Carlos Conte (VLD), 11 - Granit Nizarut, 12 - Catheline Anastasiadis, 15 - Cheney Breremond, 21 - Danica Heward, 23 - Ramona Porter
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Postby Nephara » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:49 pm

First Division Preview

1. Stahlburg City
Home Colours: White / black / red
Away Colours: Red / black / white
Stadium: Ludd's Hammer (59,000)
Nickname: the Smiths
Manager: Douglas Tibet (54, COS)
(4-1-4-1) 20 - Nneoma Hasanu (32, COS); 5 - Ellen Mifsud (26), 4 - Mathis Orsay (27), 19 - Meredith Napthine (30), 18 - Evander Keane (23); 6 - Garrick Pearce (25); 7 - Saskia Kantaroff (28), 4 - Kresimir Brujah (23), 8 - Valentine Nemeth (31), 23 - Catheline Voegel (23); 11 - Isabella Shi (24, SLL)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Steffen Ceferin (33); 2 - CB - Tomas Ruthven (27), 9 - ST - Masquerade Bryson (29), 10 - CM - Elaine Brighton (34, c), 13 - RM - Toni Dresden (25), 15 - ST - Drago Ward (22), 17 - RB - Meg Owley (29)

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. Stahlburg 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: "Promotion is inevitable." Those were the first words Douglas Tibet announced to the press. Well, it wasn't. Stahlburg never conceded goals, but couldn't score them either, a lack of creativity down the centre and Tibet's stifling instinct costing them despite two excellent wingers and an excellent striker. They've been relatively restrained in reinforcements, well-travelled goalkeeper Hasanu replacing the unreliable Ceferin, athletic centre-half Orsay from Starling looking like he could be the best defender in the league, and perhaps most crucially of all, Valentine Nemeth on a free to inject much-needed creativity down the middle. And there's still plenty here to fire them to the title, a gun striker in Isabella Shu (though those weight issues are never going to go away, are they?) supplied by Kantaroff and Voegel, both easily Premiership-quality wingers, and the sturdy, aggressive mauler Brujah is there to link it all together. A little more ruthlessness, a little more creativity, and the Smiths could walk it. Anything short of promotion would mean Tibet's head.

2. 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 (40, PAS)
(4-2-3-1) 12 - Kiva Sirleaf (24, COS); 2 - Bernadette Pietersen (29), 22 - Susanna Woodpress (26), 6 - Ciprian Jantzer (33, c), 18 - Molly Killanen (30, SCT); 4 - Robin Seizter (32), 21 - Shona Butcher (23); 7 - Vahid Kudelka (21), 11 - Leonardo Ford (29, ETN), 16 - Helena Loxton (24); 9 - Portia Taani (29, MRN)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Olivia Selkie (30); 3 - LB - Franziska Jaspen (26), 8 - CM - Lance Diebeck (28), 10 - ST - Bruin Goodyouth (25), 13 - R/CAM - Cardinal Belgrave (34), 15 - RAM - Artemis Katsamatis (33), 19 - CB - Richter Clavane (25), 22 - ST - Paul Leonhardsen (22), 23 - DM - Vasya Kravec (21, AUD), 24 - RB - Brindle Taukroger (23)

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: Jens Reiniger was promised patience, and now, things are starting to really look up. They started badly, but then recovered to mount an unlikely promotion push before slipping back out of contention to 9th. They'll hope to skip that phase this time, and the board has backed Reiniger to the hilt with a proper 'war chest'. That said, the best bargain of all might be a free; they needed another physical presence to lead the line, and satyr Portia Taani is just that and could be the signing of the season, fresh off a top-scoring season for Vidal Alchemists. But it doesn't stop there; Leonardo Ford is a sharp 2m attacking midfielder to supplement the excellent young wingers Kudelka and Loxton, Shona Butcher comes in from relegated Locksley to add technique and diligence to the centre of the park, a seasoned former international in Killanen (another free!) adds spark at leftback while athletic, acrobatic Kiva Sirleaf is somewhat of a gamble between the posts, but one who caught many plaudits helping her lowly Riversharks to the Cup Final in Cosumar. This is a solid and skilled team, fully drilled in Reiniger's preferred slow-paced, technical style. They'll strangle teams with possession, and with the finishing touch to turn the ball into goals.

3. Parrhesia United
Home Colours: Green / white / red
Away Colours: White / green / white
Manager: Kaj Aurora (42, APX)
Stadium: Knightsgrave (43,000)
Nickname: the Saints
(4-3-3) 1 - Angela Spyrakis (25); 6 - Misha Symond (25), 5 - Dimitra Altman (27), 18 - Marisa Strauss (33), 3 - Ivory Meso-Roza (24, AUD); 4 - Makis Kotsonis (24), 8 - Catrine Kisel (33), 11 - Swabia Rademacher (30, c); 7 - Abigail Teris (27, SCT), 21 - Ann Reus (24, COS), 23 - Sigrun Barota (27)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Radu Bartok (21); 9 - ST - Wynona Rampart (23), 10 - ST - Quinn McEthinly (26, SCT), 13 - LW - Coraline Madrigal (31), 15 - RW - Kirsten Howlett (25), 20 - DM - Hollin Spicer (23), 22 - LB - Drake Antony (23)

Background: Vermillion's first or second club, depending on who you ask. Definitely its oldest, and one of the oldest in the country. The Saints are associated with the northside and outskirts of the city, a fairly disparate population uniting a variety of demographics. A proud club, but has fallen on harder times of late. Bitter rivals with Vermillion Rage.

Summary: Last season was terrible for the Saints. Sure, 6th looks okay on paper after a late surge, but they spent most of last season floundering in midtable. They scored the second-most goals in the league, but conceded more than two relegated sides. The board wanted to keep Benjamin Nyao in the job but, in the end, fan protests forced their hand. They've gone for quality of reinforcements over quantity, losing Saturn Mastiff to Treason (well, were they going to stand in the midfielder's way?) and relying on their depth in midfield to focus on patching up up front. The result is the finest front three in the league. Teris is too good for this level by a distance, and is responsible for much of the creative burden along with the seasoned captain Rademacher, Barota's a mercurial player and temperamental dressing room figure but a forward of undoubted quality coming in after a stint in Chromatika, while Ann Reus... gets goals. Strauss and Kisel, meanwhile, are the level heads who keep things ticking over at the back, while Angela Spyrakis is firming into one of the league's best goalkeepers, especially for her distribution. They'll play a high-octane, high-pressing, high-risk and, hopefully, high-reward style under Aurora, and no matter the results, they'll be great to watch.

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 (51)
(4-4-2) 1 - Serdjan Aleksovic (33, COS); 2 - Julian Ilsander (27), 5 - Darius Rashkin (30, c), 20 - Chris Bishop (26, SCT), 3 - Bohemund Karling (24); 13 - Severa Conleth (21), 4 - Ella Grear (27, SCT), 8 - Damocles Kouroglou (30), 11 - Reis Caulker (24); 9 - Konstanze Luitgard (29), 10 - Abishai Vestal (25)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Baltasar Gensch (29); 6 - CB - Crispin Galloway (25), 7 - RM - Matt Hephernan (25), 14 - ST - Bardolph Miller (26), 18 - CB - Constantine Dahl (27), 19 - LB - Kayla Dorran (26), 22 - ST - Bernhard Duisberg (26), 23 - CM - Timo Blankman (25)

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 has been a fiery affair of late. 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: Had the league been settled on merely avoiding defeat, Chatswood would have come second. Had the league been settled on draws, they would've come first, which perhaps explains why in the real world they were stranded in eighth. Fletcher has done her best with the tools she has, and those tools are not particularly brilliant. Fortunately, she's been able to add to them in the off-season with crucial additions at both ends of the pitch. Chris Bishop should be, on paper, one of the best defenders in the league - at the other end, the lethal poacher Luitgard was once top goalscorer at this level and, at 29, should have what it takes to give that particular award another shot. They also boast a fine, seasoned goalkeeper in Aleksovic, a Premiership-quality holding midfielder in Grear and, in Severa Conleth, a player harbouring genuine (if remote) Cormorants hopes. They'll play their usual physical, brutalist style of football - that's what gets the fans through the gates in these parts - and hope that that cynicism can drag them to promotion.

5. 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 (51)
(4-4-2) 1 - Stefan Bolander (27); 2 - Belaskita Skalak (26, c), 19 - Gabriel Sesay (22), 6 - Amber Steelshrift (28), 18 - Beatrice Colgan (26, SCT); 13 - Annegret Bellinghausen (28), 23 - Brandon Cordwood (22), 8 - Adele Rosborough (25), 11 - Drusilla Moxey (26); 10 - Apotheosis Kaskanis (30), 15 - Tristan Lovelock (25)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Josef Colmeyer (24), 20 - GK - Bryce Henderson (27); 3 - LB - Bella Scarratt (26), 4 - CM - Jasmine Colindon (27), 5 - CB - Axiom Gaitatzis (25), 7 - RM - Zarathustra Raumdeuter (25), 9 - ST - Sapphire Burnett (23), 16 - LM - Vivienne Morgan (23), 21 - ST - Dulcina Radcliffe (20, EFL), 22 - ST - Thorodel Nagdalene (34, COS)

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: Yet again, the Rovers were horribly inconsistent, nowhere near promotion and without a clear idea of a 'project'. Fortunately, the project now appears to be to buy a bunch of players better than their existing players, and finally make a proper tilt at promotion. Elrik Raskine's on thin ice, and after substantial backing in the transfer market, failure to mount a credible push for the top four will mean the axe for certain. After all, they have replaced one right winger with a ludicrously long name for another, in Bellinghausen. The muscular new signing Kaskanis accompanies intelligent, ruthless Lovelock in a highly promising strike partnership, and they've snapped up the high-class experience of Beatrice Colgan to accompany Drusilla Moxey on the left. Another major transfer victory there, keeping ahold of the classy, raw-boned winger, and on the other flank former Treason fullback Skalak adds a healthy dose of pragmatism to the back line. There's the pieces here to hopefully play the dominant, aggressive and stylish football Raskine is asking for. If they can't, it bears repeating, the axe will fall.

6. Leichhardt
Home Colours: Yellow / blue / yellow
Away Colours: All navy, yellow trim
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Stargazers
Manager: Bruno Hawke (54)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Folami Adekoya (27, CBR); 5 - Diligence Nkembe (31), 2 - Michael Koller (26, SCT), 3 - Stavroula Portokalos (27), 17 - Marisa Woodruff (21); 4 - Lara Silverstein (31, c); 7 - Mariska Woodspur (30), 8 - Berit Lienen (27), 18 - Connie Reiziger (23), 16 - Jess Silkman (31); 11 - Ingrid Auttenberg (30)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Shukhrat Kozak (35), 25 - GK - Gerrard Baumann (21); 6 - RB - Asp Somner (20), 9 - ST - Dorian Fletchclair (31), 12 - DM - June Hartley (26), 13 - LM - Felix Reiter (32), 19 - LB - Heather Garrard (33), 21 - ST - Radja Martelbach (21), 22 - CB - Providence Mensah (25), 23 - CM - Rhys Sheldon (22)

Background: A small city and the largest settlement in the Northern Vale, Leichhardt has traditionally flitted between Premiership relegation battles and the top half of the First Division, usually playing defensive football in the process. Its primary rivals are Corvette, the second-largest Vale settlement, but they've both been overshadowed by nearby Starling of late.

Summary: To survive the Premiership, it helps if you can score goals. A quarter of the way into last season, Leichhardt had... five. They nearly approached a great escape near the end, winning four of their last five, but in the end they just lacked bite. Unfortunately, they had very obvious star players, who were quickly picked off - as was their impressive manager Vardalos. But to their credit, they've managed to reinforce, better than all the other relegated sides. Notoriously pragmatic manager Bruno Hawke comes in to patch things up, and he in turn signs Folami Adekoya to replace Stern in goal, veterans Fletchclair and Garrard to add meat to the squad and most surprisingly of all 11-cap winger Jess Silkman to add creativity to the side, and along with former Treason winger Woodspur, they surely boast the best wingers in the league. Ingrid Auttenberg is a good finisher, too, and should be dominant at this level - Michael Koller, meanwhile, has won awards in the First Division before, and will be looking to again. Don't expect much fluidity in the side - they'll go out knowing what they have to do, and that is to protect the clean sheet first and foremost and hope the creative talents and finishers can do... something, at the other end.

7. South Laithland
Home Colours: All purple with white trim
Away Colours: White / purple / white
Stadium: Covenground (27,000)
Nickname: the Southrons
Manager: Daniel Kunde (48, CBR)
(4-4-2) 1 - Gerhard Hartmuth (26); 2 - Machalat Sauber (28), 5 - Goran Martell (25), 18 - Duviel de Naam (30, COS), 3 - Merlyn Youabian (25, COS); 20 - Richard Kester (29, ETN), 7 - Natasha (31, DAI), 4 - Andre Havranek (26, IRN), 11 - Cathy Alweather (28); 9 - Esteban Bentzen (34, AUD, c), 21 - Cass Lazaridis (23)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Alastair Cavan (26), 25 - GK - Emery Russell (23); 6 - CB - Darren Ferror (27), 10 - ST - Dietrich Sorrenson (33), 13 - LM - Georgia Malinder (28), 14 - CM - Erik Paston (23), 15 - RM - Rosary Kistler (31), 16 - ST - Chufti Waters (31), 17 - ST - Bandersnatch Smith (31), 19 - CB - Journey Pike (20, EFL), 23 - RB - Attema Karoy (31), 31 - LB - Louise Barton (19), 36 - CM - Constantine Jurman (18)

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: Despite the lowest wage bill in the top flight last season, South Laithland put up a good fight, making it to the playoff place. They had heart, physicality... but their quality was just a little lacking in the end. The departure of stars Meixner and, bizarrely, World Cup winner Carrick, will hurt, but they've kept an immensely solid core together. They'll now be under the stern eye of the uncompromising, old-school Daniel Kunde from Cobrio, an obscure name but one with a pedigree of rebuilding lower-league sides. There's a good foundation for that here, though they don't look ready to make a big push for the top four yet. Gerhard Hartmuth goes from Champions' Cup football last season with Crisisbless to the second tier, and has the physicality to adapt, but he's been their only major signing - mostly, it's about players they've kept. Martell and de Naam are a brutal central defensive partnership with excellent attacking fullbacks either side, Natasha is a rare talent at this level with a technical focus, Alweather's a great orthodox winger who can send in crosses for the seasoned marksman Bentzen to eat up. They may seem like a throwback to a bygone era, but that might not be such a bad thing - South Laithland used to be good.

8. Brookford Otters
Home Colours: Cyan / cyan / pink
Away Colours: Black / black / cyan
Manager: Andrea Betancourt (47)
Stadium: The Rock (20,000)
Nickname: the Otters
(4-3-3) 1 - Philoctetes Giannou (24); 18 - Kurtis Siegrist (30), 4 - Luna Traugott (31), 17 - Claudia Bohr (22), 13 - Janne Heitinger (29); 8 - Tanya Chilton (31, c), 15 - Brandon Rivan (25), 11 - Andrea Prentice (22); 22 - Joscelyn Monroe (25), 14 - Ulysses Mithradates (28), 23 - Dejana Petersen (29)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Ellen Wheelock (28); 3 - LB - Erika Arweiler (26), 6 - CB - Rafi Enfield (25), 10 - LW - Guillermo Cecchini (32, AUD), 19 - RB - Olivia Ryghseter (24), 20 - ST - Dejan Lindbeck (25), 21 - CM - Fiona Shrewsbury (25)

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: Last season was a bit of a reality check for the Otters, as a promising start slipped away to a still-respectable 7th. Goals weren't an issue, with Ulysses Mithradates arguably the best all-round striker in the division and Chilton regularly putting balls on a platter for him, but there was just a little too much inconsistency. On the bright side, there was an 11-0 thrashing of lowly South Brill in the Cup. Their transfer window was quiet, but mixed overall - losing Asha Solbachen, their classiest midfielder, to Crisisbless United, losing out on a nearly-done deal with veteran anchor Claire Beresford but managing to get the signature of Homecoming winger Dejana Petersen, a high-class, frictionless winger who didn't look out of place at Premiership level, for all she unsurprisingly dominated the Super-Lleague. They've also lost manager Hadrian Belfast to AFC Corvistone, and Andrea Betancourt will be helping she can put a positive spin back on her... mixed career, to date. It's easy to see where the Otters' threat comes, with incisive overlapping fullback Heitinger joining Petersen on the left, Tanya Chilton the kind to spray passes with impunity from the middle and Ulysses Mithradates an athletic, intelligent striker unafraid to drift in search of possession, while young promising players like Bohr and Giannou need to step up and gain consistency. If they do that, they could go far playing fast-paced attacking football, easy on the eye.

9. Belgrave
Home Colours: All purple with white trim
Away Colours: All yellow with black trim
Stadium: Cherryfields (25,000)
Nickname: the Gargoyles
Manager: Adalheid Metzelder (41)
(4-3-3) 1 - Brandon Connell (25); 2 - Alisara Crowe (30), 19 - Vasiliki Giatrakis (25), 4 - Drusilla Naess (29), 24 - Cassandra Posipal (21); 21 - Emeraude Tanner (26, EFL), 17 - Sigmar Ward (27), 11 - Diana Lake (27); 7 - Meredith Sloan (22), 9 - Cohen Alexander (26), 10 - Retta Conrad (23, CMT)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Odessa Bonds (22); 3 - CB - Milos Roth (34), 5 - CB - Dion Stepton (33), 6 - LB - Quin Markranstadt (30, c), 8 - CM - Espen Whyte (32), 12 - ST - Constance Strober (27), 13 - LW - Sylvia Rouseff (32), 14 - CM - Matilda Hamilton (22), 16 - ST - Ismael Hauer (24), 18 - RB - Journey Flintoff (23)

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: High hopes, but the Gargoyles were fucking terrible last season in the Premiership, crashing straight back down. Just six wins, 98 goals conceded, setting a record for the worst Premiership defeat (10-1 to Southfell)... it's not pretty reading, and they've lost some of their best players, on top of that. Also their manager, Griffiths, who didn't lose much goodwill despite everything and still heads off to Kingsgrove as planned. He'd been a left-field appointment in the first place, and replacement Adalheid Metzelder is certainly that, an ambitious assistant at Crisisbless Athletic who spent a mixed year over a couple seasons in the hot seat there but impressed with her research. They haven't exactly pushed the boat out for transfers - they tried to replace Lazarou with Brinemouth winger Claudia Martane, but were unsurprisingly beaten to it by Hornchurch, and for their efforts have come up with sturdy, intelligent target man Cohen Alexander, a man comfortable with his back to goal, and the experienced, technical rightback Crowe. They've kept ahold of some of their promising young prospects, at least. Brandon Connell looked comfortable at Premiership level, and should thrive here as a sweeper with excellent distribution. Posipal, Sloan and especially Conrad should all thrive given that extra yard or two to maneuvre at this level, while Drusilla Naess is a calm head, well-respected, someone who can steady the nerves and deal decisively with danger. But it's a thin, uneven and inexperienced side, on the whole, and this is almost certainly going to be a year of consolidation. Like it was meant to be, two years ago.

10. Cranequin City
Home Colours: All terracotta, gold trim
Away Colours: All sky blue, black trim
Stadium: Claringstone (18,000)
Nickname: the Terracotta Army
Manager: Dan Keel (43)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Stefan Ledo (27, ABJ); 17 - Tristan Polenz (24), 4 - Orestis Kalyvas (26), 6 - Heinz Kreis (28), 19 - Bernard Heller (26); 13 - Gedeon Gyenis (23, PAS), 18 - Ninian Lechleiter (26, c), 8 - Harriet Skiff (26); 11 - Niko Rosmalen (31); 23 - Kirsten Gemmill (27), 10 - Kosta Kolar (23)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Rachael Flitcroft (33), 5 - CB - Oleg Biscan (26), 7 - AM - Delta Amberstone (29), 9 - ST - Gerhard Schanzer (34), 16 - ST - Leofric Woadswell (32), 20 - DM - Jacqueline Sembrant (31), 21 - CM - Bertrand Verdier (30, EFL)

Background: Cranequin is the smallest of the state capitals, and City is dwarfed by the Wanderers. Still, they've managed to compete with their rivals over the past few years, and a remarkable string of seasons under Edmund Agincourt saw an unlikely series of survivals with a side that just seemed to get worse and worse on paper but always found a way to cling to survival, until they suddenly didn't. Have dipped between the second and third tiers since, but an ambitious board is looking up.

Summary: After a stuttering start to life in the second tier, the Terracotta Army clawed their way to safety as Gemmill fired into form in the second half of the season and Kreis and Polenz became defensive bulwarks. Still some work to do, though - they scored fewer goals than any other surviving side. There's been a whole-scale reshuffle of the midfield, partially enforced through the loss of the hot prospect Cressida Voeller - Gyenis has been plucked from the SuperLleague to help with his industry and diligence, as long as he can stay off the coke, while the lean Skiff and the athletic, aggressive journeyman Rosmalen offer a more technical touch. Orestis Kalyvas, a sporadic part of Chenoworth Rovers' leading defence last time around, drops back down to become a keystone for City. A lot of credit must also go to the beleagured Ninian Lechleiter, the sole anticipated starting survivor of last season's midfield, whose intelligence and craft were underlined by an undoubted and helpful bittiness. On the whole, City look good, solid, and all the better for some steady recruitment. They're a slow, but powerful side.

11. Goodfeather FC
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / green / white
Stadium: Steelchurch (32,500)
Nickname: the Quakers
Manager: Jessica Loque (50)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Anya Beraht (26); 2 - Sylvia Aviston (26), 18 - Artur Bierofka (28), 5 - Ellen Boarspear (27), 3 - Brigid Eather (26); 4 - Marisa Leitner (29, c), 8 - Florian Schneider (31), 13 - Radek Weiss (20); 21 - Wynona Short (28); 9 - Gabriel Prosper (25), 7 - Corona Sharpe (26)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Lisa Summersteen (34), 25 - GK - Erin Naylor (24); 10 - ST - Hansel Fortesquire (25), 15 - ST - Catheline Durren (21), 16 - AM - Tarry Hareide (25), 17 - LB - Lewyn Harnwell (26), 19 - CB - Juergen Kessler (21), 22 - CB - Dane Rednic (26), 23 - CM - Viktor Key (23), 24 - RB - Franzi Brill (22)

Background: The Quakers, so named for representing the relative Protestant hotbed of Nephara, are noted for a gorgeous kit and a traditional emphasis on technical play. Comfortably situated in eastern Crisisbless, they've traditionally floated freely between the top two tiers, enjoying high highs and suffering some low lows along the way. They're well-renowned for a faith in youth, especially from their own academy.

Summary: When the Quakers were good last season, they were great. They beat Brinemouth, held up champions Crisisbless, hammered Newrook 6-0. Unfortunately, there was too much Mar and not nearly enough -mite, and they crashed out of the league despite a win on the last day, scuppered by results elsewhere. The bloodletting from their squad has been predictable, though agonising - Rannon, Forster, Jewel, Dimitar and Case headlining the departures, though at least in the acquisition of Wynona Short from relegated Gonen's Bridge, they hope to find a playmaker whose passing is as creative as the spelling of her given name. And as far as reinforcements go, that's... about it, beyond veteran goalkeeper Lisa Summersteen, who will probably only be a reliable backup. Their back four is basically the same as last season, which is arguably a good thing - the wingbacks Aviston and Eather are certainly excellent at providing width - while the class of Leitner and the young, raw but thrillingly freewheeling Weiss livens up the midfield. Schneider's a talented bruiser at this level to anchor it all. They need big man Prosper and poacher Sharpe to get them the goals... and to weather any injuries in their thin squad.

12. Ritter Town
Home Colours: All white, orange trim
Away Colours: All blue, orange trim
Stadium: Stableground (22,000)
Nickname: the Stallions
Manager: Andrea Crowe (48)
(4-4-2) 1 - Anna St. Preux (26, CYI), 2 - Sapphire Riverhound (27), 5 - Lucex-Ilinx Opu (32, QUS), 6 - Natalia Bismarck (26, c), 3 - Lesedi Maina (23, FPT); 22 - Augustine Yew (25), 4 - Sherry Bickermann (33), 8 - Rafaela Fenchel (29), 13 - Boney Connell (27, BSE); 9 - Arista Tzorvas (20), 21 - Naga (26, DAI)
Notable Reserves: 7 - RM - Serval Harfouch (31), 10 - ST - Ganimedes (28, DAI), 14 - CM - Cyrus Saebener (29), 15 - CM - Josef Rosenberg (34), 19 - RB - Sigrun Tarragon (29, 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. Following their recent drop into the third tier, however, a new wealthy consortium has come in and bought a controlling stake in the club, with their sights set on the Premiership once again.

Summary: The Stallions were the standout favourites to win the second tier from start to finish - well, they or Rochford, who ultimately finished seven points short of promotion. Under Andrea Crowe, a former Nephara international who learned her coaching trade in the Sunrise Islands, they stepped away from the direct route and became more confident in possession, a confidence she hopes will translate to the tier above. Veteran holding midfielder Sherry Bickermann is a shrewd signing on a free from South Laithland, and it reflects the focus on the back this season - Maina comes in from Freeport and Lucex-Ilinu from Qusmo to sharpen up there. Accompanying Bickermann in the core of midfield is Rafaela Fenchel, probably the team's best player given her experience in the top flight and Chromatika, someone who can pull the strings while running hard, while the striker and part-time model Naga has been enlisted from the Legaskari to offer more goals. All eyes, however, are on Arista Tzorvas, the tall, powerful striker who would have been on-track to be top scorer last season had she started every match. Premiership sides are watching keenly to see how she adapts to the tier above. She should get the chances, too - Ritter play a hard-and-fast style of football, physical and direct. It should serve them well.
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Postby Nephara » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:49 pm

13. Armstrong
Home Colours: All navy with cyan/white trim
Away Colours: Yellow / navy / yellow
Stadium: Swolefens (25,000)
Nickname: the Paladins
Manager: Warner Dranz (46)
(4-4-2) 1 - Constantine Yeoman (27); 2 - Niko Smelter (24), 19 - Gary Boatman (28), 4 - Mats Eriksson (27, SEM), 3 - Yehoshua Riesling (29); 22 - Majdiyya Cavazos (30, EFL, c), 6 - Milan Fenwick (30, EFL), 8 - Leo Rosenstiel (25), 16 - Jasmine Furrier (23); 23 - Jonas Busch (27), 10 - Brogan Poppey (24, COS)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Yann Cawood (25); 5 - CB - Deon Martyn (32), 9 - ST - Rho Efthimiou (25), 11 - LM - Stefan Ermine (23), 14 - ST - Carrie Mason (34), 17 - RB - Constantine Strutton (28), 21 - CM - Miralem Fowler (34)

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: Armstrong collapsed last season. Brun Kissinger, who had caught the eye of Premiership clubs, was unable to stop an alarming backslide and was the first First Division manager to get axed after five straight defeats. Warner Dranz was given a bad hand, but managed to salvage the situation with a more assertive playing style, a change of formation and vast improvement from Boatman, Cavazos and Busch in particular. They still look... unexceptional. New signings in former youth internationals Eriksson (if he can keep fit) and the exceptional finisher Poppey (if he can learn to run) should aid their cause at either end of the pitch. Mostly, though, they're just an exceptionally... solid, team. In the First Division ecosystem, they are the generic baseline. Yeoman is the largest player in the league, a hulking goalkeeper who can get down deceptively fast, while Cavazos on the right is a sharp, incisive and decisive winger who has become a fan favourite for her style. Which... bluntly, there is not a whole lot of in this team. They play hard, direct football, defend forcefully and are excellent from set pieces.

14. Vermillion Wanderers
Home Colours: Green / green / yellow
Away Colours: Yellow / green / green
Stadium: Falstaff Ground (23,500)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Cheney Rutherford (50)
(4-4-2) 12 - Max Beyer (27, PAS); 2 - Cheney Auburn (25), 17 - Julen Zendegi (27, AUD), 6 - Callie Flores (34, COS, c), 20 - Simone Waehner (28); 7 - Anneliese Coe (22), 21 - Franziska Corren (23), 8 - Catric Pinnon (26), 14 - Alexis Farrier (23, AUD); 22 - Finlay McCloud (21, AUD), 10 - Valery Kovaleski (24, AUD)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Tameka Halsall (29); 3 - LB - Barrett Routledge (27), 4 - CM - Stelios Eleftheriou (33), 9 - ST - Lorraine Paintblack (26), 11 - LM - Jasper Stalworth (26), 15 - RM - Claudia Stefans (31), 16 - RB - Ichthys Tsekenis (30)

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: Another season of midtable mediocrity for the Wanderers. It's probably about what they deserve, and anyway, they produced some lively moments, and a surprising amount of goals with their straightforward, direct football, Pinnon the architect and 17-goal man Kovaleski an increasingly decisive executioner. Following off-season renovations, they still look... well, young, and Audioslavian. Young Audioslav Finlay McCloud is another hopeful catch from the lower league system over there, while Max Beyer is an intriguing journeyman purchase who was by far the best stopper in the Legaskari, for... whatever that's worth. Most of the Wanderers' momentum this season will come from their side gaining experience, maybe winning some time for the likes of the one-dimensional Coe to gain another trick beyond 'a lot of pace and a hard cross' - though she is, to be fair, really good at those things. Callie Flores is the standout, though, really, a seasoned centre-half who spreads calm and contentment around the back. The Wanderers have shifted away from their direct roots of late, largely through Pinnon's influence down the middle and Rutherford's from the technical area, but they're still unapologetic in playing the percentages at times.

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 (51)
(4-1-4-1) 12 - Wotan Hornwood (27); 17 - Yulia Heidt (22, COS), 4 - Elsa Durant (24), 18 - Jordi Rowe (26), 19 - Christian Ledger (28, c); 14 - Storm Holsen (22, AUD); 7 - Cheney Corder (27), 15 - Gareth Anwhistle (32), 23 - Annika Netzach (20), 11 - Marcin Faehrmann (25); 10 - Ida Preussler (28)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Jove de Lisle (31); 2 - RB - Andre Sciberras (27), 5 - CB - Corren Delaney (34), 6 - DM - Kiko Santiago (31), 8 - CM - Prudence Bourne (31), 13 - ST - Alanna Halmark (28), 20 - RM - Lezalit Ornstein (32), 22 - CM - Antony Stamp (28)

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). That said, their fans would kill for that status now - they seem to be stranded in midtable in the second tier, and were even recently relegated to the third. 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 book-ended her career at the club.

Summary: Iron City may have easily wedged themselves in midtable, but it wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs; their tally of 38 goals was lower than any surviving team, and it didn't exactly take a rocket surgeon to realise new blood was needed - a new creative midfielder in Crossroads' young Annika Netzach to support Faehrmann, and a new striker in Ida Preussler, a free transfer from Olympic East who is one of the league's most lethal strikers. Yulia Heidt, star of the Cosumar collegiate system, is another promising find. So more of the same is the prescription this season. In Wotan Hornwood they have a powerful, reliable figure between the posts, Durant a promising young leader of the defence ahead of him, with the all-action marauder Storm Holsen to hack people down between the lines. The experience and guile of Gareth Anwhistle is a useful, reliable body in the centre of the park, as well. All in all, Iron City are hard-edged, disciplined, physical and direct. They don't mess about. And that, with Preussler offering a finer finishing touch, should easily see them home.

16. West Brinemouth
Home Colours: Orange / black / orange
Away Colours: Pink / black / pink
Stadium: Volkstadion (31,000)
Nickname: the Gulls
Manager: Anatoly Fenwick (52)
(4-3-1-2) 12 - Clovis Terrano (25, CCN); 17 - Thorn Tristram (23), 18 - Hector Reiss (25), 22 - Tomas Castanon (22, AUD), 3 - Genevieve Taylor (25); 7 - Andrea Kurz (21), 4 - Cheney Gestede (34, c), 13 - Karel Jaffe (27); 11 - Hera Poxay (31, COS); 10 - Aris Daskalakis (25), 21 - Reinhard Geist (22)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Dave Cassen (28); 2 - RB - James Culden (32), 5 - CB - Jason Godfrey (28), 8 - CM - Hilda Stannion (28), 9 - ST - Brun Terry (28), 14 - DM - Rook Trestleman (27), 15 - AM - Sami Makela (31), 16 - ST - Ferran Guegan (20, AUD), 19 - CB - Alice Woodman (34), 23 - LB - April Forshawe (31)

Background: Brinemouth's west is the relatively poor, working-class part of the city, away from the affluent, arguably gentrified Brineside. Unlike most such sides, it remains in the shadow of neighbours and fierce rivals Brinemouth, but it has achieved some fair successes of its own in the modern era, occasionally reaching the Premiership and once winning the NFA Cup. The fanbase traditionally values workmanlike, muscular players, but the academy has not been the most successful, and many of the best youth prospects in the city are poached by their bigger, richer neighbours.

Summary: In the godawful knife-fight of the relegation battle, the Gulls were at the top - ten points clear of the drop, six clear of 13th-place Iron City one position higher. While solid at the back, conceding fewer goals than any team beneath them (except, perversely, bottom-feeders Sheridan), they needed to be sharper in front of goal themselves, and the arrival of Daskalakis from Parrhesia and hitherto one-club woman Poxay from Olask will help that immensely. In theory. Hector Reiss is another good pickup, a sturdy and pugnacious brawler from Rochford, plainly too good for the third tier and impatient with Rochford's repeated failure to promote. He slots into a back four lucky enough to include Thorn Tristram, one of the best rightbacks in the league, and of a similarly rough and ready nature - and an everpresent winning smile that makes it easy to forgive his prickishness. Kurz is another player who the Gulls will have to enjoy while they have her, a thrilling, energetic midfielder. Yeah, they have the solidity to stay up, and it's solidity with which they play, too. They're tough, hard-bitten, and uninspired. But if you don't concede, you generally don't go down.

17. AFC Serpentine
Home Colours: Jade / navy / jade
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Aventurine Street (20,000)
Nickname: the Dragons
Manager: Voula Logothettis (50)
(4-4-2) 1 - Camilla Searle (32); 2 - Kurtis Fischer (31), 4 - Hecates Ruarisson (29, APX), 23 - Nils Armbruster (26), 3 - Keziah Warwick (31, c); 7 - Oiji Nanemoru (24, HIN), 5 - Antonis Harisis (31, FHU), 21 - Jasper Olson (26), 11 - Garrett Stijnen (23); 14 - Coraline Langbauer (28), 10 - Kuruc Zalan (31, PAS)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Marietta Briggs (23); 6 - CM - Raphael Passlach (25), 8 - CM - Ashley Keoman (32), 15 - ST - Chloe Lehrer (25), 16 - ST - Roxanna Strong (21), 19 - CB - Penelope Caddett (33)

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: The Dragons appear to be settling into midtable. They were relevant last season insofar as they lost to the Maulers to secure them the title and beat Gonen's Bridge to relegate them, and... that's about it. The main victory of the window was keeping ahold of the colossal centre-half Nils Armbruster, but their reinforcements have been very... okay. Searle's a decent goalkeeper at this level, nothing special, while Harisis is a fringe international and versatile defensive player. But they are not... sexy, bluntly. This is the side that produced Lienke Vesper and Scylla Vyntra, and now it has... um... Stijnen and Warwick down its left instead. Okay, Warwick's a good player, though slowing noticeably with the years, and along with the sturdy Fischer and the murderous Ruarisson, they actually have a pretty good back four going. Going forward, they tend to be direct, bypassing the middle to get the ball to bold, stocky poacher Langbauer or the tall timber of Zalan, with Oiji Nanemaru being the real creative spark of the side. Another uninspiring season in lower midtable likely beckons.

18. Mantlegrove
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Cygnet Street (12,000)
Nickname: the Dryads
Manager: Henrick Barden (53)
(4-3-1-2) 12 - Lowen Archer (34); 17 - Leo Bryant (25), 5 - Marcia Falchuk (27), 6 - Beth Garrick (31, c), 22 - Arnau Mon (27, AUD); 21 - Elizabeth Bellard (29), 23 - Gudrun Portsman (32), 4 - Caspar Radston (29); 10 - Isobel Foster (22); 13 - Cantra Duprey (26), 11 - Sana Asrori (29, ISK)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Sharon Bradshaw (34), 3 - LB - Oskar Lainford (32), 8 - DM - Lana Harringstead (32)

Background: A founder club of the Conference East, Mantlegrove have come a long way to establish themselves in the upper-middle echelons of the pyramid. They're comfortably tucked into eastern Treason and have managed, somewhat surprisingly, to tap into the small hipster fanbase left abandoned by the collapse of Project +90. Propped up in their early years by a local family who won the lottery, they've since been taken over by a more conventional consortium.

Summary: The Dryads are back, after a strong first half of the season ensured they were never in serious doubt of failing to secure promotion. But they're in no danger of standing still - Henrick Barden, former assistant manager of Chenoworth Harriers, has been utterly ruthless in replacing his aging stars with fresh talent. The journeyman nature of the side means there's some nice connections in the side - taciturn defender Garrick and introverted new arrival Bellard - formerly of Tihon and Nandaozhou - both played in Sabrefell Athletic's youth teams together, Marcia Falchuk and their incoming star, the rapid-fire playmaker Isobel Foster, both have their roots in Newrook. They've even found Arnau Mon, a muscular leftback, from the Legaskari, and there's even a return to the Nepharim pyramid for Sana Asrori, though Cantra Duprey, who doesn't look so out of place in the top tier, should be an easy shout for at least 15 goals this season. The Dryads played patient, possession football in the third tier, but look set to ramp it up here, with a lot of small, fleet-footed players and the highly-touted Foster pulling the strings. Expect a strong performance.

19. Coret Rovers
Home Colours: Blue / white / blue
Away Colours: Yellow / blue / yellow
Stadium: The Ultramarine (16,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Manager: Bess Gannon (43)
(4-4-2) 1 - Darroll Kewell (27, EFL); 19 - Parvana Evans (29, ISK), 4 - Reynald Etzel (26), 6 - Gideon Muller (32), 3 - Karlo Jozic (29, PAS); 7 - Alastair Spinnett (25), 21 - Gareth Brewer (35, c), 14 - Bosko Roman (27, IRN), 16 - Luther Spendthrift (26); 9 - Rodger Covington (29, ETN), 10 - Sylvia Janik (25, GLX)
Notable Reserves: 5 - CB - Logan More (32), 8 - CM - Jozan Moreland (34), 15 - RM - Ambrose Sonnett (33), 22 - CB - Dave Chenoweth (27), 23 - ST - Melody Forster (22)

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: After a rough start, the Rovers recovered to swim to midtable safety. And then they went eleven games winless, a streak only beaten on the last game of the season, to pull out of relegation trouble. They pretty much stayed up through Sylvia Janik's goals, an inspired signing with a golden touch in front of goal - their defence was pretty terrible. Reynald Etzel comes in to steady the ship, a graceful, cerebral defender, and that's... really about it for signings. Instead, they'll be relying on their old guard who have kept them up across the past few years - Darroll Kewel, the acrobatic goalkeeper. The cunning, shuttling fullbacks Evans and Jozic. The veteran Gareth Brewer, who will fight anyone in midfield. And most crucially of all, Janik up front, thriving with Covington's support to lash home the goals. Bess Gannon has made the side more physical and very direct, and while it's not pretty, it's effective enough that it's... well... probably time to stop predicting the Rovers to go down.

20. Greygate
Home Colours: All slate grey with red sash
Away Colours: All white with blue trim
Stadium: Dourhead (23,000)
Nickname: the Wardens
Manager: Augustine Houghton (62)
(4-4-2) 1 - Anders Rowett (26); 13 - Jari Ricketts (27), 22 - Bixente Lalonde (22, ASU), 19 - Rostyn Malick (28), 18 - Rodolf Berisha (31, c); 12 - Cadell Cornerstone (27, SEM), 23 - Matthew Rawson (23), 8 - Maja Duvnjak (33, PAS), 21 - Karena Braham (34); 9 - Klaus Petriak (26), 15 - Kotaro Westfield (28, USI)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Tamara Rosenbauer (33), 4 - CM - Solipsis Coleman (33), 5 - CB - Daniel Muscat (33), 7 - RM - Jason Finmark (28), 10 - ST - Amelia Rusmond (32), 11 - LM - Corso Poulsen (30)

Background: Greygate hope to entrench themselves as Stahlburg's third club, though realistically Armstrong are more important. 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 Stahlburg 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: The Wardens have, at least temporarily, managed to put their yo-yo nature to rest. They played a very old-school style, hard and physical on a rough pitch, with the class of Karena Braham lifting them above and beyond. Are their signings up to the task? There's not a lot special about Cornerstone, who struggled for game time in his homeland, but fellow free agent Duvnjak comes in from Ceni and will lighten the creative burden on Braham somewhat. Former Quaker striker Amelia Rusmond is brought in, too, to strengthen their depth in attack. As far as the incumbents go, they have some proven talent, though their best aren't likely to stick around long - certainly not in the event of relegation. Anders Rowett is a quick-thinking shot-stopper, not the tallest, not the best in the air... but he gets down fast, and well, and catches the eye in a good way. Ball-playing centre-half Lalonde was a liability in the early parts of last season and got dropped for a spell, but came back stronger for the experience. Berisha is an uncompromising captain, Braham a fully-evolved playmaker drifting in from the left (and a goal threat on top of it) while Klaus Petriak gets the goals, a pugnacious, sturdy forward who complements the classy Westfield well.

21. The Strongest
Home Colours: Burgundy / white / burgundy
Away Colours: Sky blue / navy blue / sky blue
Stadium: Heathcliff Ridge (13,500)
Nickname: the Strongest
Manager: Lorelei Redruth (58)
(4-3-3) 12 - Rook Gilzean (23); 2 - Bernard Peacock (24), 5 - Tyw Salling (29, AUD), 13 - Lene Wiseman (24), 3 - Natasa Rotival (24); 4 - Karel Machin (25), 22 - George Ross (34, EUR, c), 10 - Jorja Pfenning (31); 7 - Daniel Zihark (23), 15 - Vauxhall Hayne (26, BRE), 13 - Etel Csonka (29, PAS)

Background: The Strongest are one of the oldest clubs in Nephara, and had been set up by a curate under the philosophy of Muscular Christianity. However, it had languished in obscurity until a recent decision made to go professional. This lead to a gradual rise out of the state leagues in recent years, but there's a concern among some of the club steadfast that they've become 'just another club' - especially as their once-suicidally aggressive football has been replaced by a more conventional attacking tradition. Based out of Treason.

Summary: The Strongest represent an intriguing prospect in the league, the first time they've made it this high, and they've wasted no time ripping up the floorboards and sliding new meat into play. Former Vermillion Rage assistant manager Redruth has overseen some intriguing transfers, such as mercurial playmaker Pfenning on a free, burly Audioslav defender Salling from the Legaskari and, probably the stars of the team, the towering, forceful and guileless Vauxhall Hayne on a loan from Northern Union and, in Etel Csonka, an ambitious winger with the pedigree to seriously do damage alongside him. This probably wasn't what the forward wanted given his early promise made him a Wanderers contender - at least in his own mind - but he'll be a serious weapon. Veteran midfielder George Ross has also been brought in from Workers Union to try and steady a distinctly young, inexperienced ship - it says a lot that he's instantly been made captain. Keep an eye out, too, for Rook Gilzean between the posts. He's 6'7", but he gets down faster than you'd think and rarely slips. And that's handy, because they play very aggressive football, come what may the other end. They press high, tackle hard and go direct for goal. But one wonders if they have the nous to survive quite yet...

22. Hackett
Home Colours: Red / white / red
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Bradach Avenue (18,000)
Nickname: the Merry Boys
Manager: Lara Winter (42)
(4-3-3) 1 - Faraj Samara (31, BBS); 2 - Nicola Wrexham (25), 18 - Wanya Belsky (24, AUD), 6 - Rose Benedict (29), 12 - Constantine Sandor (22); 14 - Sara Penford (30), 5 - Chris Margate (31, c), 13 - Arran Grey (24); 15 - Simeon Lucan (27), 10 - Felix Gallan (23, SCT), 23 - Varga Neury (24)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Iliad Tsipras (32, PRV), 8 - CM - Sigrun Kannis (33), 9 - ST - Fred Dawson (34, SCT), 11 - LW - Artur Litton (25), 19 - CB - Paul Allard (33)

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: Hackett seem to be settling into lower midtable mediocrity. They did nothing of note last season, scoring less than a goal a game but still managing to stay eight points clear of the drop. Their issue is that they stood still in the transfer window - bought a sharp forward, Gallan, on a free from one-time Mercedini champions Elspachia, another free in the form of veteran midfielder Kannis, and loaned muscular fullback Sandor off Treason. Normally, that's not the worst thing, but as a way to reinforce an aging side as the First Division becomes the strongest it's ever been off the back of the Homecoming? It's suicidal. Varga Neury came in as a late panacea, at least, a muscular and direct winger, low to the ground and aggressive. It's some patchwork of a club that doesn't look good enough as the league looks stronger than ever. Faraj Samara's a genuine highlight-reel goalkeeper, and she'll need to be, because this side probably won't have the ball too often. Other defensive players like Benedict, Penford and Margate are all steady professionals, but are they really of 1Div quality? But it's cutting edge where this team lacks most. Grey will need to step up in midfield and show more than he has in previous seasons, but a lot falls on the broad shoulders of Gallan and Neury.

23. Extreme Hills
Home Colours: Orange / black / orange
Away Colours: White / orange / white
Stadium: Harkerscourt (20,000)
Nickname: the Hounds
Manager: Malta Falconer (47)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Czarina Tournay (33, COS); 17 - Niko Rudan (31, c), 5 - Arthur Levitt (27, ETN), 19 - Dominik Ciernik (23, NOV), 23 - Ash Carter (23); 10 - Olivia Sigournay (28), 6 - Asa Ketelsen (32, AUD), 13 - Sheila Maher (32); 8 - Desdemona Schuster (32); 9 - Maribel Garrido (33, OSR), 11 - Ivor Roxham (25)
Notable Reserves: 25 - GK - Jon Saullivan (25); 2 - RB - Fiete Kinnett (28), 3 - LB - Magdalena Spiro (25), 4 - CM - Gavin Handspiker (26), 14 - ST - Nori Harcutt (26), 18 - CB - Ranulf Gatcan (25), 21 - CM - Chris Britton (34)

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: Another terrible start, and this time Bryony Johansen wasn't given the chance to salvage things. She was given the axe in around the middle of the season with the Hounds stranded on the bottom, with just three wins. Malta Falconer came in and managed nine in the second half of the season, narrowly steering them to safety. More goals scored than Stahlburg City in fifth - the worst defence in the league. Still, things don't look great for the Hounds. After losing the lethal poacher Coretta Rooke, they've brought in burly striker Roxham, dominant in the tier below, which should be handy in the likely event of their relegation, along with two classy midfielders in Sigournay and Maher who will help steady the ship there. And there's intermittent quality, Schuster's good on her day, Garrido's a clinical finisher, Tournay's an inconsistent but occasionally really good shot-stopper... and they're all in their 30s. Dominik Ciernik is probably their highest-value asset, a straightforward, intelligent defender, not one to make mistakes. But the team is just... not good, and worse than that, they're on a long run of consistently underperforming. They aren't fast enough to play the energetic brand of football they used to, and aren't hard enough at the back to let teams get at them, nor do they have the technique to unpick teams with possession. How much can Malta Falconer do?

24. Crisisbless Athletic
Home Colours: Navy / navy / white
Away Colours: All white with navy trim
Stadium: Sunflow (16,000)
Nickname: Athletic
Manager: Claire Antioch (54)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Ursula Qatintiki (28, AFT); 2 - Maarten Hope (23, EFL), 5 - Cale Balfour (28, c), 6 - Tristan Young (25), 3 - Maretta Exeter (22); 4 - Kimon Heidelberg (24), 15 - July Valente (22, IRN); 7 - Leon Rinehart (26), 10 - Simon Bradden (26), 11 - Tasha Kite (27); 9 - Chris Suttner (29)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Paddy Munster (33), 8 - DM - Samael Lawrence (32), 16 - ST - Damian Keogh (33), 17 - RB - Michael Erasmus (33, SLL)

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: Athletic return to the second tier looking significantly more prepared than last tilt. They did poorly in the first quarter of the season and near-disastrously in the second, three straight defeats leading to the axe for the ambitious Adalheid Metzelder. In came a far more experienced head, Claire Antioch. She more than steadied the ship; Athletic came roaring back into life, going from 13th to 4th and conceding just 15 goals in the process. Recruitment began from the front, the muscular Chris Suttner from Chatswood becoming their record signing at a mighty 2m. Also their only signing; for cash, at least. Young defensive players in Valente and Hope come in from abroad, while Munster offers experienced goalkeeping cover, but that's about it. Antioch has this team drilled to within an inch of its life, and in Ursula Qatintiki they have a somewhat streaky goalkeeper, but one who acclimitised well to Nepharim football in her second season and should manage to keep it together here. Simon Bradden is the key man up front, and if the brash playmaker is even half as good as he claims to be, he'll chalk up fifteen assists this season. Optimistic? Yes. Very. They're young and physical, on the whole, and will fittingly hope their athleticisim keeps them afloat.

Lower Down the Pyramid

Second Division
Rochford remain the favourites for promotion despite repeated self-sabotage and the loss of star defender Hector Reiss - indeed, most of their old First Division side has gone by now, along with a sheaf of managers. But they boast a potent forward line, bolstered by hot Pasargan prospect Kitti Szegedy (on loan from Ponyville), an excellent midfield newly spearheaded by Treason youth product Minka Forrest, and a resilient back line. Gonen's Bridge have recovered best of the relegated sides, the retained strike partnership of Spinnett and Sol ready to dominate at this level, while Chardonnay and Pillars have consolidated well. Newly-promoted Alliance Barossia are (admittedly remote) dark horses for promotion. West Hook and Kommissar will be in a fight not to go straight back down, while Ox River still don't have the quality on paper despite a couple seasons of strong overachievement.

Third Division
Aries Solitaire, Boltcroft Thorns and Gosmouth Swans, all clubs who have only fairly recently made their debuts into the professional game, are the standout favourites for promotion, all playing a more or less expansive style of football with youngish sides. Autumnstone, playing their first professional season, are dark horses. Behind them jostling for pole position are the same staid names as always - the Falston sides of the Ceyne Isles, relegated Strephonage and Brindleton. Fischer and yo-yo side Bodkin Road look the least-prepared of the newly-promoted teams, but it's always very even at the bottom.
Last edited by Nephara on Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:56 pm

As ever, the domestic season kicks off with the Ramsey Shield, between league champions Crisisbless and Cup Winners Newrook, as a domestic curtain-raiser to the Brinemouth Eagles’ Club that the Dockers have finally moved into. The last match at Portsgate was a routine 2-0 win over the Quakers, Kyron Bartley’s deflected strike the last goal on that ground before its demolition. The first here? Rather more exciting. Airik Ruhl is denied from close range just 20 seconds into the match before going one better half an hour later, twisting and shooting to force a speculative pass from Swan beyond Hesketh. Na’Kefir’s busy at the other end, and Newrook’s high-octane style finally pays off in the 41st, Ocokoljic with a brilliant pass to fellow debutant Wardenier, who cuts it straight back to him and leaves the Crisisbless defence in sixes and sevens; Ocokoljic breaks through and lamps it past Na’Kefir. But in the second half, reality intervenes, and Crisisbless stamp down their authority on the game - set piece goals indirect, with a header from Bajnok, and direct from countryman Jevdjevic-Hadsic, see the Rooks off.

In the UICA preliminary rounds, yet again, Premiership sides are decidedly poor. Starling alone limp into the Globe Cup, and lost a CC qualifier to get there. Even with the SPL’s likely failure to defend its ranking, the coefficient is wavering.

Sabrefell Athletic 4-2 Morningstar
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Diamondqueen
AFC Treason 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Vermillion Rage 8-1 Corvette Maulers
Aries Chariots 1-2 North Sabrefell
Coret Hawks 1-1 Crisisbless United
Starling 2-0 North Laithland
Creed United 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Newrook City 2-1 Cypher Town
Bishop 0-1 Crisisbless
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Southfell United
Raven River 0-2 Brinemouth

Welcome back to the Premiership, Corvette! The sexiest story with which to open the season? Perhaps not. After all, the Rovers also return, and go toe-to-toe with Treason away. Roddy Fraser forces no less than six saves from Iona Britton, but nobody else can even seem to get that far, and when veteran forward Nega Bazin proves more clinical at the other end, it felt written in the stars. Diamondqueen were similarly resolute in their return, the Moths failing to rack up the goals to match their advantage, enabling one beautifully-lofted long pass from Carina Taheri to find Sett Horn, who took the ball down with one touch and blasted it past Griffin with the second. Morningstar showed spirit as well, scoring first and last against Athletic - shame about the four they conceded in the middle, but at least Tsiavis is picking up where he left off, and Ana Kuijer had an excellent showing. Or one could look at Aries Chariots’ debut under that name, hosting the Bohemians across town and being found wanting, looking disjointed and low on chemistry and picked apart by set pieces. But really, it’s Corvette, because they come in against Vermillion and credit to them, they die standing, abiding by Strauss’ principles of steady passing football to the end. And get gubbed on the counter, repeatedly, in a ruthless 8-1 win. Michael Lin makes just one save, and frankly there wasn’t much more he could’ve done given how constantly exposed he was. Conte comes off with a standing ovation after a hat-trick.

Diamondqueen 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Rovers 2-2 Morningstar
Corvette Maulers 0-3 Sabrefell Moths
North Sabrefell 1-1 AFC Treason
Crisisbless United 2-2 Vermillion Rage
North Laithland 2-1 Aries Chariots
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Coret Hawks
Cypher Town 2-3 Starling
Crisisbless 3-0 Creed United
Southfell United 1-1 Newrook City
Brinemouth 3-1 Bishop
Raven River 3-1 Chenoworth Harriers

Normally, when you put two past Cypher in the first half and extend your lead to three before the hour, you can be fairly confident you’ve beaten them. Especially when you’re mighty Starling, eager to flex a more solid new formation and the signing of Christian Berg. Well, they put their foot off the accelerator somewhat and let Cypher into the game, Ferryman lashing in a deflected but crisp strike from outside the box that span past a wrong-footed Smordal, Voeller thinking quickly to jink past three Passerines before playing through the burly Tihamer, who took full advantage, and while Hertzka blundered into Andisori to give away a penalty at the other end, Ruo helped it onto the bar. The scoring ended there, but Starling can consider themselves lucky. Brinemouth’s hotly-anticipated big guns click into gear against Bishop. Kuznetsov bulldozes a cross from Deventer with his chest before hammering it past Bishop goalkeeper Krieven with just two minutes played, but Bishop strike back in the 8th with their first shot of the game, Feisser with a lethal inswinging free kick that their playmaker, Ulrica Rannon, gets on the end of to nod home. No matter; that only makes the Dockers angry. Kuznetsov hits a post, Krieven’s forced to save sharply from Conjure and Saitou before the second-half breakthrough - Kuznetsov gets his brace, bursting past the Bishop defence in possession and forcing the ball past Krieven one-on-one, before securing a rather dubious hat-trick when Dragana cuts inside and fires, Krieven gets hands to it but can’t stop it trickling inexorably towards the net, and the Audioslav sprints like hell to get to it before it crosses the line, hammering it into the empty net. Oh, Desya. Coret, meanwhile, are two draws for two, but this match did, at least, herald the first of what they hope to be a lethal combination - a low, sharp cross onto the toe of veteran striker Penumbra Amokachi, and from there into the net. Issue was, it was inches offside, but still.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Diamondqueen 2-0 Corvette Maulers
Morningstar 1-2 North Sabrefell
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Treason 3-1 North Laithland
Vermillion Rage 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Aries Chariots 2-0 Cypher Town
Coret Hawks 1-0 Crisisbless
Starling 3-0 Southfell United
Creed United 2-4 Brinemouth
Newrook City 5-0 Raven River
Bishop 0-2 Chenoworth Harriers

Of all the promoted sides, it’s fair to say the still-unbeaten Rovers have fared the best so far. They take the lead early against Sabrefell Athletic, Misha Paterson with a thunderous low strike from well outside the box after Rowell’s cross bounced off Farina’s shin, and defend it viciously. Svenskah heads off after two cautions just after the hour, and the hot-headed Ender Fife follows after a scything challenge to bring down Ojala, before Laslow gives away a penalty for handball. Harper rails against the referee, and is perhaps lucky not to be sent to the stands herself. Coltrane converts it smoothly, but it’s the only goal Athletic can get in a match where Iona Britton is yet again outstanding. Similarly, Corvette have been very clearly the worst, though at least a 2-0 defeat to Diamondqueen means they’re ‘improving’ match-by-match. Treason have been out of sorts so far this season, but they pick up the points in a convincing win over fierce rivals North Laithland, as homegrown Stag Aristide Metzger ingratiates himself to his club by coming off the bench in the 71st minute, scoring in the 78th, and celebrating by ripping the head off North Laithland’s terrified mascot and hurling it into the stands. Crisisbless drop their first points and concede their first goal to Coret Hawks, not to Amokachi but to her rather plainer strike partner, Henderson, while Newrook City pulverise River 5-0 in a game where Jezdimir Ocokoljic gets two goals, two assists and two yellow cards to cap off a memorable night.

Corvette Maulers 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
North Sabrefell 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Crisisbless United 0-0 Diamondqueen
North Laithland 1-2 Morningstar
AFC Corvistone 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Cypher Town 1-0 AFC Treason
Crisisbless 0-1 Vermillion Rage
Southfell United 1-4 Aries Chariots
Brinemouth 5-2 Coret Hawks
Raven River 1-0 Starling
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Creed United
Bishop 2-2 Newrook City

Corvette have been pretty dreadful across their first three matches, scoring once and conceding thirteen goals. So it’s a surprise that they choose the visit of Sabrefell Athletic to mount their recovery, and it’s already clear to see the changes they’ve made - a little more urgency in their play, more focus on releasing Sascha Dimitrius, who rewards them with a slickly taken brace. It’s not perfect, of course - Gerwyn Clarke’s slack backpass is seized on by Ens and passed along for Uzunlar to stab home past an incandescent Lin, but it’s an improvement. Crisisbless are poor against Vermillion, or perhaps simply not allowed to be themselves - they stay in their shells, barely troubling Ramelow in the Rage goal all day, before Cheney Breremond crashes onto the end of Aysu Damjana’s throw to glance the ball past a stranded Na’Kefir. Aidan Brosque looks unamused. The Chariots are steadily recovering from a slow start, simply too intense and direct for Southfell to deal with, and Isla Safarova looks happy as a goddamn clam as her side batters their opponents. Rowena Sierra thrives played as a striker, even without scoring - she’s instrumental in three goals, laying off for Lazarou’s strike, forcing a save from Aldous that Kaelin follows through, and breaking free to